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Pimp yo’ bi-pedalled ride: Breaking Away

By Ashley on April 27, 2012

You love your bike. It helps keep you fit, it’s never runs  late, and paying for parking is a non-issue. Sometimes though, you forget to show your velocipede the love it deserves. You leave it locked outside, subject to the weather, and let it gather rust. You lock it to lamp posts or sign posts, scraping up the top tube. You’re embarrassed to ride it because green was so 2003. Is a new paint job in order? Whoa, hold on, back away from the spray paint! Do your frame a favour and call Demetri at Breaking Away.

While Breaking Away is technically a full service bicycle shop, it’s primarily a bicycle paint shop. Cycling is owner Demetri Tsarouchas’ passion, and a few years ago he decided to turn it into his career. He decided to open a bike shop, but since Ottawa’s already got a million of them (or so it seems) he wanted to make sure he was offering something unique. He noticed other bike shops in Ottawa weren’t offering powder coating, and decided to make that his focus. Thus Breaking Away was born.

Very simply, powder coating is similar to painting, but the pigment is electrostatically applied to an object instead of in a solvent solution like conventional liquid paint. After application of the pigment, curing is done at a high temperature causing the powder to melt into a solid, plastic-like skin. It’s far more resilient than a DIY spray paint job, and many prefer it to professional spray jobs (although the spray vs. powder coat argument is alive and well). Before painting a frame you must strip it of the original paint. Thankfully Breaking Away takes care of all that, saving you from playing with noxius chemicals/hours of frustration.

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My rusty frame, ready for some love from Demetri.

I decided to get a frame powder coated because my bike had been stolen. After the kidnapping, I considered buying something from Cycle Salvation, but there was nothing available in my size. I didn’t want to drop a ton of dollars on something new, especially when there are tons of perfectly good bikes lying around this city, longing to be ridden. I actually had one of those bikes, lent to me by a friend from Montreal, but it’d certainly seen better days. Having been stored outside it was really, really, rusty, and I didn’t know if it would last another year. So I went to see Demetri. With assistance from him, the peeps at re-Cycles, and some bike-minded friends of mine, I ended up with an awesome, customized ride at a really reasonable price.

My frame, after some love from Demetri.

Another reason Demetri started powder coating is because he loves older steel frame bicycles and wanted to help restore them. He’s done bikes that were entered into the Westboro Bike Show. He’s restored vintage British frames that are good for nothing more than displaying. In one case, he had a gentleman whose mother used her first paycheck to buy him a bike when he was a kid. As an adult, he wanted it repainted for sentimental reasons. If you decide to take your bike to Breaking Away, the first thing Demetri will tell you is whether or not it’s even worth powder coating your frame. So while he can powder coat almost anything, he may not recommend it for you, depending on what you’re bringing him. Doesn’t hurt to ask though.

Getting your frame and fork powder coated in a standard colour will set you back $165. If you want something else coated, or a fancy finish, Demetri would be stoked to help you out. He’s also available to assist with repairs, rebuilds, conversions, maintenance and sometimes has used bikes to sell as well.

Breaking Away is located at 265 Alfred St., near the corner of St.Laurent and Montreal Rd, open by appointment only. Call 613-680-2365 or e-mail to book an appointment.

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