Tired of getting on and off buses and walking our soles off, I set off with a couple of fellow students on an early Sunday misson: The purchase of a decent, reasonably priced second-hand bike that rides smoothly.
First shot: 9am Brick Lane Market. After digging into piles of rusty, rackety bicycles and spare parts of bicycles the best choice is a green ‘Dutch style’ ladies bike for 100 pounds. The market has a bad reputation for stolen bicycles and the business does seems a bit dodgy. The salesman has randomly chosen a place to display his five bicycles that are not in a very good state of repair. After we see a girl buying the green bike, we give a shrug and walk away. “Come back next week,” shouts the salesman after us. ” I will have new ones.” Dodgy business it is. However, if you do not care where your bike comes from, the market is a good try.
We head to Camden Town, where we pass the tiny shop Camden Cycles on Eversholt Street. The shop has about 100 second-hand bicycles in stock– mostly mountain bikes. The guys working in the workshop are friendly and prepared to negotiate over the price. We manage to knock 15 pounds off the original price. What’s more, Camden Cycles provide you with a two weeks exchange if you are not happy with your first choice and offer free service for one month after purchase. You can get a decent mountain bike for about 80 to 100 pounds.
Further down, hidden in the side street Wilkin St Mews, we find Lunar Cycles. Although their specialization is a stylish, light-weighted bicycle, they occasionally sell reconditioned bikes which go from 100 pounds on. Call in advance to find out if they have restored bikes in stock.
A bit out of Central London on Elephant Road, the impressive painted exterior of the shop Re-cycling is already worth the trip. The shop has over 250 restored bicycles on display. The ‘no lemons’ guarantee allows you to exchange your bicycle for another one up to 21 days after purchase. You can also get your money back.
If you are patient enough to comb the internet, Gumtree, Loot and Ebay are heavens for second-hand bikes. Be sure you choose the right frame size before you set off for a test ride. Don’t forget to look up the place where the bike is sold, in case you do buy it and you end up biking back . The best bikes sell like hot cakes, so an RSS feed on Ebay would be good idea. You can get a mountain bike for about 60 to 80 pounds. A good range of road bikes, vintage bikes or city bikes are on offer as well.
Tinker an old bike
If you are a hobbyist, get a hold of a free bicycle that needs repair. Freecycle is a good place for this, and you can find plenty of bicycle parts on Brick Lane Market or in the many bicycle workshops in town to build your own two-wheeler.
Here are some other shops and websites that sell second-hand bicycles: