Time, and wear and tear, can take their toll. A bicycle chain is the most “active” metal part on a bicycle next to the wheels. One makes the other move, but over time the use and the elements make chains unusable. Currently I am unaware of any sort of chain recycling, though they do weigh quite a bit as far as “scrapping” metal goes. In my garage full of bicycles I was picking things up and collected quite a few single chain links, from fitting chains to bikes, and of course removing the old ones. That struck an idea to re-use the “Links” as charms or symbols of connection. And do my best to spread the word about how we are all in “this” ride we call life together. So we best hang on to each other like links in a chain.
After collecting used chains, 99.9% from my good friend Jonny at Jonny Rocket Bikes, I take the chains to my garage and begin to “break” them down each link one by one. There is no other way to do this. Bike chains are meant to be put on or taken off a bike one link only, maybe two. What I’m doing is completely dissembling the entire chain, 240 links/pins per chain.
When the chain is separated, I soak the greasy dirty rusty links in a de-greasing solution overnight. From there they go to United Surface Preparation, to my close friend, and always amazing, Bobby Reed, who then preps the links by stripping them down to their bare original metal, so the surface is perfect for our next step, painting.
I spent a lot of time in my garage figuring out a way to “permanently” spray paint the links, and with great effort and research, it just didn’t work. Especially for those of us who wear our link everyday. So another great friend and mighty avenger of the Pink Link, BMX Star Dustin Grice, mentioned that he had spoken to some Powder coaters and they were willing to sit down and look at my project. When I met with Powder Specialties Inc. everything went better than you can imagine, and now the Links are Painted like a car, practically bullet-proof (don’t try it).
Once the Links are powder coated I then take them to my studio and with a mighty Sable 3 hair brush, I paint the ribbons, or “graphic.” This again takes a bit of time. After they dry over night they are ready to be “packaged.” Each link is laced onto a ball chain bracelet (or necklace, ring, pendant, charm), then laced into the information card. Lacing them isn’t too hard, especially with all the great help from my brother and his family have given to all of this, except as my nieces say putting on the connector or clasp “is the most un-fun part of it all”.
The “link” is then complete and goes out to someone somewhere as a reminder that we are all connected, and you should never feel alone.