Monday in Oro Valley, AZ dawned partly cloudy, kind of chilly and a good day to make a day trip to Bisbee, in the southeast corner of the state. I had heard this was a worthwhile daytrip and only 90 minutes away. Back in the early 1900's, Bisbee was the most populated city between St. Louis and San Francisco due primarily to the mining of copper. The two large copper mines were shut down around 2008 but likely will be reopened next year. Freeport McMoran has mineral rights to a huge swath of land and with the rise in commodity prices, including copper, it now makes economic sense to do so. The locals, cheer the prospect and the jobs that will return. In the meantime, the town is kind of a bohemian subculture of artists and musicians catering to the tourist trade with dozens of Victorian style homes dotting the steep hillsides.
OK, so worked our way through countless galleries, shops featuring pottery, leather, copper items, art, all made by locals, walked through old hotels, ate lunch at an ancient place that had great hamburgers and then.....wow, a bike shop and quite an unusual one at that!
The owner, opens the place only on Saturdays and Sundays, other times by appointment but we happened to find him at the shop and he let us in. Early in the conversation he is quick to let you know he is wealthy and works when he wants while collecting valuable bikes. I'm not knowledgeable at collectible bikes but he rattled off many names, only 2-3 are in the US, he could sell this one for "X", that one for "Y", Lemond rode this one, this one is a rare fixed gear 3-speed that operates at full gear, 25% less and 50% less, etc.. Probably think the guy was obnoxious but no, he delivers all this in such a manner that I could bear it but he also never shuts up. Loquacious he is not.
He also collects frames and cycling memorabilia. Never been in a shop like this before and he could care less about selling anything. One path around the perimeter just inside the counters and that is the extent of the allowable movement. He asked if I wanted to see a special frame in his workshop (really more like a dungeon) and I said yes but the uniqueness of the frame was lost on me. Something about a frame that is both a road and mountain or road and something that is very rare.
Oh yeah, had to buy his proprietary T-shirt.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.