A Seller’s Market for Bicycles


As I write this post, I just sold my fourth bicycle on Facebook Market Place. Actually, only one of the four was mine. Two were sold for a friend, one was Debby’s first road bike, and the last bike was my gravel bike I picked up at the going out of business sale at the local Performance Bicycle store. 

Sad, to see Performance go, but just like Wolf Camera who was up to their eyeballs in debt to camera manufacturers, Performance Bike did the same with the parent of Fuji bicycles to the point that, on paper, it looked better if the ASE folks bought Performance for debt owed. But, between the 2008 financial crash and a dying bicycle market in the “20 teens”, the only option was bankruptcy and the end of a once great local mail order startup of the 80’s. Fast forward to 2020 and lockdown, and everyone wants something fun to do that doesn’t cost a lot of money and gets them out of their house. The once forlorn toy of toddlers to teens has made quite the come back beyond the regulars made up of commuters, triathletes and fitness riders. For myself, I fall in the latter category as I ride to release stress and to control my type 2 diabetes. Since the start of covid-19 lockdown, I have tried to average about 60 miles a week on the road or greenways and lost a couple more inches off of my waist. For my 58th birthday, I wanted to do a 100K, but a covid-19 exposure meant self isolating for 10 days to be on the safe side and the timing has not worked out for a three or four hour ride since. But I suspect I will get one in before the weather cools off too much for my liking. So, if you have a bike that is in good shape and ridable, ride it! If you don’t think riding a bike is your thing, clean it up and put it on Market Place. Other than the two higher end carbon bikes I sold, the medium to lower priced bikes went within a day and people who wanted the first one I posted were trying to give me more money than I wanted to take both lower priced bikes. But, I respected the order in which I received the inquiries on the bikes as I wanted to reward speediness on responses. I am glad I did, as I suspect the first buyer was simply going to re-sell them after a some minor updates. Other than Pabl buying the Novara Strada, the Fuji Finest 2.0 went to April who I have since found out volunteers as a buddy for the Miracle League Baseball games where my nephew Quinn has played for many years. The high end Specialized Ruby Comp wasn’t a good fit for Casey, who lives near SouthPoint and the ATT, but a freshly minted 2nd Lt. from Fort Bragg came up and bought it after a quick test ride. I hope her twice rebuilt A1C strengthens up on the bike. My Mekk Pave XR 2.6 gravel bike, that I never could get to fit me, went to Mr. Garcia who travels the east coast from Florida to these parts (Research Triangle, NC, USA) where his sons live to buy bikes for himself or sell back home in Dade City Florida where he says the market to sell bikes is better than here.

So, don’t hold on to your bikes if you are not going to ride them. The local bike shops can’t keep inventory and if they have something, it may be really high end as my VP found out when trying to find some mountain bikes for he and his kids and their vacation trip to Colorado. If I was 15, I would have said, wait a year and put the money into a car, but that’s me. I have one more bike I am tuning up and will most likely keep. That’s my Mongoose Pro 2007 Otero MTB. I have not ridden it since I broke my left wrist on it in 2012. When I lowered it from the garage ceiling today, I had no rear brake and trying to refill and flush the hydraulic brake lines ruined my pads, so off to the store to get some new ones tomorrow. I know my neighbors will be happy as trying to re-seat the cleaned pads sounded worse than fingernails on a chalk board.

Two Weekends Shooting (Photos)

Last weekend I was asked to help photograph the Tour De Cure again after a couple of years away from this ride.  Hats off to the participants, some of whom rode both days from Cary to Aberdeen on Saturday and back on Sunday.  I saw lots of familiar faces and was truly astounded by the fundraising efforts of the champions who are are pictured here.

This weekend I had to pleasure to photograph my niece Raven and her boyfriend Andrew on the way to their high school prom.  She will hate me for this, but I can’t resist the opportunity for a before and after comparison.

They grow up much too fast these days.

Step Out Walk 2014

The photos from this year’s Step Out walk are located here.  Thanks to all of the volunteers, walkers and sponsors for making the event a success.  All photos at my PerformancePixel.com may be downloaded for free/no charge. So don’t use the order prints feature unless that offers a convenient means for you to get them.  The prices for prints that are ordered is the cost that the lab charges with no markup from me.  Again, thanks for your support of the walk.  It was great to see so many families supporting loved ones with diabetes.

Mountain Photo Excursion and Other Shoots

I decided to to take a week of vacation to do some photography up in Boone where my folks are originally from and hoped to catch the tail end of the fall leaves.  I did get some autumn shots, but it seems most of the reds were gone and the weather was rainy with 40 mile an hour winds the day I got up early to try and catch a sunrise; but the images I did get that morning, while not a sunrise, were worth the effort. Click here or the image to visit the album.

I also got to spend about an hour or so with my aunt who has all of the Brown family history recorded in a notebook.  Once I deciphered how the book was set up, I was able to confirm my family ancestors on the Brown side back to 1750’s in the Wilkes County (later it became Watauga County) area of North Carolina.  One book on the early history of the area record that the Brown family came from Holland or Germany and my research on familysearch.org records the father of the first Brown (1750) as a German family Braun.

