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  1. #1
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    Want to start commuting in the spring. When to buy the bike?

    Hello everyone.

    I want to start commuting to work ( 7 miles one way ), but I'm not sure it's the best idea to start now. I'd like to describe my situation and get your input on some questions I have.

    ABOUT ME:
    I live in Rochester, NY and the winter here is pretty miserable.
    I have a car, so I don't expect to ride my bike to work every day (for example, if it's raining). Right now, I just want to ride my bike to work
    to get some exercise, spend some time outside and because it's fun. I work all day in a lab with no windows and it gets pretty gloomy!
    I don't plan to carry a lot of things to and from work (computer, documents, etc). If I know I will have to take a bunch of stuff home, I would probably just drive.
    I'm not in terrible shape (5'7 155lbs).

    ABOUT MY COMMUTE:
    As I mentioned, it's 7 or 7.5 miles one way, depending on the route. The route I was going to try first is mostly down a paved jogging/bike trail along the river. The second half is along a two-lane road (also along a river) with very little traffic. There is an alternate route where the second half is down a paved bike trail that was recently built, but it's a bit longer and less scenic.

    BIKES I AM CONSIDERING:
    I was looking at some hybrids, like the Cannondale Quick 5, Trek 7.3 FX and Specialized Sirrus. They're all quite expensive for my stipend, but I get the impression from reading these forums the last week or so, that saving up an extra hundred or two could make a big difference (for example, in upgrading to the 7.3 FX).

    MY QUESTIONS:
    Is there a good time to get a new bike? Buying skis in the summer, that sort of thing?
    Also, I really don't think commuting 14 miles in Rochester Winter is gonna be a good time. It gets dark way too early and it's crappy all around.
    Should I wait and try to get a bike in the spring or should I try and get one now?

    I appreciate any feedback you might have!

  2. #2
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    Now would be a good time. Winter is starting and many people don't like to ride in rain and snow. Also the 2014s are starting to show up so the shops have to get ride of the 2013s. If you wait until spring, the 2013 bikes will likely be gone and the warm and dry season will be starting to pick up.

    I saw one shop in SF blowing out bikes at like 33% off.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Forums

    We have a few members here that are in your neck of the woods. I know at least one of them commutes year around in Rochester (he has no car by choice and works in a library). I don't want to call him out, but I'm hoping he'll chime in

    And the best time to buy is generally in the Fall as new model years are hitting the ports and the shops need to clear out the older stuff to make room.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    winter, offseason they will have more time to devote to getting your needs met ,
    rather than the busy season where there is a lot more traffic through the store.

  5. #5
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    check stores now for 2013 models on close out. check the weekend after Thanksgiving for any black Friday/small business Saturday/pre holiday sales.

    there's no time like the present to begin commuting, however winter can come with an additional price tag in lights, wet/cold gear, shoes, bags, etc... so if you are already counting coins it might not be the best bet. thigh to be honest there is often an exaggeration of importance in "gear" when knowledge on how to use what you currently have can go a long way. the hardest part is being dressed to stay warm in the beginning of your ride, but be able to modify ventilation and layers on the fly so you don't overheat, sweat, and then freeze when you stop.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    I'd personally start looking now. As stated, you might find an offseason deal.
    Plus you may get a few decently mild days this winter where you can go ahead and start riding.

  7. #7
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    Look for new 2013 models after Xmas and before the Spring.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Hello! I'm also from Rochester.

    Most of the local bike shops are having their holiday sales starting this week. Towpath is starting theirs today, for example: http://www.getresponse.com/archive/w...w_schedule=yes

    Two years ago I bought my 2010 Secteur ( MSRP around $900 at the time ) for $400 at RV&E in Fairport on a Black Friday sale.

    So I'm thinking this next week might be an excellent time. ;-) I'm partial to RV&E and Park Ave Bike in Pittsford, but most of the local shops are pretty good.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  9. #9
    Mmm hm! agent pombero's Avatar
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    The best time to buy a bicycle is right now.

