South Salem Cycleworks: Salem, Oregon
(503) 480-2001
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December 1, 2018: Life Just After Closing the Storefront

Shop owner Michael Wolfe was diagnosed with a recurrence of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in June. On these pages he has been chronicling both his treatment and his life on the bike and in the shop. While we don't have our shop on Liberty Road , we remain very much in the bike businees, with a giant inventory of vintage and modern components, frames and bikes available on-line.

Earlier Posts about riding, lymphoma therapy and the bicycle business

December 1, 2018:
While I still couldn’t drive, I went by the shop repeatedly, either on my way to my folks, to the hospital, or other errands. It was barren, though the overhead sign continued to advertise inventory closeout. The upper Cycleworks box continued to light up at night with the LED upgrade I’d won in a PGE contest the previous fall.

Empty shop

The lights would come on, but nobody was home.

I watched for signs of the roof repair in vain. I received numerous phone calls asking how much I wanted for the building, and when I contacted the previous landlord, he said that they were still working on negotiations with the realtor. It was a couple months before the realtor’s signs went up and the letters removed about the inventory reduction sale.

Shop Building for sale

The building did go up for sale.

With the help of Marilyn Monson, Brad Studt, Gary Schmidt, Nate Taylor, Bruce McIntosh and my brother-in-law, Jose Bailon, I began the process of making each of the storage unit I had leased usable, in terms of finding items. Personal items were scattered throughout the units, and while certain units were designated for selected inventory, there would be surprises. While it was frustrating, I could understand that unloading a late load of mixed inventory would have been a task of wanting to get it done and go home. I wanted to unload the small unit that I leased for a month, but until I organized at least one of the large units, there was no place to put the contents without adding additional chaos.

Storage chaos

Where to start amidst the chaos?

Storage chaos

Wait, there's more....

Not realizing the rent was past due on it one night led to Marilyn and me being locked in. Not knowing this, Paul, my stepfather, was on his way down with the pickup, and while I tried to call him, I didn’t succeed. He tried to get in, the code failed, and he followed another tenant in! We only got out because the other tenant allowed us to follow him out!

I ended up leasing another large unit, in order to start fresh. Jose built the wooden shelving for me on his weekends, while Marilyn and I bought more metal shelving and began re-organizing a unit. The shelves I’d bought earlier had been assembled upside down, using the brackets I’d made to stack them.


Marilyn in a unit before we started work on it.

 Metal shelves

The metal shelves

Merchandise shelved

Even with some shelves, the task was daunting.


Things began to get organized a bit.

Store closure

In the back are some of our hundreds of pairs of shoes.

Books and bottles

Just the books and bottles take up a lot of space.

Randy and Carol Brown assisted in the moving of the inventory to re-assemble the shelves, which was a daunting task. After assembling the final shelf at the doorway, we found that it was within just inches of fitting inside the unit. The thought of unloading all the shelves on that wall was overwhelming. Randy got a section of 4x4, placed it on the floor against the bottom of a shelf, and began to whale away with a sledge hammer. It was a success! Trying to decide what shelves to house which components, and trying to put items that I didn’t see of an immediate need on the highest, most difficult-to-reach, shelves took time. Emptying a unit at a time, and guessing which other units to divide the inventory into also took a lot of time.

Storing bikes

Getting the bike storage made was a lot of work.

Late night

Sometimes work went late into the night.

Strage progress

But progress did get made.


But there was still so much to put away.

A frameset inquiry came only after I’d stuffed the unit it was in with inventory from a unit we were re-constructing! To dig into it took the better part of a day, delaying the organization of the unit we’d been working on. It was while moving the inventory around that I discovered the dent in a Torelli Super Strada bike that we’d built. The dent had to have occurred while the shop was still open, as it looked as though the pedal of an adjoining bike had been the culprit. Most likely when the Super Strada was being replaced on its hook on the wall. A disappointing find for sure!

