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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 09-04-06, 10:24 AM   #1
anticoriolis
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nice bikes in nasty places

Hey, I'm looking to get a road bike and I found a killer deal on a bianchi vigorelli (2004, $1199). Problem is, I'm moving to SF where I'll be car-less and I'm planning to use it as a commuter, transportation and a weekend warrior, and I'm worried that a nice road bike would be limiting. Meaning that I wouldn't want to ride it downtown, lock it up for the afternoon while I look around and eat lunch and then come back to it 6 hours later. Or ride it to a bar and leave it until one or two in the morning in the mission district. But I don't want to buy a crap bike and not enjoy my weekend road rides as much because I'm afraid of getting it stolen! And before you suggest it, two bikes are out of the question. I already have a rocky mountain XC and a singlespeed mountain bike. Four bikes and I might as well have a car. Are you all just going to tell me to get a cross check?

Any thoughts on theft, security and riding nice bikes to nasty places?
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Old 09-04-06, 10:56 AM   #2
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Sorry, mate but let's get real here. You think you "want" to spend $1100 on a bike
that you some how hAve convinced yourself that you "need".

Wake up call, Mate.

FOR WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO DO ANY $1100 BIKE IS JUST PLAIN
NUT'S.

Take the best of the bikes you own and treat it to a mild fix up adding a stout lock to
the mix. Then ride your bike with peace of mind that any loss will be small if stolen.

YA DON'T WANT NO STINKING EYE CANDY BIKE TO CALL EVERY THIEF IN THE AREA TO STEAL.

It's time to tell yourself ...........NO!
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Old 09-04-06, 11:02 AM   #3
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See if your renters insurance will cover it, and what the deductable will be. Most will cover it if jacked.
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Old 09-04-06, 11:27 AM   #4
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Four and you might as well own a car? how so? Between my wife and I we've got 7 functional bikes and a couple of project bikes. All together they take up less space and cost less than even 1 halfway decent car.

In car culture terms, you've got a rock-crawling truck, a sand rail, and you're looking at getting a sports car, when what you need is a family sedan. I've got an expensive road bike too, but I knew when I bought it that I'd never be able to commute on it or leave it anywhere. You can commute on almost any bike, but if it looks expensive you aren't going to have it for long.

Along with what So Cal commuter said, I can put a rider on my home insurance that will cover replacement cost of my bike with no deductible at all for about $40 a year. Don't know if that's available in SF, but it couldn't hurt to check.
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Old 09-04-06, 11:30 AM   #5
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You make a good point. The reason I've started looking at nicer and nicer bikes is I want to get more into road riding and want a solid setup. Trust me, I'm not about the flash. I want something that is tough, dependable and I'm going to enjoy riding on weekends. I started looking cheap, and was going to build up a surly pacer with cheap components, but everyplace I talked to said it would cost me about $1400 to get a good wheelset and decent drivetrain. I don't care about the flash, I just want something I'm going to like to ride long distances on weekends and isn't going to be a pain in the ass, maintenance-wise, shifting-wise, etc. Maybe I should start a new thread? How to set up a nice riding road bike with no cash?

Any suggestions?
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Old 09-04-06, 12:03 PM   #6
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Use one of your current bikes for commuting. Buy the road bike, and use it for some of that scenic California touring.
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Old 09-04-06, 02:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anticoriolis
How to set up a nice riding road bike with no cash?

Any suggestions?

Have good credit.
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Old 09-04-06, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anticoriolis
Hey, I'm looking to get a road bike and I found a killer deal on a bianchi vigorelli (2004, $1199). Problem is, I'm moving to SF where I'll be car-less and I'm planning to use it as a commuter, transportation and a weekend warrior, and I'm worried that a nice road bike would be limiting. Meaning that I wouldn't want to ride it downtown, lock it up for the afternoon while I look around and eat lunch and then come back to it 6 hours later. Or ride it to a bar and leave it until one or two in the morning in the mission district. But I don't want to buy a crap bike and not enjoy my weekend road rides as much because I'm afraid of getting it stolen! And before you suggest it, two bikes are out of the question. I already have a rocky mountain XC and a singlespeed mountain bike. Four bikes and I might as well have a car. Are you all just going to tell me to get a cross check?

