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  1. #1
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    new and want to ask a few questions

    I'll be heading to college soon and I dont have a car so my parents are getting me a bike so I can get to school since gas prices are insane and riding my bike will get me in shape.
    The communte will be about 5 miles.

    I've been trying to look for a bike, but I dont know what to look for.
    Like what the difference between a single speed and a bike with 21 speed.
    and I'm short, I'm 4'11 1/2", so it makes it difficult for me to look for a bike.
    I've been looking on craigslist but I just dont know what to look for and my budget is around 100 dollars.
    Probably wont get me a really good bike.

    thanks.

  2. #2
    Dare to be weird!
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    Are there hills where you will be riding? If so, what are they like?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy
    Are there hills where you will be riding? If so, what are they like?
    yes there are a few hills.
    they're not that bad. easy to get up.

  4. #4
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    Do you know your bike size? What location for Craigslist is convenient to you?
    Would you like a dream with that?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgiaboy
    Do you know your bike size? What location for Craigslist is convenient to you?
    i do not know my bike size.
    craigslist location is the Portland, Oregon area.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cadfael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ____asdfghjkl
    i do not know my bike size.
    craigslist location is the Portland, Oregon area.
    What is your inside leg size... from crotch to floor?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadfael
    What is your inside leg size... from crotch to floor?
    26 1/2

  8. #8
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    This is the only bikes I saw for your size, price range.

    http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/314521982.html

    http://portland.craigslist.org/clk/bik/312580720.html

    If you are a girl

    http://portland.craigslist.org/clk/bik/314612233.html

    BTW, you are probably between 46cm and 48cm size for a road bike depending on geometry.

    or a 15" mountain bike.
    Would you like a dream with that?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cadfael's Avatar
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    Just my opinion.. but I would go for something similar to the Woodland Mountain Bike. This has a full gear range, which will help if you are unused to cycling. But the downside is that is will require more cleaning and maintenance of the drivechain.

    With a singlespeed, you may find you have a hill to climb that is gonna tire you out. You have no option but to struggle along, or get off and push with a single speed.

    Georgiaboy... $120 for a Raleigh Cruiser.... bloody hell! A Bargain! My wife has one, she is disabled in her hands and cannot use a rear brake lever... the coaster brake is perfect for her. We paid considerably more than $120 for it, in fact we paid over 200 for it.

  10. #10
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    Yes, the Raleigh's have a good reputation. Definitely, one of Sheldon Brown's favorite.
    Would you like a dream with that?

  11. #11
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    Keep checking for further updates....
    Would you like a dream with that?

  12. #12
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Since you need a few things beside the bike consider test riding a lot of different bikes at thrift stores.
    This space open

  13. #13
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Greetings from Portland!

    You're going to really enjoy biking around here. Since I know all the schools in the area, I can say whichever one you're going to is going to have hills to contend with. How steep they will be depends on which school you will be attending. I get by just fine with 8 gears, but then again, I'm not spending much time pedalling around the West Hills. I also think that if you're going to be focusing on school and you are new to bikes, you will want something reliable, so that pretty much rules out Craigslist. (Trust me guys, Craigslist is not for the new to bikes here in Portland.) There are 2 reputable bike shops in town that sell used bikes and I highly recommend either of them. The Community Cycling Center and Citybikes should be able to help you out, and they will not steer you wrong with your smaller-than-average height. They also understand being on a budget. Citybikes might hold an advantage for you since they also sell a couple of lines of reliable, mid-priced bike brands like Jamis and KHS. It's possible that you may not be able to find a reliable, used bike for your height at just the time you need one. Now, if your parents are willing to fork over the cash for a new bike and you don't even want to hunt for something used, I personally love Seven Corners Cycles. The 2 guys there treat the rider of the old Schwinn 3 speed with the same respect and good service as the new and expensive Surly, and they make me want to send people to them for their purchases. They sell Raleighs - another solid, midpriced like of bikes.

    One caveat: Bike theft is rampant here. Do not even consider a cable lock, I don't care how inexpensive your bike turns out to be and I don't care what anyone who works at a bike shop tells you. We've got thieves roaming around town with bolt cutters in their backpacks - seriously. Also, never, ever leave your bike unlocked - not even in a sheltered backyard, garage, or house/apartment/dorm. My brother has lost 2 bikes out of his backyard, and recently a thief was bold enough to take a fixed gear bike out of someone's house while they were upstairs! I don't want to panic you - just be willing to fork over the money for a solid U-lock, always lock it, and you'll be fine.