Torelli dent

The Housman line comes to mind, "With rue my heart is laden". A Super Strada has a small dent.

I spent nearly every day down there this summer (2018), working long hours, which wouldn’t have been possible without Marilyn's assistance. I couldn’t climb ladders at first, and Marilyn was uncomfortable with heights. I encouraged her, but only with safe precautions. She was pretty impressed with herself on more than one occasion!


It started to come together.


Marilyn way up there...


We tried to use every cubic inch.

We’d work until it felt like it was break time, or lunch, and wearing our bandanas due to the heat of summer, sit and have cherry seed spitting contests to see who could hit the drain outside.

Spitting cherry seeds

Trying to get some distance.

the goal

The goal

I’d usually bring iced lattes in thermoses, but I also had a cooler jug full of lemonade as well. The two of us couldn’t lift or move some of the heavier stuff, but a couple of young men in an adjoining unit were there frequently working on projects, and would eagerly pitch in if we asked. There was a 16’ shelf from the shop, 4’ wide, that had been stored high in one of the units. Marilyn and I could not see how we could get it down to use elsewhere. They leapt like antelopes up the shelves and got it down without difficulty. Initially, they seemed a little questionable with the tats and cigarettes, but we eventually came to fondly refer to them as “The Lost Boys”!

Storage unit

And the building continued, helped by more than a little java.

We also tried to guess why the nearby crane seemed to point at nearly every direction of the compass, changing almost daily. Did the wind push it around? One day I observed a large number of men on it and determined that it was being operated, as well as it having stairs inside it to access it, not an elevator.


The crane


It was huge.

The doors on most of the units were the type that rolled up, rather than your typical hinged garage doors. Some were exceptionally difficult to lift, and I got the manager to bring in Overhead Door to fix one. We were so pleased with the ease of opening the door, that I went back and asked if the others could be adjusted as well. He had them come back and adjust the other doors, and while they were there, Marilyn and I persuaded them to assist us in moving some heavy objects like the shop compressor. Marilyn referred to them as the Storage Unit Angels!

One afternoon, having found a good place for what was possibly my great-great grandfather’s wooden toolbox, I inspected the hand tools inside. Marilyn was riding that day, and I was at an impasse to continue organizing. The toolbox had sat against the North wall in the back of the shop, under the air compressor. It had sat on 2x4s off the ground and had a plastic bag over the top. But the leaky roof had penetrated the toolbox, rusting through one of the saws!

Rusty saw

The saw had seen better days.

God knows how many barns and sheds in the Midwest this toolbox had sat in without harm, only to sustain damage due to my neglect. I diligently removed the rust from all of the tools and oiled them before placing them back in the toolbox. The ownership of the bike shop hadn’t allowed me time to tend to much else, and this was only one example. I had respect for my shop tools, and I’m sure my ancestors had equally as much for theirs.

I still couldn’t drive, and Marilyn had driven a stick twenty-plus years ago, but having her move my Subaru up at the shop gave me doubts about her driving a stick outside of a parking lot. Paul brought me a load of lumber on the Honda van, and another time, we used the truck. After that, we repeatedly tied a couple of aluminum poles across the roof of Marilyn’s Subaru and brought many 2x4s in 12’ lengths, along with 4x8 sheets of OSB, to the storage units.

Lumber on the Honda

Putting the Honda van to work.


And the truck


The Subaru makes a delivery.

We were entertained at times with the touch and gos of the local pilots, but not so much with the noise of the trains! Count the number of engines pulling the train, and you can guess how long the noise would continue!

As I began to regain more use of my right leg, I began constructing shelves myself, again with Marilyn's help. The remnants of former tenants’ shelving proved challenging for me with my leg and Marilyn’s concern with heights, but we managed to remove them. I encouraged her to try and use power tools, and it was with joy that I watched her accomplish yet something else she’d never done before.

Old tenant

Often, before we could start, we had to deal with what the previous tenant had left.

Marilyn with saw

The Amazing Marilyn dived right into almost every job.