  10. #10
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
    The best time to buy a bicycle is right now.
    +1

    I bought mine mid season (June) 2008, if I had waited, I could have gotten a nicer bike/deal. At the time, I was sick of paying $4.08 a gallon, for a truck that only got about 14MPG on a 12 mile round trip.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member BobbyG's Avatar
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    Start exercising now! Either a treadmill some sort of aerobics! Get your cardio-vascular system primed, so all you have to deal with in the spring is some temporarily sore muscles. After my injury-induced year off from cycling, I began training in November. When March rolled around I had the easiest re-entry to cycling I had ever had. (Unfortunately I have had other breaks from bike commuting that were inexcusible).

  12. #12
    Senior Member GeneO's Avatar
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    I got a good deal on a 2102 model on sale last February. Look for LBS sales. They have web pages, visit frequently.
    2012 Felt F55X

  13. #13
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    I own and commute on a Sirrus with panniers. 30 miles a day total. It's capable of more than I can deliver. I'd buy another

  14. #14
    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post
    Now would be a good time.
    Yep.

    See if bike shops near you are having sales. Those sales will go away in the Spring, as will any deals on leftover bikes.

    The bikes you are looking at are great bikes for what you want to do with them, but many others agree, so you may find leftover bikes at sale pricing few and far between. If one of these models you are looking at is available on sale at a leftover price, snap that right up. In our shop, we're already selling '14 Trek FX 7.3, no leftover '13 models.

    Because it's winter and many shops are slow, they might be willing to deal. Especially if you're picking up accessories, like a trainer*.

    On the other hand, many companies run Spring sales -- that 7.3 FX should be on sale at $50 off during Trek's annual Spring Fest sale.

    *Trainer is used for cycling indoors and is a great way to be in some kind of shape when you hit the roads in the Spring, and stay in shape through the Winter. Also makes a great way to tune derailleurs on your bike without investing in a bike repair stand.
    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Bottom line: everyone here should listen to Mconlonx... he has it figured out and the rest of you, well, don't.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  15. #15
    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
    The best time to buy a bicycle is right now.
    You guys are lucky, our LBSs are also LSSs (Local Ski Stores) so by now, the bikes and associated stuff are back in storage and no deals would be available. Even getting things for winter repairs of summer (or, for that matter, even winter) bikes is virtually impossible, I have to source stuff from Toronto (4hr drive or 4 day bike, LOL, south) or online.
    A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice. Bill Cosby

  16. #16
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    Thanks a lot for you input guys!

    I'll hit up my LBSs this week, and see what they have in stock.

  17. #17
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    mulveyr, thank you for the bike shop suggestions. I'll definitely check them out. So far, I've only been to Bert's in Henrietta.

  18. #18
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
    The best time to buy a bicycle is right now.
    Yup, but he might want to hold on until Black Friday though. There might not be super deals on bikes, but accessories for sure.

  19. #19
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    Depending on where you live, and buying patterns there, I'd skip December, where you're going to share dealers' attention with Christmas buyers (or their hopes for them), and be penalized by the dealer optimism that you'll pay full price. The best months to buy are November, and January or February. If the local shop closes for a few weeks in the winter, buy before the closure, where they might want to get a last sale in, not after where they're looking to an early Spring.

    Other than November and winter, the best days to buy are mid-week, especially rainy mid week, after a rainy weekend or two.
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  20. #20
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    Get a bike, and a trainer. Ride on the trainer everyday you work, start with once a day, work up to once before work and once after. 45 minute sessions should be more than enough to simulate a commute.

    When the weather cooperates you will be physically prepared, and perhaps better suited to making your mind adapted to the bicycle commute.

