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PLERR

Finally riding a big boys bike
A pile of verbiage, a pile of bikes, a pile of opinions and facts, and almost certainly a few piles of other odoriferous things once all is said and done.

The reason for the post is this; I wanted to share some things that relate to the conversation started in the Memory Lane post about what I’ll refer to as the “200 bike buy” and create a space to talk about it.

A few items before we begin:

I make no apologies for being wordy. If you’re going to take the time to reply, please take the time to read the post in its entirety.

When I joined the CABE I promised myself I wouldn’t wade into any controversy. Be a Bob Ross of the forum, happy little posts. Not that I think this is all that controversial, but the topic does open the door to it. After this I’m going back to being Bob Ross-y.

I think this is a valuable discussion. Let’s focus on articulating our personal philosophies as they relate to the topic. Catfish uses the quote “promote what you love, don’t bash what you hate” in his signature. In taking the time to write this I’m expanding on something that has meaning to me not just in bike collecting, but also in life. It’s my hope to promote a positive ideal. But the reality is in doing so I have to illuminate the bad.

I primarily want to cover two things as they relate to topic at hand:
  • The idea of ownership
  • The ethics of collecting
Here we go…

Soak this one up – just because you bought it doesn’t mean you own it.

Just what the flying fig do I mean by that? I’ll explain it by illustrating a continuum with two anchor points: two polar examples, both intentionally extreme. If you use examples that are too close to the subject at hand it only muddies the waters. Best to find two distant examples, as far apart as practicable; connect those two points creating a continuum; then discuss at what point on the line to insert your question/subject/debate. It helps you understand where your question lies in the bigger picture. It informs you about where to draw ‘The Line.’

Anchor one. It is a well-established truism in the world of fine art that no one person or entity can own a great work of art. When you ‘buy’ something at that level you’re not securing ownership, you’re paying for the privilege of temporary stewardship.

Stewardship: The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.

Let’s say you bought The Scream by Edvard Munch. Good for you! You paid $120 million for it in 2012. You own it, right? And if you own it you can do whatever you want to it, right? Maybe you did the math and realized that if you cut it up into small enough pieces and sold each piece for enough money you could turn a profit. It’s yours so no one can tell you what to do, right?

Wrong. It is most certainly not yours and you have no right to harm it or alter it in any way. As a great work of art it has an intrinsic value to all of mankind. What you ‘bought’ was a very real responsibility to care for that item until you (or your estate) ultimately passes it on to the next steward.

It has to be this way. You can’t have some f-knuckle buy The Scream and decide he’s so rich he can use it as his doormat. Humanity loses. So society needs to put protections in place to ensure it survives for all time. So it survives for future generations to appreciate.

An extreme example, but it helps to illustrate the point. Anchor one secured.

Anchor two. At the other end we’ll use something of mine. I still have all of my Tonka trucks from my childhood. The big ones with the sharp edges. I was raised to care for my things, so they’re all in good shape. Played with, loved, but still nice. I’ll select the chartreuse 2-axle dump. Man, I love that truck. Still makes me smile when I see it.

How many of those do you figure they stamped out back then? 5,000? 15,000? 50,000? I really have no idea. How many are left? As I write this there are 19 on FeeBay. Is it as culturally significant as The Scream? Am I the owner or a steward? At this end of the continuum it’s debatable.

Anchor two secured. Now draw an imaginary line between those two points: a used toy truck and a fine work of art. That’s the continuum we’ll use to decide where our question lies.

So where exactly do we draw The Line? The line that separates stewardship and ownership. The line that separates the culturally significant from the merely collectible. Maybe there is no line? And where do we put the question at hand? That being the pile of 200 bikes. Or if you prefer, use one of your own bikes. Or my oh-so-minty collegiate green 1971 Schwinn Breeze. Or the recently famous ’39 Monark Airman. Where do they fall? As objectively as you can try to determine how important each one is and where it falls on the continuum. Not to you personally, but to all of us. Remember, having any number of folks who don’t appreciate a certain thing doesn’t diminish its objective value.

The second bullet is mercifully brief, but it’s important to mention so you all know where I was coming from in my initial statements.

My ethic as a collector says I’m the steward of all I possess. I have a responsibility to care for it all and try to leave it better than when I found it - or at least do no harm. It all survived this long and made it this far. To me, to not care for something in my possession is to dismiss out of hand all the effort that brought it to this place. To me, to be a collector means to be a steward.