After emptying one unit, we began building shelves for the bike and frame boxes, so that one could be removed without danger of having the pile collapse. Neither Marilyn nor I were comfortable with reaching the upper heights of the shelving, and thankfully Brad Studt and Gary Schmidt completed it.


More and more shelves

More shelves

The view from above

Gary Schmidt

Gary Schmidt generously lending a hand.

Storage shgelves

And so more shelves...

Bikes on shelves

... take shape.

Michael Wolfe

Higher and higher. That's Brad Studt up there, giving me priceless help.


More shelves.

I had intended to house the two canoes in this unit as well, but found that there wasn’t enough linear room to store them near the ceiling, so we ended up dangling them from pulleys in the rafters. The pulleys worked well for hoisting the boxes to the top shelf as well. By this time, I’d managed to find most of the shop tools, though there was a box of hand tools that hadn’t been located. One of my customers had bought a touring bike from me recently, and was inspired by the story of riding to the coast and back on Labor Day well over a year ago. The bike needed lower gearing and I was able to complete the upgrade here in one of the units I was attempting to set up as a workplace. Jim Cook came to pick up his bike the day Marilyn and I were using the pulley to hoist boxes to a top shelf, but it was tricky. With Jim’s help, we did succeed in getting the frames up there. Of course, while emptying another unit, we found one of the larger boxed bikes, and there was no way to place it on the shelves without re-stacking all five shelves!

Hoisting bike

With help the bikes got up there.

Hoisting bikes

Marilyn hoisting a bike to a high shelf.

My former residence had been put on the market, and one day I was notified that a buyer had put the earnest money down. I retrieved my personal bikes and tandem now along with my truck’s canopy and the canoes. I called on Randy and Carol Brown once more to assist, along with Bradt Studt, but had Paul help me get the bikes first.

Removing home bikes

New chapter: Removing the bikes stored at home.

We’d made good progress in organizing some of the units, which allowed for room for these additional possessions.  I gave the canopy to Brad, as I no longer had a place to store it, and had found over the years that my truck was far more useful as an open bed than with the restrictions the canopy posed.

Truck Canopy

The truck canopy has a new owner.

Home debris

Lots of stuff to cart away.

Seeing my former residence revived a host of memories. The playhouse, referred to as the Taj Mahal by Di, was a two story structure. The upper floor had a covered deck with a fire pole. I’d used frame tubes of doomed bicycles to construct part of the railing, and had stacks more to add when I ever found the time. After the kids ceased to find it attractive, I’d used it as inventory storage for years.

The flowers blossoming in the spring and now nearly fall, were for the most part, gathered on my liberation rides, where I’d ride my bike to abandoned lots and fields and dig them up. A decade of those rides had filled all possible beds, and the excess bulbs I’d often shared with customers at the shop. Later, the new owners of the house gave permission for me to dig as many as I wished, but lacking a residence to call my own, that has been put on hold.

Spring at the front yeard

The front yard in spring.


Flowers in the front yard.

Figs and Crocus

Figs and Crocuses

My folks had raised Julian, my niece April’s son, for many years. He got into a little trouble and had been placed in an institution where more supervision could be given a little more than a year ago. April had lived a hard life, very much a free spirit, but Julian had been awarded to my folks' custody many years ago. April had straightened up, and Julian was looking forward to living with her up in Detroit by the reservoir. Not yet 30, she was found in her car, having overdosed.


Dear April, taken far too soon.

Her death surprised me as I’d always had hopes for her, had taken her on tandem rides when she was still in school. I’d given Julian bikes as my step kids outgrew theirs, and also taken him on tandem rides.


Young Julian, doing his share of the work on the tandem

Independent, he’d insisted on riding to Buena Vista via Skyline and back up Liberty on his 24” wheeled hybrid, but it was a long ride for him, and without the mothering of two women riders that day, I’d probably have had the folks come get him.


Julian putting in the miles


Julian on a recumbant.

