On Saturday I went to my first real auction, complete with auctioneer. It was a police bike auction that takes place once a month. I only just discovered that this takes place a few blocks from my house and it’s a good thing that I didn’t know this sooner, as my garage would be much more crammed with bikes than it already is.
The bikes were in several large piles and although you were allowed to look at them in advance it was a little hard to see real details without being able to pull them out. Nevertheless, I spotted this bike and waited for it to show up during the auction. It was a long wait. The auction was outdoors and it was raining. The auctioneer stood on a beat-up old table in the rain and did his thing. At one point a 15 year old kid made the classic auction mistake of accidentally signalling a bid and the auctioneer made fun of him . The bikes were pulled out from the different piles seemingly at random and auctioned off. When this bike finally emerged from the pile I had been waiting for about 50 minutes. The bidding was swift and mostly uncontested and $40.00 later I had a bike.
What did I get? A lugged, steel framed bike with alloy rims and some OK components. Though the sticker says “Tange” it’s no lightweight (probably it is a mix of Tange and Hi-Ten).The serial number tells me that this frame was made here in Canada in March, 1989. This was probably a good but not spectacular bike back in the day.I was particularly curious to try out the biopace chainrings and rear u-brake as I have never had these on a bike before. I have to say that I don’t really notice much difference with the Biopace as yet and the u-brake seems to work just fine. On Sunday night I took the bike for a midnight run through city streets and down some muddy trails into the river valley (challenging the illumination of my feeble headlamp a tad). It was a solid ride, and lots of fun. It handles well, stops quick and fits me nicely.
This bike has once again caused me to ruminate on the subject of inexpensive bikes. My 2008 Kona Jake, my main commuter, second hand cost me 16 times as much as this bike. Is it 16 times better? Maybe. I do know that I worry a lot more about the Jake being stolen than I will with this one. And this leads me to think that a month from now I’ll likely be a the police auction again, cash in hand.