City resident Jessie Pedersen’s first pick was an antique model but she was outbid.
“Now I got this bike whatever it is,” she laughed as she grips the handles on her shiny find.
Looking for bike bargains, Pedersen and friend Kristen Black surveyed the lot before entering the world of bidding wars in the Sheriff Seizure Bikes and Estate Auction at the Ridgewood Community Hall on Sunday.
They were among the 50 or so bidders hoping to capitalize on someone else’s misfortune and come home with a steal.
Unclaimed, stolen or seized bikes are put up for public auction with auction houses like Cherry Hill Auction and Appraisals after a 90-day waiting period with the Red Deer City RCMP and other departments. Other items come from the court system like stolen property or evidence are also put up for public auction.
In the 41 years auctioneer Tom Kean has been calling auctions he has seen his share of bicycles. On Sunday he auctioned off more than 300 bikes. The cheapest bike went for $5 while some models sold for close to $300.
“Everybody has a new bicycle today,” said Kean. “We have first time bidders out there all the time. We had a lot of them out there today.”
Kean and his wife, Merrill, try to make their auctioning experience a seamless one by explaining the process, helping with registration and teaching bidding neophytes how to place bids. Kean also runs the International School of Auctioneering where he trains auctioneers which in turn teaches the public.
First-time bidders Pedersen and Black didn’t have too much trouble and were happy with their efforts. Each woman paid $35 for their new wheels.
“Still lots of people coming to auction sales,” said Kean. “If you have an auction sale, people will find there way to it.”
Like the two Red Deer women, Nicole Bateman from Sylvan Lake was looking for deals on three bikes for her three children. Bateman bought her own wheels at an auction in Sylvan Lake and wanted to save cash.
Her budget was under $100 for three bikes.
“They wouldn’t be getting bikes without this,” said Bateman.
Cherry Hill Auction and Appraisals have two or three sheriff bike sales a year depending on the supply.