Every day on my way to work, it hits me.
I’m eastbound on 235, approaching 35th Street, and there they are.
Why are there bikes on that roof?
Answers are hard to come by at the old St. George Building. Forget the bikes for a moment. Where’s the bird? Where’s the school? And why is there a phone on the fence?
The neighbors don’t have any answers, but they don’t have a problem with the place, either.
“Whenever I’m trying to give them directions to my house,” says Zach Flick, who lives right next door on Rollins Street, “I try to tell them 35th and Rollins or 35th and the freeway, and they kind of have a hazy look and I say ‘the shops on 35th with the bikes’ and they say ‘oh, yeah! Okay!’”
Finally, the last of four shops in the building has an open door.
Inside Heage Repair is Brian Haege, working on cars (some twice as old as he is) His dad, Pat, who owns the building, put the bikes on the roof.
“My dad’s a…” Brian thinks for a moment, “he’s a character.”
He might also be part spider monkey because carrying a bike up to this roof can’t be easy. But that’s how it happened, and they’ve been up here since Brian was a kid.
“At the time, this place was cleaned up,” Brian says while on roof, littered with odds and ends, “it was getting fixed up, so there was plenty of room just to drive it around.”
Parents might cringe, but good luck finding a KID who doesn’t like the sound of riding bikes on a roof. Pat, likes to collect old stuff but hates to let it go.
“And it was kind of funny, I said ‘where the hell am I gonna put ‘em?’” Pat says of his extra bikes, “but we had another bike rack, so we put ‘em on the roof.”
Yeah, he not only had extra bikes, he had an extra bike RACK!
“I mean there’s some things that he will throw away…like dirt,” Brian laughs.
So he found some extra space, but he also found a hook!
“I remember my nephew telling me ‘people think you’re crazy’ and I said ‘let them think what they want but at least people look over and see the building now, they don’t just drive by,’” Pat says.
Nope, they stop and ask…and maybe Brian fixes their old car, or maybe they get a story from Pat.
“We had a 20-foot teeter-totter up there at one time, but…”
But now there are just bikes, and now you know why.
“Somebody compared it to the Travelers Umbrella, but I don’t think it’ll ever get that big.”