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  1. #1
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Big Subdivsion Garage Sale - The REALLY BIG prize!

    I was looking forward to this day: The signs had been posted for weeks, announcing a huge subdivision-wide garage sale, in a fairly affluent suburb near a lake where I sometimes ride my bike. Most of the homes there were built in the 70’s – and it was (until the recent crash) a stable neighborhood with a lot of aging long-time residents – half of whom thought they wanted a 10-speed during the bike boom years, only to hang them upside down in their garages because they were in the way of the station wagon, the kids toys, and especially all the lawn equipment so essential to keeping them in good stead with the Subbub’n homeowner’s association.

    I had my pick-up all gassed up and ready to go – and I was there plenty early, ready to pounce on the best deals, certain, that by the end of the morning, I would have made at least three or four round trips to unload all the minty Paramounts, Raleighs, Peugeots, Bianchi’s, and Miyata tourers that I’d buy for nickels and dimes.

    As each garage door was raised, I would be on hand to view the troves of cycling treasure, so long held there from prying eyes.

    Then, the first door rose up– and as the morning sunlight darted in to illuminate the darkness, I saw something shining – glimmering – round and SPOKE-LIKE! - But alas, it was a nothing more than a cluster of golf club shafts, poking out of a trash barrel, flanked by two large paintings of clowns on black velvet.

    As each subsequent door was opened, this horror would repeat itself again and again- and each time that something shiny and grand glimmered out of the darkness, it would instantly transmogrify itself into a grimy toaster oven, a kids toy, or a broom handle, once it came into full view of the sun.

    Was it voodoo? - How could all of my expectations be so piteously dashed? I circled the sub again and again. Certainly, with so many sales, there would have to be some prize for the day’s effort – and sure enough, soon, bike-shaped objects began to appear:

    - A smallish, purple Murray Mountain Bike with white knobby tires.
    - A Kent 10-speed with high rise handlebars and a Bow-Kow derailleur.
    - A rusting step-through women’s bike, with an extra-super-huge-jumbo saddle, shaped like toilet seat.
    - A gas pipe three-speed with $100 price tag.
    - Three pink and white girls bikes, with 16 and 20” wheels and multi-colored streamers.
    - A “Smurfmobile”, and various wheeled Fisher Price pull toys.



    I felt dejected, dismayed, and tempted to buy the Smurfmobile. To what depths had I sunk? – Clearly, there was nothing here to feed my C&V addition, so I decided to head home, to call it a day, to cry in my beer… Then, from the corner of my eye, I spied a little old man pedaling away on his newly-acquired purple Murray mountain bike, with white knobby tires.

    “He actually bought that POC?” I asked myself. - But one look at the contented, joyful expression on his face made me think again: That humble Murray mountain bike was worth its weight in gold! - For in an instant, it had melted years away from him, and it let him feel the wind about his ears, and to be lost in the moment, as he went tooling happily down the block.
    - Auchen

  2. #2
    Wood David Newton's Avatar
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    It is amazing how loss & depression brings out the weirdest justification.

    How do you FEEL about the other guy getting the Murry? Have you been happy with the Smurf Power Cycle?
    http://davidnewtonguitars.squarespace.com/

  3. #3
    Pro status mtnwkr's Avatar
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    Good read. Thanks. Seems whenever I'm ready to fill the truck I find nothing, when I'm just out tooling around bike come at me from all angles.

  4. #4
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    Nice tale, went sailing myself this morning with high expectations only to come home empty handed with out even a pleasant memory like yours. I will make up for it later with a 20 mile ride and then have a smile to myself at no additional cost. Thanks for sharing.........made my day.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    The Smurfcycle's fork looks bent, but that could just be the photo.
    I never think I have hit hard, unless it rebounds.

    - Dr Samuel Johnson

  6. #6
    Behold my avatar: dgodave's Avatar
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    I like these feel good stories that turn the frown upside down...
    .
    .

  7. #7
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I have had similar experiences with the neighborhood wide garage sales. The great news is that they tend to draw the crowd, so other garage sales that same day are often neglected.

    I picked up this nice Peugeot mixte a couple of weeks ago at an Asheville garage sale, while all of the "experts" were at the Biltmore Village neighborhood wide garage sale.

    I rarely find anything good at the nicer neighborhood wide sales. I haven't figured out why.


