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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming:
"WOW, what a ride !!!"

I'll give you fifty bucks for it

Raphael 'Tag' Hargrove III

This editorial comes from a number of years of dealing with nice people, ignorant people, folks with no morals whatsoever and last but certainly not least, out and out villains and scum.

I speak of the eternal quest; the hope springs eternal treasure hunt known as finding that rare, priceless gem of a vintage bike for cheap. We've all been there; the Illustrious Mr. Clark even has a name for it that he shared with us in one of his previous columns.

Over the years of buying, selling and collecting stuff, namely vintage dirt bikes given the venue here, I have seen just about every kind and type of shady character, low life, low-baller, take advantage of someone when there down scum looking to buy what you have or sell you something You don't have for either way to little or way to much. Ever notice when you own it and a so-called expert contacts you, it's pretty much worthless. Two weeks later and a coat of Armor-all you see it for sale yet again on some international stage for crazy stupid money. What gives? (I won't mention any names but you people know who you are)

Unfortunately, the true vintage enthusiasts end up paying the price for the likes of these moto ho's. They drive up the prices using phony or fictitious means just to make a fast buck on a slow bike. Or they end up buying your bike, flipping it immediately and sending it to some foreign land, never to be seen again. Then we wonder when and why did that particular model of dirt bike become so obscenely expensive.

Then we have all had the poor slob who through no fault of his own turns up at our door, either because he drove by your house and could see "Old Dirt Bikes" in the garage, or someone told him you were the fool on the block that actually paid money for junk like that. They show up, a semi rough vintage bike in tow, ask you if you would care to buy it and then proceed to talk them selves down on the price (without you even saying a word) to the point where if they go any lower, they would have to pay you to take it off their hands. What is one to do? Tell him the truth about that 78 Harley MX 250 that only needs a carburetor cleaning that he is wanting to sell you for $100.00? (I have tried to enlighten a few of them over the years, they never listened) or do you buy it, roll it in the garage and do a happy dance? There is no wrong answer here.

Then without doubt we have all sold a bike to someone we "know" and have regretted it since. It could have been ten years ago, but they remember like an elephant how you sold them a pos and wouldn't do a thing to help them. When in actuality you told them the top end was tired and it needed tires before they bought it, that's why it was only $100.00. Again...they never listen. So we suffer along and for some reason, still continue to deal with this somewhat confusing hobby we all seem so passionate about.

And then we have the "collector" usually a fairly nice if not really nice individual, who somehow has kept their sanity, even though it has been tested time and again by the aforementioned scum and villainy.

They are the curators of our passion and sport, some are vast and awe inspiring. Multi level buildings of glass with hermetically sealed chambers to house rare and unobtainium bikes. Flashy, glitzy show room affairs with guided tours to ones where all the bikes run, drive and leak on some old factory wooden floor. But the best ones are the smaller, hidden away collections with names like Howie's Obsession or the infamous "Black Hole". These individuals should be commended for their willingness to spend money on bikes they never ride, only look at when they invite someone to come over and see them and for the most part keep them safe and sound.

Even if we only have one or two vintage bikes to call our own, it's all-good, we're doing what we can to preserve something very important to us and for our kids to enjoy them too. (Who upon our untimely demise, will sell it to some so-called expert for cheap and be done with it) We all know that the never ending search goes on for that smokin' deal we know is just about to appear in the used vehicle weekly periodical, the local news paper or on some free to post website. Or for the more hard core, tipping the meter reader at the local Municipality so they will keep an eye out for rolling treasure. (not that I have EVER done that) and for the fortunate few who live within driving distance of a motorcycle salvage yard who hang out in the parking lot with apparently nothing better to do then wait for folks to drive in the yard looking to sell that old pile in the back of the truck for $50.00...

Raphael ‘Tag’ Hargrove III #366



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