Until last week, I had given up all hope.
The 75/6 in West Virginia was a good find. It rode well and was a solid bike. A good first bike. But it wasn't for me. I don't think it was interested in me being it's new owner. In the long run, the two of us would not have gotten along. It felt awkward, and after a day or two I let it go.
For a month it seemed as if all the slash 7s had disappeared. Craigslist, ibmwr, eBay—everywhere I looked—nothing. I was beginning to give up. Thoughts of putting my cash advance into practical things like a new bedroom suit entered my head—maybe something in postmodern shaker. I had to get keep looking.
Two weeks ago I found a well cared for slash 7 in south-central, Pa. I hit the road Saturday morning to check it out. Two-and-a-half hours later, I found myself at a small farm in the sticks outside of Lancaster. Apparently the local developers missed this little slice of heaven.
The bike was sitting on the drive waiting for me. It started nicely and rode like a summer dream. Testing out a bike on Lancaster county's back roads in a real pleasure. I don't know which part of the ride sold me sold me. Was it the experience of riding a well cared for bike or the anticipation of moving through country roads like this every weekend until the end of November? It didn't matter. For 20 minutes, the bike and I got to know each other. We connected.
I got back to the farm and talked with the owner for a little. Got his read on the bike and his history.
There are some things that you don't come across in reading about how to buy a used bike. The vibe you get from the seller and the bike’s environment mean a lot. Peter was great. A local high-school teacher and a gear head who was sitting on two other BMWs and a Harley rebuild. His garage was immaculate. No grease stains on the floor, clean tools, clean bikes. It was the kind of garage that you hope you'll have once you muster up to courage to toss the generations of accumulated junk that lines the walls. The boxes of stuff that you haven't opened since your in-laws dropped it off the day after they cleaned their garage. A clean garage counts when looking at bikes.
I drove home satisfied that I had found the one. I called on Tuesday afternoon and made my offer. Peter felt it to be a fair price and we cut a deal as I walked home from work. But as things go in my life, I won't be able to pick it up for another two weeks. Family and friends are coming into town for the Penn State vs. Notre Dame game this weekend. But that doesn't matter too much to me. I know that the bike is there, and it's waiting for me.