Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shopping for a Beater Bike

A coworker of mine mentioned today that she was thinking about getting a bike, as an alternative to waiting for the bus. I think it's silly to wait forty minutes to go six miles, and it would be great for her to do that. Which brings up the problem of what to buy and where to buy it.

I'm a big fan of the $100 beater bike model for getting from A to B, running errands, etc. etc. I have a $100 road bike; one of my roommates has a hybrid he got for even less, and I think it's great to have something that does a job perfectly well and that I can leave locked outside. I can also do stuff like mount a rack and a set of full fenders on it and keep my "good" bikes set up in a more dedicated sporting trim.

When I shopped for a beater bike this time, I ended up buying one from a guy down in Tukwila. I shopped for it on Craig's List, looking for frames close to my preferred size, because the trip to Tukwila was enough of a pain that I didn't want to have to make multiple trips and test-ride multiple bikes if I could avoid it. I wouldn't recommend shopping on Craig's List to someone who doesn't know their size for that reason. To my mind, that person needs to ride a bunch of different bikes and choose their favorite. That means a shop, or at least someone who buys and sells a lot of used bikes.

Unfortunately, shopping for a used bike anywhere is problematic. There are a few places here in Seattle, though, so maybe I'll make a list for her and let that be my evangelism for bike commuting for the month.

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