How do you plan to pay for the bicycle that you are intending to purchase?


If you and the Seller are standing in his or her garage and looking the old bike over, cash usually works the best.  Make sure that you have the cash with you.  Don’t take a look and then plan to go back later, even if it is only a few minutes later.  In the ten minutes it takes to zip to the Cash Machine and return, the Seller might well have changed his or her mind.  It does happen and it has happened to me on more than one occasion!  I do not have pictures of the few bicycles that I have missed out on because I was not prepared to buy when the bike was offered for sale.  But one of them was practically identical to my Miyata 1000 touring bicycle.

Do not show up to buy a vintage road bicycle with nothing but hundred dollar bills in your pocket.  I was once offered a very nice Velo Sport for free.  Through conversation with a fellow that I met at the Dump one day, I learned that he had an eighties something Velo Sport.  He was good enough to offer his address, indicating that he was headed for home as soon as he finished discarding his garbage.  He agreed to allow me to stop by on my way home from the Dump to see the bicycle.

When I did arrive at his house, the Velo Sport, Shimano 600 Arabesque grouppo and all, was sitting near his back door waiting for me.  The bike was in great shape and he said that I could have it for free.  I appreciated the fellow's kindness and insisted that he take accept a small token of my appreciation.  He politely said it was not necessary but agreed to accept ten dollars anyway.  Unfortunately, all I had in my pocket at the time were twenty dollar bills.  Still a good deal but also a good story to illustrate my point.  Have an assortment of bills in your pocket.  It really helps if can haul the cash out and make an offer right on the spot.

Though I rarely do this when yard Sailing or buying bicycles locally, it would not hurt at all to ask for a receipt.  Bicycle thefts run high in just about any city that I have been in.  One of the last things that you want to do is risk purchasing a stolen bicycle.  This concern is less of an issue when buying On-Line since most of these transactions produce some form of purchase record before the deal is complete.


Would you accept a stranger’s personal check?  From a thousand miles away?  I certainly wouldn’t!

Personal checks are not safe.  Personal checks, in today's world, do not offer the convenient means of payment that they were intended for.  This is now true simply because better, and certainly more convenient, means of paying are readily available.  If someone offers you a personal check, pass and request another form of payment.  If you think that you can go bike hunting with nothing but a check book in your pocket, you might as well stay home and watch TV.  No stranger is going to accept your money in the personal check form.

Certified checks are a slightly different story but still present problems of inconvenience, particularly when dealing across an international boundary.  Even though a check is certified, my financial institution will not clear the check immediately.  I must wait, while the check clears, and the purchaser must also wait.  This can take as much as thirty days and usually does.


Money orders, drawn from an individual’s financial institution work reasonable well but can still create cashing problems, once the payment crosses an international boarder.  There is one Money Order that can cross an international boundary and still be cashed immediately with little or no fuss.  The International Postal Money Order is an all but sure thing (or at least used to be).  When sending a money order, ensure that is an International Postal Money Order.  It is equally important to ensure that the International Postal Money Order is made out in the funds of the Seller’s choice.  Generally, the currency of choice will be US dollars.

I have accepted International Postal Money Orders on many occasions.  I will likely drop my acceptance of this form of payment very soon.  On several separate deposits, my bank has warned me of an International Postal Money Order risk.  Apparently there are many transactions paid for with phony Postal Money Orders these days. 


It is easy to send and receive money On-Line.  There are several services available, that make paying or getting paid easy, fast and pretty simple.  The only two methods that I have used for On-Line payment are Papal and electronic funds transfer.

I am, by no means an expert when it comes to paying for items On-Line.  What I have done works for me, however; one does need to be careful.

Most of my On-Line activity is conducted through my own computer.  I use a good firewall, to protect my personal and financial information.  I only deal On-Line with people I trust and trust is based on two things.  Institutional Credibility and Individual Credibility.

 Institutional Credibility exists because I know that I will definitely get something for my money and that something will be, at the very least, barely acceptable.  I pay my telephone bill because I know that I will definitely get something for my payment.  I pay at the pumps for gasoline, that could cost just about anything based on the whims of the people who have managed to gain control of the gasoline supply.  And CONTROL is the only word that could possible apply in this instance.  But Institutional Credibility exists, even with this incredibly crooked organization, because I know that I will get something for my money.  I might add that this Institutional Credibility is the syringe society uses to deliver its constant supply of addictive substances and services.  I believe that Institutional Credibility is presently being challenged on many levels.

Personal Credibility is a completely different issue.  I pay someone and then hope that I will get something for my money.  There are no guarantees here based on previous experiences as there are with the institutional situation.  When trying to determine if the individual you are dealing with is credible or not, try simple communication to begin with.

Contact the person through e-mail.  Ask your questions and examine the responses.  How do you feel about the responses?  Is the person polite?  Is the person evasive?  Does the person answer all of your questions and to your satisfaction?  Are responses offered in a timely manner?  Will the person offer an address to send the payment to, if you choose not to use On-Line payment?  Will the person offer you their telephone number, if requested?

Does this sound like a lot of work?  It is a bit time consuming.  However, it is a pretty down to earth way to determine if you will, or will not, send a stranger your money.  It is one way to help develop trust and trust must come into play, sooner or later, when dealing on-line!

If seller is slow to respond, I am on my guard.  If a seller does not give complete answers without a plausible explanation, I am on my guard.  If a Seller cannot offer a shipping cost before I bid, I am on my guard.  If a Seller’s description of an item is obviously wrong, I am on my guard.  If a Seller has no feedback, I am on my guard.  If a Seller has Negative Feedback, I am on my guard.  If a Seller will not sell out of country, I may or may not consider the item.  If a Seller combines two or more of the above, I pass on the item.  The same hold true if a Seller does not respond to a question at all.

That about sums up how to find and pay for a vintage road bicycle.  Pay lots and get a vintage road bicycle fast (with risks included).  Or, follow some of these simple suggestions in My "TEN SPEEDS", have a bunch of fun finding your own vintage racer and share the great  "how I found the bike" story with others when the opportunity arises.  And keep in mind that if you do follow the bike hunting procedures offered, you might even get a gorgeous 1971 Carlton Professional for free.  I did!