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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 09-09-05, 11:52 PM   #1
carless
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Frame $75
Wheels $150
Other $50

This is my transportation bike. I ride 140 - 160 miles a week, 20 miles a day including commutes. It is a fixed gear (you pedal forward you go forward, you pedal backwards....) I have other bikes but this works the best. I always lock it up, but if it is stolen I can replace it for $300. I ride it to school, work, the store, dates, and even bars. I use a Chrome Messenger Bag for cargo. I learned how to repair and maintain a bike with this one because it's simple and no bike shops around me want to deal with it.
It has excellent theft protection, it's spray painted (ugly), the wheels don't match and most people can't ride it (no gears). The current models look nice and have lower quality parts for twice the price. This bike is recycled.

For those of you who want to ride a bike instead of driving a car take a look. It's easy to become lost with the mechanics, the spec's, the accessories and the brand names. But isn't that what car companies have been doing, creating a need to fill, and selling it to us. Have you noticed placement of logo's and signage on your bike. Suspiciously like a car, with every part a "system" that's trademarked. The cost to replace many parts on a bike are car- high.

This basic transportation is even different from a new bike. It comes with an online mechanic/philosopher:
His website will tell you every fact, technique, and idea you will need to ride this bike for years. Sheldon Brown rides bikes because he likes too.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/fixed-testimonial.html
http://sheldonbrown.com/deakins/how-...onversion.html

I point this out and present my bike because many, would be car free people, might feel the barrier to entry, or "How much?" to get started is expensive - it's not. Some people are intimidated by the mechanics and amount of "things on a bike" my example is simple. Some people don't want a showroom and a salesman, this bike can be built by a local co-op or college, in addition to your local shop.

http://www.chicagoaa.com/features/wo...ikesMay05.html
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/o...260.xml&coll=7

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Old 09-10-05, 07:20 AM   #2
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carless -- Like you, I find the simpler the bike, the better. I doubt that I will ever ride a fixie, but I do believe that gears are overrated. In Chicago, as in many flat places, a lot of gears are unneccessary. Without gears, the basic roadside repairs become very simple.
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Old 09-10-05, 07:37 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ViciousCycle
I doubt that I will ever ride a fixie
Me neither, however I am considering converting my '79 Peugeot UO-10 to single speed for some of the same reasons: It's flat here and the simplicity of SS is appealing to me. My problem is that although my bicycle mechanical skills are improving, they are still pretty basic. I've been reading and re-reading Sheldon's pages on the topic and trying to wrap my head around how this will work and what parts I'll need. Also, I can't spend much money on the conversion, so that's limiting my options, too.
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Old 09-10-05, 08:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by chocula
It's flat here and the simplicity of SS is appealing to me. My problem is that although my bicycle mechanical skills are improving, they are still pretty basic.
The bicycle is one of the simplest machines around, but thanks to the transmission system (derailleurs, gear shifters, and so forth), they become more complicated than necessary. There's enough variation in the transmission system components from one component manufacturer to another that it's hard to become proficient at all of the little nuances unless you're a bike mechanic or otherwise spend a lot of time doing mechanical tinkering. And some transmission system components have no user serviceable parts. i.e. Some gear shifters have little pieces inside of them that can break, and once they do, you need to replace the entire gear shifter.

A local charity, Working Bikes, regularly sends bicycles to third world countries, and simplicity is an important consideration with respect to what bikes get sent. A bike that is simple to maintain will get used more by recipients than bikes that have complicated maintenance. Working Bikes has the right idea.
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Old 09-10-05, 08:32 AM   #5
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I love my SS, my SS on el camino real late at night = pretty sweet!
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Old 09-10-05, 10:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carless
It comes with an online mechanic/philosopher:
His website will tell you every fact, technique, and idea you will need to ride this bike for years. Sheldon Brown rides bikes because he likes too.

Sheldon often posts' over in the fixed/singlespeed forum.

Sheldon's Latest Madness...

i love riding fixed, i rarely ride nonfixed anymore, it always makes me feel like the bikes' broken or something when i ride on something that can coast.
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Old 09-10-05, 11:18 AM   #7
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Let's not forget internal hub gears for most people with the ol' 3 speed
being the best balance for urban use.
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Old 09-10-05, 01:36 PM   #8
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I agree with Tightwad. My 2 bikes are AW three speed, steel framed, dependable beauties and I would not trade these type of bikes for anything. I live in a hilly part of the city and the gears help me alot since I am not a very strong rider.
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Old 09-10-05, 10:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chocula
Me neither, however I am considering converting my '79 Peugeot UO-10 to single speed for some of the same reasons: It's flat here and the simplicity of SS is appealing to me. My problem is that although my bicycle mechanical skills are improving, they are still pretty basic. I've been reading and re-reading Sheldon's pages on the topic and trying to wrap my head around how this will work and what parts I'll need. Also, I can't spend much money on the conversion, so that's limiting my options, too.
One unique thing about Harris (Sheldon Brown) is you can email them and ask. I think the shop will talk on the phone, but email is better. I sent one and got 2 replies in minutes!?!
Take a pic of the rear dropouts and post it.
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Old 09-11-05, 08:10 AM   #10
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I bought my bike for $15 at a garage sale early this summer. It's a 70's Schwinn Traveler. I added a comfy seat ($25), an comfort handlebar ($12, including shipping, eBay), new Shimano brake grips and cables ($20 or so), a front basket (free, came w/a bike I got for free) and a rear double basket ($3, yard sale), a Schwinn computer ($14) and three blinkies ($6). That comes to about $95.