    You may or may not be aware that we have a very rich bikey culture here in Portland, and if you want to begin to check it out ahead of time, visit Bike Portland. It is the "information central" of our community. The links section knows no equal. Now, if your parents are a little concerned about what it's like biking here, visit the city government's bicycle page. You will be able to check out the detailed bicycle maps of the city. Heck, your parents can even email them - I know they'll answer and reassure them of any concern they might have for you.

    If you have any further questions at all, please do not hesitate to PM me. If you want a "bike commute buddy" to help you plan your commute or even shop for a bike, just ask. I had a friend do that for me before my first bike commute, and I've done that for others since. (I love a bike ride and I love shopping! ).

    Donna

    P.S. - If you're not from Oregon, remember we have no sales tax here.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  14. #14
    Slowpoach
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    Spend some time looking, test riding and researching.

    Priorities:
    - The bike fits and is comfortable to ride.
    - The bike can accept racks and mudguards (fenders)
    - Lighting, lock, pump and helmet need to be considered in your budget. Bikes get stolen, tyres go flat.
    - Maintenance needs to be considered as well.
    - Looks and "attitude" of the bike need to be acceptable to you

    Don't spend up big on a super mega flash road racing bike or downhill mountainbike just 'coz the parents are paying. You will probably want a different bike in a year or two as you get more experience. However, you need to spend enough to get something reliable and easy to repair.

    At 4'11 you will have a hard time finding a bike with 700c (road) wheels that fits well. Some hybrids might be OK, but you're more likely to find a good fit on something with 559 (26" MTB) wheels. So try out a few MTBs. Avoid suspension, avoid disc brakes - they are crap unless you spend some money on getting the right gear. Look at the Kona "Smoke" and "Dew" or the Jamis "Coda" for and idea of what to look for in a hybrid-style bike, if that is what you want.

    Your budget is tight. You will probably be best off with a 2nd-hand bike of reasonable quality, rather than the cheapest thing you can find new.

    Look at the touring forum as well (same sort of bike is useful for touring & commuting).

    Find a few bikes, find out what gear is on them (brand and model of brakes, gears etc.) and post here for an opinion.

  15. #15
    Slowpoach
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    Great advice from Donna, take her up on that offer to go shopping together!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Cadfael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cave
    Great advice from Donna, take her up on that offer to go shopping together!
    I agree! Flippin' eck! I can remember when I first began cycling in earnest. I knew absolutely nothing, and I had to learn by mistakes made... money spent. To have met people who where of a like mind, and willing to share experiance and savvy would have been marvelous. I have nothing but respect and amazment for the cyclist of Portland, I wish we had this kind of thinking in my part of the world.

  17. #17
    n00b M. Rhoten's Avatar
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    I'd like to echo what Donna said about thievery. Where I went to school, even if you locked down the bike pretty well, any wheel, computer, light, saddlebag, saddle, etc. that wasn't locked along with the frame would evaporate overnight. I replaced quite a few parts and one bike before I got the message.

    You might consider regular (non-quick-release) skewers just for that extra little bit of help. You might also consider something that looks worse than it performs. Rattlecan paint and Hello Kitty stickers are the height of chic in a thief-intensive area, imo.

  18. #18
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    A non suspension MTB is probably the best bet. Look for a fairly lightweight model, maybe al frame with a steel/chromoly fork, prefereably with threaded eyelest to take rack and fenders. Make sure you get the right size, not to big or too long from saddle to bars.
    Budget for accessories: helmet, lock (or 2), lights, luggage rack, fenders (bolt-on not clip-on), repair kit.

    The best upgrade you can make is to swap cheap, knobbly MTB tyres for a narrower, higher pressure , slick commuting tyre with kevlar puncture protection. These dont come cheap but will transfor even the cheapest bike, improving efficiency and eliminating 90% of punctures.

    For some reason, bolt-on rack and fenders reduce the "curb-appeal" of locked bikes. Many urban riders use a nice, old machine scruffed up to look cheap.

