So, a couple of weeks ago, I rambled on about my minor obsession with the classic Honda 50 motorbike, and how, alternatively, the dorkiest bike ever produced was the wannabe Honda 50 Trail, and how my friend Dave found one of those for sale on Kijiji, and how we went down the rabbit hole.
Well, today, after a few weeks of being fully entrenched in that rabbit hole, I’m peaking back out over the rim “to see what condition my condition is in” — a reference to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, 1967.
So, in fact, Dave and I did go to Sherwood Park, whereupon we found ourselves in a garage at the home of a heavily tattooed dude in the midst of a half dozen motorcycle projects (translation: piles of motorcycle debris).
He turned out to be a nice guy and also a very good salesman, because before we knew it, we’d paid the dude several hundred dollars, loaded a 1966 Honda 90 Trail motorbike into Dave’s truck and were on our way to Tim’s as we headed home like excited school kids getting their very first bicycle.
You know how enthusiasm sometimes fades in the cold, hard light of day when the dust settles and reveals a harsh reality?
Well, this little red motorbike turned out to be, shall we say, a bit less than originally perceived, in the sense that it was essentially a two-wheeled hunk of junk. But that’s Kijiji for you.
Almost everyone I know has purchased or sold some junk on the popular online classified advertising site. I know I have. I recently sold some fairly useless pieces of drumset cymbal stands on Kijiji.
The buyer was as thrilled to get them as I was relieved to get rid of them.
And Kijiji is big business. In 2017 alone, this online second-hand economy commerce site saw 2.3 billion items of excellent junk change hands in Canada.
And yes, we’re talking only in Canada, on account of the U.S. tried Kijiji from 2007 to 2010 and decided to leave it to us Canuks to enjoy. Sort of like NBA basketball.
And while I’m in factoid mode, did you know that Kijiji was created by, and is owned by that other ubiquitous buy and sell site called eBay? Me neither.
Oh, and here’s a trivia question that will win you a few adult beverages from your friends: What on earth does the word kijiji even mean — and where does it come from?
But I digress. I think I was mentioning some motorcycle mayhem. So Dave and I (Dave working, me observing), we pull the engine off of the Honda Trail and it is completely seized.
We turn to the tires: rubber and even the rims, NFG. Front forks: bent, rusted. Seat: ripped, wrecked. And on like that for pretty much the entire bike.
So here we have, basically, either a huge and expensive motorcycle project on our hands, or a very valuable piece of modern art that we might be able to sell to the city.
Or, of course, there’s always Harpers Metals. I figure we should be able to get enough out of the Honda for another trip for lunch at Timmy’s.
And then another buddy says, “Hey, I have two of those bikes in my shed. They don’t run, of course, but they’re in pretty good shape and I’m thinking of selling them. I’ll give you a heck of a deal. You interested?”
All I could say is, “Uh-oh.”
Oh, and BTW, kijiji is a Swahili word meaning village.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.