Has anyone here followed their dream

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Just curious if anyone here bit the bullet and changed their life by giving up whatever they were doing so that they can concentrate solely on bikes as a main source of income or the main reason for existing , wether working from home, renting/leasing/occupying a building for next to nothing or going full bore and running a bike shop, I personally don't want a shop but a small cheap space with not much overheads would be ultimate for me, I'm lucky that my homie has a private space to kick it in but in todays climate and where I live I'm not sure I would last as I would only deal with Secondhand bikes but I may do well with servicing/repairs of older bikes as the main LBS and others tend not to 'waste thier time on old bikes, let's see what stories you have
 
I spent two seasons hosting bike rentals and repairs on weekends, next to a popular bike trail. The operation was housed in a rented shipping container that served as a makeshift shop and storage. Not profitable enough to live on, but it paid for tools and pocket cash, plus I had other income.
 
I’m glad I’m not the only one that has considered such an idea. I see places that are small and vacant all of the time that would be perfect for the community surrounding it.
 
I’m glad I’m not the only one that has considered such an idea. I see places that are small and vacant all of the time that would be perfect for the community surrounding it.
Yer there's a few small office/shop places in my city that have layed empty for years because there's only two or three guys that actually own most of the buildings in town they seem to be not worried about some of their buildings empty, be good to do a deal where the space gets cleaned up and maintained to a degree in exchange for cheap or no rent
 
That’s an idea that I’ve not considered. There are co-ops and shops in my metro area. There’s even an established bicycle/motorcycle/lawn mower/motor scooter repair shop not too far from the location that I have been watching. I get that ultimately being in a capitalist society one would have to inadvertently compete to a certain degree with those that offer goods and services similar to what you may provide, but I’m not really in this to try to drive anyone else out of business. I just see a niché that could be filled in an area that seems promising.
 
I wouldn't go brick and mortar. Think outside the box (or maybe inside the box truck 😂)

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Well, i am that guy.
After purchasing my first cruiser bike from the Chopperdome in 2013 in Amsterdam I've dropped out from academy where I've studied arts and design with the idea to go for graphic design, and moved to Poland where I've graduated as a product designer.
I was out on cruises listening to guys who were 20 years older then me (i was born in 1992) all talking like "if i was your age I'd totally give everything up and make bikes for life". After some time the idea started to appeal to me.
Now i live in my workshop, that's a loft building left after an old neon lights factory. It is modest and doesn't look like your normal apartment, but i have a good space for workshop where i can work :) I build custom cruisers for clients, repair and sell used cruiser bikes, design and manufacture custom parts and frames, and trying to move more towards small production.
It is not easy at all, sometimes i don't have enough money to eat or pay my rent, but money is not all in life :) At least i am happy doing what i love and i truly believe in it. I am fully involved in my own development and i don't waste a second of my time. Being my own boss i am happy with my life-work balance. There are a lot of things i enjoy about living the life i live :) There are also some complications because of the fact i am a Russian citizen, and even though i live in Europe for nearly 10 years now, without having a stable official job i still can't have a normal legalization here. I have to figure my way out to stay here legally and no one is going to just easily allow me to do that for now. But i am not complying, i think i will overcome this somehow ;)
I must confess i mostly focus on cruisers, choppers, stretches and vintage American bikes, which is a rare thing here in EU. And though i occasionally fix road bikes and MTB that are very popular here, i don't really like them all that much and my philosophy favors cruisers way more. They are still not all that understood in Europe, so i sometimes feel like an ambassador of vintage American bikes. That said, there is not much market for what i do here already, but i am working on educating people about the advantages of cruisers, and seems i am doing it slow but well :)
 
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Flipping bikes (and other yard sale items) got me into this hobby years ago. So I've always made side money with bikes. However, it's never appealed to me to try and have a bike shop or even a side business for bike repairs. I LOVE BUILDING bikes for myself as a hobby, but I've always turned down requests for to build bikes for other people. This is mainly because of my fear that the JOB of doing work for someone else's needs or tastes would taint my love for the hobby side of this that I enjoy so much.

