I see alot of people make posts about commuting for a miniml ammount of money. Some of them aren't sure if commuting is for them, some of them are just plain down and out when it comes to funding for a new bicycle. But all of them have one thing in common; They want to start commuting to save money and maybe start leading a healthier lifestyle with a minimum impact on their wallets/purses.
Now alot of people on here mention "beater bikes" and the likes and almost everyone says to avoid the department store bikes and either head to a Local Bike Store or pawn shop. Just for giggles I visited 4 pawn shops this weekend to see what they had. I am not in the market for a beater bike but I was just curious about their wares. Two of the shops had no bikes nor anything that resembled a bike. The other two had a couple each, both were department store bikes and their prices ranged from $20.00 to $65.00 and were all in fairly decent shape. I can already see the reaction from those of you who live in places where bicycle commuting is more the norm and well built bikes at pawnshops are abundant. This is fine, but I feel I represent the majority of people in this aspect as far as where I live; the metro area of a larger city where bicycle commuters are few and far between. So having said this, what is inheritantly wrong with someone picking up a decent $20.00 department store bike and making a few minor modifications to make it more trustworthy as an everyday commuter?
My winter bike is a Huffy I picked up at a yard sale for $15.00. It came with low end SRAM equipment and 36 spoke wheels. I had the rear wheel rebuilt and converted it into a single speed by shortening the chain and removing the derailure. I tossed on a set of Kendra Kross Plus tires, a rear rack with basket, and a cheap saddle bag I got for free. This bike has lasted me 2 winters thus far and is still going strong underneath my 300lbs of body on a 20 mile per day commute. It helped me to lose almost 40lbs total and has a total cost to me of $60 - $70. My only issue is with the grease and oils hardening up during the cold Michigan winters, which I'll work out that problem this year. Now this is my idea of a budget minded beater bike.
Can anyone else toss in a few more ideas to help out those in search of this sort of bike? I feel there is no better bike than a well maintained high-end bike that was built for it's specific purpose. But I also believe that the cheaper ones have their place as well, especially among the commuting few.
Please don't turn this thread into a baseless fact filled thread of hatred towards cheaper bikes. I'm hoping that in the long run it will help others to get out of their car and on a bike more, and after all, the money they save by not driving will allow them to save up for a future purchase which might include a nicer bike.