Get cash for your unwanted cycling stuff
So, you got a new bike for Christmas. Is it shiny? We bet that it's shiny. Good for you!
Now, however, you've got a total rust-bucket in the garage. It's dampening the shiny vibes coming off your new steed, and it's probably still worth a pretty penny either in its entirety or as parts. So what's the best way to sell your gear? Here's our how to guide on getting the most out of your old stuff.
First up: What not to sell
We don't recommend buying or selling helmets or lower-half clothing, whether it be online or in person.
Wearing someone else's sweaty helmet is not only gross but potentially dangerous: you should replace your helmet after a crash and you have no idea what second-hand ones have been through.
Also, there is a range of opinions on the topic but it's generally considered that UV exposure breaks down plastics and that you should replace your helmet every 2 to 5 years depending on usage. Selling a helmet you've already had for a while is potentially endangering the person you are selling it to.
And yeah, don't try and sell your bib shorts. Chamois pads are designed to be worn with no pants on. It's not worth it, even if you deep clean it.
Where to Sell
The U.S has got this covered with incredible sites like The Pro's Closet that sell your cycling stuff for you. But in the UK, we've gotta get a little more creative.
eBay provides a great way to sell your old cycling gear, but remember that you'll get enquiries from people that know nothing about bicycles, so try not to lose patience but instead be the best salesperson you can!
If you've got a shed-load of stuff it's worth downloading this free Turbo Lister tool for multiple uploads.
It also helps if you buy a few things on eBay before you start selling – this will improve your feedback rating and make it more likely people will buy from you.
Remember that eBay will take 10 percent of the price of every sold item. This is capped at £250 (so if you sell a bike for more than £2,500, you won't pay more than £250).
Also consider eBay trends. The busiest day of the week is a Sunday. Winter gear will go down well now, but perhaps lay off selling those short shorts until July.
eBay has its own jargon, and learning it will help you know how to list your items successfully. Most appropriate for bicycle items are: BN (brand new), BNWT (brand new with tags), VGC (very good condition), HTF (hard to find) and VTG (vintage).
Loads of UK cycling websites (like TWC!) have their own classifieds section where you can list your equipment for free. This is often good if you have a niche product as it may get a better reception there – but ensure you get the right site for the right item. For instance, women's specific items may do better on the Total Women's Cycling classifieds than on the more male-orientated RCUK.
There's also plenty of smaller websites that have built up reputations for certain kinds of gear: see the Campyoldy classifieds for an example of a bit of a cult UK selling space. Also try PreOwnedCycles.co.uk for national sales and swaps.
Gumtree is more like selling through a local paper than eBay. It's good for bikes because they are bulky by nature and being able to advertise to those in your locale will minimise on the hassle of organising transport. Just be careful when dealing with anyone you meet online: make sure to take precautions.
Be ready to answer questions too – buyers will be suspicious as Gumtree is known as the perfect place for selling stolen bikes. If you can find the original receipt, have it ready. Be ready to provide a receipt of sale, including your address and phone number.
There are lots of popular bicycle forums in the UK, and many of them have a market place where users can buy and sell their gear. These are often a great option as forum users sometimes give favourable rates to other forum users – but don't expect a discount if you only joined the forum to get involved in the selling action. People will look at your profile to see how long you've been a member and you will be judged on it.
Similarly, look at past posts by those offering to buy your product to get an idea of how they conduct themselves on the forum. Arrange to meet somewhere neutral and public if you do clinch a sale. Bring a friend if you can.
Two of the best? LFGSS (London Fixed Gear and Single Speed – it has some regional sub-forums and divides the marketplace into complete bikes, frames and forks and components and clothing) and CTC (a less intimidating forum for more casual cyclists).
And don't forget that many cycling Facebook groups welcome this kind of buying and selling too. Make sure to search around.
If you have a cycle club, trial centre or a velodrome in your area, there's probably a bicycle jumble a few times a year. Check Facebook and local websites and newspapers for information on when one is happening near you!
Things to Consider
Only give out essential personal information as and when the need arises during the selling process. Make sure to meet buyers in public places and bring a friend if possible.
If you're selling on eBay be mindful that buyers can commit fraud as well as sellers. To qualify for eBay's seller protection you need to use a shipping service with 'online trackable proof of delivery'. Item over £750? You'll need to pay for the package to be 'signed for' too.
Know what you're selling
If you're not quite sure what you're selling, ask a friend to give you a full, detailed description of all the parts on your bike. Consult a forum if you don't know anyone that can estimate the desirability of your items. Don't get done just because you're too embarrassed to ask!
Be truthful about the quality of your gear. Not doing so is really uncool. Also, your buyer could demand a refund and that becomes problematic if you've already spent your earnings.
Consider giving it away
There are lots of websites that enable you to give your bike away to someone who needs it. There's Freecycle and Freegle, as well as shops like Re-Cycling in London that buy and sell used bicycles for reasonable prices. Charity Re-Cycle accept donations of old bikes for a good cause too – there are locations all over the country where you can drop one off.