Waving his arms up in the air, trying to keep up with all the bidders and not wasting a single breath, City Purchasing Agent Dick England auctioned off 31 bikes Wednesday morning in City Hall.
Redfaced and focused, England raced through the auction, trying to keep almost perfect track of all the bidders.
"I missed two people today for sure," England said, but that's all part of the game. "Next time they won't be so hesitant."
Prices ranged from $10 to $250 on Wednesday. The money—a total of $2,250—will go into the miscellaneous revenue section of the budget, England said. The city holds about six auctions a year, England said. The next one, in approximately two weeks, will be auctioning off surplus equipment.
England kept the atmosphere light, and cracked some jokes as he called out prices and numbers. "Bicycle auctions are like this," he said. And although this one had a better turnout than the last bicycle auction (which was held about three years ago), less money was made.
Jersey City resident Lora Napier bought the cheapest bike, for $10. "Apparently it has no seat," she said, shrugging. "Now I have to buy a lock I guess," said Napier, who bought the bike for her fiance.
The most expensive bicycle, a black specialized mountain bike, went to Director of Community Development Brandy Forbes for $250. "I wanted a mountain bike, it was worth it," she said. Forbes said she often bikes to work, something that will surely please her boss and fervent biker Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
The bikes were deemed abandoned by the Hoboken Police Department. They're stored in the City's Municipal garage. All bikes have to be out of the garage by Friday, said England.
Although the original list included 33 bikes, only 31 were sold on Wednesday; one was removed and one wasn't bought, England said.
For 41-year-old Hoboken resident Audrey (who didn't want to give her last name), buying the blue-silver Gary Fisher bicycle for $120 was bittersweet. "It's my bike," she told England, after he sealed the deal by exclaiming "sold!"
Although Audrey said she was slightly annoyed to buy back her own bike, she was mostly happy to bring it back home.
"It's my own damn fault," she said, "I should have filed a police report." She said her 4-year-old son had once spotted the bike around town. In her 20 years in the Mile Square, Audrey said, she's had four bikes stolen.
Robyn Volker and Anke Irmscher, who own a bike rebuilding business in Jersey City, said they bought three bikes for $50, which they deemed a "pretty good deal."
"Recycled bikes are so good for people," said Volker, "it gets more people riding."