The first jumble was in about 1983 in London. Shortly after that Ripley saw their first event with nine dealers.
HOLDING YOUR FIRST BIKE JUMBLE
Here is some advice regarding how to do it. Rule number 1 - visit a jumble or two. Ask and observe.
Decide where you want to hold it. You probably need to be fairly close to a largish town and / or near where you live. Ideally you would choose a "cycling area". Avoid John O'Groats (you might have a good supply of arriving cyclists but they are not likely to be in the mood to buy).
Decide when you want to hold it. There may be seasonal considerations. Spring and autmun are favoured but there is increasingly a good annual pread. Next you need to check for clashes. For clashes with other (perhaps well established) jumbles would be poor all round. This can best prevented by consulting the Calendar page of www.bikejumbles.co.uk. I would suggest avoiding another one, on the day, within 100 miles. It is useful to check for mass-participation cycling events, festivals etc. When you have got a date, inform bikejumbles person Stuart Collins, and he will publicise the event. (Despite the .co.uk domain, it is a voluntary run and a non-commercial organisation).
First of all you need a hall. It is useful if it is of a reasonable size say over 30m by 15m. It doesn't need super-heating. Buyers come well dressed and in any case there will be lots of hot air generated by the conversation. It should have a toilet and an area to prepare food in (most jumbles provide cheap snacks). Parking is a big consideration. Some sellers have large vans. They don't need to park adjacent to the hall but do need to get close whilst unloading. Many buyers (perversely, perhaps) come by car - and hope they will fill it with booty. Having agreeable neighbours can be a big help (useful to have a word, if possible). It is possible though that cars parked for all sorts of events at the hall is not uncommon. It would be hard to do without a large number of tables to use. If you are thinking of outside stalls / pitches, think hard. There might well be a deal of problems to do with access, legalities and neighbourhood considerations. I wouldn't advise trying this unless you "know the patch".
Decide on the time it is to be. Most jumbles are in the morning e.g. sellers arriving @ 8am buyers @ 9:30am. Charge what you think. If you don't charge, buyers they can come in more speedily. Against this you may have the need to recoop some of your costs. Most don't mind paying but do publish the charge and maybe where the money is going.
Look at bikejumbles for trends. Closure might be at a set time
Get your publicity going soon (and don't say "that's enough" and stop before the event) There are several ways of publicising. Flyers are good and can be given to other jumble organisers for distribution. They should be passed to sellers and buyers, don't spare the paper. You could attend a few events and nag people (especially stall-holders / sellers). Local CTC, regional cycling clubs and Vcc might publicise your event, but often need long notice. Cycling, the weekly magazine, will put in adverts. At £20 per insert, of restricted wording, without guarantee of when it will appear, is not very suitable. Word of mouth is a wonderful method. Get all your chatty-inclined cyclists to think they are in sole charge of spreading the word. For the month you have an excuse to visit every pub in the area. Go through your email address book saying, if necessary "I know you don't do cycling but could you pass this to someone who does." Within a week the whole world, the Pope, Boris Johnson and Bradley Wiggins included, will know of your event. In theory!
This is is what you should be transmitting in your adverts. Title / cause, venue, date, day of week, time of event for buyers and sellers, parking "regs.", refreshments, contact (preferably landline phone, mobile and email address) and geographical location of the event. Most important is the post-code of the hall. Many will be guided by a screech owl "I told you to turn left, now we're up the bloody creek, you daft sod" - i.e. the wonderful SATNAV.
Running the event is the easy bit. You could use a right-hand person so you can get round and do your PR bit. Pass round those leaflets for other events. Try to buy a little something from each stall, or at least visit each one. Thank everyone upon depareture.
Once home, retire to your armchair and crack that Whiskey bottle you've been given for Christmas.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Are cycle jumbles a closed shop?
