The travelling merchant from Kediri
A special guest showed up during the recent declaration of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Vintage Bicycle Community (Kosti) and the third anniversary of Samas, the local umbrella organization for bicycle enthusiasts, at Puputan Badung field in downtown Denpasar.
Wearing an army-style field jacket, the guest was none other than Haji Achmad Basuki, the chairman of the Kediri chapter of Kosti in East Java. Among vintage bicycle enthusiasts, he is well known as an avid collector and the ultimate source for rare spare parts for antique bicycles.
The stoic man arrived at the two-day celebration with an entourage of staff and a medium-duty pick-up truck. The cargo on the back of the truck was more than sufficient to make any bicycle enthusiast drool.
The treasures comprised various rare and much-sought after parts, from authentic head badges, to genuine handlebars and rims, front lamps, full frames, antique helmets, leather seats and contemporary side bags and pouches.
Basuki’s staff displayed the merchandise on the ground, turning part of Puputan Badung field into a temporary spare-parts market for vintage bicycle connoisseurs. Soon, enthusiasts and collectors flocked to the bazaar.
The prices of the authentic full frames ranged from Rp 150,000 (US$15.80) to Rp 4.5 million. As in any collectible items market, the prices were determined by how rare each item was.
Basuki sourced the spare parts from his contacts in the Netherlands, as well as from vintage bicycle owners in various parts of the country. For the past seven years, he has travelled to Sabang, Medan, Palembang, Lampung, Kalimantan and Malaysia to buy and sell vintage bicycle parts. It is a full-time job, as well as a full-time hobby, for him.
“This is an art business,” he said, referring to the vintage bicycles not as a commodity, but as collectible works of art.
Basuki’s personal collection comprises 600 vintage bicycles of various brands made in France, Holland, Germany and England. His most precious piece in his collection is an authentic 1906 Royal Enfield with a street price of Rp 20 million.
He secured a place in the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI) for two consecutive years in 2006 and 2007 after constructing a 5.2-meter tall and then a 7.2-meter tall bicycle.
“This is the kind of business that makes you healthier and you make more friends,” he added.