I am selling a bike to someone I don't know from Craigslist. I expect that the prospective purchaser will want to test ride the bike before making the purchase.
How can I prevent them from riding away with my bike during a test ride?
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The simplest answers are ask for their ID, or for their car keys if they arrive by car. There are plenty of other options on various forums like
Go to a Skatepark, usually there you have access limited by one or two doors, they are usually free, it's a good place to test a whip, you have mostly good visibility and riders, and depending on your location it may even have guards.
In this kind of eviroments if you shout "thief" or "help" skaters and bikers will help in my experience, they like their skate parks to have a good rep and they tend to push away sketchy people, altough YMMV.
I've just sold a bike. The buyer left their bike locked to the fence next to myself place. I offered to test ride as long and far as they consider necessary. If they wouldn't have turned up I should have waited there until they recovered their bike.
If that would have taken unusually long I should have put my own lock at their bike and inform them via email or text message.
If the buyer has a bike, ask them to bring it with them. If they dont, ask them to borrow a mates. Then both buyer and seller can ride their own bikes for test ride. The potential buyer can ask the seller to demonstrate the functionality of the bike whilst riding alongside on their own bike. A rapport might develop during the ride and the seller be willing to offer the buyer a ride with the security of having the potential buyers bike.
A lot of people are saying to take the ID, but isn't checking the ID sufficient? Besides, there are other things, like a bank statement, which confirm the name and on top of that their address.
I guess if you live close to the buyer you could ask to meet them at theirs. You see them leaving their house, how exactly are they going to hide from you?
Another idea is to pick a good spot. A tennis court for example would be naturally closed off, stand next to the only gate and voila, they'd have to use force to get away with the bike.
Also, sometimes just the good-old first impression is sufficient. You can base the decision of whether you will let them try it out on that.
You are not a bike shop. You are under no obligation to provide a "test ride". The buyer should already know whether the bike will fit them by inspecting it in front of you. Otherwise, and especially if this is a valuable bike, you would treat it like any other valuable buy-sell transaction.
If you're selling a diamond, for example, the buyer could not be certain that you are selling a real diamond unless you both go to a jeweller's for a consultation. Likewise when selling a used car, you are under no obligation to be in the car with a stranger for the test ride, especially if, say, they come clad in biker-gang attire. The best you can offer is to drive behind them to their choice of a professional mechanic in town. For a bike, it makes perfect sense, especially for the less-than-very-knowledgeable buyer, to visit a bike shop for a (paid) 10-minute consultation. The fee of the consultation would have to be negotiated. Alternatively, if you shop regularly at one particular LBS nearby and the staff there know you, they might conceivably offer a confirmation, gratis, that every component is in good condition—perhaps with the knowledge that if/when you free space in your garage, you'll be back for an upgrade.
There is an inherent trust in buying used products, and an inherent risk. If you have the expertise, and you own a bike stand, you can somewhat alleviate their concern by hoisting the bike on the stand and going through the steps you would yourself go through if you were buying a bike, new or used—presumably you'll come across as someone who's not trying to rip them off, if you're explaining what you're doing and establish trust during your own testing. (Whether knocking 10% off the price is palatable will be a different issue.)
If you want to go by trust, and/or the bike is not too valuable, you can simply rely on the network or social media identity (corporate email, established Facebook account, ..) of the buyer and let them take the bike for a ride if their online image matches that on the account or the web page. But sure, you could ask for their identity card. Yet if they're in any way concerned about identity theft, you shouldn't expect they'll agree.