I wasn't quite sure if anyone would get bent out of shape that I'm posting this in the commuter area, it's just where I feel most at home.
Ok, here's the nitty gritty. My girlfriend is currently riding a year or two old schwinn from a big box store. It's dutch style and weighs a whopping 42lbs (not counting her rack/milk crate full of art supplies). The big box store employee who put it together for her did not do a very good job, surprise, surprise! Anyway, I've wrenched away on it almost every weekend for the last month or so just trying to iron out the kinks. For example, the front fender is a bit wonky so the front wheel rubs. For the life of me I can't get her brakes set properly. They last about a day of light riding before they start rubbing the untrueable wheels. The paint is chipped all over, and, did I mention, it weighs 42+ pounds?! So, the situation is, I'm riding my cheap BD fixie more and more (other than my usual commute). We both go to different gyms (I have one at work she has one at school). And she's wanting to start riding more with me. And obviously I'm wanting to share the religious experience that is cruising around in the early morning when the only things awake are the geese and bunnies and the sun is still rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
The ultimatum: We could take the heap in to a lbs mechanic and have him work on it, and most likely upgrade some crucial things. Labor and parts, I'm sure would be $200.
We could piece/component it up into a decent ride, but it's still going to be a dutch monster. And I'm not sure the frame would be worth putting anything nice on.
What I think the best solution happens to be is, looking for a low end cheap roadie on BD. The thing is, she still needs to be able to haul a bit of cargo to and from school (about 1 1/2 miles) 5 or so days a week. Another caveat is that she said she wouldn't be able to mount a straight top tubed roadie in some of the clothes she wears to work/school. So that would limit the new bike to an awkward slanted top tube...and throwing the rack she has now onto the new bike.
I want to tell her to get the cheapest roadie she can find on BD and just keep her clunker for beating around and hauling things to school. I mean, if she's riding it daily now...she can keep riding it for her daily sidewalk/pothole/drunken frat boy dodging commute right? And keep the roadie clean and ready for the leisure/fun/distance rides.
Am I being silly? I don't want to push her too much. She's kind of reserved about things and wouldn't necessarily be completely upfront if I was being too pushy (we're still talking about buying a bike here! I swear!) I figured the combined wisdom of the magical commuting thread could offer me some great help!
TL;DR: Girlfriend needs to either A) fix her monster scwhinn with new parts/lots of tinkering B) get a cheap BD roadie