Conan Petursson can see the beauty in things that may look like junk to some.
The Smithers resident salvages old bikes during his travels and donates the ones that can be rebuilt to C.O.B. Bike Shop.
“I know there’s an interest in them and if I see them in my salvaging efforts, I always try and rescue them,” said Petursson, who has been salvaging things in one form or another for almost his entire life, working as a salvage logger.
“I think it’s cool, especially if they’re in any kind of decent shape and it’s salvageable. I always thought it was cool to recycle old stuff like that if it still has a use.”
Last year, while he was cleaning out a roughly 100-year-old barn in an effort to salvage the boards, he found an old retro-style bike propped up in the back corner.
“It was made in Japan. I thought it was a pretty cool looking old bike,” said Petursson. “You could tell it has been leaning up in the corner for a long time — the tires were rotted off and the cables were seized. Everything was pretty rusty, but it was in pretty decent shape otherwise, it hadn’t been banged up too much.”
Peturrson took it to Dave Percy and Gabe Newman at the bike shop with hope they could rebuilt it.
It was there that mechanic Tony Waters found a use for the rusted piece of metal. He decided to rebuild it and auction it off with proceeds going to the Smithers Mountain Bike Association (SMBA).
“Tony thought it up and we thought ‘great, let’s do it’,” said Percy, the owner of the bike shop.
“We’re always looking to make a couple of bucks for the SMBA. It takes money to maintain our trails and we have some new projects on the go which require funding.”
First they brought the bike to Hy-Tech Drilling where it was bead blasted to remove surface deposits and clean the metal. Then they took it to Northline Collision where it received a professional paint job.
McBike contributed the seat post and chain ring, Outdoor Gear Canada donated the handle bars and fenders, and NGR, a bike and parts distribution company, donated the hubs.
Over the course of a few weeks in the winter, Waters built up the wheels, gathered the parts and breathed new life into the retro-style bike.
“It’s a beautiful bike,” said Percy. “It’s a nice ride, it’s smooth. It would be good for a nice ride around town.”
Dave Onderwater, the owner of Northline Collision, got involved with the project because he wanted to give back to the community.
“We do stuff like that from time to time. I thought it was a good idea to get involved,” said Onderwater. “All that community stuff is a good idea.”
Percy noted that most businesses were eager to jump on board with the project.
“A lot of people know about the mountain bike association and see it as a good thing and they’re supportive,” he said. “People want to support a good cause like the SMBA. It’s about [the kids], keeping our trails going and building more trails.”
For Petursson, he is glad that someone new will get to enjoy the bike that has been restored to its former glory.
“I think it’s a good idea. It’s a cool effort to restore old stuff,” he said. “It’s for a good purpose and people like the retro bike trend.”
Tickets for the bike can be purchased from C.O.B. Bike Shop.
The bike will be auctioned off at the 8th annual critical mass group ride at the shop on May 2. The race starts at 11 a.m.