It Happens Every Spring by Mike Courteau
It happens every spring. The sun starts to shine and the snow starts to melt and I begin to pine for a new set of wheels.
Two springs ago, I had decided to sell my Marin mountain bike, a beautiful bike, because I wanted to try my hand at riding a road bike again.
I finally found a buyer, or, more appropriately perhaps, a buyer found me on Craigslist. Soon, I was the buyer looking for a new bike.
I visited a few bike shops and scoured Craigslist for weeks, but most of the bikes that appealed to me were out of my price range. My ceiling was $500. It was a reasonable amount for a bike, I thought, especially since I hadn’t ridden a road bike in twenty years and was not even sure if I would enjoy that sort of cycling any more. But even on Craigslist, it’s not so easy to find an appealing road bike for under $500.
The sellers of most of the bikes I liked were asking $800, $900, and even over $1000. Way out of my price range.
I was beginning to think that I would not be able to find an acceptable ride at my price point, but persistence, like elsewhere in life, pays when searching for a new bike.
And then, there she was: a 2008 Fuji Newest 3.0 that reportedly had no more than 500 miles on her ridden during the summer of ’08. The guy was asking $500.
There must be something wrong, I thought. What’s the catch?
It turns out the only hitch was that the seller was a student in Mankato. Certainly, I was not about to drive to southern Minnesota to take a look at a bike that I might or might not buy. I was slightly leery when the seller claimed to have another buyer interested in the Twin Cities, and that he didn’t mind driving up from Mankato because if I wasn’t interested he knew somebody else who would be.
He agreed to show me the bike first. He pulled up in front of my house, opened the back hatch of his car and there she was. There was nary a scratch on her glossy blue and white frame. Everything was original save for the saddle, which the buyer had swapped for a slightly sportier model. She even came equipped with a CatEye cycling computer mounted on the handlebars just above the neck.
I took her for a spin, and I felt wobbly and awkward. Picture Napolean Dynamite hunched forward with his hands in the drops pulling his cousin Kip behind him on a skateboard. My gawkiness notwithstanding, the ride felt right.
I offered the guy $400. He said he really hoped to get $500. He was selling it for someone else, you see, and he really wasn’t authorized to negotiate.
I wrote him a check for $450. It has been the best $450 I have ever spent.
Unfortunately, I have started to outgrow her. She weighs 26 lbs, has a triple chain ring and even if I pedal as vigorously as I can, downhill, I can barely get her to exceed 30 mph.
So I’ve got my eyes on an Eddy Merckx EMX-7 Limited Edition road bike which retails for $20,000. Just kidding. Though my cycling ambitions have certainly increased since I bought my Fuji two springs ago, they have not increased by that much.
Realistically, my ceiling is more like $1000 now. Maybe even $1300 if the right bike comes along.
I wonder what’s for sale on Craigslist.
Thanks Mike! We were just starting to get that new bike itch ourselves…….