Saturday, September 1, 2007

The main reason why I have what I have...

Alright, so here's the story. I'm sure a lot of you know/heard about this from either me or maybe on my old myspace blog. In any case, here it is again in MUCH richer detail. Please note: I could EASILY go into more detail but this would end up being even more of a fucking novel than it already is. It's INSANELY nerdy and slightly embarrassing so try not to point and laugh at me when you see me in public. Also, don't bother me looking for parts to buy. 90% is long sold and the other 10% is stuff I'd never get rid of...

About three something years ago I was hanging out with a buddy at his place. He needed some time to work on something so I decided to putz around on his computer for a bit. You know, check to see how many people hadn't emailed me since the last time I checked, etc.. One of the things I did was go onto ebay and have a look around for anything tasty recently posted. Side note: I reeeeeally should've started this blog like 4 or 5 years earlier when my whole cycling addiction began. ANYways, I noticed that some dude with zero feedback was selling a MINT condition Bob Jackson Super Legend road frame and fork with a 'Buy it Now' price that was WAY beyond too good to be true. I mean, to the point where I didn't even question it being a hoax or some scam type thing. Normally I would've brushed it off and thought nothing of it. The thing is, he lived about 30 minutes from me. I figured shit, I'll take a chance and see what happens. I can just go pick the frame up in person. If he says no, it'll confirm that it's a scam and no harm done. But, if it isn't a scam, I'll be WICKED stoked! So I hit the Buy it Now button and awaited the outcome. Turns out, I made the right decision. He eventually contacted me and said it would be totally cool to come by.

About a week later I drove over to his place. It was in a section of the New York State that I'd never been to before. Reminded me of the Hollywood Hills in a way. Nice houses on windy hilly roads. It was really dark out with rain and thunder. The neighborhood had this creepy old feeling to it. He wasn't home at first so I sat in my car and waited. Like I said, dark and stormy out. Not fun.. About a half an hour later an SUV pulls into the driveway. As he popped out I also got out of my car and approached him. He was surprised at first not knowing who I was. Turned out he didn't get the last email I sent him about swinging by his place tonight. Once he realized I was the winning bidder, we made our introductions and headed towards the front door. While he was fumbling with his keys asked me if I was really into bikes. I said something to the effect of being a huge nerd about it all to which he replied: "Oh yeah? well I've got a whole bike shop in here". It's the type of thing you hear, brush off, smile and reply nicely to: "oh cool man". Well, let me tell you, the next second after he cracked the heavy old front door to his house I was awash in a blast of one the most foul smelling odors. Wiped the fuckin' smile RIGHT off my face. In fact, right now as I'm writing this, I can smell it. Yep, it's one of those smells. It was a mixture of old lived in house smell, BO, steamy farts and worst of all, cat piss... Suffice it to say I was thoroughly disgusted. But I was in too deep now and there was no turning back. His place was really dark, even when lit. I looked around and surmised that he lived alone. Lots of stuff piled up on every surface. It was definitely an older single mans home only extra creepy. While he took off his jacket he talked about how he was new to ebay and wasn't really into it. Too much effort, fees and that sort. I agreed wanting to get the fuck out of there ASAP before the smell overcame me. Once he was done fumbling around he led me through a dark hallway over to where the frame was. "Come check out the shop". As we walked towards the back of his house my paranoia started creeping in. Each side of the hallway had either closed doors or half opened ones that led into dark shadowy rooms. I kept my eyes peeled half expecting some leather clad gimp to pop out suddenly and zap me with a cattle prod. At the end of the hallway he turned into the last room and disappeared. I took one last look over my shoulder and followed him into the darkness. Then with the flip of a switch, all my fears were alleviated. Once those lights came on and I looked around the large garage-esk room. My fucking heart nearly shot into my throat. That statement he had made earlier, about having a whole bike shop inside, was true. And boy was it EVER. There were rows and rows of bikes. Shelfs and tables overflowing with parts. As he led me over to the frame my brain was so jumbled with shock and amazement I was beside myself with what I was seeing. As we chatted, I found out he'd been cycling since the 70's. That and he was obviously well off so he'd just been collecting the stuff ever since. And did he ever! There were boxes upon boxes, parts upon parts, and bikes upon bikes. It was like accidentally stumbling upon a gold mine. Bob Jackson's, Mercian's, Rivendell's, etc, etc... I've always heard of stories like this but I never expected to be lucky enough to be the one telling it. I asked him if he was interested in selling anything else. Turns out he was moving soon and the reason he put the Jackson frame up for sale was because he wanted to unload a good portion of his gear. "Why don't you come back another day when I have more time. You can go through everything and I'll let you know what I want to keep or get rid of." I of course agreed to come back as soon as possible to come pick up some more gear. After we said our goodbyes I hoped in my car with the frame and drove away in silence...

