Eden bicycle tinkerer Andreas giving life back to vintage treadlies

Not so rusty: Retired bike repairer Andreas wants people to see the possibilities old bikes have before they throw them to the scrap yard. Photo: Rachel Mounsey
Not so rusty: Retired bike repairer Andreas wants people to see the possibilities old bikes have before they throw them to the scrap yard. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

Every morning, retired bike repairman Andreas wheels out a small sample of his eclectic bicycle collection and carefully leans them them up, one behind the other, along the side fence of his Eden home.

The bikes are not for sale and the elderly mechanic is not in need nor wanting any demand.

The skilfully created patchwork treadlies, a mixture of BMX, dragsters, racers and anything in between, are on show as Andreas' reminder to the world of what a practical and functional asset a bike can be.

"You see this," he says, a tinge of German in his accent.

He steps towards a large mountain bike crossed with a ladies bike. He leads it off the fence like a jockey does a prize winning thoroughbred.

"This bike is especially for mothers and their toddlers."

He points to a small banana-shaped seat placed in front of the large cushioned "mum's" seat.

"There is potential in every bike," says Andreas of Eden. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

"There is potential in every bike," says Andreas of Eden. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

"This is where the child goes - they like it up the front where they can see."

"And here," he continues, running his hands over two smoothly sanded, small foot-sized wooden planks.

"These are for their feet."

Saddle bags made from old potato sacks and stitched together with black twine hang sturdily from the rusty pack rack.

"They can hold up to 25 kilos of shopping," he says.

There isn't anything Andreas hasn't thought of.

Andreas wheels out the "Mum-Toddler" bike. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

Andreas wheels out the "Mum-Toddler" bike. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

All have the bells and whistles of any modern day bike. Pieced together using the tools he inherited from his superstar bike racing grandfather, who passed away many years ago back in Germany.

"My mother used to show me black and white photos of him doing spectacular tricks with his racing bike at the velodrome. She was very proud of him - he was a side car racer too," he says, recalling his childhood in East Germany.

He also remembers back when he was a small inventive boy, growing up in Leipzig. When he attached a small steel wheel salvaged from a nearby railway yard to a wooden vegetable box turning it into a sidecar. He proudly fastened his new invention to his pedal scooter and headed off to the corner shop - his older sister in tow.

"She was my passenger, she fitted in nicely - we were all pretty small in those days."

Now after a lifetime of creating eccentric yet functional two-wheelers the repairman says he has found only a couple of things wrong with the trusty treadly.

"They can be healthy and unhealthy. They are a good way to give up smoking, but on the other hand a drunk cannot stay upright on a bike for too long..." he laughs.

Maybe there's still another kind of bike just waiting to be made.

After all, as Andreas says, "There is potential in every bike."

This story Putting the spoke back in bespoke first appeared on Magnet.

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