Organizing the storage units continued, and I managed to empty out the small unit that had been on a month-to-month basis. Having a large empty one had really opened the gates for dispersing inventory to selected units containing similar inventory. Much easier than trying to remember which unit one might have seen something weeks prior.

Building shleves

Meanwhile, storage shelves still had had to be built. That's Brad Studt up there.

A unit that was supposed to hold nothing but fixtures, displays, and car racks, finally revealed more parts, as well as the large boxed bike that there was no room for on the shelves I’d designed for boxed bikes and frames!


Fixtures and parts

Fixtures and parts

And more fixtures and parts

Michael Wolfe

I seem to have survived defying gravity.


Order was arising out of the chaos


Marilyn working with the swatter close by.

One Sunday afternoon, Marilyn and I were completing a shelf, when the power quit! We had to resort to using hand saws from my ancestor’s toolbox, which really made one appreciate the time it took to build those old barns and sheds! Don’t use a rip saw to make a board shorter!

Michael Wolfe

Back to hand tools.

And my red carpenter’s pencil was always disappearing. I blamed Marilyn, but she provided evidence that it had been kidnapped!

Taveling pencil

The traveling pencil

In completing another unit, I began to move personal stuff that I’d stored in the back of the shop into it.


The old chair and desk had to be put away.

Concerned about moisture contamination, I opened the boxes as I moved them into the unit and revealed memories that I hadn’t seen in at least 20 years. The jeans my high school sweetheart had patched and I’d worn in college, along with lettermen’s jacket from swim team, the cowboy shirts she’d sewn for me, and T-shirts from many centuries I’d ridden.

From a loing time ago

Pants from a long time ago...

Michael Wolfe

Folk art worth saving, perhaps.


Another stoage unit getting set up.

Michael Wolfe

Putting some old pegboard to good use.

I had a Mondonico Farewell Tour frameset that I was supposed to build for a customer, but the unit I intended to outfit with tools was far from complete. I’d no sooner get another shelf set up in it, than it was filled with all the paraphernalia that goes with the oddities of the surprises of working on bikes. Just finding the proper length and proportion of a spoke was a drawn-out search, and a box of spokes is no light job, either! When it was close to complete, I wistfully hung a Cycleworks banner across the entry.

Sout Salem Cycleworks

Got a shop sign up.

We had a roll cart to transport boxes from one unit to another—I could ditch my crutches using it, and it also made for a great mobile truing stand!

Wheel Truing

Wheel truing al fresco

I sold my first bike after completing this unit, and rented out a couple of bikes as well.

A bike sale

Getting a sold bike ready for its customer.

It was good to be able to access tools easily, but finding replacement parts in the other units was stymying at times.

Parts jumble

Even in the worst of times I knew where everything was and could put my hands on what I needed.

I am so accustomed to knowing exactly where obscure parts were in the shop, regardless of how cluttered some employees found it.

Shop set up

Finally a place to work on bikes

Work shop

Stored parts and bikes are very close by.

The security didn’t keep out some visitors in the complex. Marilyn seemed to be quite attractive to the yellowjackets, and she did get stung one time. After that, we reinforced the giant swatter and kept a strict vigilance out for them.


A reinforced swatter did the job.

We killed as many as four or five a day, of course missing many times. She even brought an electric zapping tennis racket, but the swatter was more effective. I came across a fascinating mantis one day as I was returning from the Honey Bucket. Speaking of Honey Buckets, Di was right to keep a roll of tissue, as I did encounter a time or two where there was none!


A visitor from the order Mantodea. Scary-looking, but harmless, except to garden pests.

My folks were set on replacing the deck on the West side of their home as it had begun to spring as it was stepped on. They were going to replace the decking with plastic boards, but the finish nails that held the cedar decking down had rusted into the joists. Paul’s elaborate nail puller just broke off the heads, and it was time-consuming to get it attached. I got out my concrete breaker bar that I’d brought out from the Midwest from my grandparent’s farm so many years ago, and leveraged the planks off one by one.

