UC Davis‘ Transportation and Parking Services is holding its bi-annual bike auction this Saturday, and with over 400 bikes going up for bidding, TAPS is encouraging anyone looking for a cheap bicycle to attend.
Approximately 425 abandoned bikes will be put up for sale at 9:00 a.m. in the West Entry Parking Structure. Prices range depending on the quality, but the majority go for between $20 and $40.
The TAPS bike auction has been held twice a year, rain or shine, for as long as program coordinator Dave Takemoto-Weerts can remember.
“I’ve been working here for about 22 years now,” Takemoto-Weerts said. “If there’s one thing I would tell the people coming out, it’s to check your bike before you bid on it. There aren’t any refunds.“
The abandoned bicycles are often in marginal shape. While some are only good for parts, the vast majority only need a little love to be ready for the road.
There are also bikes in excellent condition and high-value models that go for higher prices, but still considerably less than anywhere else, Takemoto-Weerts said.
“Go early to the bike preview so you can see what you want before the auction starts, because once a bike goes up you only have about a minute to decide if it’s worth the bid,” said Kalen Krempely, a fifth-year senior UC Davis student who attended the auction last October, “and bring a notebook so you can write down a bike’s info.“
Krempely said he also remembers the somewhat intimidating atmosphere.
“It’s an auction just like you imagine in the movies: the crowds, the auctioneer yelling numbers, the split-second choices … Come prepared,” he said.
The preview runs from 8 to 9 a.m., and the auction starts directly after. Krempely also warns that bikes go for higher prices earlier in the day, and once the initial excitement dies down, so do the bids.
“Maybe show up for the preview, and then grab breakfast at IHOP,” he said.
TAPS has several criteria for collecting, or “reclaiming,” abandoned bikes.
“We generally warn you about two days before we swoop your bike,” said Shivu Srinivasan, a TAPS bicycle reclaimer and sophomore economics major, “and the bikes we tag generally have flat tires, cobwebs, melting or missing seats. After the two days are up, the bike is considered abandoned. We call it the ‘tag-n-bag.‘”
The recent purchase of a new saw that powers through any lock in minutes has Shivu and his colleagues excited.
“Technology is really improving,” he said. “No U-Lock is safe from us anymore.“
BRIAN GERSON can be reached at email@example.com.