We traded a few emails during that week in which he mentioned having more stuff up in his attic. As if I wasn't surprised enough by what I'd already seen, now I find out theres even more. At this point I'm thinking to myself. Okay, I just got this killer frame from him for a wicked good price. I wonder how I'll do with all the other stuff he's got. One of the things he mentioned on his list of stuff in the attic was a Yamaguchi track frame. Now, after reading that I gasped while my thoughts made a B line straight to this image a friend had sent me the year before of one of Kiochi's personal builds. I wasn't even into fixed gear at the time I'd seen that picture but I lusted after it hardcore none the less. Knowing that they were super rare and expensive I knew I'd never own one. Him mentioning he had one made didn't change that in my mind and I didn't even want to get my hopes up...

The day we decided to meet up couldn't come soon enough. I'd been talking my bike buddies ears off about the whole scenario since my first visit. The anticipation was killing me! Once again, I found myself at his front door on the receiving end of a steamy blast of that foul musty cat piss air. I put on a big smile, stepped inside and went to work looking through 'the shop'. At the time, I wasn't super familiar with a lot of the stuff he had. I'd make mental notes of it all and look the names up online when I got home. "An Ibis Scorcher, what the hell is that?" You can imagine the look on my face when I realized my error in passing that one up. No worries though, I picked it up the next time for a $100 bucks nearly complete...

While I was going through stuff I was amazed at how much of what he had was new. A lot of it was brand new in the box, never opened or just sitting loose in a bin barely used if at all. I'd find stuff that he'd ordered from Nashbar still new in the box with a two or three year old receipt. I even found a set of wooden rims in a box marked 'Express Saturday delivery' and they were still in the wrapping! I checked the date and it was from the late 80's. WTF?! I couldn't believe half the shit I'd stumble upon in that mess of parts. Vintage NOS Campy parts, Brooks saddles, Cogs, Chainrings, Wheels, Stems, Hubs, Lights, etc.. More shit than you could possibly imagine. He instructed me to make a pile in the middle of the floor and we'd go through it once I was done. He'd step out and back into the room now and then to check on me or to do his laundry. Before I knew it the pile had gotten so big that it started touching the edges of the shelves and blended into everything else. I actually had to stop and reorganize everything to make room. During this whole feverish rummaging session I remembered the attic...

When he came back in I mentioned that I'd like to see what he's got up there. "Sure, it's right over here" he said and led me upstairs. When we got upstairs there was a large mostly empty living room type space on one side. In it was a big leather chair with and a huge flat screen TV. Both of which were just kind of sitting alone in the middle of it all facing each other. The chair had a little table next to it. Lots of papers and magazines piled up on each side. The walls and corners were adorned by the types of things tourist buy from crafty gypsy types in foreign countries. Lots of wooden masks and statues etc..

