[CR] Economic woes and our hobby/ passion - Friday night reflections!

(Example: Events:Cirque du Cyclisme:2004)

From: "Dr. Paul Williams" <castell5@sympatico.ca>
To: Classic Rendezvous <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 22:13:25 -0500
Subject: [CR] Economic woes and our hobby/ passion - Friday night reflections!

Friday Night Reflections!

I am sitting here trying very hard to resist buying an early-50s Raleigh Clubman crankset on eBay which I need to start building a 1950 Clubman (from Nelson Miller). The starting price is high and I think I will likely pass on it. Indeed, by the time I finish writing this cathartic piece the auction will be done! Therapy??

But, this is symptomatic of a change in my mindset in the last month or so. There have been many sale items which have tempted me both on eBay and here on this list, but each time sober second - third - fourth thought have seen me sit on my hands rather than press the "buy" button! Large numbers of parts, frames, whole bikes have come and gone on my watch lists - oohh so many tempting things. And yet, there is a weekly grocery bill, or a new snowsuit for our two-year old ... in that Sun Manxman (oohh did I want that one) which I let pass without even offering a bid. In the back of my mind there were those little voices - can I really justify that purchase? What will my wife say? You bought what? In truth, those voices were always there even in better economic times. And, I should point out, my other half has been strangely accepting of my obsession.

These are symptoms of my own personal pyschological retrenchment, but it has me wondering what the economic downturn might mean for others in terms of our hobby. Still, high prices continue to be offered for those rarest (and even some which are not that rare) of parts. But, likewise there must be others who have similarly let things pass which they might have been inclined to have a flutter at six months ago. Will prices generally come down? Will more people be turning to eBay to sell off their long valued parts stashes?

So, I already begin to try to plot my own strategy for continuing to feed the beast - do I sell, can I swap, barter, beg, borrow (I draw the line at steal!)? Do I scale back my expectations? Maybe I won't be able to build a collection which includes an English made bicycle from each decade between the 1930s and the 1980s. Maybe I might just have to hang that Clubman frame on the wall. Maybe if I teach another summer course (I only teach part-time at present) - that will bring in .... and I could divert some of those funds back into my empty bike account?

In the end, maybe I might just have to be satisfied with what I already have for now and, most importantly, ride them!!!

Oh, and by the way that crankset went unsold - maybe it will be relisted next week!!!!

Paul Williams, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Paul B. Williams, BAH (Laurier), MPhil (Cardiff, Wales), PhD (Queen's) Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, castell5@sympatico.ca paul_williams@carleton.ca