Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hello....My Name is Mark....and I Am a Packrat

Best I can recall, it began when I was 9 or 10 and I started collecting baseball cards. Every week or so, I'd ride my bike to the 7-Eleven and buy a couple of packs. For a dime each, I got ten cards and that hard flat delicious stick of bubble gum.

My favorite team was the Oakland A's and one of my first memories of sports on TV is of the A's in the playoffs and world series. Sal Bando was my favorite player. He was their 3rd baseman, and I thought he was very cool.

[momentary pause while looking through saved baseball cards, finding Sal Bando, scanning into jpeg, and lo and behold, uploding to blogger]

I have a shoebox stuffed full of baseball cards from the 70's. I once gave them to my little brother, but then took them back a year later. Since leaving home, they've come with me to each place I've lived, which must be near ten different places. I really don't feel too bad about that because they don't take much space, the box stacks nicely, and who knows, they might actually be worth something someday.

That reasoning doesn't work as well for another collection of things that has followed me around through the years. Levi's jeans. 501s, 550s, 505s...straight leg, boot cut, relaxed, gray, tan, black. You name it, I still got it. Seriously, there's a stack of 50 pairs of Levi's in my closet. Some date back to my late teenage years, perhaps even to the 70's. Gina begs me to get rid of them, but I can't do it. Maybe someday I'll try to sell them on Ebay.

Where am I going with this...?

It rained all weekend long so I didn't ride outside. I would have hopped on the rollers on Saturday, but my bike room in the garage was a disaster. No room for roller riding. Here's what it looked like:

There are piles of stuff that I dumped out of the car after getting back from Mt. Hood seven months ago, and haven't touched since. But honestly, those items are like archeological yesterday compared to some of the other stuff in the garage. In other words, once I started digging down below the surface of the piles, I started finding older and older stuff, eventually reaching strata with some relics from... you guessed it... the 70's.

Take a look at some of what I found. Some of these things have never been used. Why would I save glasses won in primes for 10 or 15 years? They were probably out of style then, which is why some bike shop(s) donated them to a race! There are various items I was given by teams but never used. It seemed tacky to turn around and sell them. If you look closely, you'll see a pair of Adidas Eddy Merckx shoes with hard leather soles on which you would nail cleats. Someday I may become a retro grouch, so I cannot get rid of those shoes.

I uncovered a collection of parts that show a nice continuous history of the progression from 5-speed clusters through today's 10-speed cassettes. Below you will also see 10 Time pedals and 9 speedplay pedals. BTW, an hour after I took this picture, I found another box of parts with a few more pairs of pedals, brake calipers, and cranks.

Even I am puzzled at times as to why I save so many inner-tubes and tires. I do occasionally patch tubes, but usually I just throw them onto the pile. And most of these tires have plenty of tread left. I'm proud to say that there is nothing from last century in the picture below. That's because a couple of years ago, I tossed a massive quantity of tires I had saved for decades, including some Clement Criterium Seta Extras (green label) that I used as a junior in the, errr, 70's.

But to my mind, the collection of wheels takes the cake for pack-rattieness. And this *does* include some vintage relics, such as my Campy Record hi-flange 36-hole tubular wheels from the 70's. But you know what? Some semi-chrome polish would spiff those things right up and no doubt some collector would be interested in them. I can't throw them away.


TnA said...

Hey...from a fellow packrat, if you're interested, I could probably use a few of those things in your piles. That one tubular wheel I have could use a new tire. Maybe we could glue it on and do some RR testing on curing glue? ;-)

Hey...why no mention of the old race bikes stashed in the attic? I'll also bet you've got a ton of old jerseys stashed away next to your Levis.

I think we need to organize a "retro day" for one of the Sunday rides. I'll break out the purple Bianchi with the Mavic clipless pedals and gripshifts...and you can put something together with your Campy wheels and Adidas shoes!

Oh yeah...Sal Bando rocks! He was the Brewer's third baseman when they went to the WS in '82. I think he's still involved with the MKE organization.

Anonymous said...

Mark - your collection is worth thousands. Over the years I've unloaded similar collections (not of baseball cards & cycling stuff, but of comic books and Nike product). For me it's actually much more satisfying to see the $$ in the bank than the clutter in the garage. Entertaining post...

Marco Fanelli said...


After I complete the entire cleaning process, and have an inventory of all the junk, then let's see what I can part with. I have 16 good-condition sew-ups that all hold air and have a lot of tread. No reasonable offer refused.

Re the bikes in attic... first the bike room, then on to the full garage!

Re "retro day"... I don't know, that would be too much admission of how old and how pack-rattie we are. But you are right about the old jerseys! E.g., I still have a 1979 Palo Alto Bicycles jersey. The was "The Team" in NorCal at the time, and it boasts some serious luminaries in the cycling world. BTW, I keep hearing about the annual "Dinosaur Ride" in Berkeley and how much fun it is.

Anonymous: which collection is worth thousands--BB cards, Levi's, or bike crap?? Seriously, I doubt any of it is worth much. Especially the cards. I was one of those kids that played with them, so they're all dog-eared and stuff. I used to hear about people selling Levi's in Russia, but now I see them going for $5 per pair on Ebay. Bike crap is just crap--not worth much at all.

Croykey said...

Dude, - "OCD" is all I can say. Nice stuff though. I bet Mountain Man wouldn't mind having some of it.

Marco Fanelli said...


OCD, ADD, PMS... Guilty as charged!

Re Mountain Man: for the most part, all his stuff is better than my junk. Perhaps he'd want some tires though.

Druber said...

Mark, I was anonymous; forgot to put my name in the appropriate box. Really old Levis can still pull in good money in Japan. The baseball cards, if they are dog eared won't be worth much. Bike stuff, though, is priceless. There is an unbelievable community of geeks longing for down tube shifters and Nuovo Record cable guides. is a window into this world. It's amazing.

stevem said...

Hey Mark, I collect yakima racks, but I want to unload one. it would fit great on your sienna. Actually, I bought it from Gary M, as I wanted the kayak stackers and he wanted to sell me the whole package. how bout we deal?

Marco Fanelli said...

That might work, except that the sienna already has a stock roof rack. I need to check on bike attachments.

Anonymous said...


When you're done clean-sweeping your garage, perhaps you could come inspire your little brother to do the same?

Marco Fanelli said...

> When you're done clean-sweeping
> your garage, perhaps you could
> come inspire your little brother
> to do the same?

Are you kidding?? Haven't you seen our parents' garage? Having a messy garage is in our genetic coding. I'm not messing with that!