We're back here in EUROPE, and we're back as Renaissance Cycle! We're back with a smaller offering, but with a nicer web store. Unlike the earlier site, we'll have lots of spares to offer! In fact, this was our intention with the older on-line store Renaissance Cycles. But we found out and learned that at the time there were lots of boxed GOODIES to be had, so we took that route. Then came the fire on November 20, 2000 with the loss of a lot of inventory. You can imagine this was a major blow and a hard one to swallow.
This site is a work in progress, so it will be lacking here and there. We appreciate your patience as we plug along. Lots of good things will be happening.
Our Start !
A new found Candy store for Bicycle Stuff!
When many thought it was junk filling their shelves we thought other!
It was the winter of 1985! My first trip to HOLLAND and I really didn't know what to expect: Wooden shoes, great looking women and so on! Anyway, I was here to visit my girlfriend and she showed me around the country. At the time I was already into older bike stuff, so one day she took me to a bicycle shop. It was winter and it was very cold, we walked into the bike shop and we were the only ones there! First, I took a look at the frame sets, I asked about the price and the shop owner signed by chopping his hand meaning HALF price! Anyway we took down a bunch of frames, a mix of new and 2nd hand ones! There were about 15-plus framesets that I wanted. I then asked the owner if in case I took them all, what would be the price? He looked at my girlfriend and said: "He's smart!". He then did the chopping sign once again, HALF PRICE Again! So, I took them all! I took all of their older components as well. I wasn't finished yet, I took a look at the long showcase of NOS local team JERSEY's and so on. There were roughly 200 plus pieces. The price was 5 Dutch guilders. At the time this equaled to about $ 3.00 each! I then asked WHAT IF I TOOK THEM ALL! He looked at me and said 3 guilders per piece, I said DONE DEAL! As we we're loading up the bounty, I saw this EDDY MERCKX THE PRICE WAS REDUCED it was built up with a MIX of CAMPAGNOLO NUOVO / SUPER RECORD AND IT WAS MY SIZE! I looked at the seller and ask what about this RIG he did the chopping sign once again, OK! .... it's coming home with me!
He was a HAPPY MAN!
The one deal I should have jumped on with this same seller was the 1st Generation SUNTOUR SUPERBE GROUP sets which included SUNTOUR Handle Bar and stem along with FREEWHEELS and chains, 400 plus bulk packed group sets, the price WAS! >>> 400.00 DUTCH guilders which at the time was equivalent to $ 125.00 US! I said I'll be back later, I just got to HOLLAND and this was my first bicycle shop that I visited during this trip! I was thinking next time we'll deal on these group sets, but unfortunately, this never happened.
I think I dropped the ball on this one!
The ZEUS SUPER SER Buy!
It was roughly 2003 when we purchased the remaining ZEUS inventories from Henry Labadie. Henry Labadie was one of the team managers for LUIS OCANA and also the importer and distributor of ZEUS cycling gear for all of France. Before our acquisition for these inventories, we had two dry runs at trying to get to these inventories. The first try I was told by my contact, ROLAND, to come for a visit. He said: "They are waiting for you". So I make plans, fly down to Bordeaux for a visit to SUPER SER only to learn that the main player Henry wasn't there. He went on vacation! Anyway my friend Roland said: "We go to the other sellers: The crazy couple! ROLAND said! They sleep by the stocks you must liberate these stocks from the crazy couple!"
I told him: "You should deal these goods and you make the $$$, he answered:" No, no, no, I don't want to play in your backyard! That was very generous of him as of course this was his home turf. Back to the crazy couple. Roland told me: "They will be there until 5:00 pm So Roland is driving me there, avoiding the toll roads and we end up getting lost. We finally get there with 5 minutes to spare. Anyway the 'cat and mouse game' The lady from the crazy couple was showing the goods giving me prices here and there.As she was showing me, I was keeping my Poker Face on. Roland that I was the crazy one. I wasn't saying anything just looking at the goods ! I didn't know a lick of French!
On the second try for the ZEUS inventories Roland said: "Come again, the Zeus people: they will be there for you, Henry will be there. So I replied:" Ok, it's summer time, we'll rent a motor home and take the kids along, WRONG! We get there and Henry is not there again! This time he went hunting! So again, I (we!) Ended up with the crazy couple, the EVEREST Freewheel people. Of course we had another great buy from them. After business was done we were invited for dinner. Lots of goose, delicious baked French bread, fresh veggies from their French garden and plenty of cheap wine! We also had to deal with their dog Bruno, a sweet boxer walking around under the table while begging for food. All in all great French hospitality, even from Bruno! We then spent the night near the warehouse and the next day their son arrived with lots of goodies to look at! Anyway, we finished up the buy and proceeded to leave with our bounty! We stuffed every nook and cranny within the motor home. Even the shower stall was stuffed with bike stuff! Now we're ready to make a b-line for Holland! When making ready to leave we were going to turn left when driving out of the drive-way! But the old lady from the crazy couple pointed right and said: "Paris! ... Paris! So we took her advice, we had no clue! Driving through the French countryside at night with very little gas was not a nice feeling. Soon after we found gas, at about 2:00 am, we were passing through a small city and I told my wife to stop! I stuck my head out the window and said I can smell it! An old bicycle shop is nearby! I was convinced I smelled the smell of rubber and oiled soaked floors of a bicycle shop! I yelled! Yes! .. it's here! Soon after lights from people's homes were turning on! We were waking them up, so we got out of there real fast! Anyway after the 2nd dry run at the Zeus stocks I totally gave up on these sellers! Then one day back in Holland, the phone rang and it was them calling to see if we're still interested, I said no but my wife said: "They are ready to sell!" I said okay, I'm going to give them a low ball offer of 8,000 euros. Next, I hear my wife telling them: 7,500! I said while rolling my eyes! Yeah right! Now she's wheeling and dealing! I then heard her say: "They took the offer!" Three days later we we're on our way to pack up these inventories.
