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Death of a bicycle shop

Old 11-12-19, 10:08 AM
  #1  
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Death of a bicycle shop

Last night at 2215, soundly asleep with my wife, I get a call from my next door neighbor. My garage is on fire! This is the freestanding building next to the house that is my wife's car storage at night, and my bicycle shop during the day. I managed to get her car out undamaged, but didn't park it far enough away since I also had to move my van which is normally parked next to the garage, so it did take some heat damage.

It's a total loss. All my tools (hopefully I'll be able to salvage all or at least most of the bicycle specific ones) including the tools I bought when I first started working at A.R. Adams Cycle in the early Seventies. One bicycle lost: The 1935 Armstrong ladies roadster that I was working on for the WWII reenactment group (which I moved into the garage yesterday afternoon so I wouldn't have to bring it thru the rain today). And virtually all my parts stock.

Basically, for the time being I'm shut down completely. My bike collection was in the other storage building on the property, so all those bikes are safe, but I'm not going to be doing anything other than riding what I have for the next six months or so. Probably going to sell off a couple of bikes at Westminster next year (which was in the planning stages before the fire), but otherwise just ride what I've got.

On the good side, I managed to get the wife's car out of the garage before the fire consumed too much, however it had advanced too much to get the bike on the second try.



The Armstrong. I had it about 80% complete at this point.



The first started at the corner next to the dog house. Fire marshal calls it "electrical unspecified".



View from the back yard.



And from the house. The back wall of the house got the siding melted off, and the other garage has melted siding, but otherwise we're OK. Happily the other garaged wasn't touched beyond that, because both my Harleys and the Triumph are stored in there.
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Old 11-12-19, 10:19 AM
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That is so disheartening to hear. Any hope of salvaging the metal parts on the Armstrong? If you get an itch to do some bicycle work, you're welcome to use the space and tools down here outside of Roanoke.
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Old 11-12-19, 10:22 AM
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Oh man

I'm so sorry for your misfortune.
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Old 11-12-19, 10:25 AM
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Damn, Syke. Sorry to read about this. Hopefully insurance treats you right. Be sure to itemized EVERYTHING to the best of your ability and be extremely explicit on the list for your parts etc. Even if it means going piece by piece, my uncle in TX is an adjuster and says if you give an option of just "bike crankset" or "1970s Campagnolo Nuovo Record crankset with 52/44 rings in perfect condition", you'll get $20 for the former and possibly up to $100 for the latter. Take the time, break out a spreadsheet, write it all down to the letter as best you can.

It dawned on me last week when my 9yo was playing with a remote control for a mass-produced space heater the other day that this could very well happen to me. Which is what's led me to really sort through my stuff, take pictures, and line-item it all.
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Old 11-12-19, 10:26 AM
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Damn that sucks!

Are there any particular parts you need going forward? I'll bet several of us, myself included, could do a "go fund me" with bike parts.
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Old 11-12-19, 10:37 AM
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I am sorry to see this happen. Accidents like this should make us more aware of what are insurance will and will not cover...some insurance companies want a separate policy to cover collectibles.
Best, Ben
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Old 11-12-19, 10:48 AM
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Wow, at least the house is safe. Any idea on what started it?
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Old 11-12-19, 10:59 AM
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That is Tough, very sorry to read and see.

I might have dodged a similar fate a few weeks ago. Alarm system uses a transformer to power the electronics. One of those small sealed units that plugs in to an outlet, and is retained by the switchplate screw.
Got it off, and the plug side showed heat stress and carbon film.
Good that I was around.
Probably most of us have transformers and or items that are "always" on. Made me go around and check everything.
I found one other item that got decommissioned.
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Old 11-12-19, 11:02 AM
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What a nightmare. Sorry this happened. If you need to borrow a tool I'd be happy to drop it in the mail.
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Old 11-12-19, 11:07 AM
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I'm very sorry. Please let us know what happens.
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Old 11-12-19, 11:34 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Damn that sucks!

Are there any particular parts you need going forward? I'll bet several of us, myself included, could do a "go fund me" with bike parts.
Right now, no. That Armstrong was the only project I had going forward, and the only other bike on the schedule is that the '77 PX-10, which is a long, long, long term project. I've got my traveling toolbox from my Honda House days, so I've got something to work with, and the small barn which is normally woodshed and lawn and garden storage can be used to work on a bike if necessary. Right now it's snowing outside (we were only supposed to get rain), so my first priority is to go thru the bicycle tools tool box and see if I can save any of that stuff. Otherwise I'm just going to replace what was burned, bit by bit.

