Hi there. Recently I've been telling people that I haven't wanted a bike this bad since I was five years old. I don't know that I've ridden regularly since I was perhaps 14 - I'm now 28. I did own a bike, a Motobecane of unknown vintage and virtue, perhaps three years ago. It was free to me and free to the prior owner, and I rode it perhaps twice. I loaned it to a friend who parked it in the wrong garage - a garage frequented by drivers who don't check for bicycles before driving into the garage - and that was the end of it.
I now have a bike. I purchased a used and tired Raleigh from a young gentleman in Thornton who treated me very well, letting me use his tools to adjust the front brakes such that the beast would stop on command and so I could ride it to the bus stop. He also put air in the tubes, where it remains despite the various sidewall bulges of the original and soon-to-be-replaced tires.
Sadly, the bicycle - a Raleigh Edge I have now determined - had its astonishing salmon-pink covered by a hasty layer of navy blue in order to protect, I am told, his Uncle's masculinity. Were the bike in good, recently-ridden condition, I would have doubted this tale and suspected theft. But if the bike was stolen, it was stolen long ago, judging by the dry-rot of the tires and the condition of the brakes. If you think I have your bike, advise me of the serial number and we'll have a frank discussion.
I might have purchased a machine in better condition had I not been convinced that $80 for a used Huffy was rather scandalous, and had I not also been (as I continue to be) an impoverished student. I'm not sure I'll come out ahead after I replace what needs replacing, but at least I will have done it myself and the sweat equity will enhance my sense of ownership. This bike will soon be my primary mode of transportation, replacing walking and the RTD, and I intend to spend some time on it.
I recently sold my equally tired, equally used 1991 Ford Explorer (or Exploder, as a friend calls them). It wasn't getting driven much and mostly accumulated the occasional parking ticket and consumed the occasional Grant to fill the tank. Capitol Hill is a nice place to live, and I can obtain nearly anything I need to obtain with a 15 minute walk or 30 minute transit ride. So, when the coolant flush adapter became two partial coolant flush adapters, spilling coolant on the highway, overheating the engine, and warping a head, I decided I would peddle the Explorer and pedal a bike. I was moderately sad that I didn't quite get to 180,000 miles - I think it had 179,861 on the odo when I signed over the title.
I thought I would find a bike similar in quality and style to the wrecked 10-speed Motobecane for perhaps $20 on Craigslist. Expectations are made to be disappointed, it seems, and mine certainly were. I watched like a hawk for weeks before resigning myself to spending a bill or buying a project, and decided on the project. I joined BikeForums.net in the hope that I might consult on matters of repair and restoration. I will soon be posting in the Mechanical forum, asking for advice.
My intent for this bike is to turn it into an all-weather commuter. My primary journey will be about 2 miles, from Capitol Hill to the Auraria Higher Education Campus where I attend school at Metro. I study Philosophy, Computer Science, and Mathematics in roughly that order and intend to become a senile and rambling professor of mathematical philosophy and formal logic. I might become a lawyer or politician along the way (booh, hiss!) I also intend to do some touring with this bike; the only thing I miss about having a vehicle are the long and aimless drives I used to take.
If you have read this far, thanks for reading this far! One other thing you might note about me - that being the purpose of this thread - is that I like to use my words. Ban me now, while you still can!
Welcome to the forums. Try using the search function at the top of the page for common problems. Other good resources on the net are Park Tool, Sheldon Brown, and Bicycle Tutor. Your local library could have some good bike maintenance books as well.