Have wheels, will travel—carbon-free! This past Sunday, New York City’s Bike Jumble was teeming with bicycles and bicyclists alike. Shiny new bikes, second-hand bikes revamped, bike accessories, bike apparel—you name it; vendors sold all things bike-related from U-locks to graphic tees. Proudly dubbed New York City’s only bicycle flea market, the jumble modeled the modern approach to a more sustainable market place: half newly produced items, half sharing economy.
If you’re looking for a ride, prices for both new and used bicycles range from $50 – $1000, with the average rate in the $175-$350 range. For quality bikes, jumble vendors have the best deals in town, without store policies collecting tax and other sale prices. Better yet, you can ride it up and down the waterfront to be sure you’ll love it before buying. If you’ve already got a bike but you’re looking for a fix, nearly every booth is willing to lend a helping hand. As a third option, you can rent a bike to fit your needs and time constraints. Spinlister is a type of Craigslist for bike rentals, accessed through a smart-phone app. Most price listings hover at $18/day, or less for longer periods of time. If you’re in the city for a while, you can also buy a used bike and then sell it back to a vendor before you leave. Shane DaBikeJack will buy the bikes he sells at the end of an agreed rental period and you will get 40-percent of your original purchasing price back.
Most booths offered an array of new gear such as bike lights, helmets, reflective jerseys, and new tracks for your wheels. There were some vendors who offered replacement parts, bike accessories, or even bicycle artwork, including bike prints and paintings, graphic t-shirts, postcards, jewelry, and more. Promotion booths for organized rides and activism included Time’s Up!, an environmental nonprofit of bikers, the New York Bicycle Messenger Foundation, and WE Bike (Women’s Empowerment through Bicycles).
The sales were foremost utilitarian, without many flashy lights or decorations, but the jumble itself was not without style. The crowd is a unique mix of recreational riders, competitive racers, and lifelong bike commuters, mixed together to create a welcoming community that is always happy to have new members and share the love of riding. There are vendors from all over the East Coast, who can’t help but draw in bystanders or shy visitors into the vibrant sales and conversations. You don’t need to be a strong biker or even someone who knows a lot about bikes; many visitors simply ride on over and relax on the grass in good company.
Sustainability is one goal, but happiness is another. Bicycling fulfills inventor Saul Griffith’s criteria of improving our lives with less carbon – the simultaneous reduction of personal carbon emissions and enhancement of your quality of life.
Don’t fret if you missed this weekend’s event: the next revival of the New York Bike Jumble is coming up this fall in Park Slope at 5th Ave and 4th Street. Exact time and date to be announced; check out the official New York Bike Jumble and stay tuned for more bike-lover gatherings. If you can’t wait ’til then, several bike vendors are also available at the Brooklyn flea market every weekend. In NYC, there is always a place for bikers to convene.