It’s happened to Time Bomb Bicycles owner Bryon Bradshaw before.
“Believe it or not, I have gotten messages from people in Amsterdam before somehow thinking that we were in the Netherlands,” said the Amsterdam, New York resident.
But one day this past winter, Bradshaw received a message from Thomas Wuts of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, who understood that his bike shop was in New York. Wuts was looking to buy two second-hand bikes so he and his son, Igor, could take a spring tour from upstate New York to the “Big Apple” for the annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour.
“When he said what he wanted to do, I got really excited because I thought, ‘Oh, this isn’t a mistake. They’re not looking for bike parts. They’re looking for whole bikes,’” said Bradshaw.
Thomas had wanted to ride in the Five Boro Bike Tour for years and to bring his son along for the ride. As fate would have it, the bike ride coincided with Igor’s spring vacation from school, so Thomas started looking for a way to expand the trip beyond the city’s limits.
“I’ve never been to the U.S. Definitely, I wanted to see New York, but I also wanted to see more of the countryside,” said Thomas. “So, I was thinking about cycling along the Hudson [River]. I was checking on where to start, based on the amount of time we had and based the average distance we’d like to do in a day. Then, I end up at the confluence of the Hudson [and Mohawk rivers] and I thought [we] can do a little bit more, and suddenly there was Amsterdam on the map. I thought hey, I got to start there. It was kind of a coincidence. I was not aware there was a town called Amsterdam in this state.”
Initially, Thomas said he thought about bringing their bikes to America and simply start from Amsterdam. However, that idea was scrapped when he saw how much it would cost to bring the bikes on the flight to New York City and the train to Amsterdam.
“When you put dollars and cents to it, it really makes sense,” said Bradshaw. “We don’t live in a society that allows you to take your bicycle everywhere. [My son] races BMX bicycles…You can’t legally put it on an airplane without paying an exorbitant amount – almost as much as a plane ticket. So, I understood completely that it would be more beneficial for them to dump the bikes than to bring them around.”
Thomas reached out to Bradshaw and gave him the specifics of what he and his son needed for their trip. It took a while for Bradshaw to find two touring bikes that he could refurbish and transform for the Wutses.
“That specific type of bike is not a thing around here. We had to find bikes that were actual ‘bike shop’ bikes that fit their size and criteria, and we also had to fit them with rear racks so they could have their gear,” said Bradshaw. “When we got the bikes, we stripped them down, re-greased everything, inspected everything, assembled them all together, torqued everything and got them ready so they would be safe and ready to ride.”
After the tour, Thomas said that he intends to sell the bikes before returning home.
Long bike tours are a part of the Wutses lives. Thomas and Igor have ridden throughout western and central Europe, often following rivers such as the Rhein and the Dochau for days at a time. Thomas estimates that they average 50 miles per day.
“It’s not about the amount of miles that we’re going to do a day. We can definitely do a lot more, but that’s not what it’s about for us,” said Thomas. “It’s about having fun and taking our time.”
Thomas used an app called Ride With GPS to plan the bike trips, including the one that took him and Igor from Amsterdam to New York City along the Mohawk and Hudson rivers.
“You can design [the route] yourself,” said Thomas. “There is … a specific bike background that you can use for designing the tours so that you know when you are designing, you’re following the paths and roads that are cycle friendly.”
Igor, who has ridden bikes since he was three years old, said he was excited to be part of the first trip to the United States for Thomas.
“I thought it was amazing to go to America because I never was here. To bike to New York [City] is amazing,” said Igor.
Bradshaw said he runs his shop as a hobby, while not working full-time at General Electric.
“For me, the bike shop is fun,” said Bradshaw. “To be able to help people is kind of what we do.”
Time Bomb Bicycles is located at 260 Forest Ave. in the same building as Mohawk Dairy. For more information, visit the shop’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Timebombbicycles/.