Not at all. If you wish to sell, you need to contact the organiser as soon as you can because they soon "sell out" / get full. If you come to buy then you just get along. It may be a good idea that you make it just for assessment on your first visit. It is probably like a fisherman does on a stretch of water.
Why are two start times usually published?
The earlier time (in brackets in the listings in this website) is for sellers to set up their wares. The later time is usually a "doors open" time for buyers to be admitted. The end time is usually vague. Sometimes there is a resurgeance near lunchtime but generally they die down, and sellers start to pack away.
In some places the hall might be booked for soon after and so the end has to be strict, at others there has been malingering, idle chatter and snack gorging long after the event.
You've made me hungry mentioning snacks, what is available?
In some cases there is an commercial eatery nearby. Otherwise the snacks are usually home-made and there does some seem to be a competition for excellence (and never expensive)
What size are cycle jumbles?
They vary a great deal. Some venues are in gymnasiums or school halls whereas village halls are quite common. Open-air jumbles are held at Bristol Mud Docks, Herne Hill velodrome and one or two others. The most magnificent indoor jumbles is at Manchester Velodrome, held inside the track. Whist combing over bits and bobs you can might well see an Olympic medal-winner training. One one occasion I went there, Victoria Pendleton was "chasing" a derny bike and letting her coach know what she thought of his "one more lap" behest. (cannot repeat)
Is there a cycle jumble organisation?
No. Organisers of events usually do one or two a year. There is no boss, no committee, no fuss. It's more a cooperative of the like-minded.
Are the events commercial?
Hire of premises are seldom cheap, events have be publicised, weather is a huge variable. Many sellers buy almost as much as they sell - this is a standing joke. Many of the events are for charity or cycling clubs.
Are MTB, stunt bikes or BMX's catered for?
Mostly no. It is not uncommon to find bits and bobs, but not in such a profusion that you could get something specific.
Can you get new stuff?
Yes, you can, but it's not particularly the aim. There are many NOS items (New Old Stock), commonly from closed bike shops or discovered in the attic / cellar etc. The new in this sense is really "unused" or "boxed" On the other hand much of what is available is little used, you can assess the wear. For example if you wanted 11/12 speed stuff you are likely to fail (and this failure would be to your advantage, in my opinion). Since cycling gear has joined up with fashion trends, some sellers have fairly contemporary stuff.
Can you get some real bargains?
Yes,easily. At ground level most sellers have boxes of truly miscellaneous with prices of 50p, £1 or £2. The only trouble these buyers encounter is with housemaids knees and / or bargain box back".
Some buyers, with a nerve, move in with interest when the stall-holder is packing away in the hope of a discount.
Can I come along by bike?
Probably (and illogically) not catered for much as it might be. I suggest asking the organiser if you can bring your bike inside. Put a sign on it "NOT FOR SALE" or you might get chased with offers!. Bear in mind there are evil people everywhere and somebody stealing a un-locked or poorly secured bike outside a venue would have the best bargain of the day. Some clubs plan ahead and take a club-ride to the venue. Warmth, food. bonhomie and bargains, what more could they want?
Why do events vary - Saturday-Sunday
Sometimes simple - when the venues are available. Sometimes limited by antiquated trading laws. Sometimes to fit in with the days local cyclists have their rides. Some organise their event to "twin" with another one. This helps the keen sellers, who can take in two events in a weekend. There are a couple of mid-week evening events to.
Are all the events called Cycle jumbles?
No. Variants are
Can I ask a question? I would be delighted to answer a real question!!
Send me an email and I will try to help.
Surprisingly not every cyclist has visited a cycle jumble. They should, simply because they are a
'reet good do' where you meet loads of friendly folk with whom you share a common interest. You also
usually leave far happier than when you arrived and always far poorer than when you arrived; which
goes to prove that money doesn't necessarily bring happiness. In the case of cycle jumbles money
usually brings you a load of rusty junk which you like to call a bargain, your wife or partner
may choose to use several more accurately descriptive phrases!!!!