Back in the day, I was a serious road cyclist and spent more time in the saddle than I did at work or school. Raced with a team (mostly criteriums) and was a huge bike nerd.
One of the places we would hang out was Jack’s Bicycle Shop – a tiny one man store/shop in a converted detached garage in Bay City.
It didn’t look like much from the outside (you couldn’t even see it from the road) but inside was top of the line gear and the most knowledgeable cyclist I’ve ever met, Jack.
Jack was in his 60’s during the 80’s when my friends and I hung out at the shop. It was a true cornucopia of elite parts and bikes, things we could only see in magazines or watching the pros race. (This was well before the internet and Google). Not only could we see and touch the stuff of dreams, but Jack was also happy to share his knowledge and experience. He happily taught us mechanical skills, made recommendations for gear, and always let us try stuff out. He was an incredible ambassador for the sport, and we admired him greatly. My best cycling memories were hanging out a Jack's shop, and I still have most of the equipment I purchased from him.
Jack passed away in 2011 and the original shop closed many years ago, but Jacks Bicycle Shop still lives on at a new location, owned and operated by his grandson. I stopped in the other day as I needed a freewheel pulled and did not have the right tool for the job, and it gave me a reason to finally visit the new place. I expected the store to be "Jack’s" in name only, but I was pleasantly surprised to be very, very wrong.
While the shop now is mostly MTB and fat tire bikes – there were some genuinely beautiful bikes from the original shop there. They were mounted high on the walls near the ceiling, and it really took me back. These were the bikes and components I lusted after (and eventually rode) back in my youth. These exact bikes. I remember them like old friends I haven’t seen in years, but still recognized them instantly.
Dura Ace Equipped Cesare with Columbus tubing (I believe). With a UNI disc! (I had one of these (UNI) , now super rare - wish I had held on to mine)
Campagnolo Super Record Equipped Univega Super Special
This absolutely gorgeous Poglighi with custom made Galli (Campagnolo SR copy) gold grouppo My best friend and teammate raced this same frameset with a different (read cheaper) component set.
A beautiful Fuji with chromed lug work and I believe the "original" (first issue, with "Crane" logo rear derailleur) Dura Ace components.
Jack's was an authorized Univega dealer, and he carried their best. A Reynolds tubed Super Strada with a Dura Ace groupset.
Ok, this Klein wasn't there back in the day, but I had to get a shot of it as this is one of the few sets of Spinergy Rev X's I've seen besides my own. And converted to a single speed, as I have with my set too. I also have the bull horn bars and same brake levers, though mine are non-aero.
It was quite the trip down memory lane. I spent almost an hour just looking though all of the old stuff, didn't even more than glance at the new bikes for sale. I am so happy Jack's grandson has preserved the feel of the old shop, there were even some of the same posters on the walls (should have gotten some pics of those too) .
You are sorely missed Jack, but your legacy lives on. Thank you for everything.