Most immediate holdup is getting electric power to the outlying sheds. My setup was power running from the house to the shop/garage, then the two drop in sheds and second garage tapping off the garage. Hopefully I can have that sorted out by the end of the year.

Helpfully, Sears is closing all it's stores in Virginia between December and January. Guess who's probably going to give his Sears card one last workout before putting it away permanently?

I'm shutting down the books on Syke's Cyclery, and will probably get in touch with the county to drop the business license and the state to drop the tax license. The shop had a good run and I enjoyed myself, now its just time to scale back to whatever is needed to keep my collection on the road. Definitely not looking to buy anything at Westminster next February. Not until I've got the space to build and store.
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Old 11-12-19, 11:48 AM
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I'm sorry for your loss, thank goodness no one was hurt.

Consider PMing @RobbieTunes. He has been in the claims business for a long time. No one here will know better on how you should proceed and what to expect.
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Old 11-12-19, 12:41 PM
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Old 11-12-19, 01:03 PM
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cause/

keep us posted on the cause-space heater,bat. charger??? shame-think its something we all fear happening,luckily it didn't spread.time to upgrade the tools anywho,no? keep truck'n.
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Old 11-12-19, 01:13 PM
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Man, I'm sorry to hear the bad news. All my thoughts and prayers are with you.
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Old 11-12-19, 01:59 PM
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Dang. Thoughts are with you and hope the recovery and claims are not too difficult.
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Old 11-12-19, 04:34 PM
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Heart breaking! Glad that nobody was injured and damage was confined to the garage and contents.
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Old 11-12-19, 04:55 PM
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Dang! How's the dog?
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Old 11-12-19, 05:19 PM
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Terrible story, but glad to hear that it wasn't worse. Best of luck on the recovery process!
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Old 11-12-19, 05:35 PM
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I saw the dog house and was immediately concerned for the dog!!!


My best wishes to you.
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Old 11-12-19, 05:52 PM
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Wow, that is scary! Sounds like you've got a good neighbor there looking out for you Glad it was only property loss, not people.

Looking at the proximity of the garage to the house, it's obvious it would've been much worse if not for him (of course it's fortunate that all your other bikes/stuff were stored off-site, too). Best of luck getting things back to a sense of normalcy ASAP!

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Old 11-12-19, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I saw the dog house and was immediately concerned for the dog!!!

My best wishes to you.
Harley was inside, curled up with us in bed when this all went down.

Finally walked into the remains tonight. This is the sum total of fifteen years of bicycle part hunting, acquiring, refurbishing and organizing.


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Old 11-12-19, 06:13 PM
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Well that sucks!! My first thought was also the dog.
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Old 11-12-19, 06:19 PM
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Sorry to hear about this. Important part is you are all safe.
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Old 11-12-19, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
Damn, Syke. Sorry to read about this. Hopefully insurance treats you right. Be sure to itemized EVERYTHING to the best of your ability and be extremely explicit on the list for your parts etc. Even if it means going piece by piece, my uncle in TX is an adjuster and says if you give an option of just "bike crankset" or "1970s Campagnolo Nuovo Record crankset with 52/44 rings in perfect condition", you'll get $20 for the former and possibly up to $100 for the latter. Take the time, break out a spreadsheet, write it all down to the letter as best you can.
Definitely.

Inventory lists go to places like National Vendor or Enservio for research on pricing, so if you're specific, they'll look it up. If not, they'll generalize it. Be specific. If you have to spend 40 hours compiling an inventory, you'll probably see a week's pay in additional indemnity, just by being accurate and specific.

Start in one corner of the garage/shop. Move from the ceiling to the floor, or vice versa, foot by foot, container by container, items on the floor, hanging on the wall, etc. Don't skip bar wrap, small parts, or the containers they may be in. Move foot by foot clockwise. Once you go over the walls, move into the floor space and do 4'x4' squares and try to remember what was on the floor in that space. Think about the loft or overhead storage if you had it. The garage is the easy part, structurally. Try to come up with an accurate age, and remember that some things appreciate and some depreciate. You won't get appreciated value higher than a new replacement item, but some things won't be depreciated. There may be special limits, and if there are, and they're quoted, ask for the written limit. If you've run a bike shop or fixed any bikes for pay, or flipped them, understand that "used at any time, in any way, for business purposes" may put a limit on some things. It's not malicious, it's just the way it is.

Most of these policies pay actual cash value up front with a 180-day provision to replace the items and get the remainder, called recoverable depreciation. Take the cash value for what you want, replace what you want, and keep records, but don't push that 180-day limit. Be talking to them in 120 days to keep it fresh.

If you have questions, PM me. I do this for a living. My info is first hand.
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