Photos by Steve Smith, VisionFire Studios
Westville’s Daryl Ingram up-cycles old bikes to tread lightly on the earth
It doesn’t take much to see Daryl Ingram’s love of bicycles. The way his voice gets excited when he recounts tales of cycle tours is enough to get anyone interested to go for a spin. So it’s no wonder he’s spent the last seven years salvaging what he can of bicycles, diverting them from the landfill to create unique items and reclaimed bicycles.
Bicycles have always held a certain mystique for Ingram, but it wasn’t until he was dropping something off at the landfill almost a decade ago, that he noticed a beautiful, old bicycle sitting there waiting to be destroyed.
“I just thought, it was such a shame that these beautiful bikes were being discarded for new ones,” recalls Ingram.
He pulled it from the wreckage with the notion to restore it to its former glory so that someone else might enjoy it and get some use from it.
“The idea was to build bicycles for comfort. I’ve always seen bicycles as a great means of transportation, a way to get people where they need to go in comfort,” he explains. “It’s a third option for people looking to buy a bicycle.”
Ingram says the first option is to go to a “big box store” and purchase a cheap bicycle that might last a year or two and then be sent to the landfill. The second option is to go to a custom bike shop, but that can get very costly if you aren’t a serious cyclist. This third option, catered more to the commuter or transportation cyclists, would be to have a reclaimed bicycle that has been stripped down to the frame and restored to almost new condition.
What Ingram soon realized, however, is that while he was saving bicycles from the landfill, there were still so many parts of the bicycle that were being discarded.
“It really amounted to only about 50% of the parts that were being saved and the rest were ending up back at the landfill,” he notes.
That’s when Ingram’s business, Freelander Bicycles, really flourished.
Ingram took some time to investigate and seek out different crafts made from bicycle parts. He first stumbled upon Picasso’s Bull’s Head from 1942, which Ingram refers lovingly to as bicycle taxidermy.
Ingram began taking bicycle seats and handle bars and creating bulls and other animals to sell alongside his reclaimed bicycles.
But it didn’t stop there.
He then realized that he could divert old bicycle tires and use them to create belts.
“I made one for myself and I really liked it, so I decided to keep making them because it diverted a lot of material from the landfill.”
The bicycle tire belts were so popular at local markets, in fact, that Ingram struggled to keep up with demand. Ingram was able to work with Divert Nova Scotia to get access to their bicycle tire recycle program to get more stock for his belts and now they can be found at Forge Home and Garden in New Glasgow and The Trainyard General Store in Dartmouth.
The buckles for his belts come from thrift store finds and any leftover leather from the thrift store belts is either used to create utility straps or dog leashes and any additional leather aside from that is traded with another local crafter for more belt buckles.
Ingram has also dabbled in creating earrings from bicycle chains with the hope of having one set of earrings for each month of the year for sale, as well as bicycle chain key chains.
“My only limit to growth is my own time and lack of administrative ability,” he laughs.
Making do with what you have
Many people have been doing what they can at home to reduce, reuse, and recycle. But as Sasha Barnard, Regional Educator for Pictou County Solid Waste notes, it’s more than the three R’s now. A main focus for Pictou County Solid Waste and Divert Nova Scotia is to educate people on diverting or repurposing household items so they don’t end up in the landfill.
What can you do at home?
• Make a milk carton coin purse
• Make green bin liners from newspaper
• Make bird feeders from milk cartons
• Make reusable bags from Kool-Aid jammer packages
• Make an egg carton garden
Are you interested in learning how to do these crafts and so much more?
Visit Pictou County solid waste on Youtube