Long time since I've been here (or at least it seems like... seeing that I would come here like 78 times per day!!).
Here's the story of the fated eXp purchase...
My wife and me had set aside funds for the purchase of my bike with hers to follow (an eXp as well) within a couple months. Robin & Co. got a deposit from us to begin the process. Nearing the end of that process we received a letter from the IRS stating that we were to be audited... yikes, that's never happened before!! So I took all the financial stuff to my father (he's a retired CPA... accountant for those that don't know) and he said to basically halt all purchases and freeze everything but day to day spending. That spelled the end of the eXp for the time being.
Fast forward... the audit came and went with success, mostly... the IRS asked us to pay on an oversight from 1999, but it wasn't too horrible.
In the meantime, my brother who is an avid cyclist and NOT being audited
knows that my wife and me have pulled the purse strings tight and our living like monks financially and he feels bad because he knew about the eXp and had sat through numerous get-togethers whereby I probably bored him half to death through endless tales of All Things Thorn. e.g. he had heard about my eXp since day 1 and everyday inbetween. So when the IRS deal kicked in he knew how disappointed I was so he being of brotherly big heartedness, contacted a friend who owns a cycle shop up in New England and got a huge discount on a NOS, 2003 production year Rivendell Atlantis frameset and invited my wife and me to dinner...
we went and out he walked with frameset in hand and presented as a gift. He also said that being a firm believer in lugs he chose a lugged frame and also being a firm believer in being thrifty he got a deal on it as well as shipping being extremely small compared to shipping from the UK. According to him he was going to take over paying off on the eXp but when he found out that it didn't have lugs it became (loosely quoting him), "Well, if I'm buying him a gift at least it's going to be the kinda gift I'd want myself". He's that kind of person... loving to a degree but opinionated as hell too.
So extremely long story short... I still want an eXp and one day I know I'll put the coin together to get one but right now I have a beautiful Rivendell Atlantis frameset that came as a gift and with some extra money we have I'm having it built up by Peter Jon White in New Hampshire here in the States.
What's that old saying?? Can't look a gift horse in the mouth? So I'm not!!
This in NO way takes anything away from my deep lust over the Thorn cycles too and I must say (even though he probably will wince with pain) Robin, Andrew & the Thorn guys are simply fantastic... they fielded EVERY question, called me endlessly on their own dime, took pics at my request, shared in every phase of my excitement, etc... total class operation! I WILL ride a Thorn eventually... I know that for sure.
I'm not dissing the Atlantis either though... it remains largely untested on long tours by most owners that I can find but has many devotees on small tours, daily rides and commuting... but its quality seems to be first-rate with a very tour suited geometry-Grant Petersen knows his stuff-and the lugs and paint are very beautiful too. So having to pay for kit ain't too bad for me economically speaking when the most expensive part-the frame-was a gift.
I hope this helps clear the mystery of why the eXp suddenly appeared in the For Sale section of the SJS website.
And yes, the tour is still on... we start some 'shakedown' tours this Summer. We're psyched!!
In closing I MUST say... there is NO finer feeling than walking outdoors after an audit from the IRS and still having your freedom AND some money left in your bank account!