I still need a descent headlight (I got a generator set, cars can see me but I can't see squat), but the money I've saved on gas has certainly eclipsed what I've paid so far for the bike. (BTW I like to coast, and it's a ten-speed, but the gears don't shift, so technically I guess it already is a fixed gear LOL).

The bike I got for free (the one that came with the basket) is a 60's-70's Western Galaxy Flyer single-speed, with 1 3/4" tires, and once I get the frame top coated (it sat outside too long before I got it, and the paint wipes off with water) and the front wheel straightened out it will be my winter bike. I'll just move all that stuff over to the Flyer.

If you prefer to get one that's ready to go, Wal-Mart has some nice cruiser-style single-speeds for $60-$100 that would make great winter bikes. I'm still tempted to buy one, but I'm not earning enough for extras like that right now. If I can get that tire fixed I'll be all set anyway.

Now, if I could just figure out how to use the spoke wrench I bought...
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Old 09-11-05, 08:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carless
One unique thing about Harris (Sheldon Brown) is you can email them and ask. I think the shop will talk on the phone, but email is better. I sent one and got 2 replies in minutes!?!
Agreed. Earlier this year, I e-mailed Prof. Brown a question about the BB on my UE-8 and he responded within hours. I've ordered a couple parts from Harris that I could have gotten elsewhere to show some appreciation for all the free info Sheldon provides on the Internet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carless
Take a pic of the rear dropouts and post it.
Will do. They're horizontal, so I'm told they are suitable for SS conversion. Also, I stopped into a local LBS yesterday and looked at a Mavic wheel with a flip-flop hub, that would allow me to at least try fixed gear if I wanted. Any one have experience with these? I know this question probably belongs in the Single Speed & Fixed Gear forum, but I'd much prefer to hear from people here, who share my interest in utility, rideability and affordability. Plus, "Living Car Free" has become my homebase on Bike Forums. Sometimes when I venture into the other forums, I feel like I'm visiting an unfamiliar neighborhood. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not as comfortable this community.
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Old 09-11-05, 05:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chocula
Also, I stopped into a local LBS yesterday and looked at a Mavic wheel with a flip-flop hub, that would allow me to at least try fixed gear if I wanted.
Email Sheldon and ask how much for everything. You can probably get your LBS/college/co-op to assemble it and spread the wealth. If you don't like it sell or donate it.
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Old 09-11-05, 05:45 PM   #13
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Fixed gear bikes , besides being simple have excellent traction which is handy during chicago winters.A fixie can be created by taking a freewheel and stategically brazing or welding it to eliminate the freewheeling then replace it on your bikes rear hub. this is the cheap and dirty way to do it.
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Old 09-12-05, 10:07 AM   #14
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The Basic Bike- $300
Shoot, i just bought what I thought was a basic bike, and it was only $31. It wasn't a fixie, but it was a 10-speed with only one speed working, i think. I'm going to take it apart and use the good parts on my other bike.
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Old 09-12-05, 10:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
Let's not forget internal hub gears for most people with the ol' 3 speed
being the best balance for urban use.
I agree with tightwad too. My town has hills and not everyone has strong knees. I like the simplicity of the messenger bikes but worry about blowing my knees out on the hills. The internal gear hubs don't need much maintenance and since they aren't popular they can still be found at yard sales at reasonable prices. If you have saved cash from dumping the car, the newer nexus hubs seem to have less internal friction than the ones made in the late 90s.
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Old 09-12-05, 10:57 AM   #16
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here are are a couple pics of the girlfriends bike, it was her first road bike, she'd been on mtb up until then. anyway after a few months she noticed that she really didn't shift all that much, so we decided to go the singlespeed route.

picked up a rim from a local lbs (--Re-Cycle, in Berkeley, if you're into used bike parts for rebuilding any type of bike, i would give the used parts room a once over. the last time i dug through the bins i pulled out two track stems, and i didn't really look through the stem bins that long--)..

but grabbed the rim and pulled the rest of the parts, chainring, bolts, nuts from my second bike which when i build back, i swear....

but in the end, she loves it, and its well under $300.
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Old 09-13-05, 12:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karmical
here are are a couple pics of the girlfriends bike, it was her first road bike, she'd been on mtb up until then. anyway after a few months she noticed that she really didn't shift all that much, so we decided to go the singlespeed route.

picked up a rim from a local lbs (--Re-Cycle, in Berkeley, if you're into used bike parts for rebuilding any type of bike, i would give the used parts room a once over. the last time i dug through the bins i pulled out two track stems, and i didn't really look through the stem bins that long--)..

but grabbed the rim and pulled the rest of the parts, chainring, bolts, nuts from my second bike which when i build back, i swear....

but in the end, she loves it, and its well under $300.
Thats a purdy bike, congrats.
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