Any thoughts on theft, security and riding nice bikes to nasty places?
Yes. I've just read through the Portland stolen bikes listings, and the vast majority of the stolen bikes have one thing in common: They were all locked with a cable lock. An easily cut cable lock. A few more were left unlocked. One was locked by the front wheel only with a u-lock (i.e., the bike wasn't locked, the wheel was locked).

After reading that, I took a walk downtown. Loads of bikes locked with cable locks. Fewer bikes locked with u-locks, and those bikes that were locked with u-locks were, to a bike, locked improperly.

So the first lesson is to buy a high-quality u-lock-- one like the Kryptonite New York or the Kryptonite Fuggedaboudit. The second lesson is to use the lock properly. Sheldon shows you how:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html

The third lesson is to use your u-lock every single time. If you're not in immediate physical control of your bike, lock up, and lock up the right way.

Now, once you've taken those precautions, if you want, you can calculate the wisdom of leaving a high-dollar bike sitting around locked but unattended for long periods of time. Personally, I have yet to read an account of a stolen bike in which the owner did everything right. I suppose it can happen, but the vast, vast majority of stolen bike reports-- well, all of the stolen bike reports-- indicate that the bike owner didn't lock their bike properly. Nevertheless, the fourth precaution should be to use your common-sense about leaving a high-value bike unattended for long periods of time.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way.... I think a road bike serving as a commuter, transportation, and weekend warrior isn't going to work. Either you'll get a bike that works as great city transportation, but a not-so-great weekend warrior, or you'll get a great weekend warrior that won't work so great as city transportation. You'll be forced to chooose, or you'll be forced to compromise. If you really want to do both, and be happy about it, you'll want 4 bikes. A road bike for weekends, and a commuter for weekdays. If you want to compromise on that, then I would strongly suggest a cyclocross bike with a commuting/city wheelset and a road wheelset. That will be the closest you can come to meeting your commuting/weekend warrior goals, and it will probably do a really good job of meeting those goals.

And if you really want to lock your bike up while you're bar crawling, I would strongly suggest getting a beater for that purpose, so you don't have to risk having your good bike stolen. And if you're really going to do that bar crawling on a bike, familiarize yourself with California's BUI law.

Last edited by Blue Order; 09-04-06 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 09-04-06, 06:48 PM   #9
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+1 for BlueOrder's advice.

I do know some people who carry BOTH a U-lock and a heavy chain lock on the theory that defeating both requires 2 different sets of tools. I'm not that paranoid .. yet

I have a really nice bike - one that certainly would not survive any time locked up outside and out of my sight. When I run errands on my way home I make sure to always lock it up correctly and in a public place. I don't leave it unattended for more that 15 minutes.

One trick - many of the places I shop at are located next to outdoor cafes. I will make eye contact and sometimes say hello to the nearest patron. Don't know if it would do any good but, maybe, if someone tried to fool with my bike while I'm gone the patron would quickly realize it and might put a stop to it.
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Old 09-04-06, 08:26 PM   #10
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I live in SF and I have 4 bikes. I have a steel free-standing bike rack from Supergo (Performance now has exactly the same rack) and the bikes don't take up any more room than 3 would. So I say either get the 4th bike for commuting or get rid of that useless geared mountain bike. Gears are for wimps.
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Old 09-04-06, 08:49 PM   #11
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Hmmmmmmm...... I thought gears were for hills. And San Francisco does have hills. Big hills.
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Old 09-04-06, 10:49 PM   #12
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yeah, i agree with the U-Lock suggestion...if your like me and tend to park your bike in the same place everyday...you can simply leave the U-Lock locked to the bike rack or whatever your locking to...then you don't have to lug it around everyday...or carry it with you on those days you plan on shopping after work

but i disagree with using a spanking new $1200 bike to commute with...use a beater with a couple cheap upgrades
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Old 09-04-06, 11:44 PM   #13
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Thanks for the lock advice... what you guys said lines up pretty well with what I've been doing. I have a long shank U-Lock and heavy steel cable that I run through the wheelset. I always lock the front wheel and the frame to a fixed object with the long-shank lock, and run the steel cable through my rear wheel. It's not a bad setup, but I'd still be nervous leaving a nice bike unattended.

