The Jack and Jill makeover – the RESULTS


These are the parts that go into a bicycle and this is the pile that was left after “Jill” was taken apart. Now lets see the results after  a manicure and some new “duds”. First the paint:

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Remember those rusty, rough looking bikes that we began with? Already looking different, right? Next its time for the nuts and bolts basics – cleaning and greasing and adjusting bearings, and running new cables to make sure that brakes work and gears change. All the important but boring stuff – it needs to get done to make the best out of any bicycle. After thats done, we can get to the fun part – let’s see what else we can do….


Let’s start at the top, with new Velo anatomic comfort grips. Along with the grips, aluminum Tektro linear pull brake levers, designed for four finger ergonomics.


New tires and tubes start us on the road with CST Commuter street tires – smooth rolling with a continuous central band lined by water runners and triangular shoulders to enhance traction. Braking is important on a bicycle and dual colour brake pads were installed. These pads are designed with channels to guide excess water and grime off of the braking surface. For those days when a rider might be caught by a sudden rain, full coverage fenders were added front and back, constructed of light weight but strong polycarbonate and installed using stainless steel hardware.


KMC Rustbuster chains were installed to provide long lasting trouble free service. The LU-214 City Pedals from Wellgo were selected – they are made of one piece aluminum with a Kraton rubber gripping surface and Cro-Mo machined spindles. Light weight aluminum bottle cages as well as convenient kickstands were added.


Classic alloy rear racks were also added to make it easier to carry “stuff”.  And to ensure a comfortable shock absorbing ride, a Rhyno Comfort Web Spring saddle was chosen, with thick foam top, coil springs at the rails and a web spring.

So how did we do when all comes together?




There you have it – the Jack and Jill Makeover. Available for you at Village Cycleworks. Time to dig those bikes out of the garage, bring them on over, and get the NEW LOOK. Turn those dusty, rusty, trusty “mountain” bikes into modern, city loving, commuter friendly, exercise ready Prairie Cruisers!! Why buy something new when what you have is still very serviceable and only needs some new additions and improvements to bring it back to life? Give me a call and lets talk!!



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Working Cargo – for sale



Yes, that hard working lime green beauty is for sale. Summer is closing in – another cargo bike is taking shape on the jig in the shop and so room has to be made for the newcomer.

cargo load

That bike and I have had some good times this summer – picking up groceries for the evening meal and propane gas to cook it.

RecyclingWe have taken cans and bottles to the recycling depot.

To the recycle depot



We have replenished our supply of cans also. By the way, for anyone needing supplies for a party, the cargo deck will hold 6 dozen cans in one layer, twelve dozen if you double it… :o)A beer run


One of the unexpected advantages of a cargo bike came one day when we stopped for a coffee at one of our favourite spots, The Roastery at Five Corners. There were no tables left in the shade so we pulled the bike under a tree, and parked ourselves on the cargo bay – instant park bench!!IMG_5302_2





Working cargo




For fun we have carried lumber home from the lumberyard, – just to see if we could do it!!

Recently we used the bike to get us to a picnic on the river, carrying the chilled wine and our contribution to the feast along with our folding chairs – good times!

Heading to a picnicYes, good times for the next owner also. Who will it be? See the ad on Kijiji, or send me a note if you want to be the one.

Categories: Cargo bikes | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jack and Jill – a make-over of matching bicycles – the BEFORE pictures



In a few days, the paint will have cured on “Jack & Jill”, a pair of bikes that are getting a “make-over” in the Village Cycleworks shop. I picked these bikes up a few weeks ago – they were destined to be crushed, melted down and “recycled” into new metal products. I decided to use them as a sort of a test case. How much consumer interest is there in a different type of recycling? – one that requires human energy and effort rather than mechanical effort and petroleum based energy.

Here are the “before” pictures  of these “Made in Canada” bikes. They looked a bit rough around the edges with paint chips and scratches and surface rust on handlebars and wheels. The tires still held air but were showing their age with checks and cracks. Brake and derailleur cables were rusty and seized and no longer able to function. Seats were in decent shape and still as uncomfortable to ride on as they were when they were new. With all of this going against them, I wanted to see how they would look after they had been given a little TLC and few additional components to bring them into the 21st century. Stay tuned to see how they turn out.

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Categories: Rescued and returned to use | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Transition – Mountaineer to Expediter


It started with an idea, a challenge to be met Bicycles are great ways of getting ourselves around but often we have “stuff” that we want to take with us. The old wire baskets that many of us used to have on our bicycles are inadequate for many of the things that we would like to carry these days. What to do? The low bed cargo bike that I built has much more capacity than is often required when not going on  a serious shopping trip and yet I still wanted a way to carry some of my “stuff”.

Often the solutions that we come up are not original ideas but rather ones that we have “borrowed” from others, and that is what happened in this case. I have seen photos of light duty cargo bikes, carrying “stuff” on racks over the front wheel – this extends the cargo carrying capacity of a regular bicycle but keeps the bike compact enough to remain an “about-town” form of transportation. That is what I decided to build and thus began the transition. All I needed was a “donor” bike, and the one I found was an early model Norco mountain bike, named appropriately but without much originality “Mountaineer”.


