Six or seven years ago, my parents drove out from Tennessee to visit me. Since they were bringing their pickup truck, I asked my dad to throw Big Red into the bed, and bring it along.
Big Red (my Western Flyer middle-weight, which I got for my 10th birthday) had lived a hard life. After I got through bombing around it, Daddy took it to the Phillipines and to Thailand, when he was working overseas, in the 80s. The fenders and chainguard were long gone, the paint was faded and all of the chrome was rusty and pitted.
I disassembled the bike, and took the frame and fork to the powdercoater, for a fresh coat of Candy Apple Red. Then, I got into the catalogs, down at the bike shop, and started sourcing parts to rebuild it. I wanted to go with fat tires, rather than the original 26x1-3/8" middleweight wheels and tires, plus I wanted shiny fenders and a chainguard, new crank, etc.
Unfortunately, even with the employee discount, it was going to cost me about $250.00 to rebuild the bike, on top of the $125.00 powder. What to do? What to do?
On a whim, I dropped by Wal-Mart, and checked out the BSO's in the Toy Department. There, I found a Chinese-made, alloy-framed fat tire cruiser for $79.00, which had everything on it that I needed to refurbish Big Red.
So, I did the parts swap, and got my old bike back on the road.
Then, I rebuilt the cruiser frame as a 27"-wheeled, drop-bar fixed gear and sold it on eBay for $250.00.
Low prices. Always.
Weird times, in the bike biz. Always.