I decided against the vigorelli and I'm looking at buying a pacer again, and hopefully all-used components. I have built bikes up with my friend before but never done one on my own... we'll see how that goes. In the end I really don't need a raceworthy bike, and I think I was just getting carried away because it was a deal. I realize I'm going to have to make a compromise here, so I think I'm going to get a pacer for weekend warrior rides/commuting and then rescue the old frame from under my parents house (I think it's a shogun?) and make a quick and dirty singlespeed for my nighttime revelry. And thanks for the BUI policy page... I'll keep it in mind.

As for the "gears are for wimps comment"... call me a wimp I guess. I like both, for completely different reasons.

Thanks everybody, any other comments are appreciated!
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Old 09-05-06, 12:00 AM   #14
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Just go ahead and buy a decent-but-cheap 4th bike. You can get one of those at a used bike shop or on Craigslist for less than $150, and I would think a little piece of mind is worth at least that much...

(And for what it's worth, I do ALL my riding on a used hybrid that I bought for $75, and, having no car, I put in quite a lot of miles, yet I still enjoy it immensely. As Lance A. says, it's not about the bike...)
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Old 09-05-06, 12:25 AM   #15
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i've read that it's better to lock the rear wheel and frame to an immovable object than to lock the rear wheel to the frame with a cable, because most people's rear wheels are more expensive than their front wheels. i've heard of people who've had their wheel stolen by someone who cut the cable. it'd suck to have the wheel taken off of your main means of transportation (especially if it's the more expensive wheel!).

maybe if it's hard for you to keep all of those bikes in your house, you could lock your beater up outside someplace?
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Old 09-05-06, 08:08 PM   #16
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The key to keeping your bikes indoors is organization. Get a Gear Up rack (look around on the net for the best price); you can store 2 bikes on it, or 4 with an optional kit. 4 bikes stored in the space that two bikes would normally take up means you can keep them indoors, away from thieves, vandals, and rain. Then you can start thinking about a second rack for your growing fleet...
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Old 09-05-06, 08:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anticoriolis
As for the "gears are for wimps comment"... call me a wimp I guess. I like both, for completely different reasons.

I guess I should have added the smiley face icon... Persoally I don't like gears on a mountain bike, but that's just me. As far as the other reply about San Francisco having hills, well, duh. That hasn't stopped all the hipsters around here from getting fixed gear bikes. It's pretty easy to get around most of the big hills unless you live on one.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:04 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Thor29
Persoally I don't like gears on a mountain bike, but that's just me. As far as the other reply about San Francisco having hills, well, duh. That hasn't stopped all the hipsters around here from getting fixed gear bikes. It's pretty easy to get around most of the big hills unless you live on one.
Forgive me for being so hopelessly un-hip, but what IS the deal with fixies? I see them everywhere now, and I have no idea what the advantage might be. I couldn't ride a fixed-gear bike in this town even if I wanted to, and I don't want to. Seattle is nothing BUT hills, and I can't imagine going up and down these things all day without gears, unless you have giant pistons for legs... I mean, I have a little trouble getting up Queen Anne Hill even WITH gears. (And I'm sorry for getting off-topic, too, but I'm curious about this.)
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Old 09-05-06, 09:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor29
I guess I should have added the smiley face icon... Persoally I don't like gears on a mountain bike, but that's just me. As far as the other reply about San Francisco having hills, well, duh. That hasn't stopped all the hipsters around here from getting fixed gear bikes. It's pretty easy to get around most of the big hills unless you live on one.
Yeah, I figured that, it's usually the case. But if somebody has to ride around a big hill, then their bike has limited utility. I suppose that would be OK as long as you never have to go up that big hill, but the bike is still limited. On the other hand, some of those hills are so steep that it's probably quicker to walk up.

