How to Make a Quick Buck

04.23.2007 | 12:51 pm

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!


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.


  1. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 04.23.2007 | 1:16 pm

    How much for the old Cliff Bars? Like wine and cheese, they get better with age!

    I’ll give you two bits for the 9 year old ultegra group. Um, as long as a bit is approximatly equivalent to zero.

    You know I JUST bought my first Y wrench. From now on I’m asking you before I buy anything. Do you have a spare lung around there?

  2. Comment by Chris | 04.23.2007 | 1:24 pm

    I’ll pickup and sell the Xport Xpress for you. We can split it 50/50.
    eBay is great.

  3. Comment by Badder | 04.23.2007 | 1:46 pm

    I’ll give you 3 bits for the ultegra groupo.

    Who needs ebay when you can bid on

  4. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 04.23.2007 | 1:54 pm

    I was recently asked by my darling wife to have a bit of a tidy up in the garage. Apparently a double garage should be able to fit 2 cars, rather than having barely enough clear floor space for the lawn mower.

    What I discovered is that, apart from the actual bikes (7 for my 4 family members and 4 for me), there is enough spare parts to build another 3 complete bikes. This is no exaggeration, and doesn’t include the designated spares for my cherished track bike.

    There’s a steel road frame, a steel MTB frame and a BMX that just needs wheels. There’s enough wheels (hubs, rims and spokes – mostly not built). I may need to buy a tube for the BMX and possibly a couple of cables for the MTB.

    In the cupboard there’s enough cycling apparel to clothe myself for a ride more than 30 times. That’s not including shoes and helmets – there’s only 4 and 3 of them respectively.

    Tubes? Yes there’s tubes. Except I know the status of all of them. If they’re still in a box, they’re good to go (count:11). If they’re slung under the seat of a bike they’re good (count:5). If they’re in the glovebox of the car, they’re good (count:3). If they’re toe-strapped to the shaft of the floor pump, they’re good (count:2). If they’re randomly flung in the darkest corners of the garage, or hanging over the handlebars of the least used bike, they need a patch (count:at least 30).

  5. Comment by the weak link | 04.23.2007 | 2:00 pm

    This post reminds me of some research I’ve been doing on Halo sweatbands. I’ve bought about twenty of these over two years. I can only find two now.

    I’ve calculated the half-life of Halo sweatbands at apporximately 11 days. If you buy 4 Halo sweatbands, in two weeks you’ll have only two, more likely than not.

    No one knows where they go to. I believe they are governed by quantum mechanics. They are there, and then in a quantum flux they aren’t.

    The resemblance to radioactivity is superficial. As best I can tell, a Halo sweatband does not degrade into two mismatched biking socks.

    Like all things governed by quantum physics, I can’t begin to explain WHY, only that it happens.

    So if you are selling Halo sweatbands, I’ll buy some. But only if you ship them express, and in a quantity 30% more than I really need.

  6. Comment by Dave Nice | 04.23.2007 | 2:04 pm

    Got the check in the mail today! Thanks Again Fatty!

    Yeah there are quite alot of bike parts I should get ride of in my apartment….. Always seems when I get rid of something its the first thing I need…… =)

  7. Comment by dug | 04.23.2007 | 2:06 pm

    so really mr fat cyclist, you’re saying i have skinny girly legs?

    just when i try to hate you, you go and say something sweet like that. i’m gonna take back some of the things i’ve said about you. i just haven’t decided which things.

  8. Comment by Born4Lycra | 04.23.2007 | 2:26 pm

    I’ll check the art in a minute but another thing you mentioned that may be worth something was the brainstorm in the back of the truck. Is it marketable and cheaper than the Xprott Xpress? Remembering your cad skills on the teeter totter you could have plans out in no time.
    What’s that can’t be bothered – moved on etc. Ah well fair enough.
    I’m off to the art exhibition.

  9. Comment by Born4Lycra | 04.23.2007 | 2:31 pm

    I’m back. Your quite right she is good.

