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Abandoned bicycle

Old 04-26-12, 08:44 AM
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nd2010
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Abandoned bicycle

I noticed that there has been a bicycle parked in the same spot for over a year. The frame and front wheel are locked to the bike rack with a u-lock. The seat disappeared about a month ago. It's a pretty good bike, a Trek 7200 hybrid. How would I go about claiming that bike? I would hate to see it be stripped for parts since the seat is missing, the chain is rusted, and the tires are flat.

If I do claim it, what work would need to be done to make it ridable?

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Old 04-26-12, 09:00 AM
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Generally, abandon bikes can end up being more trouble than they are worth. If you wish to pursue in getting this bike, first thing to do is to check with whoever owns the bike rack, and ask them if they want it removed, if yes, then before removing it, contact local law enforcement with the bike's serial number to see if the bike is registered/stolen.
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Old 04-26-12, 10:41 AM
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if its been sitting over a year in weather then there's a good chance the brake and shifter cables are corroded to the housings; so plan on replacing all of them.
also good odds the grease is dried out, so overhaul both hubs and bottom bracket
check the wheels for trueness and spoke tension; if the spokes are corroded, replace entire wheel as you wont be able to turn a siezed spoke nipple...
check the chain and cogs for wear and replace if needed

so yeah, basically total rebuild is likely; this isn't really worthwhile in general unless you have parts on hand already and can do all the work yourself


circular saw with abrasive cutting disk should remove the u-lock in less than 1minute
you'll have to figure out the legal end first tho
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Old 04-26-12, 11:51 AM
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The bike I commute on every day started out as a run-down bike someone had taken to the dump, so overhauling run-down bikes is certainly possible. Plan on a total disassembly, inspection and rebuild. New shift/brake cables, brake pads and bearings are the most likely parts. If the bike has simply been left and isn't really broken, parts like derailleurs and the brakes themselves should be salvageable.

I had a stash of old parts handy when I took on my project, but if you aren't willing or capable of doing the work yourself, or want high-end components, it's really not worth doing unless you want the mechanical experience of doing so.

I'll leave the legal matters to you, but at the very least you should make sure the bike really is abandoned.
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Old 04-26-12, 12:05 PM
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I volunteer at a charity that reconditions unwanted/discarded bikes and resells them cheap, or donates them. The sales pay for the work. Very often, the only thing that makes them economic to repair is the fact that we have a large stock of used parts that we have taken from other bikes that weren't worth fixing.

You're looking at a complete overhaul. If you have to buy the parts new you are probably going to spend more than the project is worth, I'm sorry to say.
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Old 04-28-12, 12:42 AM
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nd2010
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I have access to a community bike "library" that has a collection of old parts, and I can do some repairs myself. I just hate seeing this good bike sit idle for a year, and die a slow painful death as the parts get stolen one by one (though I wouldn't even consider the parts being stolen, since the bike is abandoned, I consider it recycling). It's in a pretty safe community, so that's why it stayed intact so long. If it were in New York City, the entire bike would disappear within a week.
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Old 04-28-12, 09:52 AM
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If you did not buy it, it is not yours. Leave it.
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