Don't get me wrong though, I still enjoy making pretty good money with bike and parts flipping because it brings out my inner Fred Sanford. For any of you that have followed my Kingfish Finds thread, you know that I enjoy the constant hunt for bikes and I've been able to accumulate a lot of very cool and expensive parts and frames over the years. The thing I love most about this is that other than the initial yard sale investment in those first folding Dahon bikes, I have never spent one penny of my paycheck on any of the rest of the bikes and parts that have flowed through my shop. Even though some of my builds may have a parts value over $2000 USD, realistically, they probably only cost me less than $200 FSD (Fred Sanford Dollars). :D


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The only problem is that some of those box trucks may cost as more than rent for a brick and mortar spot. :D :D :D
True. I think the perfect solution would be a used U-Haul 10' unit. Cheap, tall interior
 
Well, i am that guy.
After purchasing my first cruiser bike from the Chopperdome in 2013 in Amsterdam I've dropped out from academy where i studies arts and design with the idea to go for graphic design, and moved to Poland where I've graduated as a product designer.
I was out on cruises listening to guys who were 20 years older then me (i am born in 1992) all talking like "if i was your age i'd totally give everything up and make bikes for life". After some time the idea started to appeal to me.
Now i live in my workshop, that's a loft building left after an old neon lights factory. It is modest and doesn't look like your normal apartment, but i have a good space for workshop where i can work :) I do build custom cruisers for clients, repair and sell used cruiser bikes, design and manufacture custom parts and frames, and trying to move more towards small production.
It is not easy at all, sometimes i don't have enough money to eat or pay my rent, but money is not all in life :) At least i am happy doing what i love and i truly believe in it. I am fully involved in my own development and i don't waste a second of my time. Being my own boss i am happy with my life-work balance. There are a lot of things i enjoy about living the life i live :) There are also some complications because of the fact i am a Russian citizen, and even though i live in Europe for nearly 10 years now, without having a stable official job i still can't have a normal legalization here. I have to figure my way out to stay here legally and no one is going to just easily allow me to do that for now. But i am not complying, i think i will overcome this somehow ;)
I must confess i mostly focus on cruisers, choppers, stretches and vintage American bikes, which is a rare thing here in EU. And though i occasionally fix road bikes and MTB that are very popular here, i don't really like them all that much and my philosophy favors cruisers way more. They are still not all that understood in Europe, so i sometimes feel like an ambassador of vintage American bikes. That said, there is not much market for what i do here already, but i am working on educating people about the advantages of cruisers, and seems i am doing it slow but well :)


I can attest that Sergey is living the dream! I've been to his awesome shop in Poland personally and I am very jealous.

1674356277401.jpeg
 
Flipping bikes (and other yard sale items) got me into this hobby years ago. So I've always made side money with bikes. However, it's never appealed to me to try and have a bike shop or even a side business for bike repairs. I LOVE BUILDING bikes for myself as a hobby, but I've always turned down requests for to build bikes for other people. This is mainly because of my fear that the JOB of doing work for someone else's needs or tastes would taint my love for the hobby side of this that I enjoy so much.

Don't get me wrong though, I still enjoy making pretty good money with bike and parts flipping because it brings out my inner Fred Sanford. For any of you that have followed my Kingfish Finds thread, you know that I enjoy the constant hunt for bikes and I've been able to accumulate a lot of very cool and expensive parts and frames over the years. The thing I love most about this is that other than the initial yard sale investment in those first folding Dahon bikes, I have never spent one penny of my paycheck on any of the rest of the bikes and parts that have flowed through my shop. Even though some of my builds may have a parts value over $2000 USD, realistically, they probably only cost me less than $200 FSD (Fred Sanford Dollars). :D


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I think our way of doing bikes and way of thinking are very close albeit different countries and different styles of bikes
 
I have at least considered it. I could build frames/parts full time, and make some kind of living at it. I've got enough interest from others to know I would be successful.