Hipsters have fixed gears here too, but if I were going to choose a fixie, I wouldn't do it to follow the latest poseur trend, I'd do it because it makes sense for me to have one. Well, that's not entirely true-- I'd do it to experiment too, but if I were just choosing one bike to get around on, I sure wouldn't be checking what some poseur is riding to figure it out.

Last edited by Blue Order; 09-05-06 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 09-06-06, 10:07 AM   #20
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I would never lock up a nice bike in a nasty place for more than a few minutes. Never. And I consider Crosscheck a nice bike too - wouldn't lock it up outside for prolonged periods of time either.

There is nothing wrong with having four bikes. For the life of me I do not see how that equals having a car. Get youself a nice road bike for a thousand bucks and get yourself a beater for a hundred. Bar hopping is no fun when your only thing on your mind is "Is my bike still waiting for me outside??!!"
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Old 09-06-06, 11:07 AM   #21
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First- i agree that you just shouldn't use an expensive bike for transportation purposes. Second- consider that if you're car-free you'll probably want a bike that you don't mind getting rain and road-grit on in bad weather.

Both of those factors say you should get a cheap bike of some kind, whether or not you get a fancy road bike. All-weather transportation bicycling wears out expensive (or cheap) bike parts fairly quickly and puts expensive bike parts at risk of being stripped from the bike. You can use an expensive bike but you might wind up spending almost as much as the cost of a car keeping the bike maintained/insured. As far as weekend road rides, a better bike would definitely make a difference in speed, but the importance of the bike is dwarfed by the importance of the "engine"-- but i guess you probably know that.

Commercial culture says that "fun" depends on having something that only money can buy- a $1000 bike, a $80,000 car, whatever. Whether or not you agree with that assessment is up to you.
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Old 09-13-06, 09:09 AM   #22
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if you want a kick-butt steed, unattractitize it.

wrap electrical tape around the frame everywhere. then rub dirt on it
so it looks like garbage. dremel-buff your rims and remove logos. do the
same with yer ders. make the bike look like crap. yet, it will still be the
killer steed beneath. no one will really wanna steal it. this works GREAT !

mix up the tape and use some old cloth handlebar tape in spots, again, rub
dirt on the tape. make it ugly. spray paint it randomly. then leave your 4000
dollar bike locked up with a k-mart chain lock.
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Old 09-13-06, 09:16 AM   #23
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I'd have my dream bike for the weekend and out of town touring. SF. I'd modify a less expensive for around town commuting. Even then, I'd have a good lock. Might even need two commuter bikes to assure transportation in a town with such a high theft rate.
We had enough bike thefts in our town, I concreted a bolt into the floor to protect my bikes, even at home.
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Old 09-13-06, 10:35 AM   #24
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Quote:
mix up the tape and use some old cloth handlebar tape in spots, again, rub
dirt on the tape. make it ugly. spray paint it randomly. then leave your 4000
dollar bike locked up with a k-mart chain lock.
It may be just me, but I think thieves will only be fooled a little by measures like those. Thieves know that a bike is usually more valuable if it has
-pedals that are less than 25 years old, and arent made of cheap plastic
-3-piece cranks with removable chainrings
-alloy brakes
-a frame that looks like modern high-end steel or lightweight aluminum: probably has smooth seams.
-alloy rims and corrosion-resistant spokes/nipples/hubs.

I live in a big city, and I have the impression that big-city thieves are pretty smart about what they do. They often know how good a bike is with a quick look at it.
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Old 09-14-06, 12:27 PM   #25
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Here, most (probably 99 %) bike theft is by kids looking for a joy ride. they usually take only unlocked bikes. Even a cheap and simple lock will deter them. They are more likely to take a Walmart bling-bike than the $3000 Orbea parked next to it. Professional thieves will only take the nice bike, and few if any locks will foil them. I think they mostly operate at college campuses, trailheads and other places where there are a lot of nice bikes.
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