  8. #8
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
    The Smurfcycle's fork looks bent, but that could just be the photo.
    that's just because it's not in front of a white garage door!
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  9. #9
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Murphy's Law, bicycle finding style: You only come across bikes when you don't expect to find them, and are not in the slightest bit ready to haul at that moment. Which is why there's nothing four wheeled in my driveway that isn't a hatchback, pickup truck, station wagon or van.

    I've been seeing the signs of the local garage sales set up for tomorrow (Saturday). Unless I run across some of them on my morning ride, I'm not going to bother.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  10. #10
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    One key to garage sales is you need to be hunting for more than just bikes. There just aren't that many good/decent bikes out there. But if you have other items you are seeking (hopefully something more common), then you will do just fine. Then the bike finds are just icing on the cake.

  11. #11
    Behold my avatar: dgodave's Avatar
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    The other secret (sshhh) is to actually ASK if they have any bikes or parts for sale. Once in a while they have some "junk" in the shed that they didnt even think to sell. Most of the time it IS junk, though.
    .
    .

  12. #12
    Senior Member michael k's Avatar
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    With the '40 days and 40 nights of rain' we've had folks here have given up on having garage sale's and filling up the thrift store with junk like Schwinn super sports, Raleigh super course's and Sakai's and .........


  13. #13
    OCD Moderator cb400bill's Avatar
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    Auchen, I understand where your coming from.

    I've been to many of the "subdivision sales" and saw nothing of interest. I did get a little lucky a month back and snagged this 600 Arabesque equipped Volkscycle. It was at the first house I stopped at that morning. After buying it, I stopped about 30 more with nary a bike in sight.

    The Volkscycle was complete, but covered in garage grime and most of the chrome was covered with surface rust. After a thorough cleaning and overhaul, it is a nice little riding bike.

    Before


    After
    Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

    Viscount Aerospace Pro Trek 770 Cannondale Synapse

  14. #14
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Thank you all, for your comments, but don't take the part about me crying in my beer seriously - It's just fun to let my imagination run and tell about it. It's the thrill of the chase.

    Certainly I've come up empty often enough to understand that a $5.00 Paramount is NOT waiting for me every time...Just some of the time. (There I go again.)

    It was very nice though, to see the old guy pedaling merrily away. Today was his lucky day...And who knows? - Tomorrow may be YOURS!
    - Auchen

  15. #15
    Senior Member r0ckh0und's Avatar
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    Great story.....................I like to target the older neighborhoods also but generally find steel wheeled fixie fodder. This morning I was on my way to a job and could'nt resist the temptation to sidetrack into a subdivision sale. I told myself I was in a bit of a hurry so I'd just do a quick drive through................First I found a World Sport that will clean up nicely, smaller frame, good wheels and at $10 priced to low for any bartering. Second I found a Specialized Hardrock kids bike. Bartered a bit for this one as I will flip it cheap and easy. As I was hitting a few of the less travelled streets that did'nt have signs saying Garage Sale >>>>>>>>>>> I came upon a sale with very few items out on the drive and a road bike leaning up against the garage. It had a little post-it note on the top tube that read "Ladies Bike $10" ......a 49cm Schwinn Premis in very good condition. Likely my best garage sale find to date.
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  16. #16
    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    Auchen, I have to ask...what do you do for a living? If it isn't writing, you missed a call somewhere along the line.

    This and your "If your bike could talk" post are just about forcing me to go back and search your posts for other gems.

  17. #17
    Senior Member cycleheimer's Avatar
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    Joseph Conrad couldn't have written better prose!!!

    Stopped at a few garage sales myself today... the bikes were all mountain bikes with 24" wheels!!! Serious!! Mostly girls bikes, too!!! With flower and cartoon character stickers all over them!

    Word to the wise...watch out when looking for bikes at garage sales... if you don't see bikes or other stuff you need, be careful not to kill time looking around and then wind up blowing all your cash on useless junk you will never need just because it's a "bargain". You come home broke with a load of clutter... "a man has got to know his limitations".
    Bike-A-Holic

  18. #18
    Senior Member cycleheimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
    Auchen, I have to ask...what do you do for a living? If it isn't writing, you missed a call somewhere along the line.

    This and your "If your bike could talk" post are just about forcing me to go back and search your posts for other gems.
    ... you might also want to search the New York Times best sellers list for his other works ...
    Bike-A-Holic

  19. #19
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    Last week I found a raleigh triumph 10 speed. I think it is raleigh to compete with store brand bike but it has good tires and is ridable now. For $5 but I had to take the huffy girls 10 speed too.I dropped the huffy off at goodwill (no one in the family it would fit if I fixed it up) I am thinking of using the raleigh to throw in the back of truck to stop at a bike trail on the way home from work. I haven't rode in a couple years and need to get back in shape. I can stop and ride the trail till I get in better shape . The big hills coming back to the house are hard on a fat guy. I figure I,m not out much if some one steals it at work
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  20. #20
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
    Auchen, I have to ask...what do you do for a living? If it isn't writing, you missed a call somewhere along the line.

