Bikes as Art?

July 11, 2011 By Lauren and Tom

I’ve said it before, Lauren and I have been doing lots of little things to our home; stuff that doesn’t cost much money and really makes it “us”.  This tradition continued these past few days with something that we have been talking about doing forever; mounting the old Schwinn bicycles up on our display ledge.
How to do it has been a logistics thing I’ve been trying to figure out for a while; but after starting to purge stuff in the garage to free up some space (and prepare for a partial garage makeover down the road) I realized the beloved old Schwinn’s have been taking up valuable space.
The story on the blue beasts is that they were my parents and I’m pretty sure they got the bikes before I was born (they still have the Schwinn Bicycle Store logo sticker from Pontiac, MI).  They’re classic, old school, bright blue, and pretty much are the coolest things ever.  I had inherited them from my parents when my Mom was in one of her famous purge everything to clean things up and update the garage modes and I had originally planned on turning them into our bar bikes to get around town; but between the amount of work they needed and the more reliable bar bikes we picked up from a buddy; the Schwinn’s have been looking awfully lonely in the garage for a long time.
These are the same Schwinn’s we used in our engagement pictures around the Velodrome; in addition to the old track tandem.  These same Schwinn’s were at The Mavris for The Wedding; in fact I distinctly remember seeing the Schwinn’s as one of the first things I saw when I first arrived at The Mavris; and again when I walked in after The Crash and John Mavris was doing his damage control with hugs and handshakes and bullshit words.  I remember stopping at the bikes with Lauren and just looking at them for a moment as we waited to get on the elevator to go upstairs; in that moment in time these classic bikes brought us a moment of reflection and time to collect ourselves.

Engagement picture…not sure why she looks so scared; the velodrome isn’t THAT bad…
Look how peaceful they are at The Wedding

Beautiful backdrop for what was supposed to be a beautiful wedding..
So needless to say, we didn’t want to get rid of these and felt that they deserved a special place in our home.  We’ve had this awkward display ledge that I’ve never really done anything with; some of the bicycle wheels that were at The Wedding hanging above the dance floor have resided there for the past year; but we decided to relocate those after I fabricate some cool wall brackets and give the Schwinn’s the spot they deserve as a piece of art versus collecting dust in the garage.
So I crafted my idea, picked up the supplies from Lowes on Friday, and spent Saturday and Sunday evenings creating my concept to safely mount them on the ledge.  I like fixing things, I like mechanical things, I like tools, and so getting to build something from scratch that I designed without finding any information online was quite satisfying.
Check out the process, and results…
The first bike rail painted (the first item is always the hardest!)
Yep…they were in the mood to help out…
First one up; looks even better than I thought it would
From our second floor balcony over the front room
Day 2, the second bike
The wall plate for the second bike, drilled and painted
Both handlebars were a bit long, so I had to cut them on the wall side by about 3 inches

Handlebar is now neutered, and able to go up on the ledge (and the part that was cut off is being turned into a bottle opener since it has the original Schwinn grip on it still)
Ellie supervising as usual before the bike went up

Done!  Looks awesome!
Hoosier Bar Room in the background

Different angle of finished product
Lauren and I just ordered a massive print of this picture below in black and white that we will have framed and it will hang in between the wall mount board for the bikes (picture is 30×20, I’d like to add another 12-16 inches of frame and mat to make it even bigger)
Picture that will be between the bikes

and above the bikes we have found some vintage cycling poster reprints that are HUGE (5×4 foot) and we will eventually get 2 of those, one for above each bike and have it framed to match the engagement picture in the middle.

Next goal for repurposing old stuff is to get Mr. D to help me cut and weld some old bicycle forks to make a wall display mount for the wheels that were originally up on the ledge.  And build a couple of stools out of old bicycle frames, and build a bar top table out of a disc wheel…guess I’ll be buying some Whiskey for him for his help whenever I get to those projects!  The old saying goes…if you can’t find it, design it!