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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gypin' N Rippin! The Shops. Part 1.

Schultzie,a good buddy of mine, and former bike rat coworker, reminded me of a bike shop episode that begged for blogging...and he's right, it's priceless, but it will have to wait. It got me thinking of where it all began, back in this tired old rag of a neighborhood in Detroit, at the indefatigable G & R Bike shop. The Frenchman bought the place from the original owners who had decided there was more money to be had in gas stations and rep'ing. They gave the Frenchman, then a current employee, terms he couldn't refuse, and he found himself the sole owner and proprieter. I don't think he was yet 24 at the time (I plan on confiming this...). The was one small catch. The name had to stay. Now, as I said, this was kinda sad little section of Detroit, circa 1979. Not rough in the gangbanger sense, people generally just trying to get by, but pretty rough around the edges. Petty theft was an everyday occurace and everyone of age in the shop was packing or had one at the ready. Not a single bike on the floor had pedals installed thus ensuring a fair foot race if one should suddently find legs. During the summers, an endless parade of yoots loitered in the shop, killin' time and hassling us for sport. Once in a while they'd buy a patch kit. Mostly though, they just heckled from the isles. One particular day, I was being grilled by a young pair of citizenry on the price of every bmx bike we had on the floor, color commentary retorted to every price I slung. Finally, one yoot asked what the initials in the name of the shop stood for? His foil beat me to the bell. "Gypin' an Rippin' Yo! Game, set and match. We laughed all summer.

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