Cambridge Cycling Campaign regularly receives requests for information about auctions of bikes, so we have created this webpage to contain all the information we know about.
Police cycle auction – NO LONGER RUNNING
The local Cambridge police station no longer runs auctions and has not done for some time.
We have no other information on any other auctions taking place.
Buy a new or fully reconditioned bicycle instead
An item (new or secondhand) described as ‘bicycle’ for sale in a shop must meet certain standards. This normally means that the bicycle has been assembled or reconditioned by an experienced mechanic and is ready to ride legally on the highway.
We encourage cyclists to purchase a bike new or secondhand from a reputable bike shop to ensure that it is correctly tuned and safe to ride. Supermarket-style flat-packed bikes are also liable to result in not being set up properly. We’ve seen self-assembly bikes with their forks facing the wrong way – dangerous and difficult to ride.
Properly reconditioned cycles are not that much cheaper than new bikes, but they are often much more loved and longer lasting – because if a bike was worth reconditioning it was probably built solidly in the first place. You’ll be paying for local labour and supporting local business.
Avoid the very cheapest bikes as they will fail fairly quickly. Also make sure you spend at least 10-20% of the value of the bike on a good lock, and get some lights.
Discounts at bike shops
Risks of buying a bike at an auction
When goods are auctioned the buyer does not have the same rights as if they had bought them from a shop. When the hammer (gavel) goes down the highest bidder becomes the legal owner. You will not be able to get your money back if not satisfied.
Items presented as “bicycles” at an auction may fall well short of the standard that a bike would have to meet if sold through a bike shop. In some cases they may even be dangerous or illegal to ride, even if it was at a “Police Auction”.
Some photos on our photomap give a brief idea of the process as it was operated in the year 2000. Back then there was little opportunity to examine the bikes, let alone take a test ride or see if they fit you. The bikes were just piled in a big stack. However, if you know what you are looking for you may be able to get a bargain. Don’t get carried away though – some bikes go for more than the new price in a shop.