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Sweeping up the last of the Bubbly bike pile

On Sunday I helped clean out the last remnants of the Rat Patrol workshop in the basement of Bubbly Dynamics. Back in 2002, John had allowed use of a portion of the basement of his warehouse for stockpiling bike parts and as a workspace for making funny bikes. Since then the pile of old frames and wheels had grown tremendously, through periods of utter disarray followed by volunteer cleanups and back into disorderly mess. Probably over a hundred creatively resculpted bikes were built there from the stockpile of junk, and the place saw a lot of creative activity in those five years. Some of the parts of the Water Bug trashboat came from Bubbly as well.

But recently a city fire inspector toured the building. Anywhere he saw disorderly piles of stuff, he gave orders that it be removed before the next inspection. So the heap of bike parts in the basement had to go. Over several days a handful of volunteers sorted out the usable materials to save for other bike workshops. By the time I arrived on Sunday, all that was left was the leftovers.

Bubbly Cleanout

In cleaning out a workspace, you are confronted by the remnants of plans and ideas that were never finished. There was the sack of Mardi Gras beads we dumpstered in New Orleans, hoping to glue them on a bike. And over there, I remember working carefully to get the candy-cane paint scheme on that bike frame just right, and now it lies on top of the scrap pile. Here is a stack of forks and frames and pipes cut ready for a chopper which was never completed.

Bubbly Cleanout

Often its good to be rid of these flawed dreams, to sweep them out and make room for new ideas. But each spring cleaning is a death as well as a rebirth, a reminder of the mortality of ideas and passing of time as much as a clearing of fertile ground for new growth. I suppose it is the death of those plans and ideas which fertilize the soil for new ones, so to speak.

Bubbly Cleanout

But a part of me was sad to see it all go. I found myself scrounging in the dust for a few brake cables to replace the worn ones on my current bike. Finally a good use for those things, saved just in the last minute before the bucket of derailleurs and brake levers and cables was taken upstairs to be thrown in the trash pile. But its best not to get too attached to the rest of these bits and pieces that wouldn't have such a chance at reuse but were condemned to the landfill or the shredder. Rest in peace old bikes.

Bubbly Cleanout

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 9, 2008 10:33 AM.

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