We walked into the room where the attic door was. In this room was some camera gear and A LOT of video tapes. Personal video tapes. A wall full of personal. handwritten. video tapes. Most of which were those small high 8 ones made for compact personal camcorders. While I was surveying the room he pulled the string attached to the door. I looked up right as he was opening it and saw that all too familiar creepy dark gaping mouth and creeky spring sound I remember being scarred of when I was a child. It was at that moment that the same wave of panic I'd felt waiting for the gimp from earlier to nail me came shooting back. I thought to myself, okay, if anythings going to happen, this is it. I was expecting him to ask me go up first, then slam the door behind me so I'd find myself stuck up there with a few other sets of eyeballs. Fortunately he went up first. As I followed, the thought of him bopping me on the head or just chopping it clean off came to mind. I climbed the rickety stairs and placed my left arm in a defensive position over my head just in case. Lord knows it wouldn't have done much. Once I popped up I looked around and saw him behind me crawling on all fours over to the other end of the attic. As I followed I looked around. It was a decent sized attic with a window at each end. On each side of the attic where the roof meets the floor, were rows of dusty black garbage bags covering what I assumed were frames. With the way the light looked pouring from the window it reminded of one of those Sci-fi or Anime movies. You know, when the good guys are down and out. Then stumble upon a previous civilizations stash of war bots or some shit in the cave they happen to taking shelter in. WOW that was a ridiculously dorky analogy.. Anyways, once I we made it over to the first bagged frame on the left, he stopped and pulled it off. Underneath it was a really old black Mercian. I tried my best not to gasp aloud and asked if I could check the rest. "Sure, just make sure you cover back up the ones you don't want". With that I went to work and started ripping the bags off and tossing them to the side. Another Mercian, some weird MTB, Another Mercian, Some crazy titanium frame, an Independent Fabrications frame WITH S+S couplers, the Ibis I mentioned earlier, a Zullo roadie, another Mercian.. Each discovery brought a new fevered pitch to my wanting to get to the next covered bag. It was kind of like experiencing every xmas morning when you a kid in one shot. An Alan Super Record Track frame, a Ciocc 77' Track frame.. Up to this point all of the bags were pretty compact due to their only being frames underneath them. This next one was much larger. I started from the rear and pulled the bags off. As the bags settled to the ground and I saw what was underneath and my heart nearly skipped a beat. It was THE Yamaguchi Asymetric frame I'd been lusting after the last year fully built up with Campy Record Pista Cranks and BB, Spinergy Track wheels and Yamaguchi Boomerang bars. I couldn't FUCKing believe it! It was like finding the Holy goddamn Grail! I tried my best to keep my composure because I didn't want him to know just how badly I wanted it. I calmly asked him how much he would sell it for. He said: "Ummm, the whole thing?... Uhhh.. Let's sayyy. $600... I think that's fair..." You can only imagine how incredibly fuuuuucking stoked I was on it. I spent the rest of that day and into the night going through frames I'd brought down from the Attic along with the gnarly pile of parts I'd gathered. In the end, I could barely get everything to fit in my car and his shop looked as if I hadn't even been there. It took another 2 or 3 trips to make a real dent!

The time between visits varied quite a bit. Sometimes it was a week or two but then other times it would be a couple months when he would go away on these elaborate vacations to random countries. He would show me pics of the places he'd visit and people he'd photograph. A lot of which were women who all looked like the call girl type. But more like, extended rentals as opposed to paying by the hour. He'd always take one of his gnarly travel bikes with him and tour all over the place. Whenever I'd stop by he'd invite me in and we'd sit down to catch up about this and that for a bit. Usually super nerdy computer or photography type shit. He was def a nice likeable guy. I almost felt bad taking all that shit off his hands. But, in effect I did him a huge favor. He was in the middle of moving and he really didn't want to be bothered with transporting it or dealing with selling and shipping it all that shit out. Every now and then he'd just have me swing by to gather as much as I could fit into my car. Pay in cash and off I went. The kind of money I made may be a lot for most but for people who are as well off as he is, it's a drop in the bucket. The fact that he was a staunch Republican definitely helped me feel less guilty, hehe. He would include me on these fwd's he'd send to all of his friends. It was mostly really, really stupid republican propaganda joke bullshit. I mean, I'm not exactly super liberal or anything but that shit was beyond annoying. But just like the ode to cat piss I had forced myself to deal with the stench...

The biggest problem I was having with all this whole situation is that despite the fact I was getting all of these ridiculously rad parts for next to nothing, I didn't have enough cash flow to keep going back for more. I was deathly afraid to sell anything on ebay at first for fear of him seeing what I was up to. I sold locally through people I'd meet or friends. I actually GAVE shit away to good friends for next to nothing or even free. ENB can vouch for this due to all the frame and wheel boxes she hooked me up with later on when I was hurtin' for em. Since I'd been so lucky finding this whole collection I figured it was good karma to pass along a lot of it to my peeps. The thing that really saved me is a freelance gig I'd gotten the month before meeting him. I was getting paid to re-design an encyclopedia. All 2000+ pages of it. When people would ask me about it I'd compare it to white washing a never ending fence. It. fucking. SUCKED.. BUT, I was getting paid $25 and hour so I took my time doing it. The money I generated from that job and my regular full time job allowed me to keep heading back to his house during the days I wasn't stuck working at night. I'd go to the freelance job in the morning. Then to my regular job during the afternoon into the early evening. Then drive over to his house at night to look through vintage parts and inhale vast quantities of cat piss and BO. I felt kinda bad getting top dollar for a lot of the stuff that I paid next to nothing for but what can ya do? It was certainly worth what they paid for and most people got stunning deals. Not only that but ALL of them were beyond stoked to get what they paid for. I was super glad all this stuff was getting USED finally. It pained me to see perfectly good, if not AMAZING gear sitting around collecting dust. Knowing that they all had happy new homes was great! Even greater was my overflowing pockets from all the sales, what-whuuuut!