In conclusion

So with that in mind I’d like to bring it back to the original subject: the pile of bikes. What I saw when I first viewed the picture of the pile of bikes and what I felt when I learned of how the deal went down was this: disrespect.

Someone, maybe many people, cared for those bikes enough that they made it to 2021. Someone found them and kept them in their garage or shed out of harms way. Someone (maybe) laid a packing blanket over them and brought them to the meet. Then someone else bought them, added them to a pile of bikes waist high and then made an even bigger pile on the back of a truck that will smash and grind everything together over a road trip of 1,000 miles or more.

I’m not a high dollar collector. Of bikes or anything else. In some of your eyes those bikes may be the bottom rung of the ladder and not worth your time or effort, but to others, myself included, they may have been an opportunity to start building a bike that could not be afforded otherwise. To blow through a meet like that and buy up every low dollar bike is disrespectful to all of the average Joe collectors like me.

It reminds me of the used book sale at my local library when the book resellers shove their way in when the doors open and with handheld scanners create a zone offence and suck up every book of value. The library is right to want to stop it, the patrons are right to hate it, but we’re powerless to do so.

Here’s the crux of the biscuit and I will not apologize for saying this. That is not collecting and it is not ethical. It’s disrespectful to the hobby and all who participate in it. There is no denying that those bikes are now in worse condition. Whether that damage is significant or minor is a moot point. It flies in the face of stewardship and it saddens me. We live in sad days so really it’s just more of the same, but I haven’t yet had my ability to care about things like this stripped away. I haven’t yet lost the energy to express my concern.

Outro

I’ll finish with this. It’s a bit more directed than I said I would be, but must be. To those who say if I don’t like it get out my wallet or get off the couch and get to the show, I’d advise you to be a little more thoughtful with your words.

On a practical note, I simply don’t have the money some others have in their wallet. I can still care about this even though I don’t have the resources to do something about it.

And finally, I had planned on attending the meet but stayed home because my mother contracted a blood infection that went borderline sepsis and I was in the hospital with her every day for a week, supporting her, as I watched her kidney function slowly decline. She received good care and she was lucky this time. She was discharged today. Years ago I cared for her through her second bout with cancer and an event like this brings those days back in sharp releif. It’s scary and I’m tired. So please consider how those comments may land when you are unaware of what’s happening in other people’s lives.

And now…

1407163


E=-)
 
Last edited:

Superman1984

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
@PLERR I agree a lot with most of what you say but for example the painting; if I did indeed own say the Mona Lisa & decided I wanted to cut it up into 4" squares .... once it is my posession Nobody would stop me as I would just do it. I wouldn't ask for permission or acceptance. That is what happens here and a lot of times with hobbies. I think a lot of people here just buy to hoard, look at each bike as a potential profit, and or parts in the long run if they can't sell it whole. I believe if you have bikes piled up like that in a heap it is disrespectful to the hobby. I also believe and I will use some here as an example when you have so many bikes that are Really Gems just crammed into each other & they're never moved, ridden, and your wallet talks louder than someone who would Actually DO something with it vs just Store It that it does screw the hobby. Those feelings and opinions don't matter though. We don't own or steward those bikes & parts. I see quite a few who do their best to preserve history & in a way their hoarding has done that until they die or start Realistically Selling them to make room & continue to hoard 1 more+
 

tacochris

I live for the CABE
A pile of verbiage, a pile of bikes, a pile of opinions and facts, and almost certainly a few piles of other odoriferous things once all is said and done.

The reason for the post is this; I wanted to share some things that relate to the conversation started in the Memory Lane post about what I’ll refer to as the “200 bike buy” and create a space to talk about it.

A few items before we begin:

I make no apologies for being wordy. If you’re going to take the time to reply, please take the time to read the post in its entirety.

When I joined the CABE I promised myself I wouldn’t wade into any controversy. Be a Bob Ross of the forum, happy little posts. Not that I think this is all that controversial, but the topic does open the door to it. After this I’m going back to being Bob Ross-y.

I think this is a valuable discussion. Let’s focus on articulating our personal philosophies as they relate to the topic. Catfish uses the quote “promote what you love, don’t bash what you hate” in his signature. In taking the time to write this I’m expanding on something that has meaning to me not just in bike collecting, but also in life. It’s my hope to promote a positive ideal. But the reality is in doing so I have to illuminate the bad.

I primarily want to cover two things as they relate to topic at hand:
  • The idea of ownership
  • The ethics of collecting
Here we go…

Soak this one up – just because you bought it doesn’t mean you own it.

