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Tales From Your Local Bicycle Shop

> Tales From Your Local Bicycle Shop

Tales From Your Local Bicycle Shop

Tales From Your Local Bicycle Shop
...well, It’s been 20+ years and I’ve got 20+ years of stories about your local bike shop your local bike seen, your local Bike community ,bicycle infrastructure in the state and the bicycle industry in America and the bicycle industry internationally…
Some of the stories are sad, some of them unbelievable...
Behind it all is my life time on a bicycle.

Presented here Will be excerpts from longer stories...


How to start a business with $600...

How to start a business with $600...
... People like Clark Henderson find you. Clark walked into the shop when it was at 433 Chapel St. up on the second floor. We were waiting to do the build out on the street level space. So I was making due on the second floor which was really awkward. Clark walked in and said hello and we started chatting about bikes with me for about an hour didn’t tell me he was a rep from Fuji and several other brands and distributors. We just talked Bikes and riding and then he started to ask me what I wanted to do as a business. I told him I really didn’t see myself as a business and I wasn’t a businessman. I wanted to help my community, I wanted to make the road safer. I wanted to get people out of cars. He stood listening to me very attentive I don’t think he ever broke eye contact.When I stopped talking he said that’s really neat, and I havent heard talk like that in a long time. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a business card ,turned it over and wrote on the back $50,000. He handed it to me and said, Hi ,Clark Anderson I’m gonna be your new Bike rep ,call this phone number and asked to talk to Steve, you have $50,000 in credit with us…
On a word, on a handshake, $50,000 in credit…


(Posted 8/19/2022 by admin)

Peter M. Chapman...

Peter M. Chapman...
...it’s done. The city finally took back the building. 433 Chapel St. the Armstrong carriage factory building, the last standing carriage factory in New Haven. At one time there was 30 and at one time if you owned a carriage and it wasn’t from New Haven well that’s when snobbery came into play. Just like the clocks. Amazing industry all from the sweet little city.
It was the last thing he said to me, telling me the story about how he “auditioned “the new masseuse. She had had him over for dinner and talk and then when dessert came out that’s when Peter did his creepy shit. Took control the situation because he already had control of the situation because he was the person doing the interview.But he had to coercer he had to manipulate her he had to take control of everything she was doing… And it was disgusting to listen to. When he was done I told him never to talk to me again I told him never to come in my bike shop never interact with any of my customers in the parking lot… He was, he is a disgusting vile individual and how he hasn’t Been brought before the law yet is amazing.


(Posted 8/16/2022 by admin)

Nothing nice to say

Nothing nice to say
...Of late I really have nothing nice to say about the bicycle “industry”. I do have so many fond memories of the bike shop. Not as a business but as a community center and a resource center and a place where you could do and still come just to say hi.

We had been having monthly events, we called them conversations, with people from inside and around the industry. Damn I used that word again. Richard Sachs came down and was talking and having a conversation with us and afterwards I used the word bike “industry” in front of him, he laughed out loud,
he said to me “Matthew you know it’s just been a dogfight all these years right? “
As it sank and I realized how right he was , it had been a dog fight all along...

Thank you Richard.
You are a touchstone for me.
Thank you ??


(Posted 8/14/2022 by admin)

Last Rock to Rock...

Last Rock to Rock...

... I didn’t know it while it was happening but it would be my final participation in Rock to Rock. I was doing my usual task of driving the sweep mechanical vehicle on the long route and also taking in the posted turn signs. I’ve done this every year until I couldn’t. As the day went on it was raining and I would come back behind a small group of people that John Martin was leading shepherding through the long route. It was cold it was wet it was raining.
At the next rest stop in Guilford I would offer John my dry rain jacket, but before he could accept , the young Yale student to his side said “John, you can’t wear the enemies colors! “. John actually replied before I could. And I love him for that. He said he didn’t see it that way and he knew I didn’t see it that way and he told her she shouldn’t see it that way.
As she walked away I knew she didn’t...


(Posted 5/19/2022 by admin)

...And I had ward them…

Yeah it was about 15 years ago the shop was at 433 Chapel St. we were going strong . one afternoon Bruce Morris came in as a representative of Laurel bike club and he wanted to know if the Devils gear would like to sponsor Laurel Bike Club? And I asked what about Amity Bike? To which Bruce replied that Sue didn't want to be putting any more effort and money into the club she thought she wasn't getting back. Bruce asked me if I would sponsor the club. I asked him to go back and ask Sue a second time just to make sure. Which Bruce did and when Sue heard that the devils gear would get on board if Amity wasn't going to, she elected to continue sponsoring Laurel. I totally respect that. Cycling racing clubs at that time were teetering. But I didn't wanna take something that wasn't mine.

A couple years later when the devils gear bike shop was moving from 433 Chapel St. to downtown New Haven, Amity took it on to move into The Shop space the very next day and start a second bike shop.

They had been baited into it by Peter Chapman.


(Posted 5/14/2022 by admin)

Cutthroat....

