Wow!  Check the newspaper.  This one is a no-brainer, right?  Well, not really…

I have rarely seen a vintage road bicycle offered for sale in our local newspaper's classified section.  It does happen though and part of your bike hunting habit should be reviewing the classified sections where vintage road bicycles sometimes do hide.

If you go to the "vintage road bicycles for sale" category in the classified section of your local newspaper, you will likely be disappointed.  Rare is it that I have seen a classified advertisement for a vintage road bicycle, let alone a complete section devoted to the gender.  In fact, in the city I live in there is no classified section devoted to bicycles at all.  With this in mind, expand your newspaper search to include different classified categories.

Yard Sales, Rummage Sales, Garage Sales - call them what you like - have a category of their own and are usually advertised just prior to weekend days.  People, just like you and me often have an accumulation of odds and ends that pile up over the years.  These odds and ends are the Yard Sale product.  And Yard Sales can offer a virtual wealth of vintage bicycles – at least they used to.  Things have changed dramatically in the past couple of years.  However, the Yard Sale can still produce great old bikes, if you know how to work the situation.

This beautiful, little used and near mint Peugeot Sprint is a perfect example.  The first thing to attract my attention as I coasted to a stop one beautiful summer Saturday morning was a late sixties or early seventies Freddie Grubb leaning against something else that was offered for sale at the Yard Sale in question.  I parked my ride of the day, a mid seventies Sekine SHT-270, and immediately put my hands on the Grubb and kept them there as I sought out the Yard Sale host.

The middle aged fellow told me that he was selling the Grubb for fifteen dollars.  Hardly a bad price, all things taken into consideration.  I did, however, counter with an offer of ten dollars, and we settled on twelve.  I paid the price and asked if I could leave the old road bike there, for an hour or two.  There was no way that I wanted to carry the Freddie Grubb, half way across the city of Thunder Bay, on my Sekine.  Don't laugh, I've done it before.

Anyway, he said I could leave the bicycle.  I tied one of my yellow "I bought this" cards onto the bicycle and went on to step two, of working a Yard Sale.  I asked the fellow if he had any other old "Ten Speeds" for sale.  His face brightened, and he invited me into his basement, to see his good bike.  The good bike turned out to be the Peugeot

There is a process to working Yard Sales.  Start by reviewing the upcoming Yard Sales classified category in your local newspaper.  Friday's paper is likely the best day to seek the information.  It is even a good idea to have a look at Thursday's offering also.  Look for large sales hosted by church or charity groups.  Next, consider multi-family offerings.  And last, but certainly not least, the single family sale.  Often times this kind of information will be included in a classified advertisement.

As you are reviewing the upcoming Yard Sales, seek out the words like bicycle or bike.  These are primary targets and I usually cruise such Yard Sale sites the evening before, or very early the morning of, the sale.  If I see an old bike set out, I approach the owner, go through I noticed your bicycle routine and offer immediate purchase.  Do not let on that you are there because of the Yard Sale advertisement.  Doing so just might define you as a Yard Sale "Early Bird".  "Early Birds" are often resented by Yard Sale hosts, many of who are repeat sellers.  This has something to do with worms but I can’t remember what.  Perhaps the worm didn't think too much of the Early Bird either.  Anyway, while on this subject, avoid Classified Yard Sale ads that warn against “Early Birds"  These are often repeat sales that people conduct on a fairly regular basis.  Repeat Yard Sales, for the most part, prove unproductive when searching for vintage bicycles.

There is a lesson to be learned, in all of this, and the lesson is simple.  If you don’t get there quick, you don’t get!  Now I remember, "the early bird gets the worm"!  These days, I often discover that more and more bicycles have been snapped up, shortly before I arrived at Yard Sales.  Perhaps I am not the only person who recognizes their long hidden, but now blossoming, value.


There are GENERAL MERCHANDISE or BARGAIN HUNTER classified categories, that are worth considering.  I am sure that the titles of these classified sections varies from city to city, but categories like General Merchandise offer great opportunities.  When ever I see a "moving sale" listed, I will call and ask it there are any old bicycles for sale.  If so, I ask a pertinent question or two.  If the bicycle is what I am after, I make arrangement to view the it at the owner's convenience.  If the bicycle offered is not what I seek, I  go on to ask if they have any old "Ten Speeds", briefly describing the desired bicycle’s characteristics. I make no mention of money yet.  My conversation goes something like this…

“I am calling about your moving sale and/or the bicycle that you are selling?”  This statement might produce any kind of bicycle – road bike, balloon tire, roadster, or mountain bike.  If it is old and in decent shape, it is likely worth dragging home.  If the bicycle offered is what you are after, make an appointment to look at it and be prepared to buy when you look.  Ensure that you have cash (not just a single $100.00 bill either - be prepared to pay the exact amount - the seller might not have change) in your pocket!  If the bicycle is not what you wanted, try to continue the conversation, and say something like...

