Sup. I've been browsing the forums for a couple weeks now; I wanted to make a post, and this seems to be the place to do it.
I am a 23 year-old male, hailing from Southern Ontario. I am a student at University of Waterloo, studying Science, majoring in Physics. I haven't been biking long, but I am really getting into it. I have owned a car since I was 18, but I finally sold it after the frustration of repairs and gas and insurance drove me mad. I bought a bike in September, and acquired another bike since then. I commuted to/from school with my bike all winter, and that's all it took to get me hooked.
I'm really poor, and can barely scrap together rent each month, so as you might expect, my bikes are nothing fancy.
The Bike I bought in September is a Raleigh Ambush, 21" aluminum framed mountain bike. I got it for $80, which seemed like a good deal at the time, although I didn't know enough to recognize that it was a piece of crap. There is a local bike recycling center in my city, which gives community members access to all the tools, used parts, and information you'd need to make any repairs or modifications to your bike. I have spent over 30 hours in the shop since January learning and modding my bike.
These are the changes I made to my Raleigh Ambush:
-New handlebars (flat bar with horns for lower riding position and more hand positions)
-Longer Stem (I am 6'3", and I have a long torso, so I needed a little extra room)
-Longer Seat Post
-New front/rear derailleurs
-New cassette on the back
-New Crank Shaft (the old one was too long and caused a horrible cross-chain)
-New fork (it used to have a suspension, which was unnecessary for me)
-New tires (swapped the knobby tires for smoother road tires)
-New shifters (I switched from handlebar index shifters to thumb friction shifters)
-All the cables/housings
Since I picked up almost all of these parts used, the modifications have cost me $40 so far. My goal for this bike is to set it up so I can go on a few shorter tours/camping trips this summer. I know it isn't ideal, but it has all the braze-ons I'd need for racks and fenders, plus the frame is light, and it's a really comfortable bike to ride. There are a few more things that I want to do (crankset, saddle, breaks/break levers to name a few). I'm gonna post some before/after pics later when I get it fully pimped out.
My other bike is a 1980 Raleigh Record. I rescued it from a parking lot in November. It was sitting unlocked for months and I put it in the trunk of my car a few weeks before the first snowfall. Since then I gave it a solid refurbishing. I went from stem shifters to downtube shifters, new tires and cables, and a few other little things. It's a sweet ride, and it goes fast. I use it for commuting when the weather is nice.
Anyway, this forum is slightly overwhelming at the moment. There is a lot to read, and so many seasoned veterans with a lot to say. I'm gonna keep drooling over all the $1000+ bikes in the touring/commuting threads, sobbing and crying and dreaming that one day I will have a disposable income. But for now I'm gonna ride my cheap and custom Raleighs, cause that's what I've got!