My mother had picked up cycling a few years before. Each year she’d upgrade to a newer model, and leave a perfectly fine bicycle locked in her garage. She lives beyond Hamilton in a town with very little interest in used bikes. So, I offered to help her sell them in Toronto. I wasn’t seeing too many repeat listings on Craigslist, cycling was hot in the summer of 2008, so I figured this would be easy.
The first bike I listed for a fair price in comparison to what was being posted. It was a couple years older, a Giant hybrid in perfect working condition. Right away I received about a dozen e-mails. If I couldn’t understand what the person was saying I didn’t reply. Not to be a snob, but if you can’t type a simple sentence, I’m afraid we’ll have a hard time doing business. Really, it’s me, not you.
Then I received a few replies that resembled this:
“Got in garage the basket of my bicycle flavour forever to trees”
Really? I don’t know what kind of spambots are trolling Craigslist, but they sent me some of the most bizarre haiku poetry I’ve ever read.
Well, I exchanged a few e-mails with potential buyers and arranged for them to come see the bike. I had a great spot picked out, in front of a bank on a busy corner. Don’t have the cash? Pow, there’s a Green Machine! Wanna jack me for my bike? Look at all the witnesses!
There was a chill in the air that day. In fact, it was downright arctic outside. I had on a black windbreaker with the hood up and pulled a black toque on underneath. For some reason I also felt that black jeans and black converse runners were also necessary.
Looking downright shady, I stood by the corner looking for someone who I would hope would recognize the bike from the photos I’d sent. A few minutes after our scheduled meeting time I started to think I’d blown it. Why all black? Geez, I should have put on sunglasses and carried a big chain to complete the look.
So, got an old bike you want to get rid of? Make like thousands of Torontonians and sell it online. Here’s a few pointers to help you get started: