Shawn vs. Bike Obsessions

As I stated in a previous post, I am an off and on peruser of the bicycle section of Portland Craigslist. Currently, I’m in “on” mode, which means obsessively checking listings frequently through the day. Yes, this might seem “much”, but on a good day Craiglist will see 600-1000 new bike listings. (And yes, “new listings” is subjective, as there are lots of re-posts. But you know what I mean.) Right now I’m not actively looking for any new bikes* but more for accessories at good prices. Things I might not need now, but can use later.

Yep, got the saddle for $40 on CL

And one thing I could always use later is another Brooks saddle. You may remember I had one stolen in April, so I would like another. There are a few on Craigslist, but they usually are selling for slightly below retail. If I wanted that kind of price, I’d buy new. I’m looking at the $50 or under range. Not common, but they do happen. For example, the B17 Narrow on the Rudge I picked up for $40 a few years back.

Ideale is a now-defunct French saddle maker, sort of the French Brooks. Many people love these saddles, and covet them for French bikes. So when I saw an Ideale saddle being sold on CL for just $30 the other night, you knew I was promptly emailing the seller. But unfortunately, not prompt enough. The email immediately bounced because the seller deleted the ad from the time I looked at it to the time I emailed. Either the seller sold the saddle in the five hours since he or she posted it, or they took a look at eBay and saw how much these saddles sell for, and yanked the ad. Either scenario makes sense. And I don’t get another saddle, durn.

The other thing I check for is British-styled saddlebags, a la Carradice. There’s an occasional posting, but not too many, and like Brooks saddles, most sellers want near-retail price for their bag.

A few days ago I spotted a listing for a women’s Hercules three-speed. Hercules was an independent British bike maker (a pretty large one at that) before it got eaten by the voracious Raleigh machine. Most of the ones one would see here in the States are Raleigh-made Herucles, Now I’m not in the market for one (especially not a standard ladies model**), and the price wasn’t thrillling ($240) but for some reason that I don’t remember clearly now, I clicked on the ad to check it out. And this was the photo that greeted me:

Yep, a Hercules. There it is. But wait…what is that attached to the saddle?

It looks like…a saddlebag! Could it be a Carradice? Or another, rarer, British bag maker from the past? Hmmm…

Now this bike wasn’t being sold by a private seller, it was being sold by a vintage shop. So there was the slight possibility the shop might sell me the bag separately if I asked. But first, I would need to see this bag. So I finally got up to the store (it’s in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland, not in my usual SE circuit) on Tuesday. And what did I find?

It’s branded as a “Schwinn” bag, but it clearly states that it was “Made in England”. So this opens it up to any of the traditional English saddlebag makers during the middle of the century. It doesn’t look like a Carradice, as Carradices are more barrel-shape, where this one is all contoured. Plus Carradice is all canvas (except for the leather and hardware) while this one was constructed with a mystery fabric lined with plastic on the inside. Someone on flickr says it’s a Karrimor, which was the other big saddlebag maker until Carradice was the only survivor of the market.

Did I get it? Nah. On closer inspection, the bag looked pretty beat. And it also appears that the bike might be a consignment item, meaning the store wouldn’t be able to sell me the bag separately. The price for the bike had lowered to $200, which I still felt was too much for this bike. I didn’t take photos of the bike, as I was trying to not look too suspicious in the store, but it was in okay shape, nothing great. I wasn’t about to buy a whole bike to get a bag that I was ambivalent about. My bike obsessions do have their limits.

**Now if it was a loop frame…


3 thoughts on “Shawn vs. Bike Obsessions

  1. Good lord! 600 to 1000 listings per day? My several daily visits to the Kijiji classifieds here in Edmonton takes up enough of my time and there are at most a couple of dozen new entries per day. I've about given up on trying to find vintage Brooks/Ideale saddles for a reasonable price. Wrights saddles sometimes still move on e-bay for about $40.00

  2. I'd be curious to know what percentage of listings on Craigslist are stolen items. Hell, the Brooks saddle you had stolen from you probably ended up there and someone got a great deal on it.

  3. Good question. There's always the chance in the used market that an item is (or at one point, was) "hot", but I don't think it's as high as some of the alarmists claim.As for my stolen Brooks, I've kept an eye on Portland CL and haven't seen it turn up there. Now it could have gone to another city, or through eBay…

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