Just what the flying fig do I mean by that? I’ll explain it by illustrating a continuum with two anchor points: two polar examples, both intentionally extreme. If you use examples that are too close to the subject at hand it only muddies the waters. Best to find two distant examples, as far apart as practicable; connect those two points creating a continuum; then discuss at what point on the line to insert your question/subject/debate. It helps you understand where your question lies in the bigger picture. It informs you about where to draw ‘The Line.’

Anchor one. It is a well-established truism in the world of fine art that no one person or entity can own a great work of art. When you ‘buy’ something at that level you’re not securing ownership, you’re paying for the privilege of temporary stewardship.

Stewardship: The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.

Let’s say you bought The Scream by Edvard Munch. Good for you! You paid $120 million for it in 2012. You own it, right? And if you own it you can do whatever you want to it, right? Maybe you did the math and realized that if you cut it up into small enough pieces and sold each piece for enough money you could turn a profit. It’s yours so no one can tell you what to do, right?

Wrong. It is most certainly not yours and you have no right to harm it or alter it in any way. As a great work of art it has an intrinsic value to all of mankind. What you ‘bought’ was a very real responsibility to care for that item until you (or your estate) ultimately passes it on to the next steward.

It has to be this way. You can’t have some f-knuckle buy The Scream and decide he’s so rich he can use it as his doormat. Humanity loses. So society needs to put protections in place to ensure it survives for all time. So it survives for future generations to appreciate.

An extreme example, but it helps to illustrate the point. Anchor one secured.

Anchor two. At the other end we’ll use something of mine. I still have all of my Tonka trucks from my childhood. The big ones with the sharp edges. I was raised to care for my things, so they’re all in good shape. Played with, loved, but still nice. I’ll select the chartreuse 2-axle dump. Man, I love that truck. Still makes me smile when I see it.

How many of those do you figure they stamped out back then? 5,000? 15,000? 50,000? I really have no idea. How many are left? As I write this there are 19 on FeeBay. Is it as culturally significant as The Scream? Am I the owner or a steward? At this end of the continuum it’s debatable.

Anchor two secured. Now draw an imaginary line between those two points: a used toy truck and a fine work of art. That’s the continuum we’ll use to decide where our question lies.

So where exactly do we draw The Line? The line that separates stewardship and ownership. The line that separates the culturally significant from the merely collectible. Maybe there is no line? And where do we put the question at hand? That being the pile of 200 bikes. Or if you prefer, use one of your own bikes. Or my oh-so-minty collegiate green 1971 Schwinn Breeze. Or the recently famous ’39 Monark Airman. Where do they fall? As objectively as you can try to determine how important each one is and where it falls on the continuum. Not to you personally, but to all of us. Remember, having any number of folks who don’t appreciate a certain thing doesn’t diminish its objective value.

The second bullet is mercifully brief, but it’s important to mention so you all know where I was coming from in my initial statements.

My ethic as a collector says I’m the steward of all I possess. I have a responsibility to care for it all and try to leave it better than when I found it - or at least do no harm. It all survived this long and made it this far. To me, to not care for something in my possession is to dismiss out of hand all the effort that brought it to this place. To me, to be a collector means to be a steward.

In conclusion

So with that in mind I’d like to bring it back to the original subject: the pile of bikes. What I saw when I first viewed the picture of the pile of bikes and what I felt when I learned of how the deal went down was this: disrespect.

Someone, maybe many people, cared for those bikes enough that they made it to 2021. Someone found them and kept them in their garage or shed out of harms way. Someone (maybe) laid a packing blanket over them and brought them to the meet. Then someone else bought them, added them to a pile of bikes waist high and then made an even bigger pile on the back of a truck that will smash and grind everything together over a road trip of 1,000 miles or more.

I’m not a high dollar collector. Of bikes or anything else. In some of your eyes those bikes may be the bottom rung of the ladder and not worth your time or effort, but to others, myself included, they may have been an opportunity to start building a bike that could not be afforded otherwise. To blow through a meet like that and buy up every low dollar bike is disrespectful to all of the average Joe collectors like me.

It reminds me of the used book sale at my local library when the book resellers shove their way in when the doors open and with handheld scanners create a zone offence and suck up every book of value. The library is right to want to stop it, the patrons are right to hate it, but we’re powerless to do so.

Here’s the crux of the biscuit and I will not apologize for saying this. That is not collecting and it is not ethical. It’s disrespectful to the hobby and all who participate in it. There is no denying that those bikes are now in worse condition. Whether that damage is significant or minor is a moot point. It flies in the face of stewardship and it saddens me. We live in sad days so really it’s just more of the same, but I haven’t yet had my ability to care about things like this stripped away. I haven’t yet lost the energy to express my concern.

