NEXT - FINDING PEUGEOT UE8 BICYCLES
THE FIRST UE8
Several Peugeot UE8 bicycles have managed to find their way into The Old Shed. Sadly, some of the "how found" stories have been lost in time, others, fondly remembered and one "let it go to a new home" story that still sends chills down my back.
The first UE8 I stumbled upon was found at the local landfill site, more commonly referred to as The Dump. The bicycle was found at a time when I would drag home anything, and I do mean anything, with skinny tires and drop handlebars. With those two fundamental criteria met, the Purple Peugeot, that presented itself to me at The Dump one day, qualified. Closer inspection, conducted before loading the bicycle into my Ranger, revealed that this bike was a little something different than I was used to.
In the early days of collecting vintage racing bicycles, I was no different than those of you who are just developing an interest in this broad Velo genre. I lacked the knowledge to choose wisely. I knew little of tubing types or how it would impact value and ride. I did know that Campagnolo was THE BEST, or at least that is what a great deal of the hype had led me to believe. What to look for in the "damage department" was often the furthest thing from my mind. And fit considerations were never considered. However, in my blissful ignorance, that lovely old, cosmetically challenged purple Peugeot sparked my imagination. I would restore the bicycle!
Restore? Not until I got rid of those stupid steel fenders and that "must weigh a ton" light system. The stupid little brake blade hoods could take a hike also. And the luggage rack - well it was pretty rusty anyway, so out it would go...
How little did I know!
THE SECOND UE8
But that was then. The purple Peugeot UE8 remained hanging in The Old Shed, year in and year out, without much more than an "I should get at that bike one of these days" thought. Finally, another UE8 presented itself, this new nice candy blue one being in much nicer shape, from a cosmetics point of view. That new find immediately any hope to get at the Purple bike found a year or two earlier.
I listed the first found UE8 on Ebay and was pleasantly surprised when the bike fetched close to a hundred and fifty dollars. In those days, a Peugeot UO8 would sell for very little, if at all, on Ebay.
Once again, my only UE8 was hanging in The Old Shed. But this one was much nicer than the first one found. The blue UE8 was found through the Looking procedure mentioned in how to find vintage bicycles. Looking? How could that possibly be considered a procedure? Check it out;-)
At any rate, while Yard Sailing one Saturday morning, I could not help but notice an old Ten Speed, tucked away between a garage and some other kind of out building. Thinking that it belonged to the Yard Sale host, I inquired about the bicycle. I was a bit saddened to learn that the bike belonged to the fellow's next door neighbour. Fair enough, I would go next door and inquire, but before doing so I was sure to ask if the fellow I was already talking to might have an old Ten Speed, that he wanted to sell?
Yup! He sure did and made mention of the fact that he had forgot all about the bicycle. Now that is all another story but the bike I got from him five minutes later set me back twenty dollars, and turned out to be a near mint Norco Magnum - triple rings, Suntour Vx transmission. Back to the Peugeot...
A young girl answered my knock at the neighbour's door and I inquired about the bicycle. The young lady shouted for he father to come to the door, turned on her heel and bailed, leaving me standing there, door open, waiting for what was to come next.
A middle aged man, with a bit of an annoyed look on his face, appeared at the door. I was quick to explain, why I was there and how I came to know that there was a bicycle, of interest to me, in his back yard. The angry look disappeared and he told me to help myself to the bicycle and abruptly closed the door. To this day, I feel like going back to ask if he had any other Ten Speed bikes that he would like to sell. But I never did.
I really did like the newest UE8, but by this time in my collecting career, I was pretty much into high end bicycles only. That would change, in days to come, but at that time I guess I really did know that the bike would just sit. With that in mind, and The Old Shed bulging with vintage road bicycles, I decided to sell the Peugeot. I listed the bike on Ebay, and once again got a reasonable price for a bicycle that had cost me nothing. The second found Peugeot UE8 was sold to a fellow in Australia. And that was the beginning of a very unusual shipping story.
