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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 07-03-12, 06:52 AM   #1
davidmcowan
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Do you tell strangers how much your bike costs?

As a car-light family and a serious bike-a-holic we have extra money around to make sure the bikes we ride are nice. Also, in an effort to reduce an hour or so of driving a day my wife was doing to get to work we moved to a very nice house in a spotty neighborhood. (some parts are great other parts are...well... not so great.

Anyhow, I recently bought a CETMA that I've been rolling around town and yesterday we took the kids up to this fountain outside the public library. A guy who was there with some kids (that set off my "shady" radar) started asking me about the CETMA. He said he'd seen me riding around the hood. I tried to stay vague about the price and talked about keeping the price down by building it up but he kept pushing.

This got me thinking, if you have a nice bike that costs a lot- do you answer questions about the price? I didn't feel comfortable telling this guy (who may have been a millionaire but probably not) that I spent that kind of money on a bike. Partly because it is a niche bike but mainly because I don't know him from Adam and don't want to share my personal financial info with him.

How do you talk to people about the cost of your nicer bikes without setting off any alarms?
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Old 07-03-12, 07:20 AM   #2
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Funny that you should mention a library, because that's where I work (not your library, obviously) and the main destination for my bike rides. Now, I don't by any means have the most expensive Specialized in the catalog, but it's a much nicer bike than ANY I've seen in the town where I work. My town and your town sound similar in terms of demographics. We do have a bike rack outside, but I never leave the bike there; too many twiddly bits that can be easily removed would be lost immediately. I park the bike inside, propped on my desk. The drawback of this is that EVERYONE who comes in to the library that day can't HELP but see the bike. The only person who got to hear how much the bicycle cost (besides my supervisor) is one of my friends whose son rides dirtbikes.

I NEVER tell anyone how much it cost. I figure that if they really want to know, they can use the internet (it's free at the library, folks!) and look it up. But I sure as the day is long am NOT going to give them one more reason to get it into their heads to do something shady.

Nobody has flat-out asked me "How much did that cost?" Mostly what I get is "That's a real nice bike." To which I reply, "I like it" or "It sure is, isn't it?" or "Thank you." Most people get the hint. Those that don't, I would venture to say, are either clueless or are trying to be shady while not showing it. The upside to that is that since I AM at work, I can always make it look like I'm super busy and don't have time to get into a long talk about bicycles. Sometimes the conversation rolls around to how far I've ridden the bike that day (which is 12 miles one way), and that fact just drives any thought of price straight out of everyone's head.

Basically what I use is deflection. I just refuse to talk about how much it cost. If someone actually asked me that, I'd probably just say "A lot" and leave it at that. Because "a lot" is certainly objective. I mean, my bike cost a lot, and so did yours, but yours cost way more 'lot' than mine.
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Old 07-03-12, 07:25 AM   #3
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I have no qualms about telling people the cost of my bike if asked, since it's still not worth the price of many used cars in good to excellent condition, plus I make sure that I incorporate an excellent locking system into the price of my bike.
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Old 07-03-12, 08:19 AM   #4
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"Thanks, but it's really not all that. It's the cheapest bike Trek makes. I bought it about five years ago on sale. I guess it's probably worth about $50 today. If I had it all to do over I'd likely get a Huffy."

Let 'em chew on that for a while.
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Old 07-03-12, 08:32 AM   #5
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"Thanks, but it's really not all that. It's the cheapest bike Trek makes. I bought it about five years ago on sale. I guess it's probably worth about $50 today. If I had it all to do over I'd likely get a Huffy."

Let 'em chew on that for a while.
Funny. I like it!
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Old 07-03-12, 08:58 AM   #6
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My bike isn't an expensive one. However, I have been asked and I tend to be vague even with people I know well. For those I don't know, I'd probably downplay the question while changing the subject.

OR, respond with something similar to what was posted just above.. "Thanks, but it's really not all that.. it's probably worth about $50 today. If I had it all to do over I'd likely get a Huffy."


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Old 07-03-12, 09:18 AM   #7
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All to funny, motorists will brag of the great deal to anybody/everybody in that they got on a 2000 to 3000 dollar car that was driven by a little old who only used it to go to church on Sunday, but many cyclists will practically resort to an almost bald face lie when it comes to revealing the cost of a similarly priced bike.
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Old 07-03-12, 09:35 AM   #8
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Yep. I lied through my teeth. Not because I cared whether or not he understood the value of my purchase but because I didn't want people in my neighborhood to realize that the big clunky bike I ride around is worth what it is.

It is very unlike me to lie through my teeth, but his question was so direct and caught me so off-guard that I ended up going down that road. I will say it has inspired me to think about how I can answer this in the future without having to explain the virtues of being car-light.


