Star Bike in Savannah, Georgia appears to be a typical, local bike shop. If you have been reading the Secondratecyclist for any period of time now, you know that I collect local shop jerseys, so I popped in after the Savannah Century to check out the shop that has been operating in the area since 1972.
Big Joey Green met my wife and me at the door with a toothy smile framed in a beard matched to a personable face like Grizzly Adams (remember him?). Joey was out of jerseys at the time, so I just thought I give the place a once over . . . and there they were! No, not jerseys, old bikes. Cool, old bikes. Maybe I haven’t shown this side of me yet, but I love old things and places. Many times I will get on Shorpy and just look at old pictures like this one: Well, the good thing about Joey’s shop is that the bikes are there (in person, so to speak). Schwinns, Elgins, Firestones, Mead Rangers, along with others, are perched above the other floor bikes . . . where they should be. The design and flow of these gorgeous bikes are truly works of art. Joey and his business partner personally painstakingly revived these beauties. These bikes are brought into the shop by owners of days-gone-by and sold to Joey. Nothing on these bikes are “new parts.” It is ALL original! Even the tires and tubes are new, old stock!
As Joey took the time to show me and Tammy around the shop, we could tell that he was so proud of these bikes (as well, he should be). What amazed me and I never took the time to think about was the fact that many of the bike designs of the Teens and Twenties and Thirties are being brought back into today’s bikes, like Flat Foot Technology and even saddles with prostate relief grooves! Like this Huffman bike made for Firestone, it was the first full suspension bike! By the way, if you didn’t know, this is where Huffy eventually got its name.
Take a look at this Elgin . . . talk about lines! This deluxe model has many options on it . . . yes, however much money you were willing to spend the cash register keeps dinging (sound familiar?). If you can take a close look under the saddle, it has so many adjustment options to ensure “flat foot” riding and comfort. And if you look back to the first picture to the Schwinn that is behind the Firestone, it actually has the optional drum brake on the front hub! What?! How cool is that?
In a little side room, I snapped a quick picture of a Whizzer bicycle and couple of Mead Rangers! Joey said these beauties took some tender love and kindness, but are completely original. What is one of the many awesome things about Savannah is that the city has literally been around for centuries; and in that time, the bicycles were bought and stored in attics and garages. They were, for the most part, away from the elements and in nice condition. By the way, the Whizzer is a bicycle with an optional bicycle motor. Breene-Taylor Engineering, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of airplane parts, announced the availability of the Whizzer Model “D” Bicycle Motor. This kit sold for $54.95 and included an air-cooled, four-cycle engine that was capable of producing 1.375 horsepower as well as a 2/3 gallon fuel tank. Approximately 1000 Model “D” motors were made and sold.
When I started this post, I said I could stare for hours. If I lived closer to Savannah, I would spend a lot of my time at Star. I actually think I have the bug now. I have always wanted to buy and restore a bike like this . . . by gosh, I think I will. Joey’s going to hook me up with maybe a ladies’ model (way cheaper than the men’s model) to start me off. Oh, and by the way, all of the bikes in Joey’s shop are for sale. My wife was there as my support for not going completely nuts, during my visit. I will be back though!