Saturday, April 4, 2009

Growing Up . . .

. . . As a Bike Repairer

A broken chain, a warped wheel, a loose seat or a paint job, Charlie's Bicycle Shop could handle it all.

Three guys with a few bike problems one day figured out how to take care of them by getting together and doing the jobs themselves.

Eddie Raymond had the warped wheel. His brother Norman had the chain problem- his pants leg was caught around the right pedal and in the chain and he was still on the bike.

And my bike seat was wobbly, too high and every time I rode to a fire on that $5 bike I got from Joe Tremblay, the high up insides of my legs got awfully chafed and sore.

So when all that happened at the same time, we all got down in the cellar at my Pleadwell Street home and got moving.

We had to carry Norman and his bike down the seven stone steps because we couldn't untangle his leg from his bike.

We needed some new spokes, a new seat, some chain links, some tools, oil and an air pump. Since I had some money, I went to the professional bike shop, Beauvais Riding Shop, and got the stuff.

It took an hour or so to untangle Norman from his bike (good thing Yarntangler wasn't around then) because he wouldn't let us do the easy thing - just take his pants off and then untangle the leg from the bike.

Got the wheel straightened up with a few new spokes, aired up the tire again and put a new and softer seat on my 28-incher. (I should have had only a 24-inch bike frame.)

Next day Eddie and Norman decided we ought to open up a bike shop since we were so good at what we did and the three of us decided we would.

"Raymond Brothers Bike Repairs" said Eddie. "Oh no," said I, "it's gonna be "Charlie's Bicycle Shop." There was a big argument over that.

I fixed that problem real quick. I told the brothers "this is my cellar where the shop will be, I bought all the parts we need, I've got the paint for the bikes, the oil, the new chains and I can get the tires too, "cause you don't have any money."

And so began Charlie's Bicycle Shop, which lasted quite a while, maybe six weeks or so until all the bikes in our neighborhood gang were fixed, oiled, aired and painted and we ran out of customers.

Just another Growing Up story - but wait, there's more!

Next came Charlie's Photography Shop. That lasted a lot longer, years in fact and even had Mother involved. It's a long story so it will come later.

Old Newsie

- 30 -


  1. Did you have a business license? Did you file a 1099. If you run for president will that underground business come back to haunt you?

  2. I fixed the occasional bicycle when I was a kid, too! Mind you, I had wrecked most of them, and my friends and I had to scrape up parts from old discarded bikes most of the time, but we got by.

    Sorry I didn't get a chance to see you this weekend, but my young troop is doing fine now!

    -Sage Words