Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dumpster diving...

Fritz has a nice Jamis his wife and son found in a dumpster, a 47cm frame with a bent fork.


It looks good, and if the frame doesn't show any deformation or cracks right behind the head tube, it's probably good to go after replacing the fork. He says the hub is rough. It may simply need to be overhauled, or he may need a new wheel. Regardless, it's a lovely find.

I have a dumpster story too. When I lived in Pittsburgh, the city would pick up anything left on the cubside during one designated week. People cleaned out their basements and garages, putting all manner of things out for the trash pick up. Naturally, some of us cruised the neighborhoods looking for goodies.

I found an older English 3-speed, a Hercules or a Triumph. I'm not sure which it was because this happened more than 30 years ago. The bike needed a little chain lube and air in the tires. That's all. I rode it to work for awhile.

Back at the apartment, I stored my 'good' bikes, a racer and a track bike, in the hallway next to my bedroom. The little 3-speed went into one of the storage rooms in the basement, along with my motorcycle, spare wheels, and some odds and ends.

The apartment building was on the decline. There were several burglaries in the area. I started to notice used syringes in the laundry room. My car was vandalized. And eventually, someone broke into the storage rooms. My motorcycle,the little 3-speed, and everything else was gone.

A week or two later, I was leaving the building when I spotted a bike leaned up against the side of a house across the street. It wasn't my bike, but it had my wheels. They were a pair I'd built for commuting. I'd placed pieces of reflective tape between the spokes, a practice I still do today. And I'd had the forethought to inscribe my driver's license number on the rim, hiding it under that tape.

I went back inside, called the police and waited until they showed up. The officer looked at my license and when I peeled off the tape to show him the identical number on the wheel, he said, "Take the bike. It's your's." I simply removed the wheels instead.

He was sitting in his car in front of the house when I left. Later, I found out he'd called for a warrant. When they searched that house, they found over a hundred bikes in the basement! I'd been living across the street from the most active bike thieves in the city, and I never knew.

Shortly afterward, I got the hell out of there.


Blogger WheelDancer said...

Too bad you didn't take the whole bike.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Yokota Fritz said...

Only a true bike nerd would recognize his own wheels on an alien bike. I bow in your presence, sir.

11:49 AM  

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