Thank goodness the potential buyer had the wisdom to ask about shipping costs before bidding. The cost to ship a complete bicycle, from my location in Canada to his in Australia, was $940.00 US. Almost a thousand dollars. He responded to the quote, thanking me for my time and I thought little more of it.
Well, a few days later, the auction ended and the Down-Under guy had bought the bicycle. He was quick to contact me and ask if I could possible put the shipping of the bicycle on his FedEx Account Number. Doing so would allow for his shipping discount to kick in and the final shipping cost to him would be $560.00 US. Still an awful lot for what was little more than an entry level, seventies something, Peugeot.
Well, to suggest that his final shipping cost levelled out at $560.00 would prove to be wrong. Australian Customs seized the bicycle, claiming that it was dirty. They insisted that the Peugeot be professionally cleaned, at the buyer's expense, before being released into the country. Additionally, the bicycle would be impounded for thirty days, with even more cost to my customer. I was horrified to find all of this out.
I responded to the buyer's email about this most recent development, asking what I could do to help. I explained that I had no idea this could happen. He was quick to respond, indicating that he was not troubled with the situation and asked me to not worry about it. Though it still does bother me, I did at least learn from the experience.
Today, no bicycle is shipped dirty, if it will be crossing an international boarder. Period. I even spray the inside of my shipping boxed with over the counter insecticide, allowing it to dissipate before closing the lid. Can you imaging the fun an Australian Customs guy or gal could have with a stray spider from Canada? My goodness, it might cause a war!
THE THIRD UE8
Another UE8 surfaced one day, along with my first ever found UE18. Both of these bikes were donated to the Bicycles for Humanity movement. Since Ten Speed bicycles are not appropriate to send to Africa, the organization must find something useful to do with the bikes. These two Peugeots, both of which I still have at the time of this writing , are still hanging in The Old Shed. They were given to me, earned through the B4H Earn a Bike Program.
Both bicycles were in nice shape, the Mixte being the better of the two. But the man's bike was fitted with a very neat set of hard saddle bags that, quite frankly, weigh a ton. But, as mentioned, they were cool and did add interest to an already interesting bicycle.
The saddle bars "as found" were covered in a layer of grime. Fortunately the grime, which cleaned off very easily, had served to protect the surface. The blue vinyl was in excellent condition. There was no fabric wear, damage or discoloration. A bit of the white plastic piping, however, had suffered a bit of damage over the years. All in all, though, the bags were very unusual to find. Would I ever use them? Perhaps! After all, a Peugeot UE8 with the full accessory package, from the mid seventies, might prove to be an interesting Street Restoration project.
Sadly, both the newest UE8 and UE18 had suffered damage to the lighting system. Neither front light had survived the years and one tail light was damaged. But the rest of the lighting system, on both bikes, worked perfectly. The lights will be easy to replace, should restoration time ever present itself.
The bikes were fitted with components identical to the others I had found, with one exception. Neither had a front chain guard. The Peugeot chain guard was the only one, that I have seen, set up to work with a front derailleur. Most chain guards make derailleur operation impossible, but not Peugeots. The guard is cut out to allow for derailleur use. Good idea and the ornate chain guard does add something to the vintage appeal of these old bikes.
As mentioned and at first, these neat old French Touring bicycles caught my attention and I looked forward to the opportunity to restore one. But the reality of it all is I have too many bicycles. To that, add the fact that one of those bikes is Peugeot's top dog offering, the Peugeot PX10. With that in my ever changing stable of vintage road bicycles, it is difficult to get excited about investing time, effort and cash into a bicycle of, more or less, entry level quality. But the one with the bags is, indeed, tempting.
Little time was spent riding any one of these old French road bicycles. Though interesting enough and certainly vintage in presentation, the bikes proved to be of little personal interest to me. For the right person, however, it would be hard to beat a nicely cleaned up and fully equipped Peugeot UE8 or UE18.