Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mr. Jalopy turns his attention to bicycles

One of my favorite non-bicycle blogs is Hoopty Rides. It's creator, Mr. Jalopy, chronicles his efforts to find and care for aging automobiles, cans of motor oil, water slide decals and other objects that catch his eye. Mr. Jalopy has a unique approach to cultivating and curating these items. While he may polish up an old set of Craftsman wrenches from time to time, he is at ease with the rust, dents and other signs of age that show up on things bought at yard sales or at flea markets. Here's how he described a 1954 Chevrolet he was offering for sale back in 2004:

"The paint is thin and the rust is everywhere. It is extraordinary looking in the way a giant boulder is magnificent, or perhaps, a charging buffalo. There are colors on this car that exist only in nature. Indescribable deep rich hues that are impossible to categorize but are immediately familiar. A very nice, tattered, very beat up, wonderfully patina'd car of great integrity for $2250."

I've adopted Mr. Jalopy's philosophy and applied it to my attempts to rehabilitate old bicycles. Plus, since I lack the skill or patience to restore bicycles to their original condition, embracing imperfection saves me lots of frustration.

But that's not why I'm writing about Mr. Jalopy on Bike Year. I mention him here because of his new project, Coco's Variety Store.

Presuming that it actually exists, I would nominate it for one of the greatest retail concepts introduced so far this century. But here's the really cool thing: As you can see from the photo above, used bicycles are one of Coco's main product lines. And here's how Mr. Jalopy describes this portion of the store's inventory:

"Coco's is engaged in the refurbishment, repair and sale of used bicycles. From the scrap iron dealer's mud puddle, we buy bikes that nobody else wants. We buy junkers, clunkers, road bikes, mountain bikes, banana seat specials, fixies, department store cheapies, step through ten speeds, heavy bikes, skip tooth relics, 80's splatter paint disasters, suspension bikes, BMX tricksters, track bikes, cruisers, bruisers and midnight losers."

But why bicycles?

"We believe the bicycle with the greatest positive impact on the environment is a fading champion that has already served a meaningful life and is resuscitated for a second chance at glory."

And I would nominate it for one of the greatest sentences written about bicycles so far this century.

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