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The very first thing you need to figure out is the kind of bike you want. Road bikes are designed mainly for the purpose of riding on paved streets and going fast. Although mountain bikes have also gained popularity since recent times. These bikes have wide tires and knobby treads designed to handle the rugged trails. Before buying a bike it is always a wise decision to check out some reviews online on the best balance bike available.
Hmmm, for an article about buying a bike, seems like she should have, I don't know...bought a bike!
read this review. http://taticycles.com/p/389
and this one http://lovelybike.blogspot.co.nz/2011/03/c…
I am so curious, which bike did you settle on? I am eyeing the Linus Dutchi and Public myself, also the Globe Daily looks real nice (but comes with a hefty tag). I don;t want a used bike because my last one was used and I ended up spended too much on broken spokes and other updates.
So a year and a half later I stumble upon this blog... and still don't know if you bought a bike or not. You should have gone to Veloria, a blooger who lives in Boston (http://lovelybike.blogspot.co.nz/2010/10/lovely-bicycle-on-budget-vintage-vs.html) who would answer every question you have. On her blog advice, we flew to Berlin, bought two Bella Ciao bikes and for the first time had a two-week vacation without a car. The shop boxed them up and we brought them home. Loved it. OK, they are more expensive (€800 plus vacation), so follow her advice and buy a Raleigh Lady Sports. I just checked Craigslist and there is one for $230. http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bid/4107873923.html. It will be gone by tomorrow, so its just for illustration.
PS: once you start riding you will love it... and you may trade boyfriend #1 in for another model.
Hey Kathleen! Loved the article. Finding the right bike can be a challenge but I've been lucky twice.
I just bought a new bike at Performance Bicylce on University (near MLK). Their customer service was pretty good, and they offer a money back guarantee/price guarantee. I usually suffer from buyer's remorse, so it's nice to know that if I fall out of love with my new Charge hybrid, I can just take it back.
This bike was a bit of an impulse buy, I went in to get my old Schwinn serviced, and decided I might as well spend a little more money on an upgrade instead. It was the second one I tried, before deciding it is my bike soulmate. I tried a few others aftewards, and none compared.
Everyday I love my bike more. Imported from the UK, it's a conversation starter. Women usually talk about the color "ooh, what a lovely green," or "I like your bike, it's so pretty." Some guys notice that its sparkly green, but mostly they take note of the hybrid elements of my bike, say they like the fenders, and point out mechanics that go over my head. One guy, yesterday, just nodded, looked at the bike, and then looked at me and nodded again.
I was happy with my first bike too. I saw it at Waterside Workshops when I was 7 months pregnant. I test rode it while my friend Heather watched on in terrified paralysis. On it, I discovered that my balance was better biking than walking. I rode it everywhere until the week before I gave birth. By then people were hollering at me from the sidewalk, "Oh my God! When are you due?" "Any minute," I'd reply. Once baby was big enough, I swapped out my back baskets, for a baby carrier, and would ride him around in his bright blue shark helmet.
My awesome grey schwinn was older than me, refurbished, and well loved. The bikes at waterside are donated by the community, and local youth work on them. Waterside Workshops are open to the public from 12-6 Friday through Sunday. http://www.watersideworkshops.org/wb/
A plus about them is they offer free workshops to the community on how to fix your own bike.
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Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions, comments, offers, etc. I have done what many of you have suggested before -- gotten any old bike and rode it for a while, until I stopped because I really didn't like riding it. Hence, my search for a bike I actually *want* to ride. (And yes, aesthetics are involved -- yikes!) I may be going the custom-build route, as I've discovered that may be an affordable option, to get just the bike I want. (Unfortunately, it will not be in time for Bike to Work Day. :-() Will keep you posted!
I suggest that you just get on a bike and ride. Borrow a friend's bike. Get a cheap used bike at one of the great used cycle shops around. You could even go to the Spokeland Co-op and get trained on how to build your own bike from the used parts they stock. Once you are on a bike, forget about what's cool or who looks tribal. Just enjoy riding around, smelling the smells, run errands or just get some exercise. After riding a bit you'll have a better idea on what kind of bike you really want. Fix up the one you already have or get one of the ones you looked at at Manifesto. Don't let you decision making prevent you from riding now. In fact, you could get a bike today and then enjoy Bike to Work Day on Thursday. Good luck!