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All to funny, motorists will brag of the great deal to anybody/everybody in that they got on a 2000 to 3000 dollar car that was driven by a little old who only used it to go to church on Sunday, but many cyclists will practically resort to an almost bald face lie when it comes to revealing the cost of a similarly priced bike.
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Old 07-03-12, 09:39 AM   #9
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"Less than the cheapest car you could buy...."
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Old 07-03-12, 09:41 AM   #10
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I just say I bought used at a bike shop.
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Old 07-03-12, 09:50 AM   #11
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"How do you talk to people about the cost of your nicer bikes without setting off any alarms? "

I guess that would depend on the situation...most often I'm vague,if it's another rider whose obviously into bikes (which that could be vad too,I suppose,LOL),I generally tell them,but deduct a few percets off what I actually paid. I normally ride (walk,drive,sleep,etc) armed (permitted),if it'sa "shady charactor",I make sure the see,or at least know I'm armed and that I'm an old hill billy
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Old 07-03-12, 10:59 AM   #12
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I did once recently, and thought better of it too late. Guy across the way from us on our camping trip asked. Told him it's the cheapest bike Giant makes but it was $350. Then worried for the rest of the trip that I would wake up and not have a bike to ride home.
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Old 07-03-12, 12:49 PM   #13
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"Less than the cheapest car you could buy...."
The cheapest car I bought was a 95 GMC pickup for $200. Yep, two hundo's. Running fine, street legal, and title in hand. Needed a new heater core and the guy was moving overseas and couldnt take it with him.

As for the cost of my bike, I tell people a few hundred but that its worth is only to someone needing to haul cargo. Not really any "street" value to the person looking to steal a unique bike to make some quick cash.
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Old 07-03-12, 12:56 PM   #14
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To strangers, the short answer is never. Fixed gear bikes are imensly popular out here and when I ride mine I get asked often both what it is and how much I have sunk into it when they see some of the parts.

No sir, I don't like it.
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Old 07-03-12, 01:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by davidmcowan View Post
As a car-light family and a serious bike-a-holic we have extra money around to make sure the bikes we ride are nice. Also, in an effort to reduce an hour or so of driving a day my wife was doing to get to work we moved to a very nice house in a spotty neighborhood. (some parts are great other parts are...well... not so great.

Anyhow, I recently bought a CETMA that I've been rolling around town and yesterday we took the kids up to this fountain outside the public library. A guy who was there with some kids (that set off my "shady" radar) started asking me about the CETMA. He said he'd seen me riding around the hood. I tried to stay vague about the price and talked about keeping the price down by building it up but he kept pushing.

This got me thinking, if you have a nice bike that costs a lot- do you answer questions about the price? I didn't feel comfortable telling this guy (who may have been a millionaire but probably not) that I spent that kind of money on a bike. Partly because it is a niche bike but mainly because I don't know him from Adam and don't want to share my personal financial info with him.

How do you talk to people about the cost of your nicer bikes without setting off any alarms?
I make it a practice to NEVER discuss personal business/cost with anyone outside of my immediate family.

If someone gets to nosey I smile and say "I don't talk about that outside my family" then shut up like a clam.

If pressed further I glare at them and say..."That is none of your concern".
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Old 07-03-12, 03:21 PM   #16
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I have a Madsen cargo bike and I get asked about it on a DAILY basis because the bike is so unique. Yes, folks want to know how much it cost, is it custom made, etc. I usually tell them the price... followed up with: I don't have a car, this is my primary vehicle, I had to get something that would haul a toddler and groceries.
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Old 07-03-12, 05:11 PM   #17
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We get asked all the time about the Christiania, the Bakfiets and the Xtracycle. I've no problem responding accurately about the cost of these bikes as people who ask are generally interested in such bikes themselves. There's nothing in it for junkies taking such bikes.

If someone asks about my touring bikes, I would be more circumspect, but to honest, they're low-key and don't attract so much attention.

DFD.
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Old 07-03-12, 05:52 PM   #18
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I have a Madsen cargo bike and I get asked about it on a DAILY basis because the bike is so unique. Yes, folks want to know how much it cost, is it custom made, etc. I usually tell them the price... followed up with: I don't have a car, this is my primary vehicle, I had to get something that would haul a toddler and groceries.
Which model did you get?
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Old 07-03-12, 07:09 PM   #19
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Tell them you won it off a radio station. Actually, them that your wife won it and gave it to you because she didn't like it. My wife is constantly entering drawings, occasionally actually wins (won a nice Haro X2 BMX for the kids a few years back), but rarely gives me anything.
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Old 07-03-12, 07:16 PM   #20
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I have a very simple method. My bike looks like an attempt to make a POS look good that went sideways. Other then a few trained eyes, I get no questions whatsoever about the bike.
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Old 07-03-12, 07:44 PM   #21
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Strangers normally don't ask me how much my bike cost, and that's fine with me. It's up there with the questions about how much a car cost or how much a house cost. In other words, it's something personal.
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Old 07-03-12, 10:07 PM   #22
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Only bike enthusiasts ask me how much my bike costs. A bike shop owner made an estimate based on the bike itself and the parts that I'd swapped out/added on (Brooks saddle, Tubus racks, etc.). Otherwise, most people around here can't seem to tell the difference between my Surly Long Haul Trucker and a Huffy from Wal-Mart (aside from the handlebars). I'd like to keep it that way
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Old 07-03-12, 10:58 PM   #23
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"Less than the cheapest car you could buy...."
Yes.. and whatever the cost is... it was probably a relatively good deal considering how much value you get out of a bicycle.
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Old 07-03-12, 11:02 PM   #24
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My answer depends on how I read the person asking. My Hard Rock was a freebie, so I have no problem sharing that.

But my recumbent cost a bit more. If they seem to have a serious interest, then I'm honest. If it's an idle question, or I suspect that the person is trying to evaluate the bike's possible selling price were they to take immediate possession of it, I tell them that recumbents are available from Walmart.
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Old 07-04-12, 04:23 AM   #25
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My co-workers know how much my bikes cost. I generally make people nervous when I'm around so I don't have an issues.
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