Even though the bike was saddle worn and a bit rough around the edges with chipped paint and rusty cables, missing wheels and brake pads, there were still lots of good miles waiting to be ridden – it was not time to put this horse out to pasture yet!!





After all, not only did the bike come from the well-known Canadian bicycle manufacturer, Norco, but it had originally been sold by one of the landmark bike shops in Saskatoon, Joe’s Cycle. It had a pedigree and it also had some history.


Hence the transition began, on a jig that I built to accommodate this and future cargo bike builds.IMG_8202

By using a smaller front wheel smaller and by pushing it forward, a place was made for carrying cargo.

All that remained was to join the front to the back… IMG_8209

Add the cargo bay…IMG_8223

Now to the paint booth. Throw on some primer…IMG_8227

Add some colour…IMG_8235

And a bit of bling…IMG_8241

Some cedar for the cargo deck…IMG_8255

A few recycled components…IMG_8253

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Now add to the mix some carefully selected new components:


Swept back handlebars allowing an upright riding stance


New Shimano  TX50 Tourney thumb shifters and ergonomic four finger Tektro brake levers


Aluminum Wellgo CU-214 City Pedals with ball bearings and Cro-Mo machined spindles 




Fenders, front and rear

IMG_8332 Puncture resistant front tire

Kenda Pathfinder rear tire, low profile and selected for reduced rolling resistance


IMG_8341Centre kickstand to allow easy loading

There you have it – the transition is complete – from Mountaineer to Expediter – a re-purposed bicycle ready to deliver rider and goods with style and pizzaz. Order yours today!!





Categories: Cargo bikes | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Outdooring the new Warrior


IMG_8110The Warrior is a tadpole style racing recumbent tricycle, built from the excellent plans supplied at It features under-seat steering and triple disk brakes. Its low profile lends itself to fast corners and and speedy fairways!!


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From neglected to SWANKY!! – the Schwinn Cruiser

The big blue frame had a forlorn, abandoned look about it. Rust on the fenders and mud on the white sidewalls didn’t hold out much promise but I could see behind that facade of disrepair and neglect that there was a swanky beach cruiser waiting for a second chance to woo the ladies. This is what the bike looked like when it arrived at Village Cycleworks.

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It is often remarked that a bit of elbow grease can work wonders, and this cruiser provides ample evidence to support that. Careful work with a soft scratch pad along with the ubiquitous WD-40 was used to remove most of the rust. A stiff bristle brush cleaned up the tire sidewalls. The back wheel with its two broken spokes was replaced with a wheel  salvaged from another bike and equipped with a white sidewall tire.  The broken brake lever was replaced by one also salvaged from elsewhere. Missing brake pads were also replaced. New cables and cable housing ensured that components would function correctly. A simple but trusty thumb shifter was traded for the poorly functioning twist grip shifter. New grips were installed. A caged bearing in the bottom bracket was replaced. Duct tape over the torn seat cover completed the job. Here are the results. What do you think? 

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Rescued Spring 2013

During the spring season of 2013, sixteen bicycles have been “rescued” and given a new life, much to the delight of their new owners.

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Garfield, a recumbent Wildcat

P1060311 P1060317 P1060318 P1060323 P1060324 P1060326

The Wildcat is a long wheelbase recumbent bicycle built to plans purchased at Affectionately named Garfield, this recumbent features 21 speed gearing and under-seat steering.

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First Cargobike

First Cargobike

Ready for the street

Ready for the street

Double kickstand made from front forks

Double kickstand made from front forks

Front forks used for cargo bay bracing

Front forks used for cargo bay bracing

Rear stays used for bracing cargo bay

Rear stays used for bracing cargo bay

Steering linkage using an Atomic Zombie "conductor"

Steering linkage using an Atomic Zombie “conductor”

For whom the bell chimes

For whom the bell chimes

My brass Lion Bellworks bicycle bell – the best sounding bell in town!!

Shortened front forks

Shortened front forks

Ever since I first encountered cargo bikes on the internet a few years ago, they have captured my imagination. Finally this past winter, while waiting for some special order components for the recumbent tricycle that was on the go, I decided to try my hand at building one. As the winter dragged on, there was ample time to contemplate so many aspects of the design. I wanted to maximize the use of parts of old bikes and so they found their way into supports for the cargo bay as well as a double legged stand. Many of the ideas came from my limited experience with the designs that I purchased from, most notably the “conductor” used in the steering assemblage. The front forks were shortened to accommodate a 20 inch wheel, following the directions from Atomic Zombie.

The cargo bike seemed like the perfect place to show off the wonderful brass bike bell that I won during the winter in a poetry contest hosted by The bell is the product of Lion – the sustained ring that it produces does wonders for the soul and reminds one to slow down and enjoy all of our senses when riding – the Zen of cargo-bike riding!!

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Sunshine Cruiser

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