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Mike Wolfe's 1st picking interest - bicycles

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Mike Wolfe's 1st picking interest - bicycles

Old 11-07-20, 12:45 PM
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Mike Wolfe's 1st picking interest - bicycles

Wolfe's quirkiest quirk might be his obsession with old bicycles, which is front and center in many American Pickers episodes. "I was amazed that someone would throw out a bike. And I thought to myself, if someone would throw out a bike, what else would they throw out?" Later, he'd see old bikes sitting in a dumpster, and he knew he had to have them. Pick it, flip it. In 1987, Wolfe scored a job building 13 bikes a day at Bike n Hike in Davenport, Iowa. Before long, Wolfe owned two bike shops of his own.
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Old 11-07-20, 01:03 PM
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I had a hook-up at a scrapyard. A guy who worked there would put aside any and all bikes before they got crushed and I would pay him $10 for each one, sometimes more if they were really nice.

I actually had to tell another local flipper about it because there were too many bikes for me, I just couldn't take them all in.

I must have taken in more than a hundred over the years.

The scrapyard was paved over and condos built on it about 6 year ago.

I still have money in my bike kitty from those scrapyard bikes.

My sister has 6 kids and each one of them has a scrapyard bike as does my mom and most of my friends.
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Old 11-08-20, 10:04 AM
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Wonder what is in his collection?
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Old 11-08-20, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Wonder what is in his collection?
Wonder what he’d pay for mine?
Probably not much.
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Old 11-08-20, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Wonder what he’d pay for mine?
Probably not much.
You wouldn’t have to wonder with me. Name your price!
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Old 11-08-20, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Wonder what is in his collection?
So do I.
Gleaning tid-bits from the show, I would guess his collection tends toward 'antique', which I consider to be pre-WWII.

I also wonder what he rides now. Lightweight or middleweight?
Is he more a BF C&V guy, or more of a The Cabe kinda guy?

How might we make an enquiry?
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Old 11-08-20, 03:41 PM
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I grew up a bit north of the Quad Cities, which includes Davenport, Iowa, and met Mike when he had a bike shop in Eldridge, Iowa. This must have been the early 90's. He had a nice collection of antique bikes then. I recall an American Star, which is like a highwheel bike, but with the large wheel in the rear. There was also a shaft drive safety bike. There were probably a few others of that general era, but I don't recall any details. He had some pretty nice stuff, though!

I had recently moved to Peoria, and was surprised to see that Mike had a copy of a book that covered the history of cycling and bike manufacturing in Peoria.

His shop in LeClair is a handful of miles east of Eldridge, also on the north side of the Davenport area. I've been past it, but never stopped in.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 11-08-20, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post

His shop in LeClair is a handful of miles east of Eldridge, also on the north side of the Davenport area. I've been past it, but never stopped in.

Steve in Peoria
I've been there a couple of times, but was kind of disappointed at what they have on display. It's mostly souvenirs of their show. Calendars, mugs, magnets etc. Very few picked items for sale. What you see on the show is what's on the shelves. Frank has an actual antique like store with things for sale. It's on the Illinois side of the river, and further north in Savanna.
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Old 11-08-20, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 76SLT View Post
I've been there a couple of times, but was kind of disappointed at what they have on display. It's mostly souvenirs of their show. Calendars, mugs, magnets etc. Very few picked items for sale. What you see on the show is what's on the shelves. Frank has an actual antique like store with things for sale. It's on the Illinois side of the river, and further north in Savanna.
Not surprising, I'm no fan of these guys in general, tv shows and huge resources strip mining the country, world , etc.

Look at the muscle car sink hole, $100 of 1000's for ones now that only cost a few $1000 when new.

We need to be glad they haven't targeted our stuff yet, if you're on their radar you may never find a good deal ever again.
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Old 11-08-20, 07:30 PM
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I’ve never met the man but he seems more about the history and importance of the bicycles he acquires, not the dollar amount they are. Yes, he sells stuff but the bicycles in his care, he knows.
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Old 11-08-20, 08:13 PM
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One of the few shows I miss since I cut the cord years ago.
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Old 11-08-20, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
One of the few shows I miss since I cut the cord years ago.
+1, same here. Dang screens these days are so HUGE they make me nauseated, literally.
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Old 11-08-20, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
One of the few shows I miss since I cut the cord years ago.
Still buying gas signs and oil cans. You haven't missed anything new.
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Old 11-09-20, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Not surprising, I'm no fan of these guys in general, tv shows and huge resources strip mining the country, world , etc.

Look at the muscle car sink hole, $100 of 1000's for ones now that only cost a few $1000 when new.

We need to be glad they haven't targeted our stuff yet, if you're on their radar you may never find a good deal ever again.
Perhaps consider the early '00s a perfect storm of things. The neo-retro styling theme for cars was created, and was met with great success. TV shows, a generational (Boomer) interest coupled with the now-available funds to cash in or make a go of getting that high school dream car, etc. You're of or very near that generation, so you can relate directly, or at least understand. I personally can't stand the Barrett Jackson auctions and their kind. I have no interest in watching cars go up for auction that are pushed up to the stand and not driven up to it in addition to the crazy prices. It isn't even the Pebble Beach Concours!

Don't worry about cars from or near my (Millennial) generation staying cheap, because all the ones I really like are already going up or have hit sky-high numbers (Acura NSX, Integra Type-R, Civic Si, Celica GT-4, 3000GT VR-4, 300ZX TT, 2JZ Supra TT, FD RX-7, BMW E30 M3, etc). The tentacles of the collector car scene know no bounds! Prices of normal used cars, thanks to this year, are up. Especially trucks. It's pretty baffling. I looked at a number of them early this year as part of my wide-ranging next-vehicle search, and it was frustrating. I don't drive a ton (and definitely not for work), so an older '80s/'90s truck would have been fun, or even something from the 2000s. But no, crazy money everywhere, and for trucks in not as nice a shape as they should have been (or with decent miles). So I bought a car and got a ton of reliable and very nice car for a respectable amount.

As this relates to bikes, the next wave of C&V will be the '90s and of course the early '00s. Titanium, heat treated Reynolds, scandium, and carbon will be things that people will pick up. Schwinn Homegrown bikes, that era of custom builder, etc. For me, personally, as a tall guy, no one during this era made anything in my desired frame size (ok, aside from the occasional 66cm Cannondale). That died in the '80s over here (but not in the Netherlands and Koga-Miyata!). And really, if things get crazy expensive for a bike in my size, then they come right up to, or surpass, the price of a custom frame. Guess what I'm buying? This is where bikes are really nice (vs. cars)--price thresholds come more rapidly, and cheaply!

Prices ebb and flow with interest and market demand (usually, right??). Will people care for '60s and '70s muscle cars et al in 20-30 years like people have cared for Duesenbergs, Auburns, Cords, and Packards from the Depression era? I like all those old cars, and I think a lot of those old bikes are neat. None of those cars or bikes are of any practical value to me as their modern counterparts--including what I drive--are vastly superior in many ways, and for muuuuuch less money; so you won't find me inflating those market bubbles. [And no, I am not advocating for those things to be forgotten or destroyed. History is important.]

In the end, I think this is one part inevitable, and one part not a big deal. We all still have the bikes we ride, so in that regard, there's nothing to worry about.
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