The Rest is History?
Biseagal still has almost all of the machine-shop equipment in the new unit, and, despite the labyrinthine nature of the building, the shop’s customers are finding their way there as well. The goal of the move, says Malcolm, is to make sure that the space he is in suits his business model; the variety and complexity of his work mean that Malcolm is most comfortable when doing all of his jobs himself. While in the past, he has hired employees, essentially Biseagal is run as a one-man operation. This means that the shop is busy, but the consensus among his customers seems to be: if you want it done right, come here.
Indeed, over the course of this interview, a steady stream of them have appeared at the door: commuters, ranging in age from 15 to 70, arriving on all kinds of bikes; couriers with massive bags–or university students hoping to look like couriers (it’s hard to tell which); even another metalworker from a nearby building, who is having some custom parts made here for his own operation. Malcolm stays open later towards the end of the week to prepare for the weekend rush, and the cross-section of customers who find their way here during those busy times is in itself a subject of interest. It is difficult to sum up the atmosphere–busy, at times chaotic, but also full of innovative energy. There are parts and projects in every corner, not to mention repairs which would in most shops be deemed unsalvageable.
I ask if there is anything Malcolm wants me to mention in closing, but we are interrupted when the phone rings. “I guess just – I don’t know. I’m not naturally a ‘businessman.’ I like bikes, and I like fixing them. My business is built around that. I work hard, and I’m proud of what I do.”
My bike gets a glance.
“Also…you need to clean your chain.”