Author Topic: Looking for a bike  (Read 2553 times)

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Looking for a bike
« on: June 11, 2014, 12:07:03 AM »
Phew, first post, go easy good people. I am yet a junior mustachian.

I'm looking for a bike. 3.5 mile commute in Los Angeles. with two highways between me and work, meaning a lot of unavoidable traffic. Beach six miles, furthest flung friends I consider worth biking to are ~5.5 miles.

I'm 5'8.5" (174 cm) with a 32" (81cm) inseam. I want a bike with a rack for groceries and other small errands. I also want a ladies bike. I wear skirts a lot, as they're the easiest thing for me to sew, and it's either that or thrift for 90% of my clothing. A chain guard would be nice (I imagine) for skirt reasons. On top of the skirt bit I have an old-ish injury that hampers my lower body flexibility somewhat. Many stretching regimens later, I am certainly improving, but not to the extent that I would be able swing over a grocery laden men's frame without significant struggle.

I stopped by a local bike shop and had a 'medium' frame recommended- I think the saleswoman said ~22 inches/ I also know I want a fairly lightweight thing. I really felt the difference when test riding between a 35 pound cruiser and a 28 pound hybrid. I think gears would be good... There's at least two places I go to regularly with an elevation change. One is just a tiny, long and low grade, the other includes two medium height but quite steep hills. I might be walking a bike up those anyway.

I know virtually nothing about bikes (I've always used public transit, and no, I am not originally from this city lol) so this is all a learning experience for me. I've taken a gander at craigslist, but all of the ladies frame bikes look suuuuuper short, or are listed at significantly smaller frame sizes than what was comfortable at the shop.

I turned to online retailers, and found a few options, but I don't feel I have the requisite knowledge necessary to evaluate a bike and be confident in the purchase. Thus come in all of you (if you are so willing).

Other relevant facts: I own and am confident with many handheld tools, and have a great bike shop half a mile away in the case that it proves absolutely necessary while assembling. But youtube exists for a reason, so I am not worried. I don't care about cute, by the by, the nebulous corporate 'they' just happen to make women's bikes prettier. If I'm not able to buy a bike for under $220, there will be a pinch in my allotted student loan repayment schedule or credit. Boo hiss.

Bikes I'm currently considering (feel free to recommend others!):

http://www.vminnovations.com/Product_59852/Schwinn-Wayfarer-700C-Women-s-Retro-Bike-Cream-S4023C.html

http://www.amazon.com/Northwoods-Ladies-Springdale-Hybrid-Bicycle/dp/B003PJPBA2/ref=sr_1_1?s=cycling&ie=UTF8&qid=1402465102&sr=1-1&keywords=bikes

http://www.amazon.com/Diamondback-Bicycles-Womens-Hybrid-15-Inch/dp/B00FB6RNMG/ref=sr_1_7?s=cycling&ie=UTF8&qid=1402465102&sr=1-7&keywords=bikes

http://www.amazon.com/Critical-Cycles-Step-Thru-1-Speed-Commuter/dp/B00B4725NI/ref=sr_1_6?s=cycling&ie=UTF8&qid=1402465102&sr=1-6&keywords=bikes

I really don't know that I'm looking for, tbh. General guidance, new vendors to consider, budget bike brands, etc would all be appreciated.

Thanks everyone!

FunkyStickman

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Re: Looking for a bike
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 05:51:04 AM »
For a 3.5 mile ride, you could use almost anything, seriously. Any one of those would suit you fine for a couple of years. Eventually, things will wear out on them, and you'll want to either upgrade it, or replace it. By then, you'll have a better idea of what you'll need.

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Re: Looking for a bike
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 07:38:02 AM »
this site http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/10/lovely-bicycle-on-budget-vintage-vs.html was one of the reasons that led me to getting an older bike, plus well I thought mixtes were nice (someone pointed the frame type out to me here on MMM about a year or so ago when I first got the bike) and for some reasons or another KC seems to be cheap for mixte bikes. I got mine in good condition for $50, I see one on craigslist for $80 that seems good too. No idea why it costs double that in LA, unless everything cost double there?

Like that site said though, I am slowly learning that buying an older bike requires updating. It doesn't have the gears of the newer bikes and I do plan to add a triple crankset to mine eventually but even 12 speeds is ok for KC, my being out of shape is more of a limiting factor than the gears right now anyways.

Part of the buying old is that I can do the work myself or part of it. I will end up spending a few hundred in my fixing up of the bike though (getting new tires/cables/tune up) so it costs the same as a new bike in the end. But in the end, I'll get to spend time doing the work that I wouldn't and I'm not even a bike fan, I just like doing things slowly. If I got a new shiny bike, I know I wouldn't put any more effort into riding it but I get to "try" out my fix to old bike so I ride it more.

edit: I forgot to mention, but I'm not sure if you can get a chain gaurd for a front deraileur system? I haven't found one for mine yet. I could have one custom made at a metal shop but I haven't gone that route yet

edit again: I'll look around but in case someone has a like, I think someone posted a thread here on MMM about what to look for when buying bikes, something about wanting a real pedal that comes apart instead of one piece and some other useful information
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 07:48:43 AM by eyem »