When we first opened the shop a friend, Mark, asked if we would help restore his wife's old bike. What I didn't know was the story behind the bike and how special it was. The bike in question was given to his wife as a child by her father. It was a Schwinn bike and that is pretty much all Mark knew. He said his wife has had the bike her whole life and recently it was even piled up on the junk metal pile in the yard. Unbeknownst to her, Mark pulled it out of the pile and put it away where it would not be further damaged by the sun and rain. Mark's plan was to have the bike restored and then give it to his wife as a surprise gift.
When the bike was brought in to the shop it looked like it had been sitting in a junk pile. The front tire was missing and the rear was completely dry rotted. The frame was scraped and rusty but amazingly it was nearly complete. The challenge was getting all the rusted nuts and bolts loose and stripping all parts off so the bike could be painted. Our first job was to learn a little history of the bike, and what it would have looked like new. After a few searches on the internet using the bikes serial number, we learned that this was a 1959 Schwinn Hollywood. This was touted as the "Best Seller" Standard Schwinn Girl's Model. The trick would be now getting it to look like it did as new.
We wanted to use as many of the original parts as possible with the restoration so cutting off parts was not an option. Most things came free without much of a fight but the steer tube and fork bolts took a little extra work. With all the parts pulled we sent the frame to AZ Pro Fiberglass where fellow Cyclist Scott Smith sanded the frame, fixed the dents and got everything ready to paint.
Some of the decals we were able to find and what could not be found Scott had hand painted. The seat went from the original painted two- tone color to a hand stitched two pieces of leather work of art with an "S" inset. As the pieces started to come back it was clear this was going to turn into a true work of art. The wheels were rebuilt using the original hubs and spokes, the cranks and seat post are also original. The only new parts are the pedals, hand grips, tires and chain.
It took several months to pull this together but was well worth the time and the look on Mark's face confirmed it. We even had a customer comment that it had to be a replica because it looked too good. The plan was to take the bike to Mark's father-in-law's house and surprise his wife there. While we would have loved to see the look on her face it's a good feeling to know we contributed to such a loving gesture. This is truly a labor of love and such a wonderful gift and we are very proud to have been part of it.