Last week I sold my old bike, the one that I bought about four years ago to accompany my daughter around the neighborhood. It had been taking up space in our garage for over a year, and my husband wanted it out before lawn mower season arrives.
My first thought was to donate the bike to Neighborhood Bike Works, a non-profit organization that teaches kids to work on bikes and eventually earn one after putting in enough hours. But their website says they are not interested in low-end department store bikes. So after offering it to family and friends with no success, I decided to try selling it on craigslist and put the proceeds toward a secondhand bike for our daughter.
Choosing an asking price, however, was a bit uncomfortable for me. The bike was in perfect working condition and looked nearly new, but it was just an inexpensive mountain-bike-wannabe from a big sporting goods store. Although decals on the frame boasted that it was “Shimano equipped” and made by Mongoose, a name that most people would recognize, I felt like I was trying to sell inferior goods. Just one year ago I had experienced firsthand the difference between a department store bike and a bike shop bike, yet now I was trying to convince another person to buy a lower quality bike. Or was I just being a bike snob? How bad can Shimano parts be? How low-end does Mongoose go? Was I promoting cycling or leading someone toward a money pit bike?
Eventually I realized that it could simply be another person’s first step to discovering (or rediscovering) the joy of biking, as it was for me. I priced it low enough to keep my guilt at bay and their investment minimal in the event that they too decided to upgrade to a better quality bike. There was a lot of interest in the bike for a few days, and when the eventual buyer came to pick it up, I knocked $10 off the price without even being asked. Maybe not what Yehuda Moon would do (he’d most likely put it out on his bike-sharing racks, I think), but at least it made both the buyer and seller feel better. What would you do?
[Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery is an online comic strip by Rick Smith. Read the first one here.]