Picking Up Bikes at Garage Sales

-courtesy of maxicon

It's getting a little late in the season for decent bikes at the garage sales, I'm finding (not having found one for weeks now). There are a cuppla options, depending on if you care about riding it after the event:

If yer not much into bikes, I've got a quickie checklist on how to make sure flea market bikes are basically functional; it's down the page a little.

You can buy a K-Mart bike rack for about $25 that works fine, or look for them at garage sales and flea markets. Just make sure they have all the fittings'n'stuff, and make sure everything is firmly strapped and bungeed down before driving off. It would be a drag to drop yer bike on the freeway.

max (heck's angels) icon

>I got a bike, but my bride has none.
>Riding on the playa will be much more fun.
>Anyone know where we can get another cheap bike?
>And how to strap them to our Geo Metro for the hike?

Garage Sale Bike Guide - Max Icon de Nada

What you want: A bike that is safe to ride, comfortable, and reasonably reliable.

Where to look for $10-30 bikes:
Garage sales: Spotty, but best place for well-preserved cheapies. Be sure to bargain; point out that new tires and tubes will cost $20.
Flea markets: Lots of bikes, better selection, but condition is often poor for the cheap ones. More risk of stolen bikes, particularly in the higher price ranges.
Want ads: A crap shoot; get good at finding out details on the phone.
Police auctions: Schedules are flaky, competition can be stiff.

What to look for:
Typically, you'll find old 10 speeds and city cruisers in this price range, though low-end mountain bikes show up sometimes. For a freebie bike, you want something that will require the least amount of money and work to make it usable, and quality isn't too important. If you're gonna use it yourself, it might be worth getting a better bike (see below) and putting more money into it. There is a big difference in ride quality between a newer, low-end Huffy and an older, better Peugot or Raleigh, if you put a little loving care into the older bike.

The best bet is to find a well preserved 10 speed that someone has kept in their garage for the last 8 years. This will sometimes need tubes, rim liners, and tires, but everything else works, nothing is rusty, and it's ready to ride after 1 hour and $10-20. Some of these were originally quite good bikes that no one cares about any more. Generally, you should avoid bikes that have been out in the rain for years, as they need lots more work to make decent. In SF, check Pedal Revolution (415-641-1264) in the Mission for cheap used parts, good advice, etc.

5 minute check out for a cheapie bike:

Must Haves for the playa (or anywhere):

Nice to haves (* is a must have for the city):


Courtesy of

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