Cutthroat....
.... I mean really the ink wasn’t even dry on the contract of Bob buying Baybrook Bicycles off of Frank Keyes. Bob didn’t realize Frank owed a pile of money to Giant and Cannondale. I’ve fucked up like that. Who hasn’t?
What was disgusting was how quickly Giant’s outside rep came into the Devils Gear and tried to get me to be a Giant dealer. I asked him “...what about Bob?” He reply was he didn’t have faith in it and since it was already out for the taking that it was there for me to take. The contract selling Giant bicycles. Well I told him he was a piece of shit. And that he should wait and give Bob the opportunity to make it right, which he did.....


(Posted 5/6/2022 by admin)

Just swipe somebody else’s hard earned work...

Just swipe somebody else’s hard earned work...
....Seems to be an ongoing theme In my life. People taking credit for something that isn’t theirs to take credit for. I don’t have a lot of positive things to say right now, especially on this subject. But I will say this, for me , here in New Haven.Ct.
It all started with Andy Lipzner.....


(Posted 5/3/2022 by admin)

Paul Hammer. The Man, the Legend.

Paul Hammer. The Man, the Legend.
Yes, that’s right. When you get right down to it he did so much more beyond the bicycle culture.
We have lost yet another great person to suicide.
“ When Hammer graduated from college, he worked multiple jobs in theater and performed for a Branford-based improv team at the Stony Creek Puppet House, now the Legacy Theatre. Devil’s Gear Owner Matt Feiner, who competed for the New Haven troupe Snazz 'n' Guffaw, remembered the pluck and wit with which he performed. His first thought—one that he returned to often—was “he is so fucking intelligent.” He was sharp-tongued and funny too, enough to keep the room howling
For the next three decades, their paths continued to cross and deepen. When Feiner returned from living in Austin, Tex. and started working at Baybrook Bicycles, Hammer “was one of the first people that I re-met.” At the time, Feiner said, New Haven was still in the early stages of a bicycle renaissance that Hammer was very much part of. After Feiner left Baybrook to start The Devil’s Gear, the two worked together to make that dream of widespread bicycle access a reality.”
/Lucy Gellman
Peace to You Paul, Godspeed on Your Journey.

https://www.newhavenarts.org/arts-paper/articles/new-haven-remembers-paul-hammers-legacy-of-joy


(Posted 4/11/2022 by admin)

It’s just business...

It’s just business...
...I’ve heard that just too many times. And it’s no reason to rob somebody…

(Posted 4/9/2022 by admin)

“...I’m just here for the money”

“...I’m just here for the money”
Frank and I were down in the basement of New Haven Baybrook, we were stacking bikes that had just been shipped to us from Giant . Talking to Frank was always awkward, we weren’t the same person. Trying to make conversation with him I asked him what sort of riding he did . He replied boastfully that he had a Suzuki something for the dirt and a Harley something for the road.
He thought I meant motorcycles, so I asked him what sort of bicycle he had,
“I’m just in this for the money “ was his reply…
My immediate life plans changed at that point. I wasn’t gonna move to New Mexico after the installation piece at the Slade. I was going to start a bike co-op


(Posted 3/22/2022 by admin)

Mitchell...

Mitchell...
...damn it.
I motioned to you and called you over to me. You started walking towards me and I knew I was dreaming. You were still young and radiant and you had this big smile on your face. You walked over and gave me a big hug, and then I woke up....


(Posted 3/12/2022 by admin)

...According to his opinion…

...According to his opinion…
...The shop and been holding a talk series. Bringing in various people from the biking community to talk about their speciality. He had just spoken about his journey in the Bike world, we were standing there talking and I said “bike industry “, he threw back his head and laughed out loud...

(Posted 3/8/2022 by admin)

1999, the First Bike Meeting With The City...

1999, the First Bike Meeting With The City...
...A meeting with the city had gotten set up. Oddly I wasn’t invited to the meeting, but Frank Keyes of Baybrook was. The next day after the meeting I asked how it had gone and his reply was “ They don’t wanna buy any bikes, so I left “....

Ok, this will be difficult.


(Posted 3/3/2022 by admin)

...Press Junket.

...Press Junket.
...We shut down The Mississippi Bridge Crossing at Greenville. And when we got to the other side there was one hell of a press conference.
We took the bridge with two vehicles that were towing and 15 bike riders…


(Posted 2/21/2022 by admin)

One Of The Golden Rules...

One Of The Golden Rules...
... And I broke it. I had learned it from Andy Hampsten it was reinforced in me by Ian Sullivan at Eastern collegiate cycling conference intro to cycling rides. “Thumb around the bar, always”....

(Posted 2/14/2022 by admin)

...Caught up in the storm…

...Caught up in the storm…
...Cause I saw the storm coming.
I was up in New Hampshire working as a Pit mechanic and cook and chief bottle washer at a 24 hour mountain bike event. I have been recruited by a very formidable 24 hour team.
Scott Frison, Lee Salway, Solin Flores and Jake Colvin.
These guys were in it to win it, so it was fun to work for them. I had gotten up to The Mount Washington Glen early to set up the tents in the Glen Area. In a matter of 30 minutes the entire Glenn became a sea of tents and pop-ups. A storm was coming. The sky was darkEnding and in clouds were moving in and the wind was picking up.
I started lashing down everything as quickly as I could and I got everything except for pop up tent . I heard the wind pick up hard behind me I turned around and I watched the sea of tents start to pop up in the air with the wind and I grabbed the tent I was standing underneath because it wasn’t latched down yet…


(Posted 2/8/2022 by admin)

...Peter.

