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He pedals his wares

August 07, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

There's no sign or fancy lights directing you in.

The only hint that bicycles are for sale is when they appear in Wallace Reynolds' yard along W.Va. 9 west of Martinsburg.

They're parked single file in several rows, and come in all shapes and sizes: three-wheelers, dirt bikes, cruisers and tandems.

It's not a big deal, but people in the area know to go to Reynolds for bikes.

The retired federal government worker said he has sold about 700 bikes since he began restoring them about nine years ago.

Reynolds said he began restoring bikes after a friend told him about bicycling at the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Reynolds began biking on the towpath, and decided he wanted a mountain bike to ride through the park.

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To pay for the mountain bike, he began buying old bicycles and restoring them.

The fascination with bikes never stopped for Reynolds, who refers to himself as the "pedal peddler."

Reynolds said he often gets old bikes at yard sales and auctions.

He takes them back to his house and, during good weather, makes the needed repairs.

Then he wheels them into his front yard at the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Masters Drive east of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center entrance.

The conditions vary, and some customers like it that way, said Reynolds, who sells his bikes for an average of $25 each.

Reynolds said he sells a lot of bicycles to Shepherd College students, who like the bikes they find at his place because they are "good bikes, but not good enough to steal."

The bikes have gone to all types of buyers.

Reynolds said that one day, a man and woman came to his house to check out some "beach cruiser" bikes he had.

The couple bought three of them, Reynolds said. Then they took the bikes to a nearby office supply shop to be packaged and shipped to a beach in California, where they lived, Reynolds said.

"They said out there people will kill for them," said Reynolds, who noted that it cost the couple more to ship the bikes than it did to buy them.

Then there are the "yard sale" or "flower bikes."

They are popular with "upscalers" from the Eastern Shore area who plant flowers in baskets on the bikes and park them in their yards, said Reynolds, who retired after working 30 years at the nearby Internal Revenue Service computing center.

Meanwhile, Reynolds keeps pedaling.

Since his friends clued him in, Reynolds said, he has become passionate about biking on the C&O Canal.

He sometimes leads informal tours through the park and said the towpath has become a "spiritual" place for him because of its natural beauty.

"It's just a peaceful, peaceful place," said Reynolds. That's important to him, he said, because there are "no silent places anymore."

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