BUTTERWORTH: It has been a lifelong affair with old bicycles for 61-year-old Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, who has been collecting vintage bicycles since the 1990s.
Fondly known as “Pak Lang G”, Ahmad Fauzi started riding a bicycle during his schooling years, and as an adult, made it his hobby to collect classic-type bicycles.
Today, he is the proud owner of more than 40 vintage bicycles – all of which are still in good, working condition.
“This love affair began with a vintage bicycle that belonged to my late father, which I used to cycle to school,” he told Bernama at his house in Sungai Dua.
He spoke of the 1990s when he started to work and earn some money.
“That was the time when I began scouring for old bicycles to be made into a collection,” he said.
Now, he has bicycles which were produced in the 1940s and 1960s.
“Most of the bicycles are of the made-in-England Hercules and Raleigh brands,” he added.
He would hunt for bicycles from states like Kelantan, Johor and Pahang and have them couriered to his home.
As some of the bicycles were damaged, he would fix and restore them into working condition again.
Ahmad Fauzi, who has worked as a gravedigger for 30 years, said the cost to purchase a vintage bicycle ranged from RM200 to RM1,000.
The spare parts for the classic bicycles are mostly imported from China, which are a bit more costly compared to normal bicycles.
His collection has attracted the attention of antique collectors, who so far have not succeeded in persuading Ahmad Fauzi to part with his beloved bicycles.
Some have even offered to buy them for RM3,000 each.
“Since collecting vintage bicycles, I have only sold them once to a good friend. After letting the bicycles go, I had trouble sleeping. I loved the bicycles too much and regretted selling them.
“After that, I vowed not to sell any of my bicycles. Thankfully, the friend I sold the bicycles to kept them in good condition,” he said.
Ahmad Fauzi said the one thing he treasured most about his bicycles was their sentimental value.
“Some of these bicycles were used by postmen in Japan and Singapore. This is why some of them are highly sought-after and people would offer as high as RM3,000 to me. But I won’t sell them,” he said, adding that his three sons and two daughters had promised to take care of his bicycle collection.
The upcoming Hari Raya is set to be a busy period for Ahmad Fauzi, as he has received many bookings to rent his vintage bicycles for photo shoots.
“I have not set a rental fee. The renter would pay me a sincere token. I will only use the money for the maintenance of the bicycles. The rest, I will donate to the local mosque,” he said.