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Old 12-24-13, 12:59 AM   #1
Isaiahc72
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How long can you last without a beater bike?

I recently decided to try and sell a beater bike. I have 2 of them. So I put and ad online for each of them and the plan was whichever one sells first, I keep the one that doesn't. But now, someone wants to buy both of them from me. This will leave me with my Trek 7.1FX as my only bike. I don't have any bus routes around here. I just gotta ask, how long is it possible for a completely car-free person to last without a secondary?
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Old 12-24-13, 01:19 AM   #2
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I know people who have been car free for decades and have only owned 1 bike at a time... a backup is a good thing if you are really dependent on your bike for getting around.
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Old 12-24-13, 01:29 AM   #3
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I think the backup idea is a good one. I have two bikes, and until recently (before my daughter) I made do with a single bike. You could say that neither is beater bike, or you can say that both are beater bikes. I don't do group rides or the likes, nor do I own a "road cycle". So I'd say that if one takes reasonably care of one's every-day bike (fix things when they come loose, fix a slow flat quickly etc.), I think it is possible to do with a single bike.

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Old 12-24-13, 01:32 AM   #4
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I have a larger collection of bicycles so I am never without backups... there was a time I only had my Trek mountain bike to do it all and then picked up a road bike to make road trips more enjoyable.
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Old 12-24-13, 08:21 AM   #5
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How much are you using your beater bikes now? If you aren't, then sell them both. Having one bike is fine.
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Old 12-24-13, 08:31 AM   #6
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My friend had an episode in his life, when he was a car free commuter (also no public transport). He had only one bike. Mean distance between failures (or major maintenance) is about 5000-6000 km (own experience). I think it's easy to set aside one or two full days per year to clean and lubricate all bearings, replace chain, cables etc. If one follows a typical service recommendation, will enjoy a trouble-free ride whole season, and spare bike won't be required. I have three bikes, but none of the two remaining is not 1:1 replacement for my commuting bike. One of them is mtb and second is road fitness bike. I also have only one bike for commuting, but I'm not car free
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Old 12-24-13, 08:40 AM   #7
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Keep extra bikes around !
Ride them to lock up and leave downtown, bus stations, rail stations, pubs, etc…
Build one up as a utility bike/grocery getter.
Have extras to lend to friends and family, as needed, when visiting.
We keep extra a couple of extra mtn bikes, an extra road bike, and two mixte bikes so that others can use them when they visit us.
I simply explain to our guests that we are a very car light family and if they want to hang with us, hop on a bike.
Also, we get so little rain, here, now, that I like to keep an extra bike with fenders so that I don't have to use them on my A team bikes.

I would rather have a bicycle than several pieces of paper w/ some official looking govt lettering.
The $ you get from selling them will quickly disappear.
Steel, not so fast.
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Old 12-24-13, 08:43 AM   #8
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I think your original idea of selling one and keeping the other is good. Having a back up commuter is really helpful.
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Old 12-24-13, 08:55 AM   #9
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I'll go against the grain here and suggest that you keep one beater. You're relying on the bikes all seasons, for all your transportation, so it's not the same as a recreational cyclist keeping a bike maintained for the summer. Stuff happens; you can fix it but it could take a couple of days, maybe a week to get the parts you want. So I'd want either the spare, or spare parts on hand for most everything including wheels.
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Old 12-24-13, 08:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 View Post
I recently decided to try and sell a beater bike. I have 2 of them. So I put and ad online for each of them and the plan was whichever one sells first, I keep the one that doesn't. But now, someone wants to buy both of them from me. This will leave me with my Trek 7.1FX as my only bike. I don't have any bus routes around here. I just gotta ask, how long is it possible for a completely car-free person to last without a secondary?
Quick answer is you'll last until your bike breaks down.
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Old 12-24-13, 09:41 AM   #11
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I think it is highly dependent on how good of a mechanic you are along with having stuff on hand to handle any type of breakdown that may happen. If it was not for simply liking diversity in my riding I would never have been stranded at home because a bike was broken but I have a fair number of spare parts around along with tools and knowledge to fix anything that may break.

Remembering to do regular maintenance so you spot things before they become major issues is key to avoiding a catastrophic breakdown.
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Old 12-24-13, 09:51 AM   #12
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I can never have just one bike... I know that the minute I do, is the minute I taco a wheel or bend the frame.
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Old 12-24-13, 10:58 AM   #13
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How long can you last without a beater bike?

Could you sell both beaters, then invest all of that in a nicer beater?
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Old 12-24-13, 11:12 AM   #14
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Could you sell both beaters, then invest all of that in a nicer beater?
Well, resale value is somewhat low compared to original price. Not sure how much a nice beater would cost?
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Old 12-24-13, 12:47 PM   #15
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I can last w/o a beater bike exactly until the next donation in my size with even a chance of being refurbished rolls in to the shop or I find one out by the road, at the recycle center, etc...
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Old 12-24-13, 01:18 PM   #16
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I recently decided to try and sell a beater bike. I have 2 of them. So I put and ad online for each of them and the plan was whichever one sells first, I keep the one that doesn't. But now, someone wants to buy both of them from me. This will leave me with my Trek 7.1FX as my only bike. I don't have any bus routes around here. I just gotta ask, how long is it possible for a completely car-free person to last without a secondary?
Don't do it! I have 2 beater bikes too, and they are worth their weight in gold to me. They take on all bad weather rides, rides where I might have to lock them up, and all hazardous duties, all at the same time giving up a good ride...I paid $50 for one, wheels were trashed on it, but I had some wheels I have taken off other bikes laying around. Slapped them on, rides like a clock. I road it doing the salt covered roads right after the snow, rainy days all of that. The other one is a rust bucket, ($70) but it has a sweet ride. This is the one I mainly will take if I have to locked it up.. Recently the rear will got damaged on this bike. Enter the other beater bike to take up duty. That is why 2 beater bikes are the ideal. It would a awful to be without a beater bike. That would mean on rainy days, and hazardous duty, you would have to take one of your prize bikes, or don't ride..

