ISU Surplus puts ‘abandoned’ bikes up for auction

Brian Day

The ISU Surplus program has organized a bike auction for students, staff and members of the public who are looking for a cheap, used bike. 

Any bike on campus that is not registered with the university, is parked illegally or has not been moved from a bike rack for an extended period of time is deemed “abandoned” by the ISU Department of Public Safety and is impounded by them.

After 90 days, which is the legally required amount of time, if the bike is not claimed by its rightful owner, it is turned over to ISU Surplus to be sold at their weekly general surplus sale every Wednesday.

“The best thing students can do with their bikes is register them with the DPS,” said Mark Ludwig, program coordinator of Central Stores. “That way then, if they are abandoned or stolen and they are registered, then the DPS can at least try to contact that person and get their bike back to them.”

However, this year for whatever reason, the amount of bikes sent to ISU Surplus got to be far too many, Ludwig said. In an attempt to control the influx of bikes taking up space in its building, the program decided to hold one big auction for bikes only.

Nearly 300 bikes from a range of brands and models will be available for bidding Saturday morning. Bidding will start at $1, and in the past, bikes have gone for anywhere from $1 for older, out-of-date models, to nearly $600 for newer, high-end models.

“We’re here for the students,” said Norm Hill, director of Central Stores. “Sure, you can go to Walmart and pick up a decent bike for $80, but you’re going to get the same bike from me for $10 or $15.”

All of the money made through the auction is given back to the university in some way. Last year, ISU Surplus gave back $359,000 to Iowa State from money it made through its weekly Wednesday sales.

The auction will be at ISU Surplus, which is located at 1102 Southern Hills Drive in Ames. Viewing of the bikes starts at 9 a.m. with the auction to follow at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.

“I’m really trying to get the word out to the students more than we ever have this year,” Hill said. “Everything is expensive, and this is one of the true values that’s left.”