  10. Comment by KatieA | 04.23.2007 | 3:50 pm

    My boyfriend’s brother is a car nut, and acquired an old, craptacular shell of a Datsun. His wife, none too pleased. However, via Ebay, he sold a lot of his other car stuff (think Nissan parts) and has managed to completely fit out the Datsun so that it looks new, as well as build a complete engine. (Engineering students, such nerds) Wife is now happy, as she sold some of his other car stuff and went and had a massage. :)

    I’m yet to get into Ebay, and I don’t have enough bike stuff to sell to buy bike stuff. And I think Boyfriend might be slightly annoyed if I use said cash to buy bike things, when we have a mortgage & I already spend far too much on personal training supplies…

    But does anyone want a left-handed Samick Fender copy guitar? Black and white classic style with small amplifier and strap? Ex-boyfriend bought for me on the proviso he taught me how to play.

  11. Comment by Al Maviva | 04.23.2007 | 5:26 pm

    Weak Link – do those sweat bands go well with the 80’s vintage wooly leg warmers that Dug bought off Ebay? I hear that Jennifer Beals’ body double actually wore them while warming up for a dance scene in “Flashdance.”

    I only ask because I suspect Dug might be interested… after all, what goes better on girly legs, than girly leg warmers? And what goes better with that, than sweat bands?

    I have to go listen to Flock of Seagulls now.

  12. Comment by LMouse | 04.23.2007 | 5:53 pm

    Wow, Fatty, you’re sittin’ on a gold mine there. If I didn’t have a conscience, I’d sell all the worthless, broken stuff I’ve bought at the REI Used Gear Sale over the years. I bet I’d make enough to put in an offer on that Dodge Dart I’ve had my eye on.

    Your sister’s art is really amazing! More amazing is that she’s able to show it in SLC without getting arrested. That town has obviously changed a great deal since I last put in an appearance at GC.

  13. Comment by mark | 04.23.2007 | 7:33 pm

    Fatty, while I’m sure you’re bike hauling contraption is impressive, I’m also sure that it’s inferior to the Dakine pickup pad. This is the single most perfect way to haul bikes ever invented. Not particularly secure in and of itself, but a cable lock attached to your load tie downs takes care of that. I am the envy of everyone I know because I have one.

  14. Comment by Ononecog | 04.23.2007 | 8:41 pm

    i’d like then knickers, and maybe the xtr brakes, and anything else you wanna throw in

  15. Comment by Derek | 04.23.2007 | 9:10 pm

    Dude, those aren’t Knickers, they’re Capris pants. Nice Capris, whuss.

  16. Comment by Dave Nice | 04.23.2007 | 10:15 pm

    Manpris are what I prefer to call them you should try them….


  17. Comment by slip | 04.24.2007 | 5:23 am

    i want me some manpris. are you around a 32?

    and wow, lori’s work is really incredibly great.

  18. Comment by rick | 04.24.2007 | 5:49 am

    I just sold three bikes on mtbr in order to buy ONE bike! Talk about good kharma with the wife. I’m now down from 5 bikes to three, she couldn’t be happier.

  19. Comment by fatty | 04.24.2007 | 6:39 am

    my manpris (i like the name, dave. thanks!) are a 33. i think i’ll give them away as part of a contest sometime soon. i wish they fit — they’re urban hipster.

  20. Comment by barry1021 | 04.24.2007 | 7:39 am

    Wait, Jennifer Beals had a double in Flashdance? That’s disappointing. I always felt that film was a gritty and accurate depiction of blue collar life in a steel town. Did for Pittsburgh what Papillon did for penal colonies, if you get the way i’m drifting.
    Now fatty, those pants are tempting, for I constantly crave ownership of slightly used clothing from semi-famous, self-important cycle bloggers. So what’s the problem? They’re 33’s and they would soon be way way too big!! Bwa ha ha!!!
    I have the Xport Xpress and it works great. I will now tell you a fascinating story of how this very piece of equipment made me a Performance fan for life. I owned it for about a year, and then I lost both keys for it, mainly because i intelligently left both keys on the same chain so that when I lost one, well….anyway, I called Performance and they said they would send out a new key right away (I don’t want to get too technical for the non-engineer types here, but the key is critical for installation–if you would like complete details, send me a SSAE and cash). Two weeks passed and nothing. I called back, and was told it was impossible to send out a key because there are so many different locks and they couldn’t match them to the unit. Well needless to say, my normal charming personality dissipated and i resorted to something that resembled Al M. on a sore butt day. Suffice it to say, a supervisor agreed to send me a new unit at no charge, and I could send the old one back in the box that the new one came in. They even paid for shipping. Cool!! See I told you it was fascinating, I am sure y’all are wishing I was a blogger too, doncha?


