Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Story Of Guitar Ted: Staying In Touch

A Guitar Ted Productions series.
Welcome to a brand new series on G-Ted Productions! This series will jump off from the time where the "Race Against Death Tour" ended and will take you up to the beginnings of Trans Iowa in late 2004. This is an eight year period where my life was transformed. You could say it was metamorphosed from the old to something quite new.

This won't have a lot of bicycle stuff in it at times, but it is all essential to the story of "Guitar Ted". This isn't about where the name came from. That's all here. No, this is about the person. 
As with previous historical series on the blog, images will be a rarity. Cell phones, social media, and digital images were not available to take advantage of in those last days of analog living.

While I was now a car mechanic the bicycle stuff never let go of me. Here we find out how I was never that far away......

Staying In Touch: While working at Sherm's seemed like the death of my bicycling life, it wasn't to be. There were a couple of things that happened that ended up drawing me back, and a couple of things that happened that stuck with me for a long time afterward.

The first thing was that a customer of the old Advantage shop, Mark, had a road bike and he stayed in touch with me after the shop closed. He also was friends with Tom, the old owner of Advantage, who now was doing construction jobs and doing well, from all accounts. Tom never contacted me in any way after the closing of Advantage. Mark thought that was very strange. He also marveled at how I managed to handle the closing of Advantage and that I did not take advantage of Tom's situation, which I easily could have done.

Thinking about it, I did find it strange that Tom hadn't said anything, or even acknowledged my handling of affairs- good or bad- but whatever. Life was going on, and I could not look back. I did see Tom at the back of the old shop as I drove by one day, and I waved. He waved back.

Mark and I then started riding road bikes together on weekends. Short rides, and we'd almost always end up back at Mark's house for a beer or something. Mark told me that Tom had the shop's tools and stuff stored in a shed in Waterloo, not far from his house. He asked if I wanted anything from it. I said, well, yeah, but I didn't know what to ask for. It really wasn't my stuff anyway.

Well, then a day came when Mark said he was going to ask Tom what I should get out of the Advantage shop, because he thought I deserved something for my loyalty and for how I handled affairs at the end. Well, I was going to be satisfied with a screw driver, if that was all I got, because I felt I didn't really deserve a thing. However; apparently Mark was persuasive, and one day he told me that I needed to come over and get the tools I was gifted by Tom. It was an entire bike shop's worth of tools! Tom had three complete stations at Advantage, and I got one. The double arm Park stand and cutting tools, and wrenches.....everything. I was floored! It even included a Campy tool kit in a wooden box.

I set the stuff up in my basement and Ears, who I stayed in touch with after the bike shop was closed, helped me make a bench for my "bike shop" and we hauled it into the basement. It was a bench made from an 8ft section of bowling alley! It's pretty dang heavy, and I doubt it ever will come out of there!

The Campy tool kit I had little love, or use for. Troy, my old touring partner, co-worker at Advantage, and then owner of Bike Tech, learned about my having the kit. He knew what it was, of course, having seen it several times when he worked for Tom. So, he proposed a bargain. I ended up getting a roof rack system for the Accord Wagon, and a good bit of a 1996 Bontrager Race bike built up for it. So, that ended up becoming a pretty sweet deal, and I was all set to mountain bike anywhere with my Bonty and the Accord Wagon.

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