Narcotic-Induced Bidding, Bicycle Storage, and a Monarch!

After spending several post-op days either lying dazed on the couch watching coverage of Le Gran Douche’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court, or crapping all over myself due to an anti-inflammatory prescription, I decided it was time to get out of the house and assert my status among the living.

I won several online auctions last week from my hospital bed at the Meijer Heart Center.  Some of the auctions I should have let go, but I was like, “I’m not dying dammit, and I’m sure as hell not going to lose any auction!”  As you leave the hospital, they tell you not to make any major decisions, and not to sign any legal documents.  It’s a pain meds thing.  What they don’t tell you as you’re on the 7th floor recovering from surgery is not to bid on bicycles on online auctions.  Seriously, I paid $70 for a crapped-up kid’s mountain bike.  It’s probably fine, but I’ll spend 5 hours on it and make $30.

So, David in tow, we took off in the ultimate bike-grabbing machine, my late father’s 1991 Chevy Silverado.  I always bring lots of old blankets when I have to pick up multiple bikes.  This time, I also brought a camping pad, and my wife’s yoga mat (she doesn’t read my blog posts, so whatever).  Here’s what we brought home:

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David scored a 1980 Schwinn Pixie.  This auction was a blood bath, but like I mentioned, I wasn’t losing any auctions last week.
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A Sun Ruskin?  I don’t know, either.  But with an aluminum frame, stretched-out comfortable geometry, and nothing wrong at all with it, this was the best purchase.  I paid $13.77.  No one bid against me.
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A Japanese Shogun!  It’s about like the Schwinns made in Taiwan like the World and the Sprint, but this one is made in Japan.  It has great paint, and cheap but very durable components.  These bikes are my bread and butter.  Easy to work on, cheap to acquire, and the parts are interchangeable with any entry-level Asian 10-Speed of the same era.

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A way-over-built 20″ bike.  This thing is heavier than my Silverado.  However, it’s easy to work on, attractive, and fun to ride.  I did pay too much, but who doesn’t get a little crazy when they’re partying in the hospital?
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Here are a couple of Taiwanese Schwinns made by Giant.  Nothing special, but they are easy to work on, have durable (although heavy) components, and look great when I’m finished with them.  I overhaul almost all of my bikes before selling them.  On these, I can actually get well paid for my work.  Collector and race-level bikes don’t always offer that same advantage.

I’ve noticed that some of the “bike guys” in the area are having clearance sales this fall.  I don’t, and here is why.  If you’ve read my post entitled “Be the Change”, you’ll know how I feel about the local “bike guys”.  They buy cheap, sell high, and between the two, not much.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s a free country.  I’m just different.  I want beautiful bicycles to leave my shop.  I want them to ride as close to new as possible.  I invest a lot of money into them.  Blah blah blah.  Right.  I know.  Tooting my own horn.  But that’s why I can’t have an end-of-season sale.  I’ve too much to lose.  I want repeat clients, word-of-mouth clients, and happy clients.  This is my first season working in the GR area, so it’s been slower than I’m used to.  But if you check out the CL ads in GR, I’m making my mark.  No end-of-season sales, but clean, shiny, well-tuned bicycles!

The question is, where do I put them, and how do I stay married as they pile up?  Luckily, since my wife and I have owned homes, we’ve never parked in our garages.  Garages are bicycle shops built onto the side of homes.  Some people choose to park cars in them, rendering them useless.  It makes no sense to me.  Cars outside, bikes inside.  End of story, come winter flood or fire.

After yesterday’s bike haul, it became apparent that my shop was at capacity.  Some people have the convoluted idea that cats are at great peril out there in the cold world, and need to be taken in.  I feel that way about bicycles, and I’m very lucky, because bicycles do not pee.  They do, however, take up a lot of room.  Luckily, we have a utility room that, until yesterday, was mostly empty.  So here’s what I did.

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Step 1:  Take David to Lowe’s for a free ride on a lumber cart.  Purchase a couple of 10-foot 2×6 untreated pine lumber and some metal hooks for hanging crap from the ceiling.
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Drill holes 14 inches apart, screw your hooks in, and you’re in business.  That gives bikes plenty of room to hang out next to each other.  Some people take pedals off to pack them even closer, but I would forget which pedals go where.  Some people put them in bags and tie the bags to the bike.  I don’t do that because I don’t want to.
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If the basement floods, these bikes are off the floor.
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It doesn’t look like it, but I do have room to walk behind that row to get to the stuff on my shelves.
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The woman who lived here before we owned the house did an amazing job with perennial flowers.  I haven’t lifted a finger, other than watering, to keep it going.  Yesterday, this Monarch paid us a visit and let me get close.

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