Hi folks. Just joined the forum. I'm a 47 year old male who is using his bikes to help him get healthier and save a few bucks on gasoline, now that I have a job which is reasonably close to my home. Like most folks I have been riding bikes since I was probably 7 or 8. Like most folks, my bikes are just department store brands. I have one bike that I bought new from Target, probably six or seven years ago. I bought this one for comfort and ease of use: it had traditional handlebars and only six or seven gears. I didn't remember ever using more than a handful of gears as a teenager so didn't figure when I bought the bike that I'd need a lot of gears. Also, I suffer from period back problems so didn't want a bike with the "upside-down" handlebars. I DID want a really rugged tread b/c I thought a heavier tread would have few flats. I was mistaken on almost all counts by the way: I found when I did ride this bike that I missed not being able to adjust my arms and hands the way one can with road bike handlebars. Also, the limited number of gears meant that I struggle with some of the steeper hills in the area. And the rugged tread didn't help me to avoid flats: this bike regularly developed one or more flat tires, with the result that it sat idle lots more than it was ridden. When I knew I would be changing jobs, I took this bike into a small local shop where the mechanic tuned the bike up, replaced the tires, and adjusted the gears and brakes.
Enter my K-Mart bike, roughly four months ago as I was changing jobs and wanted a back-up bike. Also I was wanting to get serious about getting healthier and working off some of my excess weight. I found this 1970's or 1980's vintage 10-speed road bike at a thrift shop, marked as $5.00. The shop was having a sale that day and knocked 35% off the tag, so that I got the bike for $3.50. I put air in the tires, put a nut on the front fork, and rode the bike for the next two months, either to work or on the various local bike trails. I've lost about 12 pounds so far, mostly riding this one bike. I did eventually get it tuned up, and the bike will eventually want new tires--the ones it came with are slightly dry-rotted and starting to split along the tread. My only complete was that the ten-speed really doesn't provide me enough gear flexibility: I'm old enough to begin to occasionally fell the encroachment of arthritis and the lack of suspension really rattles my bones. Also, it doesn't do well if I take it onto a gravel surface: it 'pulls' and 'drags' much worse than the mountain bike.
A couple of weeks ago the guy who was dating my daughter was in a quandary: he had a NEXT-brand bike he'd found in the trash over a year ago, nearly-new but badly damaged by someone who'd apparently had a temper tantrum and kicked the daylights out of the derailleurs, crankshaft, and rear gears. The bike really wasn't worth fixing, and my daughter's b/f--who was leaving the area for the summer--didn't want to haul it to his Mom's place. (He owned two other working bikes: he'd rescued this one just as a basement diy project, but never finished the job). I paid him $20.00 for the bike and took it to a shop. I really could've bought the bike new for what I've spent to fix it, but it'll give me a 27-speed bike with suspension and tires which should grip soft road surfaces better than the ten-speed.
Obviously I'm going to want to teach myself a bit about how to work on and maintain my three bikes--and the bikes my wife and daughter ride as well. I've probably spent about $500.00 on bike repairs in the past several months, at least 3/4ths of which would have been the bike mechanic's labor charges. Hence my decision to join this forum.
Hope this is an adequate intro. Look forward to interacting with many of you on the forum!