Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mechanic uses skills to ‘recycle’ used bikes

July 15, 2007


Brian Shay, left, cleans a bicycle with his son, Morgan Shay, 10, Saturday at his shop, Re-Cyclery, 315 N. Second St. Brian Shay buys and sells used bikes and also does repairs.

Brian Shay, left, cleans a bicycle with his son, Morgan Shay, 10, Saturday at his shop, Re-Cyclery, 315 N. Second St. Brian Shay buys and sells used bikes and also does repairs.

When Brian Shay, of Lenexa, was fired as an auto mechanic four years ago, he decided to take matters into his own garage.

"I decided I would never work for someone else again," he said.

He took his mechanic skills and created a business out of repairing cars and buying and selling used bicycles and motorcycles from his home. It proved successful enough that he decided to open a used bicycle shop, The Re-Cyclery, 315 N. Second St.

"Bikes are smaller and less expensive," he said. "I find myself busting my knuckles less."

He's five weeks into his business tucked between Village Witch and The Gaslight near the Kansas River bridge.

"I always wanted to have my own retail business," Shay said. "I thought, Lawrence is a good town and it's in a good vicinity to Kansas City. A lot more people ride bikes here than K.C.; everything's close."

Shay said he plans to move to Lawrence soon.

He's already had a steady stream of business. He sold 73 bikes in the five weeks his store has been open, he said. He said he's had about 10 visitors a day who know about the shop just from his post on, a nationwide classifiedservice for urban cities.

About two weeks ago Kate Petry, of Lawrence, discovered the shop on CraigsList when she was looking for inexpensive recreation equipment.

"Someone said they found good stuff (here)," she said.

She said the store was a great idea and may serve college students well.

"Kids want cheap stuff," she said.

Shay buys bikes locally, he said. Children and adults can find anything from a $10 Huffy to a $700 Cannondale. He scopes out flea markets, state sales, auctions and garage sales. He also buys new bikes and parts on eBay. He's currently selling more than he's buying, he said.

His average tune-up rate is $40.

Justin Montgomery, 25, of Wellsville, is in the market for an inexpensive "starter bike" to trail ride, he said.

Instead of window shopping at other local stores for a $1,000 bike, he said he'd take one for $125.

"I don't care that there's rust on it," he said. "I don't want something brand-new."

Shay also sells skateboards. A board with grip tape costs $35.

"The cheapest place in town," he said.

Shay said he'd also like to place about 10 of his bikes on the Kansas University campus for students to ride on Jayhawk Boulevard. He said he would spray paint them all yellow, hoping the flashy color and honor system would prevent theft. If the university allows and if it proves successful, he would provide more.


fletch 10 years, 10 months ago

A Yellow Bike program was tried from 2003-2005. It didn't work very well. All the bikes ended up either in hard to reach locations at the bottom of the hills (Robinson, Learned) or in rusted heaps once without seats. Not that the idea isn't noble, but that's the second time a free bike program has failed on campus. Those that want to bike are usually able to acquire one (Sunflower, Cylce Works, Target, Walmart, thrift stores, lawn sales, etc) within their financial means. Those that don't want to bike are usually a bit hesitant to ride into traffic on Jayhawk Boulevard after they've been off a bike for years.

Bravo to Brian and his shop, though. It's always good to get another bike store in town, especially one catered towards getting more people into cycling.

superduper 10 years, 10 months ago

Way to go Brian. I bought a bike there a few weeks ago and got a good deal. It was lubed up and everything was in good adjustment. Sure some folks want new bikes but I think it's a good alternative.


Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 10 months ago

Good heavens, Informed, what has that to do with this story? Plus, it was decades ago--let go of it like the rest of the world--you'll be much happier.

lawrencian 10 years, 10 months ago

I like the yellow bike idea -- maybe the time is right for it to work!

ronson 10 years, 10 months ago

I love the shop. The staff is friendly and helpful and they have great prices on some super vintage bikes. Keep up the good work!

Richard Heckler 10 years, 10 months ago

Paris Aims to Cut Traffic With Bikes

By ANGELA DOLAND Associated Press Writer

July 15,2007 | PARIS -- The City of Light wants to be the city that bikes.

Paris City Hall launched a new bicycle service Sunday, with more than 10,600 posted at 750 stations all over the city. Users can take a bike and put it back at any station around town.

The service -- called Velib', a combination of the words "velo" (bike) and "liberte" (liberty) -- is an initiative pushed by Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who has made fighting traffic and pollution his No. 1 goal.

For Parisians, the bicycle service means another public transport option, in addition to the subway, buses and trams, Delanoe said.

"In the morning, you can go to work in the tram and come home by bike; it depends on the weather, it depends on your mood and on your friends," Delanoe said at the launch.

Business was brisk the first day. Parisian Sandrine Millet checked out her local station near the Champs-Elysees avenue and discovered only four bicycles left at a stand of 27. She hopped on one of the gray three-speeds and said it was "very comfortable."

"It's perfect for short rides, when you want to get somewhere fast, but don't have the courage to walk," she said.

Velib' is also accessible to tourists. The service is offered in eight languages, and its machines accept foreign credit cards.

Paris is following the example of other European cities with inexpensive bicycle services, including Stockholm, Vienna, Brussels, Barcelona and Copenhagen.

Delanoe has promoted biking heavily since taking office in 2001, and the city now has 230 miles of bike lanes. Velib' is due for expansion: By the year's end, Paris says it will nearly double the number of Velib' bicycles and stations.

A yearlong pass costs $39.50, while a one-day pass costs $1.36 -- and a seven-day ticket goes for $6.80. But the project is designed for short rides and has a sliding price scale -- so as to keep the bikes in rotation.

The first half-hour after users pick up a bike is free, but additional half-hours cost extra. Anyone who does not know the sliding scale and goes for a long joyride is in for a surprise: A one-day pass plus a 6-hour ride costs around $55.

Paris is distributing pocket copies of road safety rules to Velib' riders -- but bikers have to supply their own helmets.

gr 10 years, 10 months ago

If there's no sense of responsibility, no one will take it. However, charging $55 for six hours is not "free". Probably something like how some stores do with shopping carts may work. Deposit a dollar and you get to ride the bike. Put the bike back in the rack and you get a dollar back. If people don't mess with putting it back, someone will want to collect the dollar and will put it back for them.

But, better make sure only those bikes fit in the rack....

bs 10 years, 10 months ago

If provided, all the bikes on campus and downtown would be free to ride. If the bikes are destroyed or stolen, they will be replaced with ones in good working order. The ReCyclery has so many bikes already that it does not have a use for, other than providing free transportation to those in need. Gas prices are not going to go down anytime soon, so the shop is willing to provide an alternative to those who can't afford a motorized vehicle. As we have seen through buying/seling/trading, not everyone can afford to own a bicycle either. Lawrence is the kind of community that can and will thrive on alternative transportation, and the shop is here to support that. We are glad to see that there is interest, and will continue to talk with community members/ students about the (in)famous yellow bike idea.

ronson 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm "old school" and hope that this will get going. My times riding my bike from the dorms on the Hiill were some of the best I had at KU. Maybe some current students/faculty/staff could sign on to help get the program up and running.

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