All in all I spent approx $10,000 buying stuff. In the end, I received something like $25,000 for everything I sold. And I didn't even sell everything I bought. I still have three of the frames and bunch of really great parts left over. Also, keep in mind I worked my fucking ass off listing, boxing and shipping all that shit out. My ebay feeback rating went up like 300+'s by the time I was through with it all. Not to mention I was working two jobs at the time. This my friends is the ONLY reason I was able to fund the builds of the Mercian, Yamaguchi and Bilenky. The latter of which I'd begun work on long before buying the collection. Also helped out nicely with the down payment for my Scion. Had it not been for my stumbling onto the collection, I'd prob only have the Bilenky, Pista Concept, a road bike and still be driving around in my old beat up 96' T-bird...

Well if you made it this far, I appreciate your time and I hope you enjoyed the story. I also hope it answered a lot of questions and possibly squelched any lingering assumptions of me being some rich trust fund brat or some shit like that. Fuckers.. I'm just the lucky bastardo this happened to...

UPDATE: So I've been reading here and there that people think this story is bullshit. Well, guess what? It's not. How the fuck can I or anybody make this type of shit up? This shit writes itself! NOT TO MENTION THE FACT I HAVE PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE. HELLOOOO??!!! If anyone still thinks it's rubbish than maybe you should just piss off and get back to writing 'FAKE' on every youtube video you can find you fucking jackass. Fake.. Where in fuck's name would I find a goddamn Yamaguchi Asymetric and have various other shots of random shit like this? Oh yeah, I bought it all back in the early 90's in between going to high school and getting stoned in the woods behind my parents house. You know what they say: Truth is stranger than fiction...

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24 comments:

Hustle Jr. said...

This story to me is what an erotic sex fantasy novel is to a normal person. Loved it, so fucking jealous!!!

Ian said...

This story is just insane.

I went to Yamaguchi to learn frame building a while back and from what I remember he only made a few of those a-symmetric frames, ever.

I can't believe you found one. I am sure Koichi would love to hear about his frame turning up. you should drop him an email or phone call.

CyclingWMD said...

Hustle Jr: Great comment man! Glad you enjoyed the story too!!

Ian: Dude, I still can't believe I found one either man! I'm jealous you took his class. I'd LOVE to go out there one day. I talked to his wife when I ordered new decals from them. She totally remembered it being an unusual order. I just wish I asked her how many he made altogether...

Galen said...

wow... Amazing story. Seriously you hit the mother load. I've been a fan of your flikr stream for quite sometime. Amazing, beautiful bikes.

-Dapper Lad Cycles Seattle

louie.reynoso said...

that is beautiful. i'm assuming he has since moved, do you keep in contact?

Sebastian said...

damn that was a story and a half

does this guy still live ther
nice find

localoverground said...

Man, I really did think you were a trust fund asshole, for real. I have to admit that I simultaneously liked and FUCKING HATED your Flickr stream.

Now I get it ... still hate you. How could I not? Haha. But maybe if you sell me something I'd like you more.

CyclingWMD said...

Def no trust fund shit going on here man, hehe (lucky fucks). Just puuure dumb luck. Glad you're loving and hating on my Flickr stream you nasty bitch. I'd sell you something good but I just sold a bunch o stuff recently. Not a whole lot left to get rid of anymore :(

Henrik said...

I believe every word of your story, nice of you to let your peeps have a taste of your victory.

Somethings happens for a reason and as you mentioned I think those bikes just wanted to see the open road. I believe in using stuff not stocking them, and you free´d those bikes and worked hard for it to. Must feel really nice!

beardsarefun said...

Holy Crap that was an amazing story! My mouth was on the floor...you painted a great picture of the scene. Your random discovery is like finding a map to pirate treasure. I cant imagine how exciting that was. Ha, youre conflicted feelings and not wanting him to know how much you wanted the stuff is awesome. Im so jealous. I bet it was hard deciding what to let go of.

Jamez008 said...

