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Old 04-15-09, 07:22 PM   #1
trashion
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I want to save this bike from dust and despair!

I'm a student in college, and I have a key to the basement labs and storage rooms in the Natural Sciences building here, as part of my on-campus internship.

There is a lovely brown Centurion LeMans tucked away, coated in dust, in one of the storage rooms. I left a note on it a month ago, saying "whose is this?" with my phone number. No response.

I did some asking around, and apparently the Mystery Bike belongs to a certain professor who is still technically an employee, but apparently "quite ill." She turns up now and then to sort through some stuff in her office (which is now occupied by a new professor,) but never stays more than a few hours. Her husband is also a professor at this school, but his health is rather poor as well, and he just had open-heart surgery. Thus, he's not around much either.

It's a sticky situation, and I know I can't just walk out with the bike, but at the same time it breaks my heart to see such a nice bike with flat tires and layers of dust just moldering away in the basement instead of being ridden outside!

Tell me, BikeForums members, what would you do?
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Old 04-15-09, 07:29 PM   #2
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Contact the professor in question and ask if she would like to sell you the bike. Does she (or her husband) have a contact e-mail listed in the staff directory?

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Old 04-15-09, 07:35 PM   #3
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I'd go to her house and contact her face to face. Tell her your story. You might get it for free. bk
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Old 04-15-09, 07:37 PM   #4
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I'd go to her house and contact her face to face. Tell her your story. You might get it for free. bk
Uh...she might consider that stalking. I would think twice before doing that.

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Old 04-15-09, 10:26 PM   #5
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that IS a nice bike. A friend of mine had one for 20 years, until he lost it off his cartop rack at about 75mph. He replaced it with a Litespeed, but says he still misses the Le Mans.
It's hard to do this without feeling like a vampire, but it's possible the owners feel the same way you do about the bike and would like to see it ridden, or at least have no use for it and even could use a few extra dollars.
I'm not sure I share the other poster's worries about stalking, but nobody likes an unexpected knock on the door. I think I'd just call, introduce myself as a student who's interested in classic bicycles, say i'd been told that wonderful Centurion was theirs and ask if, since they hadn't used it in awhile, would they consider selling it.
On second, thought, I wouldn't say "wonderful Centurion." I'd say "that old brown bike." And if they say they'll let it go for $750, you can always steal it then.
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Old 04-15-09, 10:29 PM   #6
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I e-mailed her husband (because she's no longer listed in the directory) and asked very politely if she would consider selling the bicycle. Fingers crossed!
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Old 04-17-09, 12:25 PM   #7
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Also consider locking it up to something 'til you get a massage back. . .ethically dicey. . .but I'm pretty certain you're not the only one who's 'found' it.
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Old 04-17-09, 02:59 PM   #8
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If you get it cheap, send them a picture after fixing it up to show you really put some effort (time/money) into getting it back on the road. Good 'mojo' never hurts, especially when its as cheap as an email pic!
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Old 04-17-09, 03:52 PM   #9
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Received an e-mail with the professor's blessing to take the bike and give it new life! I just bought a new bike, I guess now I'll have a sweet backup!
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Old 04-17-09, 04:47 PM   #10
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Very good indeed! You never know how things may turn in your favor - unless you try.

Pictures, please!
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Old 04-17-09, 05:27 PM   #11
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I love a happy ending.
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Old 04-17-09, 09:20 PM   #12
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Received an e-mail with the professor's blessing to take the bike and give it new life! I just bought a new bike, I guess now I'll have a sweet backup!
Oh, hurrah!

When you get it back to looking good, could you post some photos of it in Classic & Vintage?

We love hearing a good story .

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Old 04-18-09, 01:27 AM   #13
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I'd make a copy of the e-mail and keep it.
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Old 04-18-09, 01:38 AM   #14
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The LeMans is a very nice bike... my little sister just scored one in a 44 cm frame size and is loving it.
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Old 04-18-09, 07:11 PM   #15
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I work at a university, and am always amazed at the bikes that kids simply abandon when they graduate. Sure, most of them are junkers; Huffys and Roadmasters and Chinese stuff. But over the years, I've recovered and rebuilt a number of very nice bikes.
Usually, the Residential Life folks will tag them all before the locks are cut, and after an appropriate period of storage (just in case an owner shows up) they are often made available to staff and faculty.
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Old 04-18-09, 07:15 PM   #16
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If you want to furnish your house or apartment, just go to a college/university on the last day of school. Bring a truck. You'll go home with a full load of perfectly good EVERYTHING!

It's amazing.
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Old 04-18-09, 09:10 PM   #17
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Oh, don't I know it! Apparently there's an entire roomful of bikes tucked away somewhere that UPD took that were abandoned.

And trust me, I always bring tons of stuff home from school at the end of the year.
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Old 04-18-09, 11:09 PM   #18
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I work at a university, and am always amazed at the bikes that kids simply abandon when they graduate. Sure, most of them are junkers; Huffys and Roadmasters and Chinese stuff. But over the years, I've recovered and rebuilt a number of very nice bikes.
Usually, the Residential Life folks will tag them all before the locks are cut, and after an appropriate period of storage (just in case an owner shows up) they are often made available to staff and faculty.
I did a pickup at the university for the bike co-op last year and we recovered some really high end bikes like FS Konas and Giants as well as some very nice road bikes including a Trek 1000.

It is shocking to see what people will leave behind.
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Old 04-19-09, 09:31 PM   #19
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Check it out after I washed a ton of the grime and dust off it, guys!

http://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/532792-got-free-bike.html#post8762381
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