Over a year ago my husband started to work on building this bike from scratch. He wanted to recreate the bike his brother had dreamed of for many years. His brother did eventually get his Merckx bike only after receiving monetary compensation for injuries from a auto/bike accident that he was in. Exactly four years ago to the day that Jim and I took this bike up to the top of San Clemente to photograph it with sky light, Jim’s brother Steve passed completely unexpectedly. He was an avid cyclist and had been since he was young. He was into cycling and even wore the tights before it was trendy and popular.
After not being able to recover the actual bike that his brother had owned, Jim was determined to build it from scratch as a memorial to his older brother. Jim’s older brother had a profound influence on who he is today. Steve instilled in Jim a sense of loyalty and dedication to people and the things that matter to you personally without worrying about doing what everyone else is doing. It is so much a part of what makes me really admire and love Jim so much.
Finding all the authentic components that this bike would have had on it was a challenge. Jim spent months scouring eBay to find just the right parts. The wheels were purchased as complete set with hubs, spokes and all and I spent hours trying to figure out how to get them to the US from England. Some guy in the middle of (relatively) nowhere had them and it was hard to find a shipping company that would pick them up from his house and get them into the right hands. I finally found a company online but it was still an epic adventure. The wheels ended up getting to San Clemente but the guy didn’t write down the address correctly and no phone number so they never made it to our house. They ended up being shipped back to Utah where they sat for weeks before we realized that they were taking a bit long to get here. We had to pay to have them shipped back to us. They ended up being the big “find” on eBay to contribute to this project.
I find it very rewarding to work on projects like this with my husband. We make a good team and compliment each other’s skills and knowledge. Even the photo session for this bike was a hot date for us. We had both been excited about doing it and it all went great regardless that it was freezing cold up on the “mountain.” All for a good cause. The biggest error I made in photographing the close-ups was that I was wearing my bright orange down vest!! C’mon, I know better than that!
I didn’t know Jim’s brother Steve really, really well. Just a few wonderful moments of chatting and seeing his ear to ear smile but I still think about him every day and cry often. I miss him and wish that he was still here to spend time with us and continue to share his enlightened wisdom. Thinking of you Steve. We love you and miss you so much.