Yes I can believe the story, sure why not? I think people outside the city usually think with their hearts and not with their heads. He probably thought the author wasn't into RE selling his shit? Who knows, but one this is for sure, vintage bikes still don't ride any better than a new racer, for a shit less money. Better frame, better parts and wheels. I recently went into a Sony repair store to get my phone fixed. The Japanese repair guy looked at me like I had three heads. His point was that technology is changing so fast, a phone from last year is considered outdated. So yeah older bikes look great and unique like Vintage Cars but they sure as fuck can't ride better than a Honda, Civic. I used to have a Triumph TR6. Want to know why there are no more of them on the road? Because the could not compete, plain and simple. It was a lot of fun to get into my WINTER-freezing British car, SORRY not starting today! If you are into a "better" ride. I am sure the author is handy enough to break down a bike and build it up again. Which I guess is the whole novelty of getting a vintage bike right? The old shitting parts that came with the aforementioned acquired from cat-piss man, ALL have to have their parts changed. OR at best a major fucking tune-up?? When someone would come into our shop and start ranting about vintage this and that, to be honest it just got fucking boring. I kinda feel the same way about guys who talk about guitars like they are women. Give me a fucking break pal! Hell yes Fender or Gibson guitars are cool as hell but shit 25 grand(some much, much more) for one? Does it blow you as well?
In the end it all comes down to this. Most people on ebay especially, want too much for their "vintage" bikes. Sorry I just don't see it. There should be a book out that HAS prices of used bikes, just like cars. We all know that when you leave the showroom your shiny new bike just went down by a third or more right?
Oh yeah and to all those asshole Lawyers/Doctors who come up to Nyack to show off their 10 grand Colnagos, DE ROSAs, Tommasinis, et al, And then DO NOT ride in single file? FUCK YOU AND THE BIKE YOU RODE IN ON!!!!!!

RyeBokeh said...

All this time I've paroozed and lingered around your blog and flickr site I only come across this righteous, fun reading story now?! Fucking amazing, you are one lucky and I mean LUCKY son of a bitch! I swear the bike gods must of said: "fuck it, we'll go with this guy" Then SHAZAM! Instantly blessed. Now since you were part of the sale of my Bob Jackson I wish upon the holy bike gods that Dennis Stone will bless me with a Holy Grail of bike piles and parts. HAHA... In my fucking-lame-ass-dreams! I'm lucky to have gotten the Bob Jackson I got. Thanks for the good morning read. Now back to dreaming I go.

Anonymous said...

"in effect I did him a huge favor" You have a beautiful mind.

((lyledriver)) said...

Well, I finally got around to reading this story, and now I don't feel nearly so weird about dropping by your place to have a look through your garage of bike parts. Funny how that works. I've seen your bikes on BF.net and never really paid attention to the fact that they're all the same owner! hah!

libertyonbikes! said...

you lived what most dream of, actually my dreams aren't even THAT good. where do you even begin
to decide what to sell off? or to keep it all, and live like a squatter amid all the parts? i finally decided to sell off all my old school bmx stuff,except the kuwahara hat and a couple of magazines - it just starts to own you. luckily, ebay can net you alot! thanks for the bike porn fixes! still in NY?

El Duke said...

Fucking great story. You're like the orphan Annie of bikes.

Been enjoying your blog since either BSNYC or Hipster Nascar linked you. Thanks for writing some entertaining shit.

daos69 said...

great fucking story, the only drawback being that i'm snowblind and am going to have to keep my eyes shut for like 5 days to recover from reading stupid pale text on a dark background. it's almost as bad as FGG. how the hell am i supposed to ride now? shit.

the other one was that it wasn't me.. ok that's two drawbacks but that's really not the point.

Andy888 said...

Blah. Long story. A pretty awesome one, it was playing as a movie in my head as I was reading.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I definitely did think you were some rich yuppie or as you put it "trust fund brat" until I read this. Fucking lucky bastard!!

HarrieH said...

Great story. Did you actually wake up from this dream?

Today I ordered an Alan Super Record Pista frameset from the late 70's. Hope to have it ready by September or so, when the track racing season starts again. Most of the bits I already have. Now I have to search the missing items and work a bit on the stuff I already have.
It should become a classic track racing bike from the late 70's - early 80's, when I started bike racing. See my blog for more details on this project. No, I don't envy you, you can ride only 1 bike at a time. Am I saying this? I have 10 - 15 bikes in my garage and the inventory is only growing.

EM said...

HO
LEE
SHEET!
Gnarr.
Salud.

Tyler R. Shannon said...

Good lord, thats the greatest story I've ever heard.

kaczor said...

Holy...

sarliaee said...

I quite literally have that dream every night.