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Shop takes visitors on journey to past

Is it a club? Or is it a store? The Beaumont Bicycle Club is a place that values neighborhood connection over sales.

Owner David Volonte likes nothing more than to shoot the breeze with passers-by about vintage bicycles. He has about 15 such bikes in his new shop at 4225 N.E. Fremont St., from the 1940s to the early '70s.

After 15 years of stuffing his home with bikes, he's selling his personal collection. They aren't easy to part with, but he figures others will come Ñ which they do.

'Every bike here has a story behind it,' he says, citing a recent purchase from an older guy who'd bought a black two-speed Schwinn for his son in 1960. The boy rode it for exactly one summer.

'It looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor,' Volonte says. 'I don't even want to sell it.'

On weekends, Volonte Ñ who rides a 1960 Schwinn Jaguar Mark IV three-speed Ñ basks in a steady stream of browsers who step in and wallow in nostalgia as they see a bike they may once have owned.

'If someone wants a classic bike, this is a fun way to do it. There are plenty of flat places to cruise around here in Beaumont,' he says. 'We've got old houses, old cars and now we've got old bikes.'

Ñ Kate Gawf