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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bye bye, Centurion

In an earlier post I mentioned that I finally sold my single-speed Centurion Le Mans. After posting for weeks on Craigslist, I sold it to someone I knew, go figure! And the final price: $140. Aaron, the new owner, let me know that's he's been using it as his daily rider and is quite happy with it. That's good to hear.

Ah Craigslist...such a love/hate relationship. I've had good success buying stuff on it (the Centurion, Raleigh, and Worksman Cycle Truck all came from it), but have had frustrating experiences in the selling department, especially with bikes. I've attempted to sell three bikes. The first one (my Schwinn Collegiate) was an utter failure, so I consigned it to North Portland Bikeworks instead. The second one was the Univega 3-speed. I had to bring the price down to $175 to get a nibble. The handbuilt wheels cost more! I know, I can't think that way with selling used goods, but it's still frustrating.

The process is such a pain. Posting and reposting. Replying to inquiries and not getting a return response. The hagglers who over email will ask if you will accept HALF of the asking price--and can you deliver?! And of course the self-empowered Craigslist Police who will be sure to let you know What You're Doing Wrong. This happened when I sold my Chrome Messenger Backpack. The first time I posted I posted a fairly high price because I follow the rule to overprice a little since people will want to haggle. So a Craiglist Policeman "just wanted to let me know" that my bag was totally worn out (because you can TELL those things from a small lo-res photo) and there is NO WAY I would get more than $30 for an item I paid about $140 new three years previous. Well, thanks. And I still sold the bag for $45. Almost felt like telling the dude about that, but didn't feel like stoking any fires. I miss the Centurion? Yes and no. I hadn't ridden it for a few months, partially because the Raleigh took the position of "daily rider" and partially because I knew I was going to sell it at some point, so I figured the less I rode it, the less sentimental I would get. It worked mostly. I was able to think rationally and realize the bike was an inanimate object. And not that special of a bike. Sure I made the thing unique to my tastes and needs. But I took a pretty common 70's Japanese road bike, fitted it with a set of single-speed wheels, changed the handlebars, swapped out the saddle, and added a small front rack. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing I couldn't replicate to some extent with another bike in the future. Creating a decent single speed ain't rocket science.

But despite all that, it took a few days for some sentimentality to creep in. Before owning a single-speed, for years I poo-pooed the idea of one. This bike taught me how fun and useful one can be for around-town riding. And man, I loved how low-maintenance the bike was! Over the year and a half I owned it, the only things I had to do to it besides basic maintenance was adjust brakes, retension the chain, and overhaul the bottom bracket. I'm definitely going to miss that.

But in the end, I knew it was time to move on. The bike wasn't fun for me anymore and I needed to thin the herd. Now there's another good bike back out in the world. And I'm sure there will be another single speed in the stable someday.

1 comment:

  1. And I'm sure the extra cash comes in handy for your trip. So many bikes, so little time. Hope all is going well and that you and April are getting excited as the trip starts to near.


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