How to Make a Quick Buck

Recently, I provided some extraordinarily valuable advice on how to get the money you need for your next bike-related purchase. To my horror, however, I failed to describe one of the most important ways you can earn money for your next bike purchase. My mistake is even more egregious when I consider the fact that in addition to being a great money-gathering technique, this method can actually earn you brownie points with your significant other.

So, what is this brilliant money making / brownie point earning scheme? Simple!

eBay.

True Story
It’s no secret that Kenny (congrats, by the way, to the Jack Mormon Militia, which won the 24 Hours of Vail Lake outright last weekend — yes, these guys on their rigid singlespeeds beat every other team in the entire race) bought himself a super-sweet Toyota FJ Cruiser earlier this year. What you may not know, however, is that Kenny bought this car using nothing but the proceeds from eBay sales of old bike parts.

Yes, that’s right. Kenny emptied his garage of old bike stuff he wasn’t using anymore, sold it all on eBay, and then filled his garage up again, but now with a brand new car.

OK, it’s possible that I’m exaggerating slightly here. But still: Kenny recently sold all his old bike stuff on eBay, and he recently bought a really nice FJ Cruiser. Coincidence? You decide.

What I Could Sell
So I took a look around the garage and elsewhere in the house. If I needed to make a quick buck getting rid of bike stuff I no longer need or use, what could I sell, and how much could I earn?

Here’s my eBay self-assessment.

  • Xport Xpress pickup bed bike rack: I recently traded in my RSX for a truck. Yes, I am a truck owner now. Of course, the first order of business was to find a way to find a way to securely store bikes in the truck bed. I ordered this $80 gizmo, but before it arrived, I had a little brainstorm of a sturdier, more secure way I could fork-mount bikes in my truck bed (which worked out beautifully, by the way). So I never even took this Xport Xpress out of the box. Still, I understand that through the magic of depreciation, there’s no way I could recover the entire purchase price of this thing. I think, though, I could get $60 for it. The problem is, I’m too lazy. Once I sold this on eBay, I’d have to lug it and ship it. So it’ll probably continue to sit in my garage until / unless I find someone who will just come and get it.
  • A Multitude of Tubes: I have a vast number of bike tubes, and this has become problematic recently. It turns out that the size and quality of my tubes is, in some cases, questionable. Specifically, there are at least two tubes sitting in my garage that are either brand new or have had a puncture — but I’m not sure which. There are several tubes that have been rolled up and stuffed in socks, which is a great way to keep them in your seat pack. Unfortunately, I do not know whether these tubes are for 29″ wheels or for 26″ wheels. Plus I’ve also got a couple tubes that I think may be more than five years old. Do tubes have a “Use By” date, after which they get all crusty and crumbly? Anyway, I’m thinking I’d be willing to give this entire lot of 15-20 tubes, almost all of which are very likely in usable condition, for $15.
  • Swrve bike messenger knickers: Last winter, Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) and Dug each bought some really awesome-looking urban-style biking knickers, made by a little cycling apparel company named “Swrve.” So I ordered a pair myself. When the knickers arrived, I excitedly put them on, which was when I discovered I would never be able to wear these knickers. While the waist fits just fine, thanks, my massive quads simply do not fit in the slim-cut legs. I paid $60 for them and put them on exactly once, so I’m hoping I could resell them for $30. I’m hopeful that some cyclist with skinny girly legs might want to buy these. Hey Dug, do you need another pair?
  • Two or three Y hex wrenches: I do not know how many Y hex wrenches I own, but I think a conservative estimate would be seven. I do however, know why I have so many. I’ll be looking around for one, can’t find it, and so the next time I’m at a bike shop, I’ll buy a new one. This, somehow, acts as a cosmic signal to all the other Y wrenches I own and they come out of hiding. It’s how they breed. I worry, to tell the truth, what might happen if I sell some of these wrenches. Probably, the rest would all go into hiding again until I had either reached or exceeded the current population. Still, I’m thinking: $3 per Y wrench.
  • Camelbak Mule: I have two Camelbak Mules. They’re exactly the same. I have no idea why I have two. $25 seems like a good price to eBay one of them.
  • Extra bladder for Camelbak Mule, slightly discolored: Oh, you know what? Now I remember why I have the extra Camelbak Mule. A while ago, the bladder in my original Mule got all gross and fuzzy on the inside. REI happened to be having a sale on the Mule, so it was about $0.79 cheaper to buy a new Mule than to buy a replacement bladder and bite valve. So I did. So I should be clear, whoever buys the Camelbak Mule on eBay is getting the old bladder, not the new one. And while I have taken pains to clean that bladder, it’s still a little bit brownish on the inside, and I’ve never quite been able to completely remove the mushroom smell. That’s not a problem, is it? $5.00, plus $6.99 shipping costs.
  • Lot of 15-20 water bottles: When we moved from Washington, I got rid of all but two of my water bottles. Now I have around 15 or 20 again. How did this happen? $0.50 / bottle.
  • Polar CS200cad: I’ve recently upgraded to a Garmin Forerunner 305 (thanks to everyone who recommended it; I like it a lot), so no longer need the Polar CS200cad. It’s a great bike computer: it does speed, heart rate, and cadence. Unfortunately, it eats through batteries — which are not rechargeable — at a prodigious rate, and it never turns itself off. And the buttons are hard to press. And it makes a peculiar odor (OK, I made that part up). $15, or at least that’s how much I would have charged for it if I hadn’t smashed it in a retributive fit.

The thing is, this list doesn’t even include all the old components I have — XTR sidepull brakes, a random assortment of stems, Clif Bars of indeterminate age, and the entire set of components and wheels to the old Ibis Ti Road.

I wonder how much I’d get for a 9-year-old Ultegra group?

PS: My sister Lori opened a show at the Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake last weekend. As of today, all but a couple of those paintings have sold. Lori’s art is awesome. Check out her paintings from this show.

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