Needful Things

So recently there’s been some debate about whether I need an intervention, or an exorcism.  As far as I can tell, they’re leaning towards the latter.  Janice keeps dousing me in (perhaps Holy) water, Pete’s burning incense, and Steve is doing that strange chanting thing that he does.  (Well, actually, he does that all the time, so…)  While it’s pretty much been decided that I’m not the devil after all, I may have been possessed by Needful Things.

I blame eBay, naturally.

I got it bad.  After riding my brother-in-law’s new cruisers in California, I was seized with nostalgia for my old paper-boy bike.  I bought it in sixth grade and sold it several years later to the kid who took over my route.  Coincidentally, he now lives in La Jolla, so while I was there I dropped him a line.  Here’s how it went:
  1. Me, via e-mail:  “Hey Andy, remember me?  Long time no see, eh?  Hey, I was wondering, do you still have that bike I sold you thirty years ago?”
  2. Andy’s response:  “Have you been drinking?”
Needless to say, he no longer had the bike.  We got together to have a few beers anyway, and I quizzed him about it, just to be sure.  I’m pretty sure he’s telling the truth.  Pretty sure.  At least, he looked me in the eyes and didn’t blink when I asked.  I’ve learned that this is a good sign. 

 (Is it a bad sign that Andy asked the bouncer to escort him out of the bar, and to make sure that I didn’t leave until he was gone?)

So I Googled my old bike to see if I could buy it anywhere.  It was a Gary Littlejohn 26″ Three-Bar Cruiser.  As it turns out, it’s a collector’s item now.  Apparently, it was one of the very first BMX cruiser bikes on the market.  The only one I found for sale was going for $3,000, and all of the rest are in museums.

Short of robbing a bank for the funds, I couldn’t have one for money, trade, or personal favors.  Actually, after some thought I drew the line at personal favors – for a man with a monkey on my back I still have some scruples.  I’m still considering the bank heist, though.

So, I started haunting eBay’s vintage yards, once again.  You may remember that I spent this spring rebuilding my old road bike, and it’s just about done.  Luckily, there’s a lot more vintage parts available for old BMX than there are for old road bikes, and there’s only one standard so I don’t have to do as much research to make sure that the parts will fit.  I found an old three-bar cruiser frame that’s only a few years younger than the Littlejohn, and a stack of gorgeous parts.  Here’s how I’m doing, so far:

Fountain of Youth?  Do brand-new twenty-five-year-old parts make you younger? We’ll see.

Now, I’m just waiting for the frame and fork to arrive.  Everyone here is, too.  The second it arrives, everybody gets the day off.  Well, except for me. 

I’ll need some time alone with my things.

3 responses to “Needful Things

  1. I don’t know if I should be impressed by your tenacity, or afraid of your OCD tendencies.

  2. I’m impressed. I’ve been there before, and I’m sure I’ll be there again with something vintage. I gave my first bike to a kid who needed a bike (a Gold Stingray with a glittery-white banana seat with a Schwinn logo on it). I don’t even remember his name. So I guess if I wanted to ride a coaster brake bike with slicks on it I’d have to go down the dark path of ebay again.

    My current obsession is with Nikon lenses so the bikes are safe for a while.

  3. avatar Brad Werntz

    Kimiko – okay, I embellished a bit. Sometimes the story just SOUNDS better if I act all OCD.

    Canoelover – I think that your Stingray was probably the very first bike I ever wanted, and I never owned it. I would look ridiculous riding today, of course. Of course, when all’s said and done I may look ridiculous on the cruiser when I’m done with it, but I hope not. Too bad you’re not into old Olympus lenses or bodies. I’ve got a bunch of those that aren’t collecting dust because they’re all in old camera bags in a closet…