Last updated 4:12PM ET
November 25, 2014
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Smylie Bike Project Keeps Bicycler's Memory Alive
(2007-05-14)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Three Durango cycling enthusiasts are giving new meaning to the environmental Three-R's, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
And at the same time, they're hoping to keep alive, the legacy of a Durango personality in the bicycle world.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

GREGORIO: HE WAS KIND OF THE UNOFFICIAL OLD MAN BIKE AMBASSADOR OF THE FOUR CORNERS AREA.
Bicycle Bob Gregorio of Durango Cyclery is talking about Melvin Thomas Smylie.
GREGORIO: SUPPLIED A LOT OF BICYCLES FOR A LOT OF GOOD PEOPLE, FOR GOOD PRICES, AND ALWAYS WITH A SMILE AS HIS NAME INDICATED AND WE WOULD JUST LIKE TO CARRY ON HIS KINDNESS IN THE COMMUNITY.
Anyone who's been in Durango for awhile knows of Smylies Bicycle Boneyard at the corner of 25th and Main, where you could go to get a reasonably decent townie bike, or even one you could use to ride to Silverton on that special day.
GREGORIO: ALL THROUGH THE LAST 30-YEARS I COUNTED ON MR SMYLIE, PRIMARILY AS A DEAR FRIEND, BUT ALSO A FELLOW CYCLING ENTHUSIAST. UNFORTUNATELY AS HIS HEALTH FAILED WE COULD SEE THE END COMING AND SO COULD HE, AND WE TALKED ABOUT THE BICYCLES AND HE ASKED ME TO TALK TO HIS DAUGHTERS ABOUT IT AND TRY TO FIND A GOOD HOME FOR EVERYTHING BECAUSE HE HAD QUITE A GOOD COLLECTION BY THE TIME HE PASSED AWAY.
Smylie passed away December 16th at the age of 94.
Now Gregorio and some of his friends are trying to keep his memory alive with what they call, The Smylie Bike Project.
I caught up with Gregorio, Durango Cyclery Owner Russell Zimmerman and employee Jonathan Bailey as they worked on a wet Saturday May 5th rebuilding Smylie Bikes they've now taken possession of.
GREGORIO: THESE ARE ALL BIKES THAT PEOPLE HAVE DISCARDED FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER. MANY OF THEM ARE TREASURES IN DISGUISE THAT BECAUSE OF A LITTLE BIT OF RUST AND A COUPLE OF FLAT TIRES SO MR. SMYLIE WAS OFTEN THE RECIPIENT OF THESE BIKES. PEOPLE RATHER THAN TAKE THEM TO THE LANDFILL OR THROW THEM IN THE GARBAGE KNEW THAT MR. SMYLIE WORKED ON THESE KIND OF BIKES. HE RECEIVED DONATIONS PRETTY MUCH IN FACT HIS DAUGHTERS HAVE TOLD ME THAT PEOPLE ARE STILL DROPPING OFF BIKES AT HIS HOUSE BECAUSE THEY'VE GOTTEN USED TO IT OVER THE DECADES. I BELIEVE I COUNTED 31 BIKES THAT, KINDA, SORT OF COMPLETE BIKES THAT WE GOT FROM MR. SMYLIE AND MAYBE ANOTHER 20 OR 30 THAT ARE PARTIAL BIKES, FRAMES AND WHEELS AND WHAT NOT.
Every so often Zimmerman sifts through a pile of parts, four to five feet high beneath a blue tarp look for the right piece to fix the two wheeler he's working on.
ZIMMERMAN: SOME ARE IN PERFECTLY GOOD CONDITION EXCEPT FOR ONE SMALL, LIKE THIS ONE OVER HERE HAD A BAD FRONT WHEEL, BUT THE REST OF IT IS GOING TO BE FINE, AND SOME OF THEM ARE TOTAL WRECKS SO WE'LL DISASSEMBLE THEM, YOU KNOW, TAKE THE BEST PARTS BACK AND MAKE ONE BIKE. THERE'S SOME REAL NAME BRAND BIKES HERE FOR SURE, THERE'S A SPECIALIZED THERE, AND A TREK, AND BOB'S GOT A SCHWINN. SOME ARE DEPARTMENT STORE BIKES THAT WERE BROKEN FROM THE GET GO.
Next to Zimmerman, shop technician Jonathan Bailey puts the finishing touches on an old bike, make like new.
BAILEY: I'M WORKING ON A BIKE HERE, THIS IS ACTUALLY A REALLY COOL OLD SPECIALIZED ROCK HOPPER AND IT JUST NEEDED SOME LOVE AND IT'S PRETTY AMAZING HOW MANY BIKES ARE OUT THERE THAT END UP IN DUMPSTERS THAT YOU COULD RIDE ACROSS THE COUNTRY ON EASILY. SO IT'S NICE TO SEE ONE LIKE THIS THAT'S GONNA BE SOMEBODY'S TRANSPORTATION. PRETTY MUCH ALL THE BIKES ARE PRETTY SIMILAR IN THE SENSE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN BEATEN UP BUT ONCE YOU GET INTO A RYHTHM WITH THEM IT'S KIND OF GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS, GET 'EM DIALED, TEST RIDE 'EM, LAY SOME SKIDS AND GO FROM THERE. IT'S KIND OF BEEN MY LIFE SINCE I WAS FIVE, SIX, STARTED WORKING IN THE BIKE SHOP WHEN I WAS THIRTEEN, DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU'RE RACING BIKES, IF YOU'RE RIDING TO WORK, IF IT MAKES YOU SMILE IT'S A GOOD THING.
Mr. Smylie used to sell his fixed up bikes, 25-dollars here, 35-dollars there.
Gregorio says the Smylie Bike Project is about getting bikes into the hands of those who really need them.
GREGORIO: WE'RE JUST GONNA LOOK FOR PEOPLE WHO REALLY ARE GOING TO USE THE BICYCLES, AND THAT, ARE IN A FINANCIAL SITUATION WHERE THEY'RE NOT REALLY ABLE TO PURCHASE A NEW BIKE.
Zimmerman says they want the project to continue even after they've worked their way through Mr. Smylie's bikes.
He's confident they'll have plenty of bikes to work with.
ZIMMERMAN: DOWN AT THE BIKE SHOP WE GET A LOT OF BIKES GIVEN TO US. PEOPLE BRING THEM IN AND THEY DON'T WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY TO FIX THEM AND THEY SAY, YOU GUYS WANT IT, SO WE GET PILES OF BIKES AND WE'VE OFTEN WONDERED WHO WOULD BE THE BEST CANDIDATE TO RECEIVE THESE BIKES, AND AT BIKE TO WORK DAY WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT IT AND I THINK THAT'S GOING TO BE THE KICK OFF BUT IT SHOULD GO ON FOR YEARS.
The Smylie Bike Project will distribute its first bikes to those needing one, June 27th during the Durango Bike to Work day celebration.
They're also open to anyone wishing to donate time, talent and resources to help continue the project.
Just get ahold of Gregorio, Zimmerman or Bailey, at Durango Cyclery.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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