...Peter.
...I was working for a couple weeks at Lulu’s filling in through the Easter weekend. Which is an entirely another story.
He would come in late in the morning and slowly eat granola for breakfast while staring out the window. He had a darkness about him so I didn’t feel the need to talk to him. Till one day he made a comment about my bicycle outside. My beautiful Eddie Merxk’s touring frame…”I bet they don’t even know what they Have their hands on” he said to himself under his breath.
I waited a moment and I said “I know exactly what I have my hands on “…


(Posted 2/4/2022 by admin)

Baybrook Mechanic Interview.....

Baybrook Mechanic Interview.....
...Oh Lord. Within four sentences I knew who Frank keys was. Franki Keyeshad taken every seminar ever created on how to sell. Also seminars on how to be in control how to assert control and take back control if you lose it. He was a piece of work, but he was a businessman at that.
Now the job interview that happened while I was standing there with his “mechanic wanted” sign in my hand, was more of a testament to how little he knew about bikes, mechanically.…


(Posted 2/1/2022 by admin)

“Mechanic Wanted”

“Mechanic Wanted”
...So I just spent the previous fall and winter building tuning and selling more bicycles for $219 than anyone can imagine. I hadn’t been hired as a bike mechanic more as a bike builder. And then I was a bike seller and each bike was sold with a lock a helmet , , and a rack out the door…
Frank came in one day and told me that I would be working that weekend with the summer help that came on to help with the rush.
That Saturday I went down opened up the shop got the place ready and the first person to walk through the door came in with a Baybrook bicycle T-shirt on and 2 cups of coffee and his hands. I asked politely “? Is one of those cups of coffee for me “. To which you replied “No”....

Summer help guy this isn’t going well…


(Posted 1/30/2022 by admin)

All attitude...

All attitude...
... My Bianchi needed a new chain. The current chain is stretched after seven or 800 miles of very light spinning on it.
I walked over to Baybrook bicycles and walked in , behind the counter was Jeff.
I knew Jeff from years ago, he was a skate kid in front of The Daily Cafe.
I walked up to the counter and said hello, and ask him how he was doing? To which he replied, shrug.
I asked for a campy nine speed chain, and he looked at me and said “Road or Mountain?”.
And I thought to myself oh come on.
The bike world at that time was either a road or mountain. You either we’re on a road bike or you were on a mountain bike. There really wasn’t a category for commuters. Who seem to do it in secret in hushed shame.
Campy only makes one chain, he would’ve known that, he should’ve known that, or he was just being a douche bag which is what he turned out to be.
I left and went and saw a guy at Amity Bike and had a really great conversation about bikes and the weather and how he was gonna discount my Campy nine speed chain for me…

Jeff would later try to get me arrested for embezzlement at the shop. More on that later…


(Posted 1/28/2022 by admin)

The Non Existent Bike Scene...

The Non Existent Bike Scene...
...I moved back from Austin Texas. Austin had a really big bike scene, and they had a very disruptive critical mass. It started the same time the one in CA started...I think there was a little overlap. I rode a lot in Austin mostly rode bikes with my buddies and a small club we called the Texas Hillcountry Climbers that road from Mojo’s three days a week, More on that later…

New Haven Connecticut 1999, a world of cars and no bicycles. There was Baybrook bicycles with Frank Keyes, there was Amity Bike Guy and Sue. And there was Zanes out in Branford....

Organized bike rides, critical mass, Bike clinics you name it they just weren’t there…

There were bike stores, but there wasn’t a bike shop…

There was a really good Tuesday nighter, one from sleeping giant and one from Amity Bike.

At that time I was riding a Bianchi Veloce 9 speed that was a gift from a dear friend Trish McAllister...


(Posted 1/26/2022 by admin)

1999

1999
... I had just moved back here to New Haven from Austin Texas. I had several large installation pieces That I wanted to show. I was way ahead of schedule on both of them so I had some time on my hands
One day I was walking around town, and I walked past baybrook bicycles.
There was a sign in the window “mechanic wanted “. So I went on the corner to Willoughby’s, and got a coffee from Kimmy. I thought about what it would be would like to work in a bike shop for real.…

I walked back down, walked in, took the sign out of the window and asked where the Owner was.
Frank keys looked up from his paperwork and said “what are you doing with my sign?”.
To which I replied, “I’m your new mechanic “....…
More on this later…


(Posted 1/25/2022 by admin)

Professor Margaret Splaine at Yale

Professor Margaret Splaine at Yale
.... For almost 20 years professor Margaret Spillane at Yale in writing has been sending students down to write articles about me… Not one of them leaves without saying “you’re a book and a movie “...

(Posted 1/25/2022 by admin)