The deck

My parents' deck. This wasn't going to be easy.

Of course, the nails pulled thru them and obscured the ability to place the bar to get leverage. The nails had to be pulled with vise grips, another tedious endeavor. I got about halfway through before Jose finished them off. The load of plastic planks had been unloaded in the driveway, and Marilyn and I moved them to the worksite one by one, my using a single crutch to maintain my stability.


Marilyn and the load of plastic deck planks.

They were heavy, and my crutch made the progress arduous. We leafed thru the removed cedar and took what was usable to the storage units. I was sure that we were through doing construction there, but one never knows! I Certainly could have used them earlier this summer.

Shortly after getting my first haircut since chemo, outside of a trim my mother gave me, Barbara had decided that we needed to get away for a few days at the coast. I was reluctant as I didn’t want to get caught trying to continue the organization of the units when the weather became wet and cold, but she had helped me through much of the summer in dealing with transportation to the doctors and the storage units themselves. We went to the aquarium, which I hadn’t visited since the step kids were much younger. Informative, but without the excitement of kids to amuse you, it was not nearly as enjoyable.

Yo Ho Ho Indoor Bounce

The Indoor Bounce at Newport

We also visited her father’s former retreat on the south side of Newport Bay, a residence we’d referred to as the Mildew Palace. A mobile home, it was festooned with moisture absorbent devices, that helped, but didn’t prevent the coast’s constant wetness. I remembered Charlie Burleigh and I spending the night there as well, on our bicycle trip down the coast. The trailer was gone, and a fairly large residence had replaced it, with a garage to house the oceangoing boat.

Mildoew Palace

Things had changed.

I couldn’t picture my getting down to the beach on my crutches, but we read a lot, ate at some lovely restaurants, and bought some plants at the Connie Hansen memorial garden there. However, I still thought about the task that awaited me back in Salem.

I’d hardly gotten back to working on the storage units, when I discovered that my Subaru was missing. It was parked on the street at my folks' house, and it was concluded it had been taken during the night, since the police had no records of its having been towed. I’d used it as a destination vehicle, whether for bike trips, canoe voyages, or ski parties, but had emptied the tools and supplies necessary for those trips out of it, as the intention was to clean it up and sell it.

Not being able to drive, it kinda put it on the back burner as far as sales preparation! It was only gone for a couple days before I received a call one morning stating that it had been found at a 7-11 out on Pine Street. Barbara drove me out there, not sure of how we were going to retrieve it, but it was gone when we got there, having already been towed. We had to go to the police to get a copy of a form, but taking it to the tow company was not enough. We needed the title in order to get it released, as well!

We decided that I would have to drive Barbara’s automatic in order to retrieve the stick shift Subaru, and went out to Fairview Industrial to test my driving ability. I was skeptical — I’m sure it had been almost two years since I’d driven a car! I had Barbara photograph my mimicked insanity, before I drove around the parking lot. When we got back to the tow company, we met the driver who’d towed the Subaru.

Stolen Subaru

Picking up the Subaru at the lot.

He said a couple kids had been arrested at the 7-11 and the car was towed at 3:30 that morning. Backpacks and assorted debris still filled the car.




It didn't get better in the back.

I decided I could drive a stick, if I could drive an automatic, and drove home.


I'm driving.

I stopped and put some gas in the tank, and checked the oil, as the “Check Engine” light flickered on and off. It looked like they’d tried to remove the radio/cassette player, and disassembled the shifter boot! You could tell they’d jimmied the driver side passenger door as the weather-stripping on the inside was pulled up. There were scratches in the headliner in the rear, and the ashtrays were full of butts. I could tell they had jump-started the car because of the spare battery and jumper cables they’d left. The Yakima roof rack was gone, despite its being locked on, along with the bike mounts, including the tandem mount. I’m sure they found keys in the glovebox as there was no damage to the roof. They got rid of the sheepskin seat covers, the floormats and the car bra as well.

