In my desperation to find a nice pair of low profile 32 hole rims I remembered on Monday about a shop my pal Hardy took me too a while back. I am sure they had a pair of NOS Rigida red labels just sitting there collecting dust.
So after I had taken my washing down to the launderette off I went to see Roy at Roy’s bikes. Now I remember Roy being terribly grumpy the first time I met him, like all he wanted to do was be at home watching TV and that I or anyone in his shop was simply getting in his way, stopping him from doing what he wanted to be doing. That was Roy.
At the end of a short journey in my motorized vehicle I turned up outside his shop only to find he is closed on Mondays. I was so wounded as I now don’t have a day off until next week and I was itching, burning even to get some rims and I hoped that he still had these Rigidas that I remembered.
The sign read “If shop closed I am probably out in my van, call this number” so I tried my luck and called it. It must have been my lucky day because Roy picked up the phone and in turn arranged to be at his shop in 20 mins. Absolute result!
15 minutes later Roy arrives in his white Luton van, complete with his old Alsatian dog in the passenger seat that looked almost as old as Roy himself, Roy with his long grey beard dressed in a oil covered jumper, brown slacks and a red cap looked as wise as they come and full of information. However at this point ( remembering my last encounter ) I am ready for either abuse off him for calling his phone or maybe just some negative energy for upsetting his day but no, he opened up shop, went inside, rooted around a little and found me my goods, my rims – Rigida Red labels times two and he only requested a mere £10 each… Boom! My LBS were asking me for £25 for a single rim not dissimilar from these Rigidas, only one hour previous.
While I was there we had a really nice talk about things and he said he was thinking about calling it a day as he was “pi**ing knackered”, he told me he was 67 ( if my memory serves me right ) and that he had had ‘Roy’s Bikes’ for over 25 years. It looked like it too, there were Frames, partial bikes, wheels, tubes, stems, bars, tools, everything and everywhere with what to me looked like no order and with a complete lack of organization. However there was something real nice about the whole affair plus I guess it works for him so who really cares? Don’t get me wrong, this is not a secret emporium of fancy cycling equipment by any means, there are no more ‘NOS’ bits ( I am pretty sure those Rigidas were the last of it ), no fancy lugs and there are no track frames, not anymore anyway as he told me he had just sold his last track bike to someone for £150, a complete Chas Roberts track bike at that, but let’s not go there.
I heard tales from friends of the ‘Back Yard’ at Roy’s Bikes, apparently it was like the room that could have potentially contained the holy grail ( whatever that may be for you, for me it would perhaps be another DP 18 for the rear ) … Imagine a yard full of boxes and shelves that contained the world Campag cranks, rims, frames, forks the lot. Now I don’t know if it was that good but who knows? The fact is we will never know as unfortunately upon finding out of his ‘retail’ use of the back yard Roy’s local council demanded an extra £1000 ( per month / per year I don’t know ) for the continued use of it. Roy could not and did not want to pay the fees so the whole lot was scrapped. Yes. Scrapped. I never got to even lay my eyes on it never mind root through any of it, but Hardy does tell me it was like something you have never seen.
We spoke of Lands end to John O’groats and his completion of it several times on “Old Bessie” his 531 Dawes tourer, he also gave me some advice, “Don’t wear Yellow in Scotland”. Now I thought this was something to do with rival football teams or something but no, it was simply about the midges. “In Yellow they come at you like a curtain they do, they see you in that yellow jersey and to them you look like a pretty flower”. So basically folks if you wear garish jerseys up north be ready for a good bite. Good, so now we know! We also spoke of the benefits of joining the CTC, the fact that they hook you up with hostels all along the way, so you have a destination to aim for every day… “100 miles on average between em”. Just get up, eat and ride to the next hostel. I am joining and I am doing it!
After a fair natter and a quick root around in what’s left of his stash I ended up walking away from Roy’s with a smile on my face, a nice red Motobecane Columbus frameset, two rims and an old Sakae crankset. The frame is decent too if a tad shabby, unfortunately it has a bit of surface rust coming through so it is going to need some care applied. Apparently it was sitting in someones damp basement for years until rescue, now it is sitting opposite me dull chromed fork crown and all.
I will be seeing Roy again, maybe not for a purchasing but certainly for another chat and to perhaps perform some sort of cycle repair related issue that I cannot perform myself, like maybe removing the seized seatpin from a Columbus Motobecane and hopefully next time I might get a cup of tea!