ATTLEBORO — From a vintage Schwinn to a Diamond Back and Mongoose, more than three dozen unclaimed bicycles were auctioned off on Saturday morning at the city’s police department repair garage.
The auction, held to raise money for the city’s general fund, fetched $1,260.
Even before the auction began at 10 a.m., nearly 100 people had already gathered at the garage, where the 37 bicycles — some for adults and a few for children — were lined up in two rows.
Within 35 minutes of the auction’s start time, the supply of bicycles had diminished greatly.
Not since the oil crisis of the 1970s has there been a year for such high bicycle sales. The apparent nationwide bicycle shortage of 2020, and the growing interest in a fun outdoor activity during the coronavirus pandemic has prompted a run on the riding machines.
One Attleboro resident, Karen Pariseau, who attended the auction, said she saw earlier in the month there were virtually no bicycles to be found online, even in the websites for such retailers as Target and Walmart.
“You can’t get (bicycles) on any website. There’s no stuff available — they’re sold out everywhere, even the Huffy website. It’s crazy,” Pariseau said.
But Pariseau was able to acquire three bicycles for a total price of $95. One was for her daughter Rachael O’Neill of Attleboro, one for Pariseau herself, and another bicycle whose owner was yet to be determined, although the women briefly discussed giving it to O’Neill’s boyfriend.
“I’m so excited,” Pariseau said after the auction.
Many of the bicycles, including the ones Pariseau bought, did need some repair work.
One Mongoose model, which was sold toward the end of the one-hour auction, had a torn seat; several bicycles had rust on the gear chains, and others simply needed a good cleaning.
The highest price paid at the auction was $235 for a Mongoose, whose special calibers included disc brakes.
This particular bicycle was part of a minor bidding war, but was met with applause at the end as an Attleboro man, who did not wish to be named, won the bicycle for his 14-year-old grandson.
Another happy patron was Liz Lima of Attleboro, who came with her husband Paul and acquired the vintage Schwinn for $110.
Though the Schwinn’s seat was broken, Lima wasn’t concerned.
“I can’t believe no one else bid on it,” she said.
The bicycle was even more important to Lima due to her back problems and the need for the bicycle seat to be positioned lower to the handlebars.
“I immediately saw this one and thought, ‘This is more about comfort,’” Lima said of the Schwinn.
The bicycles had been collected as abandoned property throughout the city over the past year.
The Attleboro Police Department’s mechanic, David Vierra, conducted the auction.
A toolbox also sold for $25.