I took the car to Capitol Subaru for a diagnosis per the instructions of the insurance company. They discovered that the thieves had plugged in a diagnostic cord, which was why the “Check Engine” light was flickering. Unplugging it solved that problem. They put the radio pieces back in place and reassembled the shifter boot. The weather-stripping for this ’91 Legacy was available, but there was only one set left in the country. When the estimate was turned into the insurance company, they opted to total the car, as they felt the costs of repairing the car was more than the car's worth. I’d had Lynn’s Subaru put a rebuilt engine in years ago, but it still had less than a couple thousand miles on it because the car was little used.

I’d recently taken the car back to Lynn because of a heater fan ceasing to work on a ski trip, and Lynn had done nearly $1,200 worth of work on it, but the heater fan was working when he received it! I explained all this, but the insurance was adamant in totaling the car. I bought it back as salvage for $75, but for resale value, I had to turn the title in and pay some $230 for changing the title to a restored description.

The insurance didn’t cover the seat covers, the floormats, or the bra, as they weren’t permanently attached to the car. The roof rack, I explained was locked to the car, as was each bike mount, and they did pay me the value of it as used merchandise. I’d engraved the bike mounts with my Oregon Driver’s License number, and I included that in the police report. I’ll miss the long-ago discontinued lowrider bike mounts, unique in that even with that rack and fender, you could still mount the fork of the bike to the roof rack.

Marilyn went off about this time to ride the Katy Trail, which is mostly gravel and winds across Missouri, and is one of the longest rails-to-trails in the country.


Marilyn on the Katy Trail

I was able to drive now, so I continued to frequent the storage units. As it was now fall, some of the units there were being emptied, and I made the acquaintance of a gentleman in an adjoining one. He was an enthusiast of remote control model aircraft, and his unit was full of them. The rent had gone up, and while he wasn’t sure where he was going to stuff them at home, he couldn’t justify the cost of storing them here. He offered to sell me a compound chop saw, and the table to mount it on. Brand new, never used, I could certainly have used it last spring. The price he offered was irresistible, and I bought it, thinking it would be used in a new residence for myself someday.

Chop Saw

The irresistable chop saw

Barbara’s residence had a huge wisteria growing over what had once been a patio cover.


The huge Wisteria.


Now, mostly a former Wisteria.

The wood used for the patio cover was not treated, and once the corrugated plastic panels had been removed, it began to deteriorate. It had been reinforced here and there, but the rotted wood was evident.

Rotted wood

The rotted wood was evident.


And still, the Wisteria wasn't giving up without a fight.

Still using a single crutch, I felt I could take on the demolition of this structure. I’d been up and down ladders in the storage units all summer, so I wasn’t concerned about that aspect. Keeping the structure from collapsing while I was up a ladder was another concern! Just removing the wisteria was a chore, and getting it stacked in the truck another! I had Barbara get up and bounce on the load to compress it, a task I wasn’t comfortable with given the limited use of my right leg.

Tuckload of Wisteria

Got the truck loaded.

Taking down the joists was a challenge, where I’d place a ladder under one end as I pried the other end off the structure. Once down, the 2x12s seemed usable if I chopped off the outside 6 feet of rot, and I stacked them in a tent I built using the window grids from the shop. Again, lumber I could have used last spring, but I felt construction at the storage units was complete.

Shop window grids

Putting the shop window grids to a new use


Using the grids, it all came out rather well.

Driving by the shop one day, I notice a pickup full of lumber debris. They’d removed the two workstations and the suspended floor of the repair area. I’d left them due to time constraints, but later had asked the landlord if I could possibly retrieve one. He replied that it would be up to the purchaser of the building if they would relinquish anything. One of the remaining stations had been mine, and it would have been nice to have had it in a home shop. Of course, the building was still up for sale at this time. I hope when it does sell, I can get the South Salem Cycleworks plates from the overhead sign.

