Posted by Editor on 11/26/14
We are out in Vancouver for the Junior/Cadet track Nationals, and stop by for a visit with the guys at Rocky Mountain Bicycles. Former national champion and Olympian Andreas 'Dre' Hestler and I are looking at older bikes and reminiscing about the past (as usually happens), when he suddenly says "You have got to see Steve's bike museum". So he makes a call, his friend Steve is home and says come on over.
Anyone who has been in the sport for a length of time has likely amassed a collection of old stuff that you don't use anymore but are unwilling to pitch. Maybe (admit it) you have always thought that at some point you will resurrect and display it. However, if you are like most of us, it never quite happens.
Steve Mitchell with his collection
Steve Mitchell is the guy who did make it happen. A mountain biker since the late-80s, Mitchell had a collection of stuff that was his old castoffs, plus items he rescued from the rubbish heap at various shops he worked in, always with an idea that someday he would put together a display.
That day finally arrived when he and his wife finally bought a house in North Vancouver, and he took over most of the basement for his project.
The bikes are roughly arranged from oldest to newer
While not curated in the traditional sense, Steve's collection of mountain bike memorabilia is impressive, particularly on the Canadian side, with Rockys, Brodies, Balfa, Oryx, etc., all there, and in remarkably good condition.
Some of the odd ball items include bikes from the early days of suspension technology, including Proflex, a Klein Mantis, a prototype Brodie, and a number of truly bizarre suspension forks (most of which, I'm sad to say, I have ridden at one time or another...). One of his prouder builds is a full Campagnolo Euclid group on a Ritchey (so heavy and durable it will still be around when everything else has turned to dust...)
One of the early mass production suspension bikes - the Proflex
The first Klein full suspension model
A Paul Brodie suspension prototype
A steel Off Road Toad
A collection of early forks
The DH section
"I saw this stuff getting dumped, and felt that it should be preserved," explained Mitchell. While he doesn't get into bidding wars, he does watch for interesting stuff that comes up in local classifieds, plus others in the mountain biking community know that rather than chucking their old stuff to bring it to Steve.
"We all know that Steve is the guy to give stuff to," explains Dre. "It's cool to see everything he has."
Mitchell still has a a few items high on his wish list, including the late, and unlamented Slingshot full suspension bike out of the U.S. (of which I will say only ... it did not fall apart when I rode it).
So, if you have some old mountain bike kit gathering dust in a corner, Steve Mitchell might be interested.
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