Once again, eBay comes through. Right on the heels of finding a 17-year-old virtually unused Brooks saddle, and a new-old-stock derailleur of the same age, I managed to find a pair of these: classic Sidi touring shoes - which could also be somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 years old. They haven't been made in years, which is a real shame.
I bought a pair of these about that long ago, back when Rivendell was selling them. They quickly became my favorites. The ribbed sole gives a nice grip on traditional pedals without feeling as "locked in" as an actual cleat, and makes them fairly "walk-able." I wore them for years.
Problem? My feet grew. I'm told that can happen. It got to where I could only wear them with the thinnest socks, and later, even that was too much. Eventually I had to let them go.
Recently, even though I wasn't actually searching for them, I happened to find a pair - in my (new, larger) size, barely used, and still with the original box. The buy-it-now price was good, too. I didn't wait for someone else to beat me to them. When they arrived, I was pleased to see they were in really excellent condition - maybe even a little better than described. The soles showed very little wear, and the uppers looked almost new.
Certainly there can be problems with eBay. Sellers complain about fees and policies that favor buyers. Buyers complain about getting sniped in the closing seconds of an auction, or about shady practices like shill bidding, etc. And there are always risks involving scammers. But on the whole, nothing has been a better asset to fans and collectors of vintage bikes than eBay.
Anybody out there remember what it was like trying to restore a vintage bike, or just keep one going, in the pre-eBay days? Say you were looking for some obscure old component, or a unique spare part that hadn't been made in decades. You'd have to watch and wait for a swap meet to happen, maybe travel a good distance to get to it, and hope somebody there might have what you were looking for (and prepare to be disappointed). Maybe you'd go to countless flea markets and garage sales, hoping to get really lucky (which was unlikely). Nowadays, eBay is like a huge worldwide swap meet that runs 24/7, and if you have a little patience, it seems to me that there isn't anything that won't show up there eventually. Any time I've really needed/wanted something, I can't recall ever having to search for more than a few weeks before some example would turn up.
Anyhow, even though I wasn't actively looking for the Sidi touring shoes, they popped up one day on my feed and I coudn't resist them. Anybody else out there have any good eBay finds (or horror stories?) Leave a comment.