Want a free bike? Who doesn’t, right?
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Whether you’re just learning how to ride a bike now, revisiting your passion for biking, teaching your kids bicycle 101, or actually need it for day-to-day transport, here’s your chance at owning one for FREE!
8 Ways You Can Get a Free Bike
You do need to spend some time hunting to get a free bike, but these methods have been tried-and-tested by many in the biking communities. Some techniques need more than just effort, but a bit of good luck as well.
1. Follow Bike Brands for Promos
You won’t find out about promotions if you have no idea that it’s happening.
One of my favorite sites to keep an eye on is the BikeRide.com Giveaways page. They post a new free bike giveaway about once a month and these are some serious bikes, costing a few thousand dollars each.
The best source of a free bike giveaway (and never-used models) come from bicycle companies, so make sure to follow all or some of the following brands on their blogs, newsletters or social media:
- All-City Cycles
- Cannondale (mountain bikes)
- Devinci (Made in Canada, e-bikes and road bikes)
- Diamondback (mountain and road bikes)
- Evil Bikes (Australian made, bike parts and road bikes)
- Electra Bikes (stylish trek bikes for kids and adults)
- Ghost Bikes (mountain bikes)
- Gazelle Bikes (city bikes and electric bikes)
- Giant Bicycles
- Golden Cycles (affordable city bikes)
- Juliana bicycles (women’s mountain bikes)
- Ibis Cycles (lightweight bicycles)
- …and so on.
Follow the brands you prefer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and on their respective websites to get updated with giveaways.
2. Hunt for Free Bike Giveaways Online
- Social Media – Aside from the list above, you should also follow any athlete that may have links with bicycle companies such as BMXers, bike racers, and so on.
- Industry magazines – Bike-focused online and print magazines may also offer free bicycles every now and then. For example, RoadBikeAction.com held a survey and picked out a random winner in 2020.
- Bloggers, YouTubers, streamers, influencers – The list of possible people to follow can be endless. Brands always partner with known online influencers. For example, the Dirt Shed Show announced that they are giving away a custom Orbea Rallon bike for a lucky person.
The key to hunting free bike giveaways is to dig into the industry – know the people who review bike brands, provide insider news about new bike parts, or just offer useful content about building/fixing bicycles.
3. Join a Buy Nothing Group in Your Town
There are many unwanted bikes just collecting dust in other people’s garages. Unfortunately, you won’t find them searching on Google “free bikes near me” or “unwanted bikes for free.”
Your best bet is to join a Buy Nothing group in your town.
The Buy Nothing Project is massive – the group for my neighborhood alone has over 2,000 members. This grassroots nonprofit movement works with people giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and in turn, keep still-usable items out of landfills.
You’ll be surprised at what pops up for free here, especially in the spring time when people start clearing out their garages.
4. Get a Sponsor or Win a Free Bike at Competitions
** This option is only for athletes or professionals.
If you compete at bicycle racing, freestyle BMX, mountain bike trials/racing, cyclo-cross, track cycling, and other categories of sports that use some type of bike, you can get a bike shop or bicycle manufacturer from sponsoring you a free bike. This isn’t a long shot, especially if you’re good and already getting a name for yourself.
Of course, if you have a chance at winning a race or competition with a free bike as the main prize, then you can try your luck at it.
5. Visit Your Nearest Bike Shop
If you’re near a local bike shop, check if they have a bulletin board where you can pin your request for a free bike.
Prepare a note describing what kind of bike you need (for a kid/men/women, for exercise, for transport). Specify that you only need a working bicycle and don’t need anything fancy or branded. Make sure to write your contact number on the note.
6. Answer a Survey
Share your personal experience with bike theft and answer the survey at TheBestBikeLock.com. This site is going to pick a respondent at random once 5,000 surveys have been sent. The chosen one will win a free bike of their choice, up to the value of $600 or equivalent.
7. Check Garage Sales
Bicycles at garage sales are not free, unfortunately, but they’re usually low-priced and often in good condition. If you find a broken bike, check its bones and see if it can still be restored. You may even get the bike for free, if you ask nicely.
Your local Craigslist can also be a good source if you’re not in a hurry. Subscribe to the “free stuff in Sacramento” RSS feeds of your specific area and check your mail for possible bike giveaways or inclusions in garage sales.
8. Ask from People You Know
You may not need to look far.
Check with your family and friends if they have a bicycle you could borrow or purchase for cheap. If they have unwanted bikes lying around, there’s a big chance they’ll just give the bike away.
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Free Bike from Bike Recycling Organizations & Bike Shops
In the United Kingdom, several non-profit organizations have set up charity drives, requesting people to donate their bikes so other people could use them. If you haven’t heard of such a campaign before, check out TheBikeProject (this one focuses on helping asylum seekers start their new lives in Europe), Recycle Devon (a community recycling program) and ReCycle (UK-based charity but donates recycled bikes to Africa).
In the United States, similar projects are found mostly in bike stores and bike repair shops. For example:
- The “Bike-for-All” program of Bikeworks.com helps residents in the southeast Seattle, Washington area who require bikes for going to/from work or school. The bike shop also welcomes the youth ages 9 to 18, who are interested in taking a class to build their own bikes.
- Full Cycle Bike Shop (in Minnesota) has a similar program that offers paid internships to the local youth and donates bicycle parts (and training) to anyone who needs them.
- Bike Athens has been refurbishing bikes and giving away free bicycles to kids every Christmas, and adults who need bikes. Check their program on how you can sign up for a free bike, or if you’re willing to, build your own bike at the store.
For other similar youth programs across the country, check this list for one nearest you.
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Sometimes, you don’t need to buy brand new. You just need to know where to look, who to ask and do a little investigating to find free stuff.
Just make sure to test the bikes you receive, especially if they aren’t brand new. You may need to repair or replace some parts before they can be safely used.
If you need a bike as your main transport for work, check if your area has bike-sharing systems. Not all of them are free, but using them is a lot cheaper than buying a brand new bicycle.
If you’re not a fan of bicycles and would love to skate instead, check out my tutorial on how to receive free skateboards.