Randy’s Recycled Cycles opened for business on December 16th, 2010 and the year that followed was (in the understatement of the year) an amazing ride.
It all started when I lost my job and was looking for a way to generate some income. I’ve always been mechanically inclined and interested in bikes, so I bought a number of bikes from Craigslist, restored them, and sold them on my front lawn. They were gone in no time at all. I bought some more, and the same thing happened. Rinse and repeat. Buy. Restore. Sell. Hey, this was working out pretty well!
Eventually city inspectors pointed out that my yard wasn’t zoned for this kind of activity, so the hunt for a storefront began. I acquired a couple of partners and we found 4130 Manchester (where we live today) in The Grove, a vibrant part of St. Louis that’s going through a revitalization. The neighborhood is rich with unique businesses, restaurants and bars including Handlebar, a bike-themed bar directly across the street. The RRC team couldn’t ask for a more perfect environment.
As we settled into the new shop, our sources for raw materials grew to include auctions, websites, thrift stores, garage sales, and individuals wanting to make more room in their garages. As all of the bikes come in we clean and repair them, tune them up, sometimes add new parts, do a safety inspection, and generally restore the luster of each bike. Sometimes it’s tough to keep as much in stock as we’d like because people love the idea of quality recycled bikes at a very reasonable cost. The excitement for our custom fixxies is… well, humbling.
Simply put, 2011 has been a blur. We’ve gotten to know our neighbors, the people in the surrounding community, and bike/environment lovers throughout the metro area. We sponsored some awesome rides and street fairs. We gave to incredible charities. We watched smiles appear on thousands of faces as they selected a new bike, got a fun new accessory, or told the story of an amazing ride they recently experienced. We learned about accounting and inventory. We helped people reduce their carbon footprint and traffic congestion. We cheered people on as they tackled (and met!) new fitness goals through biking. We watched one little guy’s interest in troublemaking disappear as he learned to work on his bike. We explored more of the beauty in the St. Louis area by taking new routes. We met some crazy bike loving artists through ArtCrank. We learned countless things from the people who have welcomed us into The Grove and their lives. We even busted a bike thief or two along the way.
This has been one sweet of a ride, and I’m so grateful to have shared it with my partners, our customers, and the community.
As always, keep on bikin’!