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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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10/30/2012 12:01:00 AM
The wheel deal: New free bicycle museum features free workstations, too
Joanna Dodder/The Daily Courier<br)
Dan Perry, left, and Keith Brown pose in front of their new Oldspokes Classic Bicycle Museum in Prescott. Brown is sitting on an old U.S. Postal Service carrier bike.
Joanna Dodder/The Daily Courier
Joanna Dodder/The Daily Courier
At left Keith Brown, left, and Dan Perry talk about some of the oldest bikes at their Oldspokes Classic Bicycle Museum in Prescott. The oldest is an 1897 Hercules, top left. A World War II paratrooper bike hangs at top right. In the middle back is a replica of a bike with a 48-inch wheel.
Joanna Dodder/The Daily Courier
At left Keith Brown, left, and Dan Perry talk about some of the oldest bikes at their Oldspokes Classic Bicycle Museum in Prescott. The oldest is an 1897 Hercules, top left. A World War II paratrooper bike hangs at top right. In the middle back is a replica of a bike with a 48-inch wheel.
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Any grown-up who opens the door to the Oldspokes Classic Bicycle Museum is sure to find a bike that produces a wave of nostalgia.

From the 1940s Monarchs to the 1970s BMX bikes, nearly 100 velocipedes in the museum span a century of riding for pleasure and work.

"It's nostalgic," co-owner Keith Brown said. "It's like going to an old car show."

Brown and Dan Perry opened the museum at 616 Miller Valley Rd. on Oct. 4, and they're inviting everyone to a grand opening from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday featuring hot dogs and burgers. Regular hours are 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday.

The museum has no entry fee.

"I'm not about that at all," Brown said. "This is a way for me to get the bikes out there so people can see this stuff."

Brown and Perry even invite fellow bike enthusiasts to use their workstations and tools for free.

"This was a dream I had, where people could bring their own bike and work on it," Brown said. He opened a bike barter and repair shop called Bike 2000 in 1997 but had to shut it down five years later because of finances. He's excited to have a fellow bike enthusiast with the same dream to help him this time around.

The two aren't aware of any other bike museums in the state or region, unless you count the All Bikes salvage yard in Rye.

"There's nothing else like it," Perry said.

"People that come in just love it," Brown added.

Perry met Brown when Brown sold him the first of six BMX cycles he's now purchased from Brown. Perry grew up with BMX bikes in the 1970s.

"I guess it's the beginning of my midlife crisis," Perry said.

Oldspokes also sells and trades classic bikes with other enthusiasts. Or people can donate them so volunteers can fix them up and give them to needy kids for Christmas.

The museum and store is staffed by Brown and other volunteers, who can earn credit toward the purchase of a classic bicycle by donating hours.

One room even features a record player and biking books so people can kick back in chairs.

The setup makes it clear that these guys love their bikes and really want to share them.

"It's the best thing man ever made," said Brown, 67, who has been collecting bikes for three decades. "It's so simple and you don't have to put gas in it."

Perry added, "It's like a machine you can do cool stuff with."

Even people who aren't that into bikes can enjoy the history and stories surrounding them.

There's one bike, for example, with a large metal guard on one side. JC Higgins designed it to keep women's skirts out of the spokes in the 1940s.

Bicycle memorabilia decorates the walls, from Dali's "Sentimental Colloquy" painting to idyllic 1950s Schwinn and Raleigh posters.

The oldest bike in the museum is an 1897 Hercules, which sports cherry wood handlebars and a kerosene lantern.

"No brakes," Brown said. "Early bikes didn't have brakes. They didn't even think about brakes."

Next to it is a replica of an early bike with a huge 48-inch wheel.

"They're easy to ride," Brown assures. "It's just the on and off part (that's tricky). And if you hit a pothole, you're in trouble."

Some of the more unusual bikes include a tiny WWII paratrooper bike that folds up; a custom Glendale Police Department bike with an elevated seat and steering wheel on top of an upside down cruiser frame; a Cyclo pedicab from Vietnam; a 1970s Globemaster side-by-side that features two bikes connected by a frame and basket; and a 1970 Moulton with tiny 16-inch wheels and full suspension.

"It's just a great ride, a commuter bike," Perry said.

Brown is always on the lookout for more bikes.

"I just miss the old stuff that was made in the United States that had character," Brown said.

Perry feels the same way, collecting only pre-1985 bikes.

"That's when we sold out to Taiwan," Perry said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: allen brown

Oldsopkes phone. .......928 266 6737

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Margaret Valabek

We have 2 Schwinn 10 speed Suburbans we bought in 1970 or 1972. They function but need cosmetic attention. We no longer ride but we are the original owners. We brought them here 12 years ago from Maryland. We'd be happy to bring them to Prescott. We live in Goodyear.
We couldn't find a phone number.

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Lesa West

I have a friend from Phoenix that saw your article and want to get in touch with you but we cannot find a phone number. Can you please email me your number so I can forward?
Thank you so much
Lesa West
New Life, na -- CPR & First Aid Training

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Article comment by: Awe Some

Thats awesome, good for you guys! Thanks for this article, I have driven by and wondered what it was. Can you donate any kind of bike?

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Article comment by: got my bike?

it HAD to be a Schwinn 5-speed stick-shift Stingray. Mine was gold, and I still remember spotting it that Christmas morning. My friend Greg wound up with a Huffy knock-off, and we all felt sorry for him. we tore up the neighborhood rode like the wind.

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