  21. Comment by Al Maviva | 04.24.2007 | 7:46 am

    Yeah, it’s a shame you have to get rid of them, Fatty. Nothing looks as good or stylish on a balding, 40 year old bike geek riding a messenger bike, as a pair of really tight capri pants. Did you consider the ones with the leopard print? Because that would be really >>>HOTTTT

  22. Comment by Al Maviva | 04.24.2007 | 7:50 am

    Good lord… the rest of my comment got truncated.

    Okay, so what in the firewall caused that? The word “hegemony”? My references to beer? (Hey, is this hosted in Utah?) The invite to Get Real Male Enhancement Now from The Widow of Jonas Savimbi, Email This Address to Verify Your Bank Account? Or was it because I asked “BFF?” after basically abusing Fatty for three paragraphs?

  23. Comment by TeeBone | 04.24.2007 | 8:05 am

    Gotta talk about the Jack Mo’s! This is the first year I have missed “The 24 Hours of Vail Lake”, formerly “The 24 hours of Temecula”. It is unbelievable what Kenny and the boys pulled off. You don’t even know! Sub hour laps are impressive on fresh legs – in the daylight. These guys did not have a single lap for the entire race over one hour. That is unprecedented. The previous record for this race was 25 laps. These guys did 28. Twenty-eight! Wholly crap!

  24. Comment by fatty | 04.24.2007 | 8:15 am

    actually, al, i’m not balding. i’m now bald. about a week ago i finished what nature started.

  25. Comment by Hop | 04.24.2007 | 8:24 am

    Say what you will about manpris but it’s sure as hell better than walkin’ into my office after my commute in spandex thank you. Fatty, these babies would fit ya and there awesome…

  26. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 04.24.2007 | 9:27 am

    Hey yer sister is pretty good with a brush, does she do houses too?

    You know what would be really cool? I mean the coolest prize EVER EVEN CONTEMPLATED for a fat cyclist prize!!! A Fatty’s sister painted frame!!
    Oh man that would be so cool, nothing too intricate, just some designs, or whatever. It would have to be stipulated that she gets to do whatever she wants to the bike. Any color, any design. I’m totally nominating her for this.

    Yes, I know that painting bikes is totally different in every way. . . but come on, how cool would that be?

  27. Comment by Boz | 04.24.2007 | 9:41 am

    Botched – That is totally the most totally coolist cool idea in the history of totally cool ideas. Awsome.

  28. Comment by Brewinman | 04.24.2007 | 10:03 am

    I’ll take the Mule. A combination of straight bleach and ammonia should make the bladder healthy enough to drink out of…

  29. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 04.24.2007 | 11:27 am

    Boz–COOL man. So you think it’s pretty cool too, eh?

    Brewinman–sometimes it’s not the actual microorgansims that are the problem, but the smell. I made some gatorade wine once in one of my bladders, and nothing ever got the smell out. Liquids in the bladder didn’t actually taste bad, but I could never use it in good concience. . .

  30. Comment by Boz | 04.24.2007 | 12:03 pm

    Botched – Cool IS the rule.

  31. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 04.24.2007 | 1:52 pm

    FC- you need to race more, cause if you did, you’d have plenty of use for all those water bottles. Bob’s headed to tour of the gila next week and if you want to get rid of them, we’d even come pick them up (how shameless is that?)

    Your sister is fantastic. I really like her style and the color palette she uses.

    Good job Jack Mormon Militia.

    Botched- good idea, but maybe she could do a bike themed painting, instead of painting a bike. That way she can stay within her medium, and this roucous crowd can get some culture.

  32. Trackback by Auto | 05.7.2009 | 8:43 pm

    just meandered in….

    Gotta love google, very neat stuff. Thanks….


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