The Peugeot bicycle leaned against the moss covered shed. The owner stood behind me as I brushed a decade worth of leaves and pine needles off the frame. “I don’t know if it even still works,” she said.
That was an understatement. Orange rust speckled the frame and chrome. One wheel was detached and lay forlornly on the damp earth.
The tires were nothing but bare vinyl and wire: probably the same set that came with it 40 years ago. The brake cables had fused with their housings. They would have to be cut.
I asked what she wanted for it. “A hundred,” she said, a Hail Mary offer, gleaned from my unexpected interest. “Nope,” I said, “Fourty, max.” I pointed out various disintegrating components. We agreed on sixty.
As I loaded it up, I smiled. After a haircut and a shave, I’d sell this beautiful bike for $150, easily. Where she saw junk, I saw potential.
How do we distinguish between the rust bucket and the hidden gem? How do you determine if a vintage bike project is ‘too far gone’?