  21. #21
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by treefiddey View Post
    ...
    ABOUT MY COMMUTE:
    As I mentioned, it's 7 or 7.5 miles one way, depending on the route. The route I was going to try first is mostly down a paved jogging/bike trail along the river. The second half is along a two-lane road (also along a river) with very little traffic. There is an alternate route where the second half is down a paved bike trail that was recently built, but it's a bit longer and less scenic. ...
    Mostly flat then, not much traffic, not a lot of stop and go, not a long commute. Personally I wouldn't go with a hybrid or even a more expensive bike to start with. It's good to have two bikes when you're commuting.

    Although I don't and haven't owned a single speed, I'd be very tempted in your situation and starting out. Less maintenance, cheaper, adequate because weight won't matter very much and you won't actually be needing to shift that much if I'm envisioning your commute accurately. After a while you'll have a much better idea of what you'd like in a bike and then you can increase your budget. An additional plus is that putting off the big decision it's easier to buy it right away and get some riding in during the nicer days this winter.

    short version: buy now, buy cheap.
    Last edited by wphamilton; 11-23-13 at 12:01 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    You should look now, as others have said, but I would ease into bike commuting when the weather is better. Right now you would have to learn to commute in the most challenging environment with no experience. At best, you would hate it, and at worst, get into a bit of difficulty. You need proper tires, clothing, lights, repair skills, and bike handling skills, all of which develop over time.

  23. #23
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    Winter is a good time, however don't rush to buy a bike because it might be a good deal. Often a rushed buyer doesn't get the right bike or The size isn't optimal. The wrong size on sale, is not a good deal. Once you get the bike, ride it. Don't need to wait until spring, lots of nice winter days you can ride, even a short distance. Some suggest an indoor trainer as a good way to start.
    ride long & prosper

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by treefiddey View Post
    I live in Rochester, NY
    Me too!

    Several stores are having sales right now. I've gotten emails in the past week from Full Moon Vista on South Ave and Towpath Bikes in Pittsford--both Trek dealers. The next big sales will be in spring. Late April, as I recall, is when Trek has their big spring sale. But it's not a real big deal, just $50 or $100 off an FX if memory serves--covers the sales tax is about all.

    As for your commute, it sounds like you're at either UR or RIT? The Riverway is a nice ride, but it's not plowed in winter. Wilson Blvd is okay, but bumpy. East River Road is nice. There's also a bike path I've never used connecting UR and RIT.

    I live near the Eastman House and commute to the Arnett Branch Library in the 19th Ward. While my direct route is 4.5 miles, I generally use it only in foul weather. I have a 9.5-mile one that goes through Cobbs Hill, Highland, and Genesee Valley parks, along with Mt Hope Cemetery and the UR River Campus, then up the west side on the Canalway. I also like to ride out East Ave to Pittsford, and take the Canalway all the way back for a total of 16.3. My preferred route home is 12.3 miles to Brooks Landing, across UR's ped bridge, through the campus, and out the Canalway to Clover St, then back into the city.

    I'm beginning my eighth winter commuting by bike. It's easier than you think, once you get past the thinking about it part. But admittedly, you need a bit of motivation.

    Good lights can be fairly inexpensive. A hundred bucks can set you up with a headlight that makes you look like a car, and a decent taillight too. Fenders give you all weather capability. It's actually pretty fun to ride in foul weather. And I really like riding at night.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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  25. #25
    Junior Member R3dAll3z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Depending on where you live, and buying patterns there, I'd skip December, where you're going to share dealers' attention with Christmas buyers (or their hopes for them), and be penalized by the dealer optimism that you'll pay full price. The best months to buy are November, and January or February. If the local shop closes for a few weeks in the winter, buy before the closure, where they might want to get a last sale in, not after where they're looking to an early Spring.

    Other than November and winter, the best days to buy are mid-week, especially rainy mid week, after a rainy weekend or two.
    What FBinNY said.

    You should also see if someone who knows a bit about bikes can help you find a good affordable deal on craigslist or ebay. Riding 14 miles round trip will get easier with time and if you plan on riding during winter, you will also need lights and reflective gear along with clothes to keep you warm. Be safe and just ride.

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