Once back in town on Friday, I went to visit the Nascar Hall of Fame in Charlotte with my wife’s relatives from  Michigan who are in town to go to the Martinsville race this weekend.  Saturday, I was up and out early to photograph the local American Diabetes Association’s Step Out walk for Diabetes.  This is my second year shooting this charity event for Jim and Paulette.  It was great to see some of the same folks again this year.  The photos can be viewed and downloaded here: http://www.performancepixel.com/stepout2013/ The videos are at: http://www.youtube.com/user/performancepixel?feature=watch

 The next shoot was of my nephew’s four year old photos who was also in town visiting.  Super cute kid and the new “used” lens – the Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 on my D600 was amazing.  For this shot I had a umbrella soft box with a SB-800 to his left and the main SB-800 on the camera to try and fill in since the shot was backlit.

Camera Maker: Nikon Corporation
Camera Model: NIKON D600
Original Time Taken: 2013:10:26 13:31:25
Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO Sensitivity: 50
Exposure Compensation: -0.67 EV
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash Fired: Compulsory Flash, Return light detected
Focal Length: 70 mm
Lens Info: 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8





Mobile Phones Android v. Apple IOS

With all of the hype that is starting to appear related to the first Google controlled mobile phone from the folks at Motorola mobility, the Moto X, I thought I would recount my take on the operating systems.  I had an Samsung Charge (Android) for 20 months and went with an iPhone 5 as my replacement last February.  My Android experience, even though the Charge my be more responsible for my experience than the Android OS, was less than memorable.  From the start the first generation LTE consumed the battery like a little league baseball team at a pizza buffet.  By the end of the 20 months, Verizon’s time frame for upgrade eligibility, I was having to hard reset the phone everyday.  As far as applications go, I found the Play store to offer some unique applications that I have not been able to find on the IOS side.  My fear, being in IT security by profession, was the seemingly lack of security reviews on the Android applications offered by Google Play.  Recent revelations on the cryptography issue with Android will not help and it looks as if Android vulnerabilities may equate to the early versions of Microsoft products that were a security nightmare.  On the iPhone side, I can’t complain.  I am not a Apple bigot as I just finished building a new Core i7 (Win8) system for photo editing, use command line linux everyday at work and on this home server, I use a 2009 Mac Book Pro at home, and I have to use a PC for office tasks at work.  So, while I admire Apple for having the ability to control their product from silicon to carbon (i.e. the human interface), I have not bought into it as my own philosophy as my money is usually better spent other places.

The one thing I will say about the iPhone is “It just works!”  I don’t have random issues that require hard resets, I can do most everything I need to do and the absence of Adobe Flash capabilities has not been an issue for me.  I am sure the Android Moto X will probably see some impressive sales numbers and an iPhone 5s isn’t going to be the show stopper to gain Apple more market share or make existing iPhone 5 users upgrade before they are eligible.  What will be the deciding factor on the mobile device OS for me will be useful features on the device that make my life easier without increasing my risk exposure as these devices penetrate the currency transfer markets currently controlled by the major payment card companies here in the States.  Here’s a what if scenario I think of when I am entering my meal information in MyFitnessPal (MFP).  What if I could walk in a restaurant and pay with my mobile device and MFP take that data and automatically populate my meal entry and forward it to my HealthVault record with an estimated blood glucose level as a result of the food I consumed and then my bluetooth enabled blood glucose meter interface with my mobile device to get that information in my HealthVault to compare the estimate with actual glucose level?

Fitness 2.0

Three years ago, January 2009, I was in the midst of a fitness renaissance. I was working out with a personal trainer (PT) a couple of times a week and I eventually lost close to 30 pounds. My doctor took me off of one diabetes medication and my hemoglobin A1C levels were well below what is considered diabetic or pre-diabetic.  After about nine months of working with my PT, he left the gym to focus on his full-time job, a physician’s assistant in the cardiology department at a local hospital, and his new home. I tried to stick with cycling and use the group fitness classes to keep my fitness program going, but schedules and an overcrowded gym made it easy for me to find excuses not to go and I ended up relying solely on cycling.  That worked for a while, but a year ago this week I fell while mountain biking and fractured my left wrist to the point of needing a plate and nine screws to fix it.  I ended up only getting 560 miles in on the bike in 2012 after riding 1,200+ in 2011, which matched my mileage in 2009 while 2010 was only 800 miles.

Fortunately, the lack of exercise and fitness and the extra pounds I am carrying has not impacted my body in the form of eye, circulatory, or heart problems usually associated with long-term diabetes. I was first diagnosed in 1992 at age 30.  A recent stress test found no issues and my yearly eye exams show no signs of diabetic implications. So I consider that I have been given a second chance to make changes and restart my fitness program.

This year I have not made some strict new year resolution to keep.  It’s January 17th and I have not been to the gym yet, but I have started to watch my portions and take advantage of the convenience protein shakes and I have cut the amount of diet soda with caffeine I have to 16 ounces per day and I am drinking well over 8 glasses of water per day as well.  While I have done this almost two weeks, the weight loss has been minimal and I know it will increase once I can get in some cardio several times a week. This past week I ended up with blister on my heel that kept me out of the gym and from wearing practical shoes in the middle of winter for that matter.

So to keep me honest, here are my stats at the start of the year.  Weight 222.  Blood glucose average in the morning 150.  Now I am at 217 and I am waiting a couple of weeks before starting to track my sugar levels.  If I could only talk myself into riding my bike in the winter. I have started participating the local diabetes support group and we are weighing in each month. So there is more incentive there to get on with the program. So officially my goals this year are “13 in three-quarters” and 1,300 in 2013.  This means I plan to lose 13 pounds in each quarter between now and  the end of the third quarter and ride 1,300 miles this year. Stay tuned to see I how make out.