Just my two cents...
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Old 12-24-13, 01:20 PM   #17
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Could you sell both beaters, then invest all of that in a nicer beater?
IMO, nicer the bike, the further it is away from the beater form!!
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Old 12-24-13, 01:31 PM   #18
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Strange question ... you can't ride two bicycles at once, so lacking a second bicycle really shouldn't get in the way of riding, right? I've had one bicycle for the past few years, old and steel, you would call it a "beater" but I use it for commuting, touring, errands and pleasure rides.
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Old 12-24-13, 02:32 PM   #19
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One bike is fine, as long as you have extra wheels. I think the most common failure is when you roll your bike to the door for the morning commute and notice that one of the tires is flat. A quick wheel change, and Bob's your uncle!

I would only use a beater if the ride wasn't too long, and there was no secure inside bike parking. If the bike has to be left outside, locked to a typical rack, then a beater is the only way to go. And beater wheels are usually non-standard (what fits on one won't necessarily work on another beater). So a second beater for those flat tire mornings would work. So if this is your situation, I'd keep both beaters.

I happen to work where there is a locked bike room, and there's a shower facility attached to the office. The office is also 16 km from home, and my route to work is usually 19 or 20 km, so I always ride my good bike. The commute is usually the best part of the day, so I want something more than just transportation.

Luis
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Old 12-24-13, 02:36 PM   #20
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I would sell both beater bikes and use (part) of the money to find a really good deal on a used backup bike that I liked better.

As for having only one bike. As long as you have spare wheels and some spare parts handy, you are good to go. Only wheels take a long time to repair.

Last edited by link0; 12-24-13 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 12-24-13, 02:39 PM   #21
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I've been commuting for the past 10 years. 3-4 times hit by a car. Thanks to good relationships with a LBS, my bike got fixed within hours time. Wheels trued etc. While most simpler repairs I do myself. That way, I commuted with just one bike. The only time I found a 2nd bike necessery was in winter time when it snowed. Then I needed a bike with studded, snow tyres. So instead of changing tyres each day (snow doesn't stay long where I live), I decided to use a 2nd cheap old MTB with mounted winter tyres.

So as means of transport, one bike, 2 sets of wheels if you plan on riding in snow too - that's enough. Just make a sturdy bike, for all weather rides.
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Old 12-24-13, 02:51 PM   #22
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One bike is fine, as long as you have extra wheels. I think the most common failure is when you roll your bike to the door for the morning commute and notice that one of the tires is flat. A quick wheel change, and Bob's your uncle!
Or a spoke is broken.
Add to the wheels, at least one replacement brake cable and one shift cable on hand.
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Old 12-24-13, 03:21 PM   #23
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A beater bike of mine is locked to a rack overnight and weekends on the work end of my bike-bus-bike commute. If it disappears or gets maliciously wrecked, no biggie. It looks like crap, mish-mosh of very used parts. Flaking paint, at least two layers of spray-bomb. Actually a pretty cool bike, C'dale M800 "Beast of the East" from the early 90s, U-brake underneath the chainstays, steel fork...

Of course that's the beauty of a beater--less likely to get stolen, especially if you have it secured with a BFL.

All my beaters have a price tag on them in my head. Someone offers that much, it is gone and I'm on to the next beater, money in my pocket, put your hands up if tonight you're gonna rock it.

Another mongrel Trek 830 lived at the shop with a Wald basket on the front. Sat out on the sales floor with a ridiculous $250 price tag on it. That was our shop bike for the summer and it was rad. Finally, someone recognized how rad it was and bought it, manager who used the bike regularly didn't budge on the sale price.

That money will be used for various bits and pieces needed to get a reclaimed Bianchi Volpe up and going as The Next Beater... And I have another pile of non-functional beater, a c'dale SM400 from the later 90s set aside for if/when the Volpe leaves the fleet.

Sell both beaters, score the basis for the next one with the proceeds, and the beater reclamation saga continues.
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Old 12-24-13, 03:50 PM   #24
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I think we'll need a lot more info...commutes and car-free life vary considerably!!

At least a few questions that I have...others may have more:

How far is your commute?

How often does it rain? Snow?

Can you put fenders on your current bike? Racks?

How good/bad are the roads? Do you get a lot of flats?

Is it critical to be on time for work? Or is cool to be a little late occasionally?

Can you walk to the grocery store?

Last edited by Hub Spanner; 12-25-13 at 10:20 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-24-13, 08:07 PM   #25
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I only owned one bike for 9 years. I bought a road bike this past spring, and a new winter bike in October. I don't really have a beater bike though I guess I've got a backup now. I used to just have to get repairs done fast if I needed them.
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