This was one of the most emotional buying trips that we will ever have, This was for all the bike stuff that was there, plus some. Several days later with roughly 10 pallets packed, I was talking to the son of Henry and one other French man. Before we knew it a hugh garbage bag came SLAMMING onto the floor right in the middle of the four of us! Then it started to pour garbage bags. I said, "What is this?". The son answered that this was also for you. There were roughly 30 plus GARBAGE SIZE bags of Zeus clothing being tossed out of a small upper room. I said okay: "So what's the extra cost?" Luckily for me, there was no extra cost, $$$ BONUS TIME! On that same day, I watched Henry, the owner. He was holding a saddle like he was holding a baby and stroking it as if he was petting a puppy. Then I saw the tears running down his face. I thought to myself: Oh no, this is like taking his children from him. He's had all this stuff for years and years and within a few days time it will be gone forever. I then said to him if there's items that he wanted to keep then it's okay. He didn't want to hear about it, but as the day went on, I was watching him now and then walking away with a few things here and there. He was piling it up in the restroom! I showed my wife and we agreed to let it go.Throughout several days while we were packing our truck, some of his old customers would come to visit the old stocks and also came to to say goodbye to these bicycle parts, I also watched a few of these old customers as they were hugging the packed pallets and giving them a good back rub like they were parting ways with an old friend. I said to my wife: "I don ' t know how much more of this I can take, this is really making me think twice about this buy! Since we had two dry runs at these stocks, just in case we had a back-up plan (the crazy couple) in place. Anyway we decided to stay the course for this ZEUS buy. Then there was the garage, My lead (Roland) for these ZEUS stocks told me to ask about the garage, something that I had no clue about. So I asked and they said: "Yes, we go and see". As it turns out it was part of their once bicycle shop. The doors opened and I said: "Oh, no ...! This was probably one of a few times that anybody had been in there for well over 20 years. The tools were still on the work bench, bikes in the stands and so on. It was like they went to lunch one day and forgot to go back to work for two decades. I said: "No way, I ' m not touching anything in there. I don't want any bad ju ... ju! They told me it was alright and it could go at no extra cost again. I agreed but told them I need to pay something for what I would take. I looked and found the campy spares and a good number of steel barrel hubsets: "I'll take Campagnolo spares, hubsets the Zeus poster and the empty work stand, the rest will stay where it is. After eight days and 20 plus pallets, we were done. We shared a drink, A few of their old customers were there as well waiting for 'the end' when it was all gone. Our final hours there were totally gut wrenching! The truck finally showed up, and it was time to load it all up. As I was driving the forklift with a loaded pallet, passing these old customers and friends, you could see them tearing up. They all knew the end was near. Soon after the truck was loaded, it was time to go. As the truck was driving away, the final goodbye was here and they all were crying and waving goodbye to the departing truck.
The Final Pack Leaving Holland 2005!
Two days before we were making ready to leave Holland for California, we were in the middle of packing up a 40 'container. All the pallets were just slipping into the container by a inch or two. Towards the end just past midnight it started to rain and the last few pallets were toooo TALL! Anyway, while the pallets were up in the air, somehow I made it up to the top of the pallet and started to jump up and down trying to down size the pallet so it would slide into the box. My wife was on the forklift and I told her: "Don't touch anything while I'm up here. One slip-up and it's over for me". The final night was balls to the walls! Across from the main warehouse which we were keeping as dry storage for my European stored inventories, we had a smaller warehouse which I was trying to clean out before we left. My wife was packing the last orders as I was driving the forklift back and fourth to our remaining warehouse, She would continuously give me an hourly up-date! At about 3:00 am she yelled: "We're F # CKED! You see 4 hours later we were to be off to he airport! Anyway, instead of finishing up to clean up the smaller warehouse we just slammed everything in there up against the walls. There were still orders that needed to be shipped, I emptied most of our luggage and filled it with our customers' orders, so we could ship from our new US address! We locked up the warehouse and next we rushed with our three kids to the airport to fly to California. We've had some crazy runs to acquire the goods you'll find on our website.We hope you'll enjoy them!