Friday, August 29, 2014

Getting Settled In At School - Thrift Shopping

Settling in at the new apartment before school starts has been fun.  I've been having to run errands and take care of business, often spending the whole morning, afternoon, or both on my bike travelling between places for the last week.  My bike's rear rack and basket have seen more cargo this week alone than it had for the entire rest of the time combined that I've had the bike for.

Late last night, I stumbled upon the website of a guy who found a rusty '61 Raleigh Sports (three years younger than mine) for $20 at the Ann Arbor Reuse center.  I had other business to take care of today, but I found out that the center was not even two miles south of campus and I could wake up earlier to go check it out, so that's what I did.  I had never actually gone thrift shopping before but I knew it was the type of activity that I'd like.  I was also in need of material that I could make into shelving since the apartment was lacking in horizontal surfaces.  I ended up going to the wrong thrift shop in the morning.  I still scored some good stuff for cheap at the Ann Arbor PTO thrift shop: a clear plastic cup, which is apparently getting harder to find in stores today based on my experience, and a nice cassette carrier that I'll be using to carry stuff that is not tape cassettes.  The total came in at under $2.

After my planned morning activities which included blood donation, I returned to my place at North campus to confirm that I'd indeed gone to the wrong thrift shop.  I hadn't detected a loss in strength since the donation, as is usual for me, so I figured I'd ride my bike back south before the Reuse center closed and take it easy to avoid over-straining myself.  I got there to find a $20 Univega Metro Three in really good shape, except for the rusted wheels.  Everything worked, including the Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub, and there was barely even a stone chip in the paint job.  After asking a few friends for their opinion, I decided I'd buy it tomorrow, freshen it up, and flip it sometime for a few bucks.  If I can't get a decent price for it, I could just keep it to lend to friends as I was planning to do with the Superbe before it got stolen. It looks to be a tiny 17" frame so there could be issues with that.  At night, I researched the brand and model of the bike but not enough information turned up to help me price the thing.  It should be from the early '80s and I suspect it will be difficult for me to break even when I try to sell it.

Interesting finds at the Reuse center: Toilets and a new-in-the-box air filter for the Ford small-block V8s in '72-91 Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles.  The place is literally a warehouse of "Look what I found in the neighbor's trash today, honey!" "Oh good, throw it in the back." Exactly my type of shop.

I finally found the scrap material I came here for in the first place and dug around to find six identical nails.  I made it safely all five miles back to my apartment without passing out or dropping the wood.  I kept up with 25-30 mph traffic in 3rd gear on a stretch of smooth, flat road.  I love carrying stuff with my car and my bike.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels a sense of accomplishment when their vehicle is all loaded up to do real work.

Particle board was't the best material to nail into, just as I had suspected, and the thickness of the nails didn't help either.  Oh well, it seems strong enough to withstand at least a year of use which isn't bad for a few pieces of garbage thrown together.

Does anybody know anything that might suggest the value of the nice Univega Metro Three I'm about to get?