Turning bike trash to treasure…and giving it away
Bicycle parts crowd out all but the washer and dryer and Christmas ornaments packed on a few shelves in Randy Kiefer’s garage.
Overhead, dozens of tires and tire tubes – tied together in bunches by size, 26- and 27-inch – hang like long, skinny pieces of black rubbery fruit. Bicycle forks straddle a narrow beam. Frames are tucked up in the rafters; rims hooked to the walls. Smaller parts fill crates, bins and tackle boxes — drive chains, crank arms, derailleurs, hubs, spokes, lugs, clamps, bolts, spacers, washers…
Need cable for a mountain bike or a road bike, for brake levers or shifters? Kiefer has miles of it. Spokes? He figures there’s about 50 pounds’ worth.
“It’s a lot of parts,” Kiefer admits, leaving the overturned bike in front of him to dig around for a skewer, a quick-release device that secures wheel to frame.
All of it, with the exception of one bin packed with new tire tubes, has been salvaged from places Kiefer says aren’t usually top of mind when looking for bicycle parts.
“A lot of Dumpster diving.”
Kiefer, with help from friends, pieces together bicycles from secondhand frames and parts just to give them away.
What starts from scratch at Keifer’s Irvine home ends up in the hands of needy strangers after the 50-mile Rosarito to Ensenada Bike Ride. It’s a movable fiesta down Mexico’s Highway 1 that attracts thousands of riders from all over the world.
Kiefer calls his garage headquarters for the “OC/LB Bike Liberation Front.” That’s where he and friend Zack Menke of Long Beach are building eight bikes that they and six friends will ride this weekend.
“We try to live it as much as we can,” Kiefer says of the moniker. “Give stuff away and re-use it.”