Outro

I’ll finish with this. It’s a bit more directed than I said I would be, but must be. To those who say if I don’t like it get out my wallet or get off the couch and get to the show, I’d advise you to be a little more thoughtful with your words.

On a practical note, I simply don’t have the money some others have in their wallet. I can still care about this even though I don’t have the resources to do something about it.

And finally, I had planned on attending the meet but stayed home because my mother contracted a blood infection that went borderline sepsis and I was in the hospital with her every day for a week, supporting her, as I watched her kidney function slowly decline. She received good care and she was lucky this time. She was discharged today. Years ago I cared for her through her second bout with cancer and an event like this brings those days back in sharp releif. It’s scary and I’m tired. So please consider how those comments may land when you are unaware of what’s happening in other people’s lives.

And now…

View attachment 1407163

E=-)
Since you went to the eloquent trouble of mentioning it, i will put my neck on the line and say, I agree 100% but rarely say it because i, like you, try to maintain Bob Ross posts as well because, at the end of the day, i dont have time to argue a point i dont plan on bending on.
My bikes are so many things to me, family members, art, history, beauty, time travel, therapy...etc etc. Im obsessed with history and the past, collecting, saving and rescuing little pieces of amazing things people once loved and making them last another 20 years or more. Leaving things better than when i found it and giving old bikes the dignity they lost along the way. Im extremely passionate about my collection and everyone that meets me knows it. I am a purist in just about every sense of the word and will build a bike back to correct at all costs even if it means it will sit untouched for years till every piece comes along.
....over the years ive had to accept that most people dont feel like I do and arguing doesnt change them or do any good, so i try to be the one who shows up with the money first and save every single one i can to save it from the vultures.
It was never about money to me, hell i build the roughest bikes out there....it only takes a few pages in my Cycle Truck thread to see that the well of passion in my soul is of a different breed.
Seeing old bikes abused hurts my soul, but at least the ones in my collection will never hurt a day as long as I have them. Best i can do i guess...
 

twday

Look Ma, No Hands!
I think I will wade into this discussion. I believe that the things I buy, trade or barter for are mine. A valuable piece of art such as The Scream or a much, much, much less valuable pencil. And I believe as I am the sole owner I have the right to do whatever I want to do with that item. Show it, sell it, hide it or destroy it. I own it. That said, I do have the the understanding that if I don't protect the item that I buy I am not only a bad steward but I am also a fool. My investment in the item, whether it is The Scream or the pencil must be protected to maintain it's value. This is where it gets sticky. It all comes down to the RARITY of the item. The Scream is 1 of 1. The pencil is of course 1 of 10,000,000 or more. Or is it. What if this pencil was the prototype of the first wooden lead pencil. Now the rarity of the item changes the dynamics.

So, RARITY determines the VALUE of any item.

If this pile of bikes contains one or two or more rare bicycles, then the OWNER is a bad steward and a fool and could be described as selfish. If it has no rare or valuable bicycles in the pile, the OWNER is a junk dealer as the value of this pile is no greater than what the scrap yard would pay you for the steel. But nevertheless he is the owner.
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
I think I will wade into this discussion. I believe that the things I buy, trade or barter for are mine. A valuable piece of art such as The Scream or a much, much, much less valuable pencil. And I believe as I am the sole owner I have the right to do whatever I want to do with that item. Show it, sell it, hide it or destroy it. I own it. That said, I do have the the understanding that if I don't protect the item that I buy I am not only a bad steward but I am also a fool. My investment in the item, whether it is The Scream or the pencil must be protected to maintain it's value. This is where it gets sticky. It all comes down to the RARITY of the item. The Scream is 1 of 1. The pencil is of course 1 of 10,000,000 or more. Or is it. What if this pencil was the prototype of the first wooden lead pencil. Now the rarity of the item changes the dynamics.

So, RARITY determines the VALUE of any item.

If this pile of bikes contains one or two or more rare bicycles, then the OWNER is a bad steward and a fool and could be described as selfish. If it has no rare or valuable bicycles in the pile, the OWNER is a junk dealer as the value of this pile is no greater than what the scrap yard would pay you for the steel. But nevertheless he is the owner.
I disagree with the rare=valuable part. An item must have demand to have value. There are a lot of rare bikes that people wouldn't give $100 for while there are others where many exist, but a lot of people want, that are very expensive. V/r Shawn
 
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