Nearing completion of the unit I intended to use for working on bikes, I did do some repairs for customers, even doing some homework like repairing the cords on the Milwaukee Holeshooter drills. The one we’d used at the shop developed a short in the cord somewhere. I’m no electrical genius, so I bought a replacement cord.

Drill wiring

Another job that needed doing.

Maybe someday I’ll run some current through the old one and see if a voltage detector can determine the short. I watched a few YouTube videos on replacing a cord, but they were all pretty amateur repairs, not something I wanted on my tools. I disassembled the switch to connect the replacement cord, but it turned out to be a myriad of little pieces! Undeterred, I decided to disassemble my Holeshooter from home, but, of course, more carefully! The one from home had had the cord twisted so much at the butt of the drill that the individual wires were exposed. As some of the YouTubes showed, I could have separated the handle and wrapped a few layers of electrical tape around the cord — but, come on! It’s a quality tool, and deserves to be repaired correctly! I was able to take the switch apart slowly, taking pictures as I went (one thank for modern digital technology!), and determine how to put it back together again after shortening the cord and re-attaching it. I felt pretty good about accomplishing this, but having a second tool as a blueprint was a godsend.

I’d set my old Nishiki (Kent Cacak, if you read this, you’ll remember the sliding across the black ice on the bridge on Delaney/Battle Creek!) on a trainer. I’d put a crank arm shortener on the right side, but initially had to raise the saddle higher to be able to use it. Two weeks after I started pedaling on it, I was finally able to lower the seat to the correct height, which I rode for the next two weeks.

Riding on trainer

Got my old Nishiki set up on the trainer.

Some years ago, I’d managed to provoke an umbilical hernia, and I remember my stepfather instructing me to lie down and push it back. It seemed to be protruding more recently, and I finally got the surgery. I was warned to not stress the repair, so I stayed off the bike.


Got the hernia repaired.

Five days later, while house hunting, Barbara and I were in a car wreck. She was driving, and I was attempting to find addresses on my phone. The impact took place on her side, near the front wheel, and my knees knocked together pretty hard. The airbags deployed on her side, and outside of some bruises, she was okay. It was pouring down rain, and I was amazed at how fast the police and ambulance responded. I was pretty sure I couldn’t walk—my right knee was at a peculiar angle. Two men lifted me out of the car and placed me on a gurney. While they placed a blanket on me, I was soaked before I was lifted into the ambulance. I was taken to Salem Hospital once more, and spent three days there. The X-rays revealed no damage to the left knee, but the end of my femur in the knee joint had been compressed. I was told it would not heal.

Michael Wolfe

Back in the hospital

Car wreck

Not the desired outcome.

The knee doc had told me back last January, that I’d have to have the right knee replaced at some time, after informing me I’d fractured the tibia plateau toppling off my bike at the top of Skyline. Now, my immediate concern, was whether this would interfere with the hip replacement scheduled for January, or whether I could get the knee replaced first. A follow-up visit indicated that the hip replacement would take place first, as the gyro-gymnastics my leg would be put thru during the hip replacement would not be good with a recent knee replacement. In the meantime, I was relegated to using a walker! One step forward, two steps backward!

Being stationary, I spent a lot of time watching movies and reading books, but also receiving and sending correspondence.

Michael Wolfe

Watching TV with the cat.

Charlie Burleigh was leafing thru some boxes when he found some photographs from 40 plus years ago! That guy (me) is going to run a bike shop?

Michael Wolfe

From another time. A businessman to be?

Happier days

Another picture from happier days.

