Sunday, 18 February 2007

Out of the past...

I decided to have my old Trek mountain bike frame re-sprayed and built up again. (I get emotionally attached to all my bikes and can never throw them away or sell them. I had so many hours of fun on the Trek it deserves a new lease of life). After searching the internet I got to hear of a chap in South London who specialises in rep-spraying bikes and as it is only 10 minutes from Ian’s flat we decided to take it there on Saturday. I had already phoned and talked to Vaz, the owner who had given me directions to his workshop. I thought it seemed a bit odd that it had no street number. The road was an ordinary residential street and tucked away opposite a few houses was what looked like an old builder’s yard from 100 years ago. In the yard there were old bins and piles of stuff and on the large double door a hand written note was pinned, instructing us to ring the bell. When we did a face appeared from the top window and a pleasant man beckoned to us to come up. The steps at the side would not have passed any building or safety inspections; being steep, of solid concrete, covered in slippery moss and with a very rusty looking hand rail to one side. At the top, we entered into the workshop. There were bike frames hanging around the walls, a stove for baking the enamel on to the frames in one corner, a booth for spraying the paint and various tools and bits of machinery everywhere. There were a few paper face masks hanging around but other than that, no protective clothing, extractor fans or air conditioning! The heating was a small, ancient bakelite gas burner, placed near what passed for the office and, when Vaz was talking to us, dangerously close to his rear end! Vaz quoted me an excellent price for the re-spray and I had at least 50 colours to choose from. I chose a dark grey but said I didn’t mind anything else similar. He said he mixed the colours himself anyway. While we were there three other people arrived; one to check on the progress of his frame, where the lugs were being lovingly picked out in gold paint, and the other two to leave their bikes. I feel my bike is in the hands of the type of craftsman that is no longer allowed to operate in these days of rules and regulations. I think it is in safe hands and I am looking forward to seeing the results next week!

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