A treasure from the Cap’s Cycles museum at auction

Over 200 auction items from the legendary collection.

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When Cap’s Cycles sold its private museum in 2002, more than 1,200 people came to its New Westminster store to bid.

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They walked away with hundreds of vintage bikes, some very cool old cars and motorcycles, and a dizzying amount of collectibles, from typewriters to dental equipment and a fire truck.

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But the family that owned Cap’s didn’t sell it all – they kept some of the treasures for themselves.

Two decades later, Gerald “Cap” Hobbis’ son Grant decided it was time to sell. On October 25, the Mad Picker Online Auction will sell more than 200 pieces from its collection. They are on display at Cap’s Cycles’ Langley, 20306 Logan Ave.

The 1928 Henderson motorcycle.
The 1928 Henderson motorcycle. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

The key item is a rare 1928 Henderson motorcycle. As of Thursday morning, online auctions had reached $8,100.

“It’s an American-made, four-cylinder motorcycle,” Hobbis explained. “One of the few bikes that could catch Bonnie and Clyde. The Chicago Police Department bought 45 that year, basically to catch Bonnie and Clyde.

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“It comes from the (Cap’s) museum. I had it for 50 years. (Cap) took it in exchange on a bicycle.

There’s also a 1926 Durant Star automobile, which was only $140 on Thursday. It’s probably because it needs to be reassembled – the radiator, running boards and other parts are packed into the back seat.

“Apparently a comrade’s son took it apart for the hot rod,” Hobbis said. “Then they traded him in for a bike, because his dad didn’t want him to have a hot rod.”

Some of the new vintage bikes on sale.
Some of the new vintage bikes on sale. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

The Durant is a made in Canada car and is original down to its wooden floor. That’s why they are called floorboards – originally they were made of wood.

You learn this stuff from riding around with Hobbis, who has literally worked on bikes, cars, and antiques his whole life.

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There are some very rare bikes on sale, including an 1898 Indian Hendee, which was made by the Indian Motorcycle Company before it entered motorcycles.

A badge for the 1898 Hendee Indian recently sold for $300. But what this one will bring is unknown – it’s a bit crunchy after surviving a fire in 1981 at Cap’s store in Sapperton.

“It’s very rare,” said Hobbis, owner of the Langley Cap’s store for two decades. “The only way to price it is to put it up for auction.”

It’s so rare it may end up in another museum in the United States

“That stuff never happens,” he said. “The big museum guys (sent) their agents with cameras to take pictures.”

A wall of vintage bicycles being auctioned off.
A wall of vintage bicycles being auctioned off. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

Much of the collection is what they call new vintage bikes that are decades old but have never been used.

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“We have brand new stock from the 1970s, never used 10-speed,” Hobbis said. “New Mustangs from the 60s, or high rise bikes, muscle bikes.”

Looking at the articles is like traveling back in time through the history of cycling in Vancouver. You see things you never see, like a 1930s CCM fitted with very cool chrome “reinforcing struts” for the forks.

“It was done for balloon tire delivery bikes, when bakers and butchers were making deliveries,” he said.

There are several 1960s-1970s Mustangs (small motorcycles with high handlebars and banana seats) with the Fred Deeley logo, from a time before Fred’s son Trev became famous for selling motorcycles.

Grant Hobbis with the 1926 Durant Star, made in Canada.
Grant Hobbis with the 1926 Durant Star, made in Canada. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

There are all sorts of beautiful European motorcycles from the 1970s, including a 1971 Gitane Professional Tour de France, the same model as Hobbis’ first motorcycle.

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“I rode it everywhere,” he said. “I took a trip to the Caribbean with it.”

He stopped and chuckled. “I don’t recommend doing that.”

There are also several Penny-farthings, a 19th century bicycle with a giant front wheel and a small rear wheel. Penny-farthings were Cape Hobbis’ favorites – he often rode them on parades.

“The steering is not a problem, it’s the descent that is tricky,” said Grant Hobbis. “There were no brakes, you had to hold back the pedals. You slid your foot down until you reached the small step (in the back), and you hoped you weren’t going too fast.

Cap’s Cycles began in Cap’s garage in 1932. Cap and his brothers Bert and Tom opened the New West store in 1940, and there are now multiple locations throughout the Lower Mainland.

Grant is the last of Cap’s seven children to operate a store. He recently sold the Langley store to his son Graham, who will continue the family business 90 years after it started.

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A detail of one of the bikes for sale, which features a 'sportshift'.
A detail of one of the bikes for sale, which features a ‘sportshift’. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG
There are many 10-speed and racing bikes in the auction.
There are many 10-speed and racing bikes in the auction. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG
A detail of the 1898 Indian Hendee bicycle for sale.
A detail of the 1898 Indian Hendee bicycle for sale. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG
A detail of one of the bikes, which are largely in mint condition.
A detail of one of the bikes, which are largely in mint condition. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG
A banana seat from a 1960s/70s Mustang bike.
A banana seat from a 1960s/70s Mustang bike. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG
There are so many bikes on sale that they have been mounted on racks.
There are so many bikes on sale that they have been mounted on racks. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG
A rare Bianchi time trial bike comes with a disc wheel.
A rare Bianchi time trial bike comes with a disc wheel. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG
Grant Hobbis checks out a Haro Free Styler 30th Anniversary bike frame, which is still in the box.  Only 500 were made;  it is number 177.
Grant Hobbis checks out a Haro Free Styler 30th Anniversary bike frame, which is still in the box. Only 500 were made; it is number 177. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG
A 1949 motor vehicle inspection sticker on the 1926 Durant Star automobile.
A 1949 motor vehicle inspection sticker on the 1926 Durant Star automobile. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

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Wiley C. Thompson