“Sorry to have wasted your time.  I am just looking for one of those old Ten Speeds (important title) with the skinny tires (more important words) and low handlebars”.  Wait just a moment for a response and if none comes, thank the person for their time, wish them luck with their sale and mean it.

I doubt that you will spend as much time hunting vintage road bicycles as I do, but what I have found is that you need to approach bike finding opportunities in exactly this fashion.  If you do this enough times, you will be surprised at how many times going to step two produces results.  Remember, the Peugeot "Sprint" would still be in the basement had I not gone to step two and asked about other bikes.

Moving sales are not the only hidden newspaper classified opportunities.  Estate sales are another source that needs to be examined.  In mid winter, when bicycle hunting is most difficult where I live, I have used Open House listings to hunt for bicycles.  The point is to be a bit creative, when trying to find out how to discover secret vintage bicycle hiding places.  And those places are usually well out of sight.


I have and you can run your own classified advertisement in the "Wanted to Buy" classified listings category.  I have done this and every time I advertise my interest, I get calls about bikes.  I have purchased and/or just been given bikes through use of this process. Once the advertisement is listed in your local paper, sit back and wait.  Incoming calls will most likely begin on the first day of the advertisement.

Run your listing for a full week, if you can afford to do so.  This will allow one a person who happened to read your ad time to mention it to others at work, school or where ever the next day.  Others, who might not have read the ad will find out about your interest and be granted an opportunity to get in touch.  The results of listing for a full week are usually worth the extra costs involved.  This Motobecane Tandem is a result of a weeks listed advertisement in the Wanted To buy category.  The call came in on the last day of the add and the bicycle price was more than reasonable.

Such advertisements are best run in the Spring and Fall seasons, when people are considering yard cleaning.  Spring and Fall yard cleaning exercises frequently lead to the pitching out of unwanted items, some of which might even still be wanted.  However, wanted or not, that old "in the way" bicycle that keeps getting moved, form here to there, will finally have to go.  Perhaps your classified ad will save the "gotta go" bicycle from its final journey to the Dump.

When a call does come in about the an old bicycle, be prepared to make yourself as available as possible.  Do your best to fit into the other person's schedule when offering to view the bicycle.  Try to set up a viewing as soon as you possibly can!  Remember the Early Bird issue.  Also, do not just rely on the description offered over the telephone.  Though the bicycle might not sound interesting on the phone, there might be more to the story than meets the eye (ear in this instance).  Perhaps when you are looking at the entry level road bicycle that is still shiny, you might notice a lovely old scratched up Legnano with flat tires, sitting right beside it.  The Legnano that was not offered over the phone because the owner did not think it was worth anything thanks to its cosmetically challenged condition.  This sort of thing has happened to me and a fair number of time, I might add.

Offer to look at the bicycle right away ("I could come over now, if that is OK with you?") or at least ensure that you make yourself available to fit into the other person's convenience ("When would it be OK for me to look at the bicycle?").  The need to look at the bicycle as quickly as possible is truly important and bears repeating.  GO AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN AND INSPECT THE BICYCLE!  BRING an assortment of MONEY!

What's the rush?  The bicycle has been sitting, and forgotten, for twenty years or more.  True, but the minute a person reads your advertisement, his or her interest in the bicycle will be restored - instantly!  Remember, interest is one of the three primary ingredients that help assign collectable value to anything.  And that includes a vintage road bicycle.  Allowing too much time to lapse, once the owner's Interest is restored, could well loose you the opportunity to acquire the bike.  I should add that I do not have pictures of the bicycles I have missed because I tarried.  But one of them was pretty much identical to my Miyata 1000.  And is just as nice of condition.  You snooze!  You loose!

Now days, I go an look at virtually every lead that I get with-in reason.  I am frequently  disappointed in what I find, but now and again a gorgeous piece comes my way - and for little more than a song.  And, of course, if the bicycle viewed is not for me, I can apologize for wasting the person's time and throw in a "You wouldn't know of anyone else who has an old Ten Speed for sale, would you?"  Always take the interview to the next level.