10 May 2010

Capricious Markets

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It takes a hell of a lot of work to bring a second hand bike to market.

This isn’t some self-justifying or pitiful diatribe. This is just a fact. Anybody who has bought a second-hand bike online and received it only to find a host of mechanical issues lurking just below the surface will have sympathy with this position.

We get a few poor sods come up to us on the stall and say, ‘how much is it going to cost me to turn this into a fixie?’, having been appalled enough by the (honest enough) price quoted them in Brick Lane Bikes to seek a second opinion from people they perceive as being able to do it cheaper.

The honest truth in this instance is that you’re better off buying something as near as dammit complete than subscribing to the romantic notion of building your own bike which (in the first instance at least) is fun, frustrating and expensive in equal measure.

With it only being our second month doing this we’re still acquiring the know-how, and more importantly the tools ourselves. Though between us Johnny and I have years of experience riding, breaking, fixing, building and piking bikes there are elements of turning a hobby into a business which continue to take us by surprise.

The capricious nature of market trading is one of these things, how you can turn up one week very well equipped and stocked and sell very little, and yet on other weeks sell what strange stock we’ve got at our target prices. This provokes an unlikely amount of soul searching and blame. In the long run i think you’ve got to stick it out.

The other thing is, that when we buy bikes, people still try to flog us things that don’t work properly.

They say you can’t polish a turd; but you can roll it in glitter.

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