SUMMERSIDE — As Jordan Ellis hops on the abandoned bicycle to take it for a spin, he, like its back tire, looks a little deflated.
The bicycle will barely move. Although it looks like it’s in decent shape, the mountain bike — one of close to 60 bicycles recovered throughout the city — needs a little work before it will be hitting the trails anytime soon.
“Some are in pretty rough shape,” said Ellis, the city’s special events intern.
The bikes will be up for auction Thursday, sold as-is, to the highest bidder.
It’s an annual event, held in past years by the city’s police department.
But, said Ellis, manpower and cost of using police officers to oversee the auction, held traditionally on a Saturday morning, was high, prompting the city’s community services department to take on the event.
“Instead of the funds going to the police department, we are going to be using the money to go towards our summer programs,” he added. “It usually raises between $800 to $1,200.”
Tuesday afternoon, Ellis showed off the bicycles for sale, now all lined up inside the smaller arena at Credit Union Place. They were dug out from the police department’s storage shed adjacent to Wilmot Community Centre.
It’s there that bicycles found throughout the city go until they are either claimed or put up for sale at the annual auction.
“They are bicycles that are either unattended, dropped off at the police station, some of them are stolen bicycles that haven’t been claimed,” explained Ellis.
Only bicycles that have gone unclaimed for a year are put up for sale.
When recovered, each bicycle is tagged with a date and other information in the hope someone who has either had a bicycle stolen or lost comes to claim it.
Each year dozens of these bicycles never again see their owners.
After a year has lapsed, the bicycles officially become the property of the city and put up for sale, some fetching only a couple of dollars and others, as much as $100.
Ellis said, unfortunately, even if someone attending the auction on Thursday believes that a bicycle may be theirs, they can no longer claim ownership since more than a year has lapsed since the bicycle was found or turned in.
The bicycles up for sale range in age and size, from smaller children’s bicycles to larger adult mountain bicycles. There are even a few scooters in the mix.
“Some are in better shape than others,” said Ellis.
There will be a limit of four bicycles per buyer.
“That should deter people from buying for the purpose of reselling,” added Ellis. “Hopefully, they all sell. It’s a cheap form of transportation. We pushed the auction back to have a wider selection of bikes. This way we have 55 plus bikes.”
A viewing will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the auction at 6:30 inside Eastlink Arena. Buyers can use cash or debit to pay for their purchase.