Bikes in London were never a huge thing. London is a city dominated by cars, trains, and buses. People rely heavily on public transport for getting to and from work, and are accustomed to having to plan around a bus schedule or train timetable to plan their day trips on the weekend or nights out in the city. Contributing to this pattern as both a cause and effect was the perception that cycling was unsafe, that roads were packed with dangerous drivers and heavy vehicular traffic. Cycling enthusiast Boris Johnson’s election as Mayor in 2008 saw funds begin to be put in place for the capital’s ‘Cycling Revolution’, and the introduction of his successor Sadiq Khan, a pro-cycling politician, saw attitudes towards cyclists continue to improve and London march on in its journey to becoming an increasingly more friendly cycling city.
WIth people recognising the economic, physical, and environmental benefits of cycling and turning to two wheels to get them around, bikes are becoming a more and more common sight on the road. There are also plenty of places where you’ll find bikes off the road - for sale on the internet, in shops, or from private sellers. There’s so many options out there, with a range of quality and price - so how do you go about choosing where to buy from? Read on, as we take a look at the options for buying your second hand bike in the big smoke.
The internet is a key feature of the modern, digital age of interconnectedness we live in, and for the sale of bikes it has made it easier to buy and sell from behind your desk, and get yourself a bike in just a couple of clicks. One of the best places to head to buy second hand bikes online in London is Gumtree. A good thing about Gumtree is that it allows you to contact the seller directly via either phone number or email address, without having to sign up or create an account. This makes for efficiency when liaising with a seller (or buyer), however you should always be careful that you never send money before seeing and collecting the bike. Never pay anything before meeting the seller - there are scammers out there, so stay safe. Also, don’t be tempted if someone offers to bring the bike to your place to sell it to you, despite the convenience - it might mean that the bike is stolen, because they are wary of disclosing their own address.
Another thing to be wary when buying second hand bikes online is that they could be stolen. Sadly, bicycle theft is rife in London and crooks use these online platforms to quickly offload their stolen wares. It’s not always easy to know if a bike is stolen, but you can ask the seller for proof of purchase when you meet them to view the bike. Trust your instinct, and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you have had a bike stolen, this website brings together all the current listings for bike sale in London from various websites, so you can peruse the listings there to see if someone might be trying to sell your bike on.
You can also visit companies like The Bike Project to browse a range of second hand bikes for sale. The upside here is that you can choose and pay for your bike securely online, without the inherent danger that can come with shopping with Gumtree. However, the range of bikes is slightly more limited, and you’re likely to be paying a higher price. The bikes are higher quality, more specialised, and prices start in the region of £175 - £200 for the cheapest models.
Another alternative to an online platform is to head into Camden Cycles, a used bicycle dealership located in Camden, North London. The upside here is that you can physically head into the store and choose the bike that looks and feels best for you. Their staff can also help you to make the best decision regarding this and assist you with technical advice regarding the bikes. However, like its online counterpart The Bike Project, the bikes are of a higher quality and therefore you’ll be paying more; additionally, at the time of writing their website indicated a lot of their models were out of stock, hence with buying here you may ultimately have to settle for an option that isn’t your first choice.
So, what’s the best option? Buy a bike from us!
Here at London Bicycle Tour Company, we have bikes for sale at our beautiful sun-soaked location on Kennington Road, near the Imperial War Museum. Our bikes are Traditional ‘sit up and beg’ bicycles of the Dutch style - perfect for a leisurely cycle around the city or for commuting in and out. The prices start from £70 and have all been rigorously checked and made available for use by our qualified and motivated team of bike mechanics. The advantages of buying from us are that we are a trustworthy source, the bikes are a wonderful price for their quality, and we will always supply the highest level of customer service for those buying from us, and are happy to provide all the assistance and information that is necessary. Plus, while you’re down here with us, why not take your new wheels for a spin on a bike tour of London?!
As you’ve seen, there are naturally caveats to buying second hand bicycles - whether it’s online or in store from companies or private resellers. So don’t face disappointment or risk doing dealings with potential thieves - solve your second hand bike problem and end the search with the friendly faces and solid, trustworthy bikes of the London Bicycle Tour Company.
[picture: Sam the Wheels, Effra Road Brixton]