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Retro restorations

Self-taught in the art of fixing and restoring vintage bicycles, Ron Mosch finds enjoyment in bringing these relics back to life.

February 25, 2012
Story, photo by Karin Elton , Marshall Independent

Ron Mosch of Marshall wanted to keep himself busy after retirement and he ran out of shelf space for his pig figurine collection - his wife said he had to start getting rid of those pigs - so, two years ago Mosch started a hobby of restoring vintage bikes.

His prize bicycle is one that had been sitting in an old shed near Minneota for 35 years. It's a rare 1956 J.C. Higgins and it is now fully restored to its former glory. A distinctive feature on the bike is the beehive springer on the fork of the bike. The bike will probably go to the Pioneer Auto Show museum in Murdo, S.D., he said.

"I visited there and sold (the director) a unique Honda motorcycle and we've been corresponding ever since," Mosch said.

Article Photos

Ron Mosch of Marshall stands by his 1956 J.C. Higgins, a bike he restored after he found it in an old shed near Minneota. A distinctive feature of this bike is its beehive springer.

Mosch said J.C. Higgins bikes were originally bought from Sears Roebuck catalogs for $59.95.

Mosch said he taught himself how to fix and restore bikes and now he can do one in about 10 hours. Most of his bikes end up for sale in the summer months on his front lawn on Jewett and Carlson.

Growing up on a farm, Mosch didn't have a bike to tinker with, but he learned how to repair machinery.

Mosch gets some of his bikes from rummage sales - "I'm a rummage rat," he said - and also by "asking around. I've had good luck with that." He doesn't ever find useable parts at rummage sales. For that, he goes online.

He said bikes like the J.C. Higgins are "few and far between." He has another vintage bike, a 1960 Hiawatha, that he found at a farm by Tyler.

"It's all original except for the paint," he said.

Mosch rides bikes also and a year ago while visiting his daughter in Los Angeles he saw a bike on display at Walmart, a Panama Jack Beach Cruiser. He was able to order it online and have it shipped to him in Marshall.

"It's a nostalgia thing, I guess," Mosch said of the vintage-looking bike.



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