Bicycle Auction

Bicycle Auction

Online Bicycle Auction Information 

  • Updated January 2022

Bicycle Auction

What's going on with the Bicycle Auction?

If you're new here, the Bicycle Auction is a biannual tradition at UC Davis typically held in May and October, where the Bicycle Program (part of Transportation Services) auctions off abandoned bicycles to the public. Unfortunately, we have not been able to hold our usual in-person auctions (our last one was October 2019) due to changing public health mandates, campus event policies, staffing shortages, and out-of-an-abundance-of-caution. *cough* *cough* 

The Bicycle Auction is online...at least for now

Yes, you read that right. All the abandoned bikes you used to bid on in the Pavilion Parking Struction (while also trying to juggle a morning coffee and a bid number) are now going to be listed on GovDeals. (Different bikes. Similar process.) We love bikes. We love rehoming and repurposing abandoned bikes. But we love keeping everyone safe, more. Maybe we'll be back to in-person auctions in the future, maybe not. But we will do all we can to meet the moment and find a way to keep this Aggie tradition alive!

What is GovDeals?

UC Davis has its own portal through our external partner, GovDeals, an online marketplace that provides services to government, educational, and related entities for the sale of surplus assets to the public--and we have a lot of bicycles up for auction.

  • START BIDDING! Click the button below to see what bikes are accepting bids. 

Shop Bikes on GovDeals


Tips for bidding online

We want you to know what to expect when bidding online with GovDeals. GovDeals functions a lot like other well-known auction sites. If you're new to the online auction format, below are a few steps to guide you to successful bidding: 

  1. Setup an account. GovDeals requires registration. Be certain you use a unique password.
  2. Do your research. Each bike listing has more details about the bike up for bid. It won't be detailed but you can get a sense of  what you're bidding on. 
  3. Set your ceiling price. Don't start bidding without a plan. Before you start bidding, decide what your max bid can be (the most you're willing to spend if you win). 
  4. Automate or manual bidding? You can decide to place your bids manually or set up your bidding to "auto-bid" until you reach your max (ceiling price).
  5. Stay engaged to win. Watch the auction and if you've bid on multiple bicycles (new accounts can bid on three auctions at once), make sure you're aware of where you're at in the bidding. You can request emails be sent to you if or when you're outbid. 
  6. Close of auction. Did you win? If so, all payments can be made through GovDeals. Pay GovDeals, then contact the Bicycle Program (530-752-2453, email usto collect your bike. If you got outbid, keep trying. There's always more bikes coming. 

Note: Condition varies greatly, as the vast majority of bicycles available at auction are bicycles that were abandoned on campus for some significant time. Then they were impounded and have been in our care for at least 90 days. Sometimes longer. As such, some bikes may be in disrepair and require a significant amount of repair to be made safe and operably. 

All bikes are sold as-is, where is, and carry no warranty. A winning bid is a contract for removal, any bikes not picked up per auction conditions will be returned to auction and all payments forfeited. See additional detail on the individual auction listings. While it may feel like a gamble to bid on a bike you haven't seen in person, the winning bid can often be lower than market value. 


Questions? Please click here to see our Bicycle Auction FAQs.

→ back to top

FAQ: Bicycle Auction

  • Where do you get the bicycles up for auction?
  • The Bicycle Program regularly patrols campus and tags (with a bright official notice) any bicycle that appears to be abandoned. Once tagged, owners are given 48 hours to remove their bicycle, or contact us requesting a delay so they can repair it or remove it later. Upon a follow-up inspection bicycles not removed are impounded for 90 days. Registered owners are contacted with information about collection when possible. Every bike released must be registered (fee applies) and have an impound fee paid.
  • What are the main reasons bicycles are abandoned?
  • Bicycles that are not working well are the most likely to be abandoned by owners. Squeaky chains, loose brakes, flat tires, and lost keys for locks are all common reasons an owner might choose to walk away from their bicycle. 
  • Do you try to get in touch with the owners of the bicycles?
  • Absolutely! The Bicycle Program follows up with owners of registered bicycles within 24 hours and transfer all the serial numbers to UCDPD for vetting, holding the bicycles for 90 days. Registration is proof of ownership and non-registered bicycles are difficult to reunite with owners as they require proof of purchase or recent photos with the unlocked bicycle to sufficiently prove ownership. All bicycles released are required to be registered prior to their release.
  • Where does the money from the bicycle auction go?
  • All money from the auction goes back to the Bicycle Program and helps create jobs for students. Our student workers are often the ones helping to clear the racks of abandoned bicycles so the campus community can have space to park their bicycles.
  • Can I see the bicycles before I bid?
  • Definitely. Select a few bikes (no more than six) that you’d like to view, and email bikeprogram@ucdavis.edu with those bike IDs (or auction links). We’ll setup an appointment for you to view them (no touching!) so you can make better informed bids.
  • Can I just buy an abandoned bicycle from Transportation Services outside of the auction?
  • Unfortunately, no. It is against our policy (and state law) for us to sell bicycles outright. This is to eliminate the potential for preferential treatment and give everyone a fair and equal opportunity to get a bike.

→ go to FAQ main