Talking Trash with Tread and Pedals

Combining their love of bikes, design, the arts and recycling, Emma Dinkgreve and Ivan Hackel have created Tread and Pedals, a business making clocks, belts, jewelry and accessories out of old bike parts.

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Bike mad

Ivan is bike mad and has the scars to prove it.  Getting his first downhill bike at 13 he followed his older brother around who was also bike mad.  Hearing a lot about Whistler, Ivan really wanted to go and see what it was all about.  Meeting Em in 2008 who was also planning to go to Canada, so they decided to go together.  It was then that Em realised if she wanted to see Ivan, she’d have to get on a bike more often. And she started cross country riding.  “He threw me on the downhill bike first before cross country, that was pretty full on.  It was a blue run, in Whistler!  So I realised then maybe not downhill, but I really liked the idea of cross country.  It was less intense and I didn’t need to wear body armour.”

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Canadian adventures

They did the working holiday thing in Canada for two years, spending time in Whistler. Then living in Fernie for the winter and touring around.  “The mountains in Canada, are amazing.  Beautiful.  You feel really dwarfed by them because they’re so huge.  In the photos they don’t look as big as they are and then you’re amongst them and you’re like, wow they’re amazing.  It’s a beautiful place,” Em tells me.

Returning from Canada after their adventures, they tried to live in Australia for a while, and make some money.  That lasted six months, before going to New Zealand where they lived in Queenstown for two years.. Until Ivan broke himself, separating his shoulder in a mountain biking accident.

Combining their passion for bikes and art

Back in Australia and after another trip, five months up the east coast. In Em’s folks bright orange combi van, they realised that neither of them were really loving their work and they needed to do something different.  They had been brainstorming ideas for a while, trying to come up with ways to combine their passion for bikes with art.  Hard rubbish was on at that time, and they found some really cool vintage bikes and couldn’t believe that they could be thrown out. “How can they throw these out? What are they thinking?  They’re so beautiful”, Em explains.  They were thinking that they could ramp up these vintage bikes and make them look cool again. But after a bit of research realised there were lots of other people doing that already.  They then wondered, what they could do in a different way.

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So much bike waste

Ivan was working at a bike shop, “and there was just so much waste”, Ivan tells me.  Both Em and Ivan were amazed by the amount of waste produced from by what they though was such a sustainable form of transport. All of the chain rings, wheels and bike tubes, and it was all going straight to the trash, not even being recycled.  “So the business idea came from there and we thought what can we do with it all”, says Em.

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Sarting Tread and Pedals

Trading under the name of Ivy and Em they set up an online store.  With much success they decided to commit to the business, changed the name to Tread and Pedals, and started doing markets around Melbourne.   In the beginning they had wall clocks, belts, bottle openers, feather inner tube jewelry and candle sticks.  The range now also includes cuff-links, desk clocks, bracelets, earrings and necklaces, stubby holders and more.  They now spend less time designing and more time refining their designs and making the products the best they can be.

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Market life

It’s now three years since the first market, and after doing their fair share of crappy markets, they now just stick to the bigger design markets. As well as selling on-line and in a few shops.  “Freeing up more time this year, we’ve had more time to get out and do things.  Last year was crazy, it was just insane.  At the end of last year we made a conscious decision to change the way we’re doing things because otherwise we’re both going to end up really unhappy.  We were unhappy at that point,” Em says laughing.

“We were loving the business, but at the same time, everything we were doing was the business. And there was no riding, we didn’t get to ride our bikes much last year.  Seeing our family at Christmas time and that was all.  We over committed ourselves in a big way, especially in the lead up to Christmas and it wasn’t working.  With no days off.  That’s why we’re doing things differently this year.  Just big markets now and really focusing a lot more on wholesale.”

Em tells me very proudly that last year Tread and Pedals saved two large shipping containers from going to landfill.  They get their trash from bike stores around Melbourne, it helps when you’ve worked in the bike industry and have mates working in bike stores like Ivan does.  “It’s actually quite hard to get people to save their trash,” Ivan tells me, but they have a lot of stores on board now, so it works out well.

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Turning trash into treasure

Ivan is more selective with the trash these days, otherwise they end up with a lot of stuff that they don’t use, but any leftovers get recycled at the tip.  Surprisingly to Ivan, even his junk, greasy old bike parts which were already junk before he got them, disappear when put out for hard rubbish.  “Someone’s always got another purpose for it, at least it won’t go into landfill” he tells me.

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Upcycling studio

In their upcycling studio and workshop nestled in the Dandenong Ranges, Ivan and Em see bikes in a different way now.  “We look at them as their individual parts rather than as a whole.”  Tread and pedals is all about sustainable design.  They care about the environment and the impact they have on it. And they make the most amazing jewellery and accessories from greasy old bike parts.  You can find Tread and Pedals pedaling their wares over the next few months at the Queen Vic night markets in Melbourne, The Finders Keepers Markets in Sydney , the Bowerbird Market in Adelaide. and the Big Design Market in Melbourne.

www.treadandpedals.com.au

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