My name is Julien Jaborska. I just named my business Rebicyclist.
Julien with a pile of tires soon to be converted into belts...
Tell us a little bit about your products... My best seller is the bicycle tire belt. I use all types of tires: mountain, road, hybrid, and cyclocross. People can't seem to get enough of them, which makes the production process a full-time job. Most of the tires are worn, but some have large cuts, blown out sidewalls, or just deteriorated sidewalls from years of sitting in a garage or a basement. My other projects include making coasters out of reclaimed wood, which I burn images of cogs and chainrings onto, and making wall art (also from reclaimed wood and pieces of chain/cogs/chainrings). I try to find a use for all of these no longer useful pieces of bikes.
What made you think of making belts out of old bicycle tires...was there an 'aha!' moment? It's not an original idea. I had seen some online at one point, and decided that I wanted to try to make one for myself. I made a few, and my friends and girlfriend (now my wife!) convinced me to try selling them online. Several years later they are doing quite well!
Where do you get your supplies from? I collect the tires and random parts, by bike, from many local bike shops. They are glad to see them get used for something, since most of the tires just end up in the trash. The buckles and hardware are purchased online.
Julien's bike loaded up with supplies
Where/how are the belts constructed? In my small apartment! I'm lucky enough to have a garage, so I store the tires in there once I get them home. When I'm ready to work on some, I dremel through the bead and bring them inside my apartment.Then I start cutting off the sidewalls, by hand, with tin snips. It's not ideal, some of them can be very tough to get through. I'm working on setting up a modified band saw to make that part easier. Then they get washed and finally I can attach the buckles.
What challenges have you run into working with bicycle tires? They are hard to cut through! That is my least favorite part of the operation right now.
Whats in the future for Julien Jaborska? The real goal is to become a custom framebuilder. Hopefully Rebicyclist can be profitable enough to help fund that. I really like what some builders are doing with touring/porteur/cargo type bikes, and I want to put my own ideas and style out there.
Do you ride? If so, give us details!! As much as I can! Most of my riding is on my cargo bike around town collecting tires and running errands. I try to do most of my commuting by bike. If I do get some free time though, I love mountain biking andthe occasional road ride. I haven't had the chance yet since moving to Portland OR, but I am really looking forward to checking out some trails this spring.
You also have coasters on your Etsy page, are you planning any other top secret products in the near future?
Lots! Tubes generate so much waste at bike shops, so I want to try my hand at sewing them. I have a bunch of ideas, but definitely want to do some keychain fobs, maybe some tool bags or seat bags. I want to do some clocks as well, but something more interesting than just the basic chainring on a piece of wood thing. I've been taking a welding class so we'll see where the year takes me!
Julien in the lab preparing for action
Shout outs? My best friends Jeff and Liz of Cosaverde (cosaverde.com). They help me out with a lot of the business-y stuff, ideas, and just general support. All the local Portland bike shops, there are too many to list. Portland Saturday Market (saturdaymarket.org) I just got accepted to sell there, lots of cool handmade stuff!
Julien, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us...