Simply put, there are two very fundamental ways to purchase a vintage road bicycle.  You can purchase at the local level, dealing in person with the individual selling the bicycle.  Or you can purchase a bicycle On-Line.

On-Line purchase opportunities include websites such as Ebay, Buy/Sell, Craig's List and, probably others that I am not familiar with.  It is even possible to buy from a complete stranger without going through a website at all.  That is how my 1975 CCM Tour du Canada, one of seven vintage road bicycles acquired On-Line, came into my possession.

Buying in person, is a vastly different situation than buying On-Line.  Buying anything in "used condition", can present a host of Risk Factors, but doing so On-Line pushes the Risk Factors Situation to new and scary heights.

Even though we have all bought something used, sometime from someone, there are still things to consider when dealing in person.

Let's begin by assuming that you have the wisdom, and thanks to MY "TEN SPEEDS", the information to carefully check the bicycle over.  Carefully is a very operative word in this exercise.  It is easy to get a bicycle that is damaged, or the wrong size or of uncollectible quality.  You must take your time and carefully look at every possible detail of the bicycle.  Discovering a dented top tube, after you get the bicycle home, as was the case with this otherwise gorgeous Fiori Napoli, is not the best way to purchase a bicycle.

Discovering that the bicycle is too big, or too small for you, is also a poor way to go.  Yup!  The Napoli was too big for me also.  And, make no mistake about these mistakes.  I have made them all, more than once, and I will make them again.  As foolish as that sounds, it is none-the-less true!  And, while we are at it - Fiori bicycles are not Italian made, as so many people selling on Ebay claim them to be.  Nope!  The Fiori was made in Japan.

Would you spend a wad of cash with, intentions of investing a great deal of time and effort, into an entry level vintage road bicycle?  A bike that would never offer a great ride or good return on your investment.  Lots of people do just that!  I see it happening all the time.

This Raleigh Record with Team Raleigh paint, has fooled more than one person, into thinking that the bicycle was a worthwhile project.  In truth, the bicycle is just fine, if an inexpensive, entry level, ride is the focus.  If, however, you are looking for a Street Restoration project, you might want to pass on this poorly made, entry level bicycle.  The cost to purchase and restore becomes more than prohibitive, when results are considered.

Once you have completed an inspection and decided - that the bicycle is in acceptable shape, fits you, and is a worthwhile project, that you can invest time, effort and money in, then you need to actually buy the bike.  Buy is not exactly the right word, though.  There are three ways to acquire bicycles that have worked for me.  Good old cash money, of course, works really well but not always.  Need I tell you how to spend money?

Many people still see monetary value in their old "Ten Speed", even though they have not thought of the bicycle in years.  Often times, the better vintage road bicycles would be purchased by people who knew what they were buying.  These, better bicycles, cost a good chunk of money, to acquire new, and the high cost to purchase will not be forgotten.  This means, simply, that the original owner might want a high price for his bicycle, based on what he paid for it thirty years ago.  I should also add that, generally, the original purchase price will have become exaggerated in the owner's mind.

It seems to me, that almost every vintage road bicycle, I go to buy cost $1,500.00, when purchased new, back in the seventies.  Uh-huh?  I know absolutely that the CCM Tour du Canada sold for $525.00 in 1975 - I have the original receipt to prove it.  How then would a mid level, Canadian made Peugeot, of similar vintage cost three times as much?  Fact is, the Peugeot sold for just over three hundred dollars, at the time, not one and a half thousand!  How do I know?  I found an identical Peugeot, at the Dump, one day and the price tag was still attached.  An interesting story, to be told later.

Then, there is the person who has assigned a sentimental value, to the bicycle, that he had never used, and knows full well that he never will.  The bicycle in question, a Bottecchia Speciale had belonged to his father.  Even though he might not see great monetary value contained, he will still be reluctant to sell the bicycle, however, a trade might interest him.  When I stumbled across this late sixties Bottecchia at a Yard Sale one Saturday morning, the bicycle was definitely not for sale.  However, the original owner was quick to trade me the old Italian steed, for a mountain bicycle, I had sitting in the bed of the Ranger.  I had purchased the mountain bicycle, for five dollars, less than fifteen minutes earlier, at another Yard Sale.

I have traded mountain bikes, roadsters and even labour, for vintage road bicycles, that I would not have acquired otherwise.  I have traded my vintage bicycle repair/restoration services, for vintage road bikes such as the Genesis Project.  And, I have accepted many older "Ten Speeds" in full or partial trade, for services rendered.

I will even accept other kinds of bicycles in trade.  The point is, money will not always work.  This gorgeous Marinoni, a bicycle I really liked and had no intention of selling, was traded for an equally clean Trek .  In all honesty, there is a bit more to that story, but fundamentally, it is true.  Had it not been for extenuating circumstances, the Marinoni and I would still be keeping each other company.

I might add, trading is as much fun, or more, than just buying.  The trading experience always produces a good story to tell your riding buddies later.  My Marinoni Quebec, a name I coined myself, is the absolute best trading story, that I have to tell.  I loved every bitter sweet moment experienced, when acquiring this wonderful, and rare, old bicycle.  Many people have offered to purchase it from me, but it is not for sale!  However, I just might entertain the notion of a trade.

But, the Marinoni story is on-line related.  Though the bicycle was acquired, through a simple enough trade of one bike for another, the entire transaction was loaded with risk and anxiety.  Buying on-line, has its good and bad points.  Good - you can get, just about any king of vintage road bicycle that you can imagine.  Bad - you might not get what you expect!  Or, you might not get anything at all.