New member here \u2013 and I apologize in advance for the length and rambling nature of this e-mail.
As a matter of introduction, my name is Reed Pike. I am old enough to
remember purchasing, riding and even wrenching on many of the bicycles
discussed on this list. I bought my first \u201creal\u201d bicycle, a red LeJUENE with some Campy components, at Peter Rich\u2019s store sometime in
the late 1960's or very early 1970\u2019s. It was a great bike, but what I
really wanted was the baby blue pantographed DeRosa on display at Talbot\u2019s. I was young and impatient \u2013 the LeJUENE was cheaper! I worked for a short time sweeping floors on Saturdays at Spence Wolf\u2019s
store and through that have spent most of the last 35 years or so working in the bicycle industry \u2013 I am currently the Marketing Director at Raleigh America.
Oh that I had the foresight to keep the Masi Gran Criteriums (3 at least), Raleigh Pro, Gitanes, Motobecane, Moulton, Peugeot, Paramounts
(2 at least), Merckx, Colnago, Windsor, CIOCC, Concorde, Olmos, and many other bicycles I have owned, not to mention all the parts and ephemera that has passed though my hands.
I would like to say hello to Richard (Cunningham and Bryne), Brian Baylis, Joe Bell and all the other friends and acquaintances from San
Diego who have at one time or another appeared on this list.
I have only recently come to look back with more than a casual interest on the bicycles of my youth. Raleigh has quite a history and
that was in part the motivation, that and the growing interest in simple steel bicycles that has developed as a trend based on the messenger/urban bike culture \u2013 fixies. And that is reason for my writing today.
I am not sure that the recent e-mails (including this one, sorry Dale)
on subjects like fixies, headbadge collectors, and whether to upgrade
etc. are truly \u201con topic\u201d, but all of these issues have had and will
continue to have an influence/impact on the classic bicycle market \u2013
positive and negative.
For me personally these discussions and lamentations on the various impacts of upgrading, restoration, headbadge collecting, customizing (fixies, repaints, commuter conversions, etc), blah, blah, blah are as
Yogi Berra said, \u201cit\u2019s like deja-vu all over again.\u201d For a period in the late 80\u2019s and through most of the 90\u2019s I was a passionate collector and rider of classic British motorcycles. Joe Bell even painted a gas tank and side covers from a Triumph Daytona for me. Back
to the point \u2013 these same discussions and lamentations were (and probably still are) great points of debate in the classic motorcycle community.
I am not going to attempt to draw too many parallels or especially any
conclusions today. Nor will I attempt to make a case for any particular perspective. I believe that there is value to all forms of
appreciation of classic bicycles \u2013 the collection of rare, historically important bicycles \u2013 collecting in general \u2013 the preservation of bicycles in original condition \u2013 the restoration of
bicycles that have been \u201crode hard and put away wet\u201d or neglected \u2013
the restoration of bicycles that have a particular meaning or value to
their present owner \u2013 riding classic bicycles in their original condition as they were meant to be ridden, racing, touring, etc \u2013 riding classic bicycles that have been upgraded as they were meant to
be ridden \u2013 customizing classic bicycles, to mention just a few. Each
of these in their own way are performing an important function \u2013 increasing the number of people who recognized that classic bicycles have value and that the value can be appreciated in many ways.
Yes, all of this will probably result in higher prices for classic bicycles, parts, etc. Some bicycles and parts may even become even more difficult to find. But if the classic motorcycle scene is any indication there may be offsets \u2013 along with a growth in the number of
people (people with money to spend) interested in classic bicycles and
an increase in their value, more bicycles may be taken out of storage
or found, fewer bicycles will be thrown in the rubbish and/or \u201cimproved\u201d, there will be further development of resources like this
one, more events like the Classic Rendezvous, maybe even a for profit
magazine or two, re-manufacture of key parts (think tires, chains, etc), an expansion of the restoration industry, etc.
And just as there are in the classic motorcycle community, there will
be some classic bicycle collectors and enthusiasts who will not see an
upside to any of these developments. For many of them it was (and still is to some extent) a nice private club of passionate true believers and now there are all these interlopers who are mucking up the market. Change is inevitable; the choice is to adapt and stay part
of the evolving community or to become a bitter curmudgeon who over time is more and more irrelevant to the community.
It has been exciting to watch this expanding interest in classic bicycles develop over the last few years. A previous writer pointed out that these new younger classic bicycle enthusiasts are the \u201csecond
generation\u201d. They represent the future \u2013 I hope the classic bicycle
community will welcome them. They have so much to learn and you are the repository of that knowledge. I know I have learned more over the
past month or so than I could have imagined when I joined this community \u2013 thank you.