I received a message from Betsy Belshaw, a Minto-Brown park patrol leader, that the Proflex 253 I’d sold her in ’93 had been stolen. Betsy was our guide to the durability of bicycle components as she rode year-round on patrol, rain or shine, and often came in with mud above her ankles! It was a real test for Mr. Tuffy’s, a tire liner that helped prevent thorns from puncturing innertubes. Her hubs were continually in need of overhauling, and we tried various methods to help prevent contamination, but it wasn’t until I built her new wheels with sealed bearings in the hubs that we eliminated that problem. Things wore out due to the constant exposure of mud and water, chains, cassettes, eventually the chainrings. We upgraded as they gave out, and it was a very unusual bike that was stolen. I asked her to contact the bike shops, told her that any mechanic worth his/her salt should recognize the unique blend of parts on it, and result in raised eyebrows. If anyone sees the bike pictured on the back of this car, please do your best to immediately contact the police.


Here's the bike that was stolen.

Back when my folks were repairing their deck, Paul had fallen a couple times, his knee just gave out on him. He finally got to see an orthopedic, hoping to also get a replacement, but they felt a 90-year-old was too risky for the surgery. Paul’s always bragging about having had a quadruple bypass as well. He thanked me for setting up his recumbent trike on a trainer, as that was what the docs recommended he do to recover his muscle strength in that knee.

Paul on trainer

Paul on his trainer

It got cold down at the storage units by the time I was mobile once more, and I was happy to wear the Peruvian alpaca stocking hat that my good friend Eda Clemons got me while traveling thru South America!

Michael Wolfe

Dressing for cold Oregon weather

End of another day.

At the end of another day.

I was cold at the shop during the winter months, but compared to an unheated storage unit, it was balmy! I still remember taking time to ride the rollers to warm up at times, and finally rolling off them! Still, one has to find the parts inquired about via the gallery, pack them, and get freight quotes. And return them when the inquiry turns out to be a goose chase!

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the past experiences gained from running the bike shop. It’s difficult to gain a new identity when one is laid up so much of the time. Memories of adrenalin-laced rides, friends just hanging out, special repairs and bike builds, the jokes with long time employees — and their surprise returns after years of absence, even special fixtures of the shop like the mailbox and the lock collection on the fence out back—garnered on rides, carting cardboard off for recycling, all would be impossible to replicate. Given a new hip and knee, I hope to create a new lifestyle, not just a smooth cadence like I had many years ago. Just “Get me back on my bike”!

Before moving on to a new chapter of my life, here's a gallery of some of the wonderful times with great friends I was privileged to enjoy:

Riding with Tom and Paige

Riding with Tom and Paige in the rain.


I'm obviously going very fast on my Mondonico

Michael Wolfe

Going uphill on a cold day.

Michael Wolfe

Riding on the McKenize Pass in the Cascades, southeast of Salem.

Michael Wolfe

It's Labor Day! Time to ride.

The whole gang

The whole gang in front of the shop.

In the workshop

In the workshop, Ken, Kent & Miller

Bad poison

Is working in a bike shop dangerous?

Brian Noon

Brian Noon


We made this bike supremely useful


Katie on a learner's bike


Paige working on a Torelli Titanio

Campagnolo decal

The big Campagnolo decal

Paris boxers

Oui, c'est vrai! A pair of boxer shorts with a map of Paris. Standard inventory in every well-equipped bike shop.

Roger Elquist

Roger Elquist

Tom and Di

Tom and Di study up on losing wieght.

Doug's Visor

Doug's visor

Ted and bikes

With Ted Reutlinger and a pair of rather nice bikes on the porch. The red and yellow bike is a surpise birthday gift to Ted from his wife, parents, in-laws and best friend. Wow!

Dogs in a basket

Sometimes everyone goes for a ride.

Chasing Di

Chasing Di

Seattle Bike Supply

In 2016 one of our suppliers, Seattle Bike Supply closed. We ordered a load of close-out stock.

South Salem Cycleworks mailbox

Our mailbox on a cold winter's day.

Lock collection

The lock collection


How I took care of the little garbage we made.

Mike with lights

All lit up and ready to go.

Michael Wolfe

Riding by the cemetery. I'm still on top of the grass.

Thanks for the visit. The storefront may be closed, but we're still in business.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help keep you riding and smiling.