Ben and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance…

You could say I’m putting a new spin on things… old bikes that is.

I was driving the bus through the Perth suburbs when I noticed a bicycle on the side of the road. I began to see more things: whitegoods, bbq’s, old gym equipment and building hardware, pot plants and boxes of disused toys and clothing, all of it set on the verge for collection by the council. But it was the bike that interested me; I could fix it up and use it or sell it. (It seemed to be saying ‘re-cycle me’)

This continued for several months: collecting up pre-loved bicycles and recycling them back into the community for use by backpackers, students and people generally looking for cheap and reliable transport that cared about their health and the environment… and the dollars they worked so hard for.

I often met the owners of these pre-loved bicycles and asked them why they no longer wanted them. Answers like: No longer use it, updated it, it’s broken, were just some of the common replies I would get. Along the way I learned to true wheels, overhaul hubs, headsets and bottom brackets, tune gears and adjust brakes. I replaced parts and found I enjoyed customising bicycles with parts donated from other bicycles or ‘donor-cycles’ as I liked to refer to them.

I became more efficient: did flyer mailbox drops seeking bicycles that were no longer wanted and developed an eye for what was worth my time and what was best used for parts salvage. Then a strange thing happened, I developed a taste for classic Australian bicycles: their quality Japanese parts and craftsmanship, bicycles that were as old as me yet in some cases still worked like new. It grew from there, one bike after another became an extension of my recycling hobby until I had an entire fleet of bicycles I needed to do something with.

So was born cycleME.

This is my art of bicycle maintenance, and you can share this journey with me on a range of awesome machines that have been saved from landfill and repurposed as hire bikes. Each bike is unique and has a story of its own to share.

But cycleME isn’t just about recycling old bicycles, it’s about empowering people by teaching them the skills I have learned with my TeachMe workshops. It’s about helping the environment by reusing and repurposing. Bicycles are living things too, and instead of burying them when we no longer have a need for them, how about setting them free into the community to be someone else’s adventure buddy!

Ben O’Neill