Collectors Spotlight - February 2008 - cycling-pablo
Age: 25 / Texas
cycling-pablo: P@ul S0ll3n63r93r
How long have you been a collector of Oakley items?
I would say about four years. Before that, it was more of just owning a sports pair and then a non-sports pair, and then a non-wire non-sports pair. Everything has to be justified when your cash flow is very limited, but you will always find ways to justify more and more things.
How did you get into collecting Oakley?
It was an attraction to the styles and the overall look of Oakley in the days of the Eye Jackets, Splices, etc. And then of course working at a bike shop that was an OPD, I remember the Oakley rep, no lie his name was Pluto, coming in with his bags of cases of glasses – my hero.
What is the first Oakley item you remember having?
My A-Wire Thicks, Brushed w/Black Iridium. I “won” them for doing well for my MTB cycling team in the State Series. I have changed the lenses once but I still have them and wear them occasionally. My first pair I bought was a Black M-Frame with Black Iridium Sweep lenses. Our cycling team dropped the sunglass sponsor, first Spy and then Smith, so I took advantage and grabbed some M-Frames even though I had about six pairs of non- Oakley glasses that were fine.
What is your biggest Oakley regret? (if any)
Letting myself sell some of my earlier glasses. I was up to six pairs and that was nuts for a 16-year-old in my house, so I brought things down to a sane three pairs. Also parting with some of my watches, again, five watches was crazy but I loved the variety and miss it.
What is your next Oakley purchase likely to be?
I want a Fire Radar Range lens to cut for some Hijinx, but my amazing girlfriend is completely in love with all the Artist Series glasses and keeps leaning on me to bring them home.
What do you consider the "jewel" of your collection?
My A-Wires hold a special place since they were the first pair I got but my actual “jewel” would probably be my Ruby Mars next to my Leather Mars. It’s all Oakley 100% to the core on those two pair.
How do you store/display your Oakley collection?
I have two Arnette cases that I got from my old bike shop when they stopped selling Arnette. They are covered in Oakley stickers and Oakley case POP. They do the job well for me. And against the liking of my girlfriend they are right next to our bed.
Do you have a favorite Oakley retailer?
Oakley itself. I have officially worked at two different O-Stores and helped out at four and just love having the selection to offer customers, much better than a single, barely-stocked Double Wide at the bike shop.
Do you customize?
In the beginning; no. I actually didn’t like it when some people would customize (no offense guys); it took away from the original feel and idea. But, as with time, everything changes. I have custom cut (roughly) a few lenses and have started with some Icon swapping. I think it’s more important to make things your own rather than to blindly uphold someone else’s ideas just because they marketed it.
What other Oakley products do you collect?
Being an employee I have pretty much every category covered. Golf gloves & hockey gloves are basically all I don’t have. My entire closet is Oakley hangers, my socks are all Oakley socks, I could go on but you get the idea. BTW Oakley golf shoes are so comfortable, I don’t even golf and I have some I wear all the time!
What other hobbies/collections/passions do you have?
Well, as my handle suggests I am a cyclist, the non-motorized, Lycra-wearing biker. Started as a hobby and worked its way into a full-on obsession. I am fairly certain I can give credit for my Oakley obsession to my bike racing. About ten years ago, my parents took me to a local mountain bike race. For my age/ability classification it was a one lap 9-mile rush. Fast forward four years and now I’m training six days a week and traveling every weekend. I mostly stayed to the Texas racing circuit. Between road, mountain, and track racing I could continually go from race to race with just enough off days to keep progressing in form. In mountain bike racing you have three main categories; Beginner, Sport, and Expert. Road and track both have five categories, known as Cat. 5 through 1/Pro. I worked my way up to an expert category in mountain biking in less than three years and was taking podiums across the state throughout the series. My focus turned to the road where there is a tougher route to upgrade and more benefits in doing so. I spent a year racing with almost 100% on the road to upgrade to a category 3 and qualify for the under-18 nationals as it was my last year in the U18 classification. The next year was a bit easier and I managed to spend more time preparing for big events. A win at the closing race of a national series of races in Wisconsin capped my season, along with a surprising upgrade to a category 2 at the end of the year. At this point normally Cat.2 racers live, breathe, and eat on a bike. Schools takes a back seat to racing and training. After graduation and one semester of college I spent the next six months as a pro cyclist, minus the paycheck. I traveled 28 days a month and lived on energy bars, gu, and Monster (team sponsor). But with a broken bone and no money, my cycling career was basically cancelled in the middle of the 2005 season. I race at a more relaxed pace now, enjoying it and remembering to live between races and seasons. I still have all three of my main racing bikes; an Orbea for the road, Diamondback for the dirt, and Griffin for the track. If it was not for sponsors I wouldn’t have gotten them in the first place so I know I won’t be selling them - although they could buy a decent new car. I did have three eyewear sponsors, each about a year long, and even though I have a stack of Rudy Project, Smith & Spy glasses, they haven't seen light in a few years. They just don’t hold snuff next to my Oakleys.
What advice do you have for new Oakley collectors?
Getting things that you want on instinct is great, but most likely you will change your mind about them down the road. The biggest thing for me was if I liked it and would wear it than it needed to be mine. Just take time to breath and respect the fact that Oakley can and will make more stuff than you could ever buy.
What do others think about your Oakley collection?
My girlfriend is actually quite fond of it, especially now that her Prada’s and Gucci’s are gone and she has a few styles that she got to pick out and put in the case. Most of my friends work with me or at another store so they laugh about it. Anyone else asks the obvious “Why?” and then it’s my turn to laugh. If you have to ask, you just won’t understand.
What's your fondest/most astounding Oakley memory?
My climb up the ladder working for Oakley retail. When I first got the job I was ecstatic and then as each promotion came it just made me feel good to be able to make a living by spreading Oakley knowledge. Also setting up my living room with the metal channels from my old O-Store. Anyone who ever saw what the old O-stores looked like knows these channels and it just makes home feel more like “home” to me.
Any final words?
This website and group of members, many of whom I call friends, has been amazing and will continue to be amazing. I know without being able to get on and see what others are adding to their collections and customizing and such I would have probably let stress get the best of me and lost my love for Oakley. When a person ask what the O-Review is I tell them it’s like A.A. for Oakley, just instead of quitting it gives you somewhere to fit in and just talk to people who understand and know why you have 10-20-100-500 glasses in your house and why you will always look for that next pair. I want to say thanks to those who have stood strong (and taken flack for it) and kept this site a great place for us. Happy collecting!