Thursday, April 28, 2011

Associate Collector - Part One

Scott worked at Specialized Bicycles throughout most of the 1980s.  The mountain bike was taking over the bike world, and Specialized led the way with the StumpJumper, in 1981.  Research and Development was huge, at the Big Red S.  "Innovate or Die" was the company motto.

While he was there, Scott saw the development of a number of iconic models (StumpJumper, Allez, RockHopper) and some not-so-iconic models (StreetStomper, RockCombo). 

In fact, Scott was mostly responsible for the StreetStomper model.  He pushed for its inclusion in the line, and even came up with the name.  It was, essentially, the same concept in 1988 as the Bridgestone CB series which came along in 1991.  And, it sold about as well.  Like the RockCombo, it was a one-year-only model.

Still, Scott was proud that he had actually gotten it into production.  And, he was proud to have been a part of the company while they were leading the bike industry into a new era.

A few years ago, Scott decided to try to collect one example of each of the bikes Specialized developed while he was there.  He already had quite a few, so he was filling in the holes. 

One day, shortly after Scott told me of his budding collection, I went to a yard sale.  Sitting to one side of the yard, covered in cobwebs and sitting on two flat tires, was a 1983 (I think) StumpJumper Sport.  This was the secondary Stumpy model, which ended up being re-named as the RockHopper, the next year.

I asked the yard-saler what she wanted for the bike.  I figured that if it was less than $100, I might be able to pick it up for Scott.

"I want a dollar for that," she said.

"One?  One dollar?" I asked, wondering if I had mis-heard her.

"Yeah.  It's so old, nobody in my family wants it.  I'd give it to you, but it is a yard sale, after all," she said, with a smile.

Impeccable logic.

So, I paid her the dollar, and wheeled the bike out to the truck.

Later, I dropped by the shop to see if Scott was there.  He was, so I rolled the bike in and showed it to him.

"Wow!  I wish I could find one of these," he said.  "I need it for my collection."

"I know," I told him.  "It's yours.  I bought it for you.  But, it was pretty expensive.  I'll need you to pay me back."

"How much was it?"

I thought his jaw was going to hit the floor when I told him I had spent a whole dollar on it.

So, Scott got one of the empty spots in his collection filled in.  And, I felt pretty good for finding it.

He never did pay back my dollar, though...


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