You've probably ridden a bicycle, but have you ever worn one?
Local artist Josh Schroeder has found ways to make this unlikely scenario a reality. He literally up "cycles" trash into treasure by making jewelry from bicycle parts that might otherwise be in the garbage.
Schroeder's interest in bikes began when he was 5 years old. His dad "didn't believe in training wheels," he said. He has had a "love/hate relationship" with bikes since he broke one of his vertebrae in a biking accident.
A happier accident led him to jewelry-making. Schroeder's company, Pedal Metal Jewelry, in its sixth year, offers unique designs he's created.
"I was working at a local bike shop," he said, "and people would chuck their old parts in the garbage, so I started recycling them and using pieces off them to create my jewelry. It started with pendants and then it really just exploded in my mind."
Wheel spokes transformed into rings, old tires reshaped into bracelets and belts, and sprockets re-imagined as pendants are all in Schroeder's repertoire. He also makes earrings from inner tubes and chain links.
One pair of his earrings, fashioned from inch-long brake shifter cables, include two shiny cables with dangling orange and green cable caps. A bike-lover would recognize the brake cables for what they are, but someone unfamiliar with bikes would just see high fashion.
"I love the fact that Josh's jewelry is made from things that would be thrown away. I really like that it's being reused into something new and beautiful," said Cassandra Buck, founder of Gallery 24, a local artists' collective.
Originality is something else Buck admires about Schroeder's jewelry.
"Each piece is unique," she said. "The ring that I have of his I've never seen anywhere else, and I will never see anywhere else because that's the only one that will be made, which is why I love it."
Local fiber artist and arts activist Amarama Vercnocke, meanwhile, likes "how durable" Schroeder's jewelry is.
"I would recommend Josh's bike art to anyone looking for a unique up-cycled piece of artwork that looks great," she said.
Describing his creative process, Schroeder said, "I put on some good tunes, and it's all in my head … it's freestyle art, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Schroeder's been branching out from jewelry to larger sculptural pieces. His 10-foot tall "Treecycle" sculpture was one of five works selected by the Rochester Arts and Cultural Collaborative's 2016 Art4Trails project.
He put more than 120 hours of labor into the sculpture, placed near the old Silver Lake Fire Station. It includes a life-sized trunk with bicycle-tire bark and wheel rims sprouting like giant fruit from limbs just overhead. Schroeder recalls he was covered in mud and hearing horns honking from passersby in his marathon installation the night before the unveiling.
"Every time I make something, I get like 20 other ideas. It's really something special for me," says Schroeder.
Usually, we find ourselves on the bikes, but Schroeder's work makes it cool to have the bikes on us.
• See pictures and learn more about Josh Schroeder's up"cycled" jewelry and sculpture at www.facebook.com/pedalmetaljewelryco.
• Help Schroeder donate his "Treecycle" sculpture, a 10-foot-tall tree made from bike-tire bark and bicycle forks sprouting rim branches at Silver Lake Park, to the city of Rochester by contributing to his GoFundMe campaign: www.gofundme.com/the-tree-cycle.
• If you are interested in seeing some of Schroeder's jewelry in person, visit Breakaway Arts, at 111 Third St. E, Hastings.