Commuting - Cheap Bike for Seattle UW Student
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08-05-07, 02:15 PM
i want to get a bike to ride around seattle and the uw campus. i think a road bike would suit me but i dont know if it will handle the weather as well as something else would. it also needs to be cheap because bikes get stolen on campus. what kind of bike would you suggest?
08-05-07, 07:14 PM
I would go with a MTB bike. They are very popular and because of that the price has dropped for the cheap bikes. A ok day to day bike can be had for $170-250 CDN. Walmart bikes or even a used bike is good for riding around. Just find a bike on sale and go with it.
With a MTB you have more versatility to tranverse more terrain even tho most terrain will be paved/road. You can change the tires to 1.5" for right PSI for faster speeds but being a campus and also collage/university towns the potholes and such around may be better with a slightly wider tire like a 1.75" (for balance of higher PSI speed and width to absorb the bumps/potholes) to 2.1". Seeing as most students depend on thier bikes for day to day and primary transportation you should invest on a /GOOD/ bike lock. If this was a bike for once a month riding a la park and a cheap bike that you don't care about then sure get a cheap lock. Seeing as you're a student you may want to get a good lock so you make the thief think your bike is not worth the hassle and time to cut off the lock and such and make so much noise and move on to another bike. On a campus there are many other bikes to move on to.
How much of a budget do you have? That would help with the narrow down process as well. Make sure you get a rear tail light and front blinking light for dawn/dusk and night time use. Those can be had rather cheaply (Something like $7-10 USD) when you buy a combo set.
Fenders for the bike for foul weather can run you about $20 CDN for MTB fenders. A bike rack (very useful) can cost ~$7-10 CDN. Sorry for flipping from CDN and USD. I'm just using currencies of items I know the value for. I'm from Canada and I know what some things cost in CDN so do the conversion to find out the approx. USD. It may be cheaper in the USA for about $2-3 dollars.
If you plan on riding a lot in the dark after hours or as the sun is dropping now earlier and earlier as summer closes soon you may want to buy a stronger bike light (DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH A FRONT BLINKIE LIGHT) to see the road/path with when you ride in some dark sections. Always have a front blinkie light (also known as a 'white blinkie') in conjunction with a headlight so the cars can see where you are and you can get thier attention and be safe. We can touch on that later once you have your bike selection sorted out first.
08-05-07, 07:35 PM
Look around on Craig's list. You can probably find an old bike that nobody would ever want to steal that runs great. All it takes is research and patience. You can be even less picky if you don't mind spending some money on fixing it up..
08-05-07, 07:38 PM
Get a inexpensive used road bike that is comfortable to ride and put on some wider tires with a meaty tread. You can also mount some fenders on the biket o keep wheel spray to a minimum. I am very much against the Wal-Mart bikes (mtn or road) because for the money you can get a higher quality components, lighter weight, usually less money and a more reliable ride out of something found on Craigslsit or at your local thrift store.
08-05-07, 07:46 PM
Well I suggested Wallys as a suggestion. Up here we have both Canadian Tire (http://www.canadiantire.ca) and Walmart. If you go tot he Can.T site you can find bikes on sale for $99 CDN if you want bang for buck inside the campus riding (around the block reliablity only and that's it). If you want to go further say 30km out round trip for groceries and such it's only a matter of time the cheapie will fail on you when you're way out in field and you'll have to hike it all the way back.
If the Can.T site asks for a postal code just enter M4H 1B8 (off the Barq's Rootbeer can).
Forget about wally or department store bike. go for a vintage road bike. They ride much better and sometime cost less. If your lucky Garage sell have them for $30-$40 for a perfectly fine bike. Otherwise try to search LBS repair shop that deal with used bike. Search internet for stuff in your city to find good used bike. In mine they have a place that help people by teaching them to repair and restore bike and also sell them cheap.
EDIT: Here what I found with a quick google (keywords: Seattle bike donation) that what i was talking about when I said find a place that help people by teaching them to repair bike http://www.bikeworks.org/ (Reference http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/252985_bikes22.html)
That just a quick Google (took me 10 sec to find) I haven't really read the website nor check for anything suspicious so use caution as always and you may find something better with more research
08-05-07, 09:54 PM
Are you familiar with Recycled Cycles? I've never bought a bike there, but they are definitely a resource you will want to check out.
08-05-07, 11:18 PM
Recycled cycles and Greenlake (Gregg's) cycles (http://www.greggscycles.com/) are both good shops in the U-district. Personally, I'd recommend you see Gregg's first; they are the most friendly but also the most ordinary. It is in the U-district, very close to UW campus, and it has a lot of good quality used bicycles. If you are looking for a bit more high end road bicycles, there is a shop called R&E cycles at the north end of the Ave (University Way) which is nice (they even have a coffee shop inside it, last I knew). There used to be a SuperGo on 45th and 7th, but SuperGo is now Performance, and I don't know what happened to the shop.
The friendliest place is probably Greggs cycles. SuperGo (or Performance) has the best deals. Recycled has a bunch of used stuff; they have a large selection of good quality used frames as well as bins of used parts and can assist you in setting up a functional used bicycle for cheap. R&E is a roadie shop and makes custom frames as well.
Don't get the best money can buy unless you plan to protect it. I am partial to road bikes though, and Seattle has wonderful roads for road cycling. The route around Mercer Island is tops. From the U-district, it is almost an even 30 miles and a very low traffic route.
And one last thing: make sure you get something with full fenders on it - you will need it for at least 9 months of the year.
08-06-07, 10:05 AM
Get something functional and NOT eye candy. The UW is notorious for being a haven for bike theives. If it looks even remotely flashy, make it UN-flashy by taping up the main tubes with electrical tape or something. Put a comfortable but unattractive seat on it, too. Forget cable locks and get a hefty U-Lock or something else that rivals even those.
08-06-07, 11:34 AM
My wife rode her schwinn worldsport from high school for 6 yrs at the U, all weather, no maintenance until a bike nut friend couldn't stand it anymore and cleaned her drivetrain for her. I can't remember if she used a U lock or the same chain she has now (along w/ the same bike), but while her seat (not quick release) was never stolen, her computer/speedometer was. Her labmate's bike parked next to hers was stripped one night. Anything that's quick release on whatever bike you get, you must lock or bring with you. At all times.
I rode a crappy mtn bike that I hated so wound up spending more time on the bus. That's no judgment on mtn bikes in general, which might actually be the best for you depending on the state of the B-G, and need for curb hopping to avoid nuts on the Ave, just a reflection on my own bad choice. So choose well!
My wife was a big fan of Gregg's Green Lake, I never did settle into a shop (never pushed away, just basically more bus-inclined at that time)
I'll register a thumbs-up for Recycled, but thumbs-down for Gregg's. Gregg's is for the tourists, and they know it -- only go there if you know what you want, and don't need to ask anyone's advice. Gregg's salespeople tend toward the clueless, although some of them are good. Anyone at Recycled will give you good advice, although their inventory is increasingly new vs. used whole bikes. Recycled's used bikes are all cleaned up and fixed up, so if they have a used bike you want, chances are it'll be in good shape but cost more than if you'd found it on CL.
The best bet would be a bike from Craigslist (again, you have to have a clue what you're looking for), and getting it serviced at any of the local shops if you're not comfortable doing it yourself. CL sucks for finding a bike that's the type you want, the size you want, and in decent shape without paying too much, although it can be done with patience. CL will also have you going all over the place to look at bikes that are nowhere near as clean/functional as the ads lead you to believe.
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