Also, remember when you hop onto that new (or new-to-you) bike, don't just automatically take the same routes you would take when you were driving a car. You don't need to be the guy riding a bike up Ashby while the semi trucks whiz by. A street or two over from nearly any frighteningly busy street, there is a nice calm residential street that runs parallel. That's where you want to be riding. (There might even be signs up that say "Bicycle Boulevard," but that's optional.)
My first bike as an adult was an old Schwinn, (steel-frame, 5-speed, 1970's vintage) that I basically inherited from a friend. I got lucky. I still have the bike and love it. It's a good commuter bike for my purposes. It is admittedly quite heavy, but is solid and rides well. I'm not trying to sell you my bike. The point is, don't neglect used bikes as a possibility. Actually, older bikes are often better made than their brand-new equivalents. I would highly recommend getting the bike from an actual shop rather than from Craigslist. And make sure you get a bike that "fits" you well in terms of actual size, as well as your intended use.
Let us all light a candle and have a moment of silence for the late Recycle Bicycle. Sorry that your experience there was not great... but they were a good working-class neighborhood shop. But towards the end of their tenure, there were not actually many bikes for sale there. Most of the bikes in that shop were actually customer bikes being worked on. One thing about bike mechanics is that they will often have a laser-like focus on whatever particular bike is their project of the moment- so if they aren't always outgoing and friendly, try not to take it personal. That laser-focus is good if it's YOUR bike they're working on. (Though, when you're looking to buy a bike, rather than just have one fixed, go to a shop where people have time to help you find the bike that works best for you... service is one of the many things that make shops better than Craigslist.)
Also, for a quick education in how to safely ride a bike around car traffic I recommend attending one of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition's free safety classes. The full schedule can be found online here: www.ebbc.org/safety.
The objective of these classes is simply to help everyone feel more confident and safe while having fun on a bike, and to help people develop good biking habits through knowledge and shared experience.
It is definitely worth it to get a nice bike from a local shop, as it will be more reliable and comfortable for you to ride. If you get a cheap bike that isn't fun to ride you will more likely give up on it sooner.
As for bike security, I haven't had a bike stolen in the Bay Area for 10 years, once I learned how to lock it properly and started taking some common sense precautions (don't leave the bike locked outside over night, don't leave anything on the bike that can be easily removed, only lock to good bike racks or other secure metal fixtures, etc). Around the East Bay there are also Bikelink secure bike lockers at most BART statons which only cost 3-5¢ per hour. You can get a key card at their website, and it is an amazing value.
For an excellent and hilarious primer in bike locking technique I recommend watching any of the Hal Ruzal videos on youtube. The basics: buy a good lock, write down your bike's serial number, when locking secure the frame and both wheels, and avoid "quick release" seat posts. For super security get a set of "locking skewers" for your bike wheels, and use a heavy duty u-lock to secure the bike frame to the rack.
I too have been wanting to get back into bicycle commuting but am intimidated by living on an Oakland hill as well as hearing horror stories from bike riders about trying to share the roads with cars. Also, I want comfort, but the vintage cruiser I own ($25 on craigslist!) is too heavy and doesn't have gears. I've been recommended the Suede http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/… and the Simple http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/… by Giant, and retail price for those is around $450 -- significantly less than those models you were eyeing. I'm nervous about spending a lot on a bike when they're so often stolen in the Bay Area, but I hear investing in a good lock is worthwhile.
wow - i've chatted about this article with many - and a general consensus seems to be that the boyfriend's a bad deal. He needs to put up - or shut up. You seem to have very specific needs and desires in a bike - which is all fine and dandy if you have
1. a whole lot of time and energy for (and the disposition to enjoy) a good old fashioned hunt for your bike, or
2. a decent budget for the bike you love.
If the boy toy wants to get you set up on your next wheels, well that's lovely indeed, but it sounds like he's more interested in critiquing than assisting your search.
Run the numbers in your head - and count how many $50/tanks of gas you've bought while you shopped for your bike. You might decide that a few hundred dollars is well spent if it gets you out riding, enjoying, and driving a whole lot less!
My Bike shop is http://www.facebook.com/Changinggearsbikes . I like the staff there and it has a nice DIY feel to it.
I'm sure your boyfriend is a wonderful man, but don't let him convince you that $650 is too much to spend on a bike. Yes, like almost anything else, you can get a good deal on a used item if you are willing to search and wait. But why wait--go back and ride the Linus and Public bikes and similar and start riding today. For less than the cost of buying alloy wheels on a Honda Civic ( > $1000), you can roll out on a NEW bike today.
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