At some point in our lives, we decide it's time to say goodbye to the old bike taking up space in the backyard or garage. Bicycles comprise rubber, metal, and cables. So, they’re easy to fix. These qualities also give them significant recycling value.
If you want to dispose of your old bike, don't just dump it in a landfill. There are so many better paths you can take. Read on to find out what they are.
What we’re covering in this article:
- Sell vintage bicycles.
- Refurbish your old bike.
- Up-cycle your bike.
- Organizations you can donate your bike to.
Sell Vintage Bicycles
If you have your great grandfather's bike still rusting away in your parent's garage, it may actually be worth something to collectors.
Firstly, the bike’s brand or manufacturer plays an essential role in its value. For example, classic French Randonneur bikes made by famous companies can be extremely valuable. Hand-built bicycles made by small builders in the pre-mid-80s can be worth something too.
Your bike's type can be significant, too. Enthusiasts and collectors can desire bicycles such as lightweight, Schwinn Krate, Road racing, city, and BMX.
Interestingly, men's bicycles are more valuable than women's. This is simply because there are more male collectors out there.
Unique bikes with all-original parts are worth more than the ones with replacements. The rarer and more original, the easier you can sell it as an antique or classic.
Bikes that were owned or ridden by famous riders, or ones that were a part of a renowned collection, are worth more.
The easiest way to identify your bike's value is by contacting an expert or finding an auctioneer, but be aware that you will probably have to pay something for their time.
Refurbish Your Old Bike
If it’s possible to repair your bike, why let it go? You can use it yourself for longer, or you can give it to family members or friends who would use it. You can replace the chain, tires, and brakes if needed and paint over the frame with a spray to give it a fresh look.
You can even leave the work to a mechanic or bike shop. Some companies that deal mainly with cars offer bicycle refurbishment too.
If you think your bike is wrecked and the repair will cost nearly as much as buying a brand new replacement, then it's time to think about other options like donating your bike for parts or recycling.
Up-Cycle Your Bike
You can easily find ideas on how to turn your old bike into something creative and useful. Just scroll through Pinterest. Your front lawn can gain a beautiful feature by turning your bike into a planter stand and decorating it with green pots and bright colors.
You can make a coffee table, hanging pan rack or a chandelier out of the wheels and spokes. There are many other great project ideas that will keep you busy for a long time.
Before sending your bike to recycling, consider all other options. Even if you can't fix it, maybe somebody else can. If your bike is beyond repair, and its parts can't be used to fix other bikes, it's at the end of its useful life as a cycle.
Now, the best option is to recycle nearly every piece of your bike. They make bicycle frames, brake pad holders, and chains from recyclable metal that can be broken down and then made into new products.
First, contact your local recycling service to find out if they have the equipment to recycle bikes. If not, reach out to specialized recycling facilities.
You can use online tools like Earth911 or Recycle Nation's recycling locator. Put in your zip code and search for bikes or bicycles. You can use the results to find the closest recycling program to you.
Most recycling facilities won't accept plastic or rubber parts like tires, inner tubes, and plastic lights. When you contact them, ask about it. If they can't recycle these parts, it’s best to remove them from the bike before handing them to the facility.
The Benefits of Recycling
As we all know, we have a limited amount of natural raw materials present on our planet. There will eventually come a time when mining and refining won't be possible anymore, and we'll run out of resources. However, it's easily possible to recycle and reuse the materials we have already. Why not start now?
Manufacturers usually make bicycle frames from one of four materials: steel, titanium, aluminum, or carbon fiber.
Processing raw metal ores uses so much more energy than when the metal is recycled. Plus, this process also produces greenhouse gas emissions that are not so high in the recycling process.
They can recycle carbon fiber using a process called pyrolysis, which allows the reuse of the carbon fiber at half the cost of the virgin product.
So, it's clear that recycling is one of the essential tools we can use to preserve our environment and reduce wasted energy.
Of course, you may be able to sell your old bike on websites like Bikeexchange or Craigslist. But if your old bike is in good enough condition, what's better than the rewarding experience of donating it to non-profit organizations, children charities, thrift stores, or bike shops.
Most of these organizations will repair and refurbish bikes and give them to people in need or sell them for an affordable amount. Some of them will even accept your non-fixable bike for its good parts and install them on other bikes to make them usable.
There are many other worthy organizations that I'll talk about in the following sections. So, don't worry, it'll be easy to donate!
Also, when you're looking to buy a new bike, it's an excellent idea to look for it in these non-profit organizations and buy a refurbished bike. This way, you'll help people and get a new bike!
Organizations You Can Donate Your Bike to
Bikes for The World
Starting in 2005, Bike for the World has become the Nation's biggest bicycle recycling program. This non-profit charity organization takes your old and used bikes, bike parts, and even bike repair tools.
They'll then repair and refurbish broken bikes with the help of their affiliates and volunteers. Using donated bikes, they also teach people basic bicycle mechanic skills to develop job opportunities. They’ll then offer the bikes to those in need in developing countries, either on credit, at an affordable price, or for free.
They have many drop-off locations across the US, and even if none of the spots are close to where you live, you can contact the headquarters by phone or email, and they'll help you get your bike to them.
Bikes for the world suggests that you bring a $10 donation when you drop off a bike to help them complete their job. They'll give you a receipt for all your donation so you can get a tax deduction.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a non-profit organization that exists in 127 countries around the world. They help people in so many ways, and they accept monetary donations and goods through their Family Stores. They take bikes, too.
There are many family stores across the country where you can drop off your old bike. If you can’t find a center nearby, contact them through their website or phone line to schedule a pickup.
Goodwill Industries is an international organization that accepts donations of any kind, including bikes. They help people build skills and create job opportunities along the way.
You can find the closest donation site using their online locator. If you have more than one bike, you can contact them and schedule a pickup.
They’ll also give you a receipt in the amount of your donation so you can receive a tax deduction.
Yellow Bike Project
If you live in Austin, Texas, donating your bike to the Yellow Bike Project is a great idea. Their goal is to increase the number of bikes on Texas's streets, and they run community bicycle shops.
In these shops, you can buy bikes and parts, you can use the tools and equipment to fix your bike, and even get lessons in bike maintenance. You'll then pay off the time you spent in their shops by volunteering there.
Well, here we are! I've now told you many of the ways you can get rid of your old bike. It's your choice now.
If it's old enough, you can try to sell it as an antique to a collector. You can fix it up to use yourself, give it to a friend, or even sell it online!
It's possible to use the parts to make a new decoration for your house or yard, or you can donate your bike to non-profit charity organizations, who'll then use it to help people.
Finally, if your bike is beyond repair and doesn't have any functioning parts, you can recycle it properly to help our planet out!