I have a bit of a collection of bike books -- dozens of books from the late 1800's to the modern day covering everything from Tour heros to repair.
A Christmas or two ago, my parents gave me a copy of Glenn's Complete Bicycle Manual (5th printing, April 1974) they picked up in an antique shop. Glenn's Manual was undoubtedly one of my inspirational sources when I was first learning how to repair bikes. I poured over the pages of Glenn's Manual (as well as several other books) absorbing the technical photographs and drawings -- figuring out how everything worked and how these beautiful machines all come together.
This Glenn's Manual my folks gave me wasn't just any Glenn's Manual however -- there was something special about this copy. Inside it's covers was a treasure trove of articles patiently clipped from newspapers and magazines in the mid 1970's. Clearly, the original owner of this book was very much into bikes too and keen on collecting all the information they could find.
But there was something else special about this book -- it was originally purchased from Bike World Inc. at North Hills Shopping Center here in Raleigh on June 8th, 1974 (I was just a little over 2 years old then!). Bike World is long gone now, but I can't help but wonder what kind of treasures that shop might have held -- maybe a couple Schwinn Paramounts -- a gleaming white Peugeot PX-10 (probably a fleet of cheap Peugeot UO-8's) -- a few Campy Nuovo Record parts in the display case....
I also find myself thinking about the original owner of the book. How did they get into cycling? Are they still alive now -- do they still ride? What kind of bike did they have? Where did they ride, what adventures did they go on, what sights did they see?