we all come with baggage. here’s what lucky husband got with me:
- the psychotic, self harming ex-boyfriend. oh yes, when said ex found out about husband (back in the heady days when husband was just a mutual friend who stayed over occasionally), that was a real hoot. i’ll have to tell you about it some time. but not today.
- the certifiably crazy mother. i’m not kidding. mental health is no joking matter. well, mostly.
- the four lesbian aunties and the grandmother. not that gay aunts and grandmothers are in themselves particularly problematic for most prospective partners, but you have to feel sorry for the sole male trapped at a dinner table being full on interrogated by fiercely intelligent, hugely opinionated and argumentative feminists and the family matriarch who (legitimately) feels she has earned her right in life to not give a shit about how well you deal with her prejudices… or belching.
- the scary father with a 3rd dan black belt in aikido. my dad once told me that competitive aikido was axed after several people died on the first day of a competition. i suspect that was a tale to deter me from playing up. that and the belt placed carefully on the chest of drawers at bedtime. yikes.
don’t get me wrong, i love my family, but i can see how from the outside it might seem like quite a lot to take on… and that’s not to list my raft of character flaws, which start with a leaning towards ocd and end with severe anger issues (you just try putting a cup on a table without a coaster in my home, i dare you!). honestly, it’s a wonder occasional stay over guy stuck around to become husband. i must have many (hidden) special qualities… well hidden (he says over my shoulder!).
so, what did i get with husband? bikes. yup, seriously, that’s it. no crazy in-law stories to tell. no lunatic ex-girlfriends in the wood work. i mean, of course he’s a (fairly) normal guy and we have a (generally) normal marriage, so it’s not all plain sailing and dancing through flowery meadows hand in hand. in fact, there’s never been any dancing through meadows as far as i can recall, probably on account of my hay fever and his severe lack of rhythm. but mostly it’s all very amicable. anyways, i’m getting off the cycle path…
as any partner to a bike lover will know, bikes breed. and when you regularly ride them off great whacking mountains they tend to break. actually not just the bikes break, but fortunately we haven’t had a trip to a&e in at least 24 months, which is some sort of record for us. add that to husband’s baggage list: frequent trips to hospital. and i really, really, really hate hospitals.
so what has this to do with anything? well, with bikes and broken bikes come broken bits and spare parts with which to make cool stuff. i got to thinking about all the things we’ve made with bike bits over the years and thought i’d put them together to get your creative juices flowing.
diy disc brake chandelier
chainring cd clock
i made the first version of this clock when i was at uni and apparently thought it was cool to make stuff out of cds. do people even buy blank cds anymore?? when husband and i moved in together, it needed a revamp after many years of faithful ticking. the cool blue of the cd had faded and so i replaced it, but otherwise the design is pretty much as it was way back when.
the clock mechanism and hands fix together easily enough through the hole in the centre of the cd. the original clock had pva artfully(?) splattered on the cd. i used a glue gun for the updated model (i’m all grown up now and get to use cool things like glue guns). although, for the life of me i can’t recall what the glue was all about in the first place. red beads denote 12, 3, 6 and 9, almost accurately.
i now have many clocks about the flat (add irrational clock collecting to my baggage list), but this one will always be special. it’s travelled up and down the country with me for many years, been battered, fixed and remade. we have history.
sturmey archer hub thingamajig holder
ok, so not technically a diy anything and actually two separate hubs sitting one inside the other, but they (and i think they may actually have come from psycho ex, not husband), have played a few roles in their time. most recently as a hat pin or earring holder.
now we’re getting sentimental. this is the first item of jewellery husband ever made me, way before he even became occasional stay over guy and was just gangly guy with a car and a cake drawer. i must have had an inkling about gangly guy though, because i kept the ring.
back when i was a skinny waisted, baggy trouser wearing student, this was the coolest thing in my wardrobe. at the time of its creation, gangly guy with a car and a cake drawer had risen through the rank of occasional stay over guy and been promoted to official boyfriend status. he made this for me from more bike chain (which i know he soaked for hours and hours to clean!), beads and barbels that are used for body piercing. pretty funky, eh?
now that we’re fully formed adults with a flat we own, we also have to do grown up things, like find somewhere to store all those bikes. i always said they could come inside as long as they look pretty… and husband has kept to his side of the bargain.
bike rack hack
one of our first projects in our new home was to find a way to use our 3.3 metre high ceilings to store my rarely used mtb and husband’s (then) primary mountain wrecking bike. we adapted a hack found on ikea hackers to get the job done.
you can see more on that particular hack and our other ikea hacks here.
of course, as inevitably happens with a bike lover, bikes fall out of favour and the collection grows. so in addition to the commuter bike in the storage locker, husband also now has a new favourite mountain wrecker. even father-in-law was persuaded to get in on this one.
if you read gettin’ my geek on, you probably couldn’t help but spot the flying cannondale featured in that post. if you didn’t, can i politely suggest a trip to the opticians?
after i’d vetoed nearly every wall mounted bike rack on the market and stubbed my toe on the blasted bike sitting in the hall for the very last time, my talented joiner father-in-law (add him to husband’s good baggage list), made this awesome wall mount for the newest member of our happy little family. don’t worry, it’s been up there a while with no sign of falling, which given my desk is situated immediately underneath, i did pay particular attention to (although, i relocated to the living room for a week or so after the install!).
in a way, although strictly limited to the office, the bikes are almost like artworks. over time and with familiarity, they’ve become unobtrusive in their presence, but add their own aesthetic quality. after all, bikes can make great art…
bike parts in art
this piece by elizabeta chojak-mysko is called ‘it could be you’ and is now showing at posk as part of the exhibition, saluting the chosen few. it’s made from wheels, metal and mesh.