But I could never make enough on my own to match my union plumbing wages, benefits, and retirement. So the plan instead is to retire fairly early (shooting for age 56), and then do bikes as a part-time job to keep me active, and my skills sharp.
 
I have at least considered it. I could build frames/parts full time, and make some kind of living at it. I've got enough interest from others to know I would be successful.

But I could never make enough on my own to match my union plumbing wages, benefits, and retirement. So the plan instead is to retire fairly early (shooting for age 56), and then do bikes as a part-time job to keep me active, and my skills sharp.
We had a restructure before covid lockdowns and I went from 40hours a week down to 31.5 so I finish earlier in the afternoon which suits me as I can get a ride in, do bikes or stuff around the house before I pick up my wife from her work, we are considering me dropping a day early this year so I can rest, relax and do bikes as my back and 52 year old body has had a strenuous time over the years,I'm currently on I guess you could say partial workers comp/company health insurance and light duties with weekly physio which is on going at the moment
 
The mobile service would be a supplemental/event item. It would be great advertising. I’d like to do a brick and mortar due to it being in one place that everyone can locate at all times. I’m in what I’d call a small city so familiarity with locations would be beneficial in my case. But as of now, the benefit of a truck is illustrated by the proliferation of various food trucks that have popped up here in the last decade.
 
I have a manufacturing background and a lot of contacts and relationships. From electronic manufacturing to hardcore steel fabricators. Single piece to serious high volume.

I looked long and hard at launching a bike aimed at women and young moms. I do think there is a market there.

I reached out To some friends to get an idea of some rough manufacturing costs for a frame. I was looking to bring in the rest of the parts and components from various vendors.

I really wanted to make a bike that was 100% ‘Buy American’ compliant, but it just isn’t possible with literally every component (except the frame) being made over seas.

-there are some pricier options for many components here in the states, but tires….. forget it.

the Chinese have crushed the price point expectations for bicycles. There’s little margin to build a quality evening / weekend warrior type bike with American based components and designs.

if I was independently wealthy, I’d do it Just to stay active and do something I love….. I could break even and eat, but I’m not sure what else more And I have a big family!

For better or worse, I still have at least 3 weddings and 3 college educations I want to at least help out with, if not make significant contributions to. So, for now, I’m not quitting my day job and will maybe look at manufacturing a bike in mass as a retirement activity!
 
Thompson Classic grips still going strong since 2010. My little side gig was born here on RRB. Not a dream come true, but more than pays for my cycling hobbie.
 
I have a manufacturing background and a lot of contacts and relationships. From electronic manufacturing to hardcore steel fabricators. Single piece to serious high volume.

I looked long and hard at launching a bike aimed at women and young moms. I do think there is a market there.

I reached out To some friends to get an idea of some rough manufacturing costs for a frame. I was looking to bring in the rest of the parts and components from various vendors.

I really wanted to make a bike that was 100% ‘Buy American’ compliant, but it just isn’t possible with literally every component (except the frame) being made over seas.

-there are some pricier options for many components here in the states, but tires….. forget it.

the Chinese have crushed the price point expectations for bicycles. There’s little margin to build a quality evening / weekend warrior type bike with American based components and designs.

if I was independently wealthy, I’d do it Just to stay active and do something I love….. I could break even and eat, but I’m not sure what else more And I have a big family!

For better or worse, I still have at least 3 weddings and 3 college educations I want to at least help out with, if not make significant contributions to. So, for now, I’m not quitting my day job and will maybe look at manufacturing a bike in mass as a retirement activity!
The off shoring of American manufacturing, bicycle, sewing machines, toothpicks, you name it was done by Americans interested in their own greed and ambition above all other considerations. This includes the manipulation of the American dollar to always be expensive which makes our products made here very expensive and offshore products very cheap. Hard to beat that dynamic. I do buy American made bicycle products as much as possible. But I also own bicycles with plenty of cheap foreign parts. Good luck with your manufacturing dreams.
 

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