Thursday, April 26, 2012

Acquiring A Trainer Part Three: Craigslist

As I continued the process of acquiring a bike trainer, my friend Derek presented me with a dilemma. Do I buy a new trainer or a used one? My first thought was that since he was the only cyclist I really knew, it wasn’t like I could just find a quality used trainer. It was then that Derek started telling me about Craigslist.

Of course I had heard of Craigslist. It is a highly successful venture started by Craig Newmark and essentially serves as a free online bulletin board for selling goods, finding roommates, and giving away unwanted items, and a number of other activities. While I knew that this was a tool used by many, I had heard bad stories about people getting scammed, acts of fraud, or even advertisements of trafficked people. As with any tool, or anything either online or face-to-face, it is important to use a degree of caution and discretion when entering into a new venture.

So for the first time, I checked out Craigslist. Some of you are reading this and thinking, “Welcome to the twenty-first century!” While many times I am an early adopter, I try to proceed with caution always, and so I was slow to check out Craigslist. At first, I looked at listings in Morgantown WV, and found nothing. Then, realizing I would be in Pittsburgh four different times to pick-up and drop-off friends at the airport, I began to expand my search area. I found two trainers in Pittsburgh.

Then came the debate of whether it was better to pay more money for a new trainer that I could return at any time if unsatisfied, or buy an almost new trainer for about half the price, with no return policy. After some debate, I searched both options. I met with someone who had posted an almost new trainer for a low price on Craigslist, and proceeded with caution. Just because I met with the seller didn’t lock me into buying. And from the details the seller had left online, it appeared they were being equally cautious.

The trainer had hardly been used. It looked new. It was still in the original box. The seller told me that he bought it, kept it for a year, and just couldn’t get into the habit of moving things around to make consistent use of it. I bought the trainer, and proceeded home with my purchase, feeling like I had acquired a bargain tool that could be used by both me and my wife.

After my experience I would say that Craigslist is a solid tool, but as with any sites online, proceed with caution. Craigslist even gives some tips to avoid getting scammed.

And then a few days later, I set it up in the living room and started riding. It has been about a month since I started. More on that in my next (and final) post.

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