At 10 a.m. Saturday morning, crowds gathered outside campus in a make-shift bicycle graveyard. Potential buyers walked up and down the rows, inspecting each bike, from those that were old and rusted to others that were brand new. The sound of a ringing bell could be heard wafting above the crowd every few seconds.
The auctioneers walked around, greeting familiar auction-goers by name. For others who looked lost, the auctioneers offered to explain how the process worked. They announced every few minutes that they would be starting the auction precisely on time.
Behind the Miami University Police Services Center, bikes covered the parking lot for Miami's annual bicycle and vehicle auction.
The rows of bikes extended the entire length of the parking lot, and the auction also included a used four-wheeler and four Miami service trucks that were taken out of circulation.
By 9:30 a.m., around 50 people had already gathered to survey the available vehicles before the auction officially began.
Bidders were encouraged to move any bikes they wanted auctioned first to the front, so they would not end up waiting hours for a certain one.
These prospective buyers included local families, university employees and students. For students, attending the auction is a way to buy a bike without having to transport it from home, and it is potentially a cheaper option.
"I work on Sunday mornings, and the buses aren't running yet," said senior Olivia Shade. Shade said that she needed a bike to get from her apartment to her job safely and efficiently.
By the time the auction was under way, over 150 prospective buyers had registered to participate in the auction. Bidders crowded around the bicycles while they were auctioned off in groups. The winning bidder had the ability to choose any bike from the group. Winners could buy multiple bikes out of the group, but each bike would increase in price, depending on how many they chose to buy.
The bikes being auctioned off had all been abandoned on campus by students at the end of last semester. As summer break approached, emails were sent to all students warning that any bikes left on campus would be considered unwanted and collected for the auction. Students were instructed to leave a note on any bike that they were still using, indicating to the police department to leave the bike.
Each summer, approximately one week after the semester ends, officers travel around campus with a physical facilities truck and trailer to collect any unclaimed bikes.
Officers must log the make, model, color, serial number and location the bike is found in, said Miami University Police Department Officer Jarrad Sizemore. After the bikes are collected, they are taken to the police services building and stored in large containers. Each bike and its location is cataloged before it's placed in storage in case students wish to pick up their bikes. Students who did not leave a note but wish to retrieve their bike can do so but must pay a small storage fee.
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Any unclaimed bikes are auctioned off after the fall semester begins.