Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Paramount story - Part 1

I went looking for a cheap frame one Sunday. The local Sunday rag classifieds seem to have the best range of cheap old bikes. 

I called one number in relation to a 'racing bike frame' $90. Seemed kind of expensive, and the guy couldn't give me much info about it. He told me  that he wasn't sure that he was charging enough. I had a hunch about it and took a long drive. 

The owner was well into his eighties, or at least looked it. He showed me what turned out to be Gordonson - mid seventies. Then he tried asking $130. I was disappointed, but gradually became distracted by his back yard. It was an incredible treasure trove of stuff: vintage car parts, general junk and dozens of old bikes. Everything was literally piled in heaps, some covered by sheets of plastic or corrugated iron. I asked him if I could have a poke around and he reluctantly agreed. 

A lot of his bikes were seventies and eighties models and there were a number of mountain bikes, but he had a few interesting vintage frames, and piles of wheels, seats and random parts. The piles were so high, there was no telling what was underneath them. He said that he wanted somebody to just come and clean it all out. I thought I'd found Aladdin's cave, but gradually I came to realize the bloke was just one grape short of a bunch. 

As indicated by his unreasonable request for the frame I'd come to look at, he had a fanciful notion of what his bikes were worth. I explained to him that I could look for the nearest excess rubbish collection (where people put their waste on the street for collection) and find an equivalent bike for naught, but he was convinced that because the bike originally coast $600 (yeah right) it was now worth at least $300....'easy'.  

As I rummaged about, this grandiose perception of the value of his collection became more and more obvious and I began to see the my hopes of scoring a gem dissolve. I dug out one old frame, covered in greasy dirt, an old crank set and a pair of pedals. The he began to run out of patience and suggested that I buy the Gordonson and be gone. When I told him that I didn’t want to but the bike, he spat the dummy, so I began to negotiate a price for the bits I’d picked up and the Gordonson and we settled on $130. 

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