Any cyclist who knows bikes and knows Craigslist has come across -- way too often -- those sketchy shops shilling in the "by owner" section and the obviously stolen bike ads. Then there's the clueless goofballs. Craigslist is that one Bay Area location that's intimidating, stupid, and hilarious all simultaneously.
I've spent countless hours scouring Craigslist, and especially the bike ads. I've bought, sold, flipped, and have come to appreciate the best worst ads. You'd think people would learn that to sell something on Craigslist, they would have to convince buyers that they actually have a product worth purchasing, and of course, they're not a murder. It's astonishing how many Craigslist sellers have not quite mastered the art of cajoling customers.
So I decided this week, to cull my favorites perfect stupid Craigslist bike ads. Enjoy:
The Saintraper: The perfect mount to carry you across the blasted heathen wastes toward the bloody conquest of your next Christian city. Not only does the Saintraper boast 12 whole speeds, it's also "rare, vintage, classic." Its Aerolite tubing makes it easy to use? Practically a relic in its own right. The next time you're looking to slaughter a monastery, this is the best way to get there -- healthy, environmentally friendly, and hip -- it even comes with a genuine Saintraper saddle, for comfort. Perfect for the pagan warlord in your life.
$200.00. Kickstand. Ready to ride.
"Death Fork": Ironically hand crafted by "Trusty of England", the Viscount-Lambert English Racing Classic rides on the near-mythical "Death Fork." Do the scare quotes mean that it's not a genuine "Death Fork"? Is it not a fork? Is it not death? I'm not sure.
The problem with buying a used "Death Fork" is that there's no guarantee that it will work. Unless the seller is willing to give you a refund if it doesn't kill you, it seems like you might as well saw ¾ of the way through your current fork and point yourself down the nearest hill.
The "Death Fork" will run you $800, but as "21 pounds of pure speed" you might be able to flip it for more "on the street".
Bike cannondale: Nothing says, "Yes, I legitimately own this bike through legal means and I promise not to kill you," like a blurry photo of what might be a bike leaning against a pile of soiled linens and furniture in a dark corner of a basement or storage unit. The description: "nice cannondale bike red&blue with look pedals and scott bar" proves that the seller has read the branding on some of the parts.
$500. Bring your Taser.
Great Deal: This seller bought this bike for a whopping $900 and now, in some sort of nearly delusional act of generosity they're willing to sell it, to you, for only $400. That's nearly twice the MSRP! Not sure if that means the person stole the bike or is shopping at the wrong place.
Firenze: This genuine Italian beauty is practically the poor-man's version of the rare and collectible "Death Fork" equipped Viscount-Lambert. Legend has it that old man Firenze had these subcontracted out to a firm in Taiwan, and when they showed up here in the U.S. in the 70s they didn't meet our then very rigorous safety standards. Since they couldn't be sold they were given away as a promotion with TVs and washing machines.
Seems like a great deal at $200, especially if you don't love your teeth and you've got good insurance.
This is the most terrifying thing I've ever seen. This guy can "get you on the bike. Cheap!" If that's not worth your confidence and money, then what is? Remember, "don't be shy or reckless."
While no price is listed, you can contact this roving mechanic for what promises to be a linguistically exciting and confusing time.
Leif Haven is a writer and cyclist living in the Bay Area. He's can be spotted dragging himself up a hill -- literally and metaphorically.