    You will be stretching a $100 budget buying from a commercial outfit. Is this really your entire transport budget for your college career? You might be able to pick up something nice from a garage sale of charity shop. Check out some bike shops to see what a decent bike looks like before you go hunting, these start new at about $350. A nrew $100 discount store bike will not last a year of 5-mile commuting.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb
    Greetings from Portland!

    You're going to really enjoy biking around here. Since I know all the schools in the area, I can say whichever one you're going to is going to have hills to contend with. How steep they will be depends on which school you will be attending. I get by just fine with 8 gears, but then again, I'm not spending much time pedalling around the West Hills. I also think that if you're going to be focusing on school and you are new to bikes, you will want something reliable, so that pretty much rules out Craigslist. (Trust me guys, Craigslist is not for the new to bikes here in Portland.) There are 2 reputable bike shops in town that sell used bikes and I highly recommend either of them. The Community Cycling Center and Citybikes should be able to help you out, and they will not steer you wrong with your smaller-than-average height. They also understand being on a budget. Citybikes might hold an advantage for you since they also sell a couple of lines of reliable, mid-priced bike brands like Jamis and KHS. It's possible that you may not be able to find a reliable, used bike for your height at just the time you need one. Now, if your parents are willing to fork over the cash for a new bike and you don't even want to hunt for something used, I personally love Seven Corners Cycles. The 2 guys there treat the rider of the old Schwinn 3 speed with the same respect and good service as the new and expensive Surly, and they make me want to send people to them for their purchases. They sell Raleighs - another solid, midpriced like of bikes.

    One caveat: Bike theft is rampant here. Do not even consider a cable lock, I don't care how inexpensive your bike turns out to be and I don't care what anyone who works at a bike shop tells you. We've got thieves roaming around town with bolt cutters in their backpacks - seriously. Also, never, ever leave your bike unlocked - not even in a sheltered backyard, garage, or house/apartment/dorm. My brother has lost 2 bikes out of his backyard, and recently a thief was bold enough to take a fixed gear bike out of someone's house while they were upstairs! I don't want to panic you - just be willing to fork over the money for a solid U-lock, always lock it, and you'll be fine.

    You may or may not be aware that we have a very rich bikey culture here in Portland, and if you want to begin to check it out ahead of time, visit Bike Portland. It is the "information central" of our community. The links section knows no equal. Now, if your parents are a little concerned about what it's like biking here, visit the city government's bicycle page. You will be able to check out the detailed bicycle maps of the city. Heck, your parents can even email them - I know they'll answer and reassure them of any concern they might have for you.

    If you have any further questions at all, please do not hesitate to PM me. If you want a "bike commute buddy" to help you plan your commute or even shop for a bike, just ask. I had a friend do that for me before my first bike commute, and I've done that for others since. (I love a bike ride and I love shopping! ).

    Donna

    P.S. - If you're not from Oregon, remember we have no sales tax here.
    thank you for your advice Donna!
    Yes I do live in the Portland Oregon area. I will be going to Portland State University by this fall, yeah its afive months away, but i'm trying to get prepared for everything.
    I've always been a little scared about riding on the busy rodes, becuase there are a lot of crazy drivers here.

  20. #20
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ____asdfghjkl
    thank you for your advice Donna!
    Yes I do live in the Portland Oregon area. I will be going to Portland State University by this fall, yeah its afive months away, but i'm trying to get prepared for everything.
    I've always been a little scared about riding on the busy rodes, becuase there are a lot of crazy drivers here.
    My housemate is a student at PSU, and I take classes there now and again. Please don't hesitate to PM me if you need anything, and start saving your money, though I'm sure you already are...
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  21. #21
    M_S
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    I want to take him to citybikes! I got my bike there, and they will definitely not pressure you into any kind of sale. Everyone there cares about bikes, is unpretentious, and helpful.

    Donna, wow, that post was an essay. A good one.

    My only thought is that you have no option but to buy used if your budget is only 100 bucks. Anything that cheap and new is going to be terrible. But there are some good buys on craigslist now and again. Look at what sounds interesting, and don't be afraid to run stuff by us before you buy.

    Good luck and have fun in Portland! Biking is easy around here.

  22. #22
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    I want to take him to citybikes!
    You sure the OP is a him?

  23. #23
    M_S
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cave
    You sure the OP is a him?
    Gosh darn it, my sexism/male favoritism/machismo has been revealed.

    And not, I'm not at all sure, my apologies to the original poster.

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