Everyone loves getting new bikes and cycling gear, but what happens to all your old equipment when you switch to the latest and greatest? There are many ways to make sure your equipment gets used to its full potential before it becomes garbage. By thinking of ways to repair or repurpose your goods you can enjoy them longer. If you no longer have a use for them, it’s likely another user will, so consider a donation or used-sales to keep your cycling equipment in use for its full lifecycle.
DONATE USED GEAR TO GROUPS IN NEED
If you spend time searching, you’ll likely find a group in your area that can use your old gear. High school mountain bike teams are often happy to take old bikes for new members who don’t yet have bikes of their own, and most younger cyclists don’t have a closet full of cycling kits yet. Even youth and homeless shelters often take donations of bikes and gear, since owning a bike can have a huge impact on a person’s ability to get to a job. Nothing local? Check out groups like PAC Tours Bike Parts Recycling Project, which collects gently used cycling gear to send to cyclists in remote areas in Peru, or do a search for other charitable organizations that will accept old bike gear.
RE-USE OLD CLOTHING
Every time you repair a rip in a raincoat or knee-warmer it’s better for your budget and for the environment. A ripped rain jacket might not be much use in a storm, but try sewing up the tear and removing the sleeves to make a vest. An old jersey can be relegated to a glasses or gloves organizer by cutting out the three back pockets and using them as a rolled-up protector/sorter. Or, slide that old jersey over a lawn chair and you now have three pockets to stash snacks, sunscreen and a beverage at your next race. Lastly, a classic reuse for race T-shirts is to make bike rags, which can even be washed for multiple uses.
SELL IT ONLINE
If you need to get rid of old gear to make room for new, but you don’t have a big budget, you can often resell your used bikes, clothing and spare parts on buy/sell websites like Craigslist or eBay. For many people, the time spent listing and selling can be overwhelming, so consider shipping gear to a company like ProTested Gear, Pro’s Closet or Play It Again Sports — they’ll take a percentage of your profit, but once you ship your gear to them, they take care of all the sales so you save a ton of time and hassle.
ORGANIZE A GEAR SWAP
If you don’t have a local bike swap, but you belong to a local cycling club or have a few friends who ride, put together a community gear swap — you’ll be amazed at how one person’s ‘last season fashion’ is another person’s ‘perfect fit.’ This is also a great idea if you have young riders in your family and your local community: As your child outgrows his or her old bike, you can likely find another family to swap with or even create a lending library of youth bikes. By participating in a swap, you can also extend the life of a product by using gear someone else no longer has a use for.
THE BOTTOM LINE
When you get new cycling equipment, consider how old cycling gear will be used next. Can you use it or is there a person or group that will benefit more from this piece of equipment? Spending some time keeping that gear in use yourself or for another user ensures your cycling gear continues to provide value for many years.