So I am in need of a set of rims for my bike, as the Wolbers on it have really seen better days. I figure while I am it, replacing spokes and truing them up I may as well go the whole hog and replace the rims too.
After speaking with my Pal ade down at sprocket cycles he put me onto a few shops out to the west of the Midlands, he said I should go check them out, “they may have rims”. He said one of them had a 50% sale on everything, the other had some old bits and bobs knocking around and the last had an early 90s CAAD frame in the window so it was worth a look.
I headed off this morning, camera and all ( just in case ) expecting to come home with at least a small grip of items but that did not happen. The first two I mentioned yeilded nothing, well apart from an overpriced set of classic Shimano wheels that I looked at, and held but did not buy but the last store on my list was interesting to say the least, and this is where the story begins.
He was standing outside his shop, turning spanners in the February morning sun. “Good mornin” I said as I approached him. He looked at me and replied with the same. I told him I was looking for a few older bits like rims and stems and such and he told me “no”. “What about tyres?” I said and again the same answer. The door to his shop was at this point closed and I wondered if he was even open, or maybe he just didn’t want me snooping around. I don’t know but I spotted a pair of 650c Trispokes mounted to an old Cannondale Tri bike in the window, then I saw the CAAD frame to it’s left and I made a comment on them like “Ooooh I love old Cannondales. Open sesame! The chubby grey haired man with sharp beird and moustache lines put his tools down and paid attention “you like them do you? two grand”. He then opened his door and invited me in to scope these classic aluminium beauties.
We got talking and as soon as he found out I had a reasonable knowledge of the classic bicycle he simply said “here you are, I’v got loads out here”. I followed him around the corner of what at first seemed like a tiny shop into his darkened back room, then ‘ping’ he pulled the string of the light switch and slowly, one by one the flourescent tubes flickered on. Holy crap! Nevermind campagnolo, columbus tubing, 531 or anything else road related this cave was packed to the ceiling with 90s mountain bikes, and I am not talking Hawk or Carrera either. Brand new Cannondale Super Vs, Proflex, Univega, Klein, it was an 80s baby’s Christmas and Birthday rolled into one. He had very early Marzocchi forks, the original Judys, Manitou, everywhere I looked there was something that I used to dream about and something that I had a poster of on my wall as a young teenager, I could not believe what I was seeing.
These bikes, frames and wheels had never even been sat on, they were absolutely new old stock. I swear I even saw a san Andreas Mountain cycle in there too. Honestly, if he had one of the original Foes Fabs I would have paid whatever he wanted, I was in the mood for a spending! He had so much hot shit that as soon as I left the premises my mind went blank, remembering my bedroom wall and my healthy collection of MTB catalogues. Christ he even had a pair of the very first AMP research linkage forks. I lust!
I thought, how was he still in business with all this stock still sitting there in that dark storeroom? He must make all his money repairing Taiwanese Argos bikes. To be fair he was still asking the same RRP now as he was in 1992 so I wasn’t surprised that he still had it all.
I would have loved to have bought something of him, anything, especially the classic Rudy Project glasses he had behind his till but his asking price was astronomical, so I left empty handed.
I wonder, how many other bike shops around the country still have stock like this? Plenty, I bet. They remain untapped, full of goodness but for some reason the owner chooses to hang on to stuff, probably clinging on to that last bit of youth, or better still clinging onto something that they don’t want youth to have a hold of.
I’d have taken some pics but he said no to that, claiming that he had a website of his own that he’d be uploading to. when I asked the URL of said website he said “I havn’t got it yet”. Hmmmm.
If you are ever in the Kingswinford region of the midlands be sure to go peep, but of course, only if he’ll let you.