    This and your "If your bike could talk" post are just about forcing me to go back and search your posts for other gems.
    He used bullets, too. Sure sign of journalism.

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻

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  21. #21
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Look, there are two basic tricks. First one is to not actually look for specific things (ie a Masi) or you'll always be disappointed. The second is to be looking for something else besides bikes. I pick up a lot of music at yard sales and thrifts, for instance. The week netted two beautiful P-Funk lps (Mothership Connection and One Nation w/ the 45), a lp copy of the Replacement's Pleased to Meet Me (still sealed), a fairly complete collection of Tricky CDs, a minty Chic lp, a Steve Earle cd, minty lps by Sinatra and Peter Gabriel, a copy of The Harder they Come soundtrack on LP, the Dead's only great album on cd (Workingman's Dead, the Rhino re-issue), a Suzi Quatro cd collection, and two Massive Attack cds. Total cost was under ten bucks; some of it I'll swap for something else (I already have copies of the P-Funk lps, for example). But I found no bikes, and even missed out on a Cannondale roadie. No biggie. Something interesting will likely show up, it always does. Patience is the other great rule.

    You almost have to take a zen attitude towards bikes (and lps, for that matter). Accept what comes, and decide what you do with it once it arrives, not before.
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

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  22. #22
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    Poguemahone, you have insanely varied tastes in music, suggestive of schizophrenia. You should seek professional help.

    But next time you're throwin down a party, make sure to call me...make my funk the P-Funk!
    I never think I have hit hard, unless it rebounds.

    - Dr Samuel Johnson

  23. #23
    Senior Member BigPolishJimmy's Avatar
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    I've been pretty fortunate lately, especially since I've decided to chill out on my aquisition and focus on getting rid of the bikes that I'm not going to ride. It almost reminds me of back in the day when I would be without a girlfriend, activly looking and not having any luck. Then I would give up and bam, suddenly have a girlfriend from out of the blue. Of course once one had a girlfriend, the other girls would be coming out of the woodwork. Thats how it seems now, I really am enjoying my Fuji, I'm not looking for a bike for me, and I'd rather be riding my bikes than fixing bikes that i'm not going to ride, but I keep finding worthy bikes. Not expensive or especially valuable bikes, but just solid rides that need a little attention. Of course I cannot leave them in such pitiful condition, I have to take them home and fix the shifters and put a little true on the wheels.

  24. #24
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    This morning's 30 miler was planned around hitting two local church yard sales. Learned not to bother in the future. Little secret (in my area, at least) about what shows up at the church yard sale: Only the stuff that wasn't good enough to sell at the parishoner's own yard sales - or that stuff is being hoarded for their own sales in the future. Then got a call from Poguemahone calling to check on a couple of little bits he ran across, seeing if I needed any of them.

    Mark of a damn good friend.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  25. #25
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
    Look, there are two basic tricks. First one is to not actually look for specific things (ie a Masi) or you'll always be disappointed. The second is to be looking for something else besides bikes. I pick up a lot of music at yard sales and thrifts, for instance. The week netted two beautiful P-Funk lps (Mothership Connection and One Nation w/ the 45), a lp copy of the Replacement's Pleased to Meet Me (still sealed), a fairly complete collection of Tricky CDs, a minty Chic lp, a Steve Earle cd, minty lps by Sinatra and Peter Gabriel, a copy of The Harder they Come soundtrack on LP, the Dead's only great album on cd (Workingman's Dead, the Rhino re-issue), a Suzi Quatro cd collection, and two Massive Attack cds. Total cost was under ten bucks; some of it I'll swap for something else (I already have copies of the P-Funk lps, for example). But I found no bikes, and even missed out on a Cannondale roadie. No biggie. Something interesting will likely show up, it always does. Patience is the other great rule.

    You almost have to take a zen attitude towards bikes (and lps, for that matter). Accept what comes, and decide what you do with it once it arrives, not before.
    Damn, Suzi Quatro. All that I've got of her's is on LP's in the attic. Still remember seeing her at the Agora in Cleveland in '73.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

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