April 1st came along and it was time for us to get our #$#%@’s in gear! Since we had anticipated that it would take us some time to build our dream bikes Brian decided to purchase a cheap bicycle from a dept store hoping it would suffice him during the first few weeks of training. Just minutes after purchasing his new bike Brian and I decided to ride out to his parents house in Saanich for a visit. I hopped in my $25.00 fixer upper and Brian began peddling his dept store treasure. 15 minutes into the ride Brian’s front and rear tires were flat. After a quick visit with Brian’s family we re-inflated his tires and headed home. Not long into the ride, both tires were flat, the back breaks didn’t work and the handle bars had slipped sideways and down, making it impossible for him to peddle further. Determined to fix his new bike Brian changed the tubes, repaired the breaks and handles bars and took it out for another test run. This time the peddle broke off!
I’m sure those of you reading this are thinking “Uh…of course the dept store bike is a piece of crap!”. Admittedly, it was a bad idea to purchase this bike, but Brian was hoping that this would buy him time to find quality touring bike for less. Lucky for us Victoria has a wonderful resource for cyclists; Recylistas Bike Collective.
After a quick consultation with one of the bike mechanics at Recyclistas we found a 1985 steel frame touring bike in mint condition for myself, and a brand new men’s aluminum touring frame manufactured by Norco, for Brian. While Brian’s bike will be built from scratch, my bike will also undergo a good clean-up and receive some new parts including new treads to me get through some of the rough gravel patches on the Dalton HWY and other sections of the Pan American. While there were no steel touring frames available in Brian’s size, I was given the option of steel or aluminum. Although I selected the steel frame, the staff at Recyclistas has assured me that if I am not happy with my steel touring bike I can always exchange if for the same aluminum model identical to Brian’s bike. While most touring bikes start at $1400.00, our bicycles built from scratch will likely cost a mere $500.00 a piece.