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Old 01-18-09, 08:14 AM   #1
maryterp
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Less expensive alternative to renting?

We are vacationing in Northern California in early May and I'm pretty sure at this point that we want to rent road bikes for our whole two week stay (SF, Yosemite, Healdsburg and Mendocino). I've gotten quotes from a couple SF shops (blazing saddles & bay city bikes) and blazing saddles was the best price at $245 per bike for two weeks.

But still - this is 1/4 of the PURCHASE price on the level of bike we need, and I wonder if there isn't a better alternative, some sort of bike share. If I could just find someone with a secondary used bike that is close to our size who would consider a private rent agreement.

Anyone on here interested or ever hear of anything like this?

I'm half considering buying cheap road bikes at walmart and then donating them at the end of our trip.

I mean, we enjoy carbon higher end bikes at home (specialized ruby & orbea), but we are only doing light riding on vacation, mostly just to get around each town without the car and we don't need anything that fancy.
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Old 01-18-09, 11:55 AM   #2
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People post on Craigslist for that kind of thing from time to time. And people here might be willing to help you, too. (But it appears that you just joined the forums, so some people may be hesitant about helping someone they don't know.)

Craigslist has tons of used bikes for sale every day, many in the low $XXX range. You could buy a pair of those and then sell them or donate them before you leave.

Bay City Bikes kind of rubs me the wrong way because they keep spamming Craigslist with an ad to sell their used rental bikes. (Craigslist is free for personal use, not for commercial use.)

Someone's going to ask sooner or later--what size bike are you looking for? And what kind of bike?
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Old 01-18-09, 12:00 PM   #3
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Buying a bike off of craigslist can be very time consuming, which is probably not what you want for a short vacation. Used bike shops are a little more expensive, but much faster since you can look at several bikes at once.
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Old 01-18-09, 12:15 PM   #4
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If you are avid riders, you might enjoy buying folding bikes at home and then bringing them on all your trips. I just bought a folding bike (although not one really well suited for traveling) and I love it. Several of the members here have folding bikes and there is a subforum on BikeForums.net for folding bikes.

And if you guys like to ride, you should really try to include a couple of decent rides in the area while you are here. We have great weather, world-class scenery, and a friendly cycling community!

As for rentals, you might also contact some of the rental shops and ask if they would be willing to give you a better deal on a long-term rental. It can't hurt to ask!
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Old 01-18-09, 12:16 PM   #5
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Stanford Campus Bike Shop does rentals. I believe it's cheaper than the quotes you've gotten.
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Old 01-18-09, 02:42 PM   #6
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It looks like you'll be staying at four different locations. Are you going to rent a rack, too? You might want to consider renting bikes at each location. That way you won't have to worry about transportation and getting them stolen.
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Old 01-18-09, 09:27 PM   #7
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What size frames do you ride?
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Old 01-18-09, 10:06 PM   #8
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If you are avid riders, you might enjoy buying folding bikes at home and then bringing them on all your trips. I just bought a folding bike (although not one really well suited for traveling) and I love it. Several of the members here have folding bikes and there is a subforum on BikeForums.net for folding bikes.
+1, I was going to make the same suggestion.
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Old 01-19-09, 11:35 AM   #9
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+1, I was going to make the same suggestion.
Ha! And you were one of the folder enthusiasts I was thinking of when I made it!
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Old 01-19-09, 06:39 PM   #10
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Frame Sizes

Really good advice all around - thank you!

We are a men's 58 and a women's 51 on our home bikes. Road bikes or hybrids would work, we just wouldn't want anything with big sissy handle bars or big nubby-tire mountain bikes.

I don't think folding bikes would work for us, we couldn't get the quality we would want at the price point we are willing to work at. I guess we don't figure we would need them more than once a year, tops. Just looked at the Ritchey Break Away and briefly considered it . . . but too much $$.

And as one of you commented, I'm worried craig's list will be too unreliable for our arrive and grab timing (we arrive in SF on Sat afternoon and head to Yosemite Sunday morning). I might consider craig's list to sell them at the end of our trip though. If the deal fell through for some reason we could always then donate.

The rates we've gotten are already discounted for the long term. Interesting comment on bay city. If we do rent, Blazing Saddles is currently the top choice as their price is half what the others have provided.

I still think we can actually do better buying cheap new (target has a low end road bike at $200) or cheap used. Any recommendations you guys might offer on shops that have decent inventories of inexpensive used bikes would be appreciated. What I might do is start shopping 3 weeks before our trip and if I can't find anything to buy, then resort to the rentals. I figure even if buying is the same as the rentals - - we'll at least not be on the hook for $1,000 in damages if the rentals are stolen.

The boyfriend says he is afraid to ride a road bike put together at target or walmart - he thinks it will fall apart on him. Anyone have an opinion on that?

I just got a sweet deal on a SUV for our vehicle rental - eliminating the need for a rack and concerns about theft/storage. Ended up costing less that I was planning on spending on a car. I've considered by the day rentals at each location. I just think that we will do more riding if the bikes are at our disposal, plus the BF must clip in, so we would be putting peddles on and off all the time. For instance - at yosemite the rentals are single gear only and $50 a day for two bikes. The riding would just be getting around on the valley floor - hardly worth the $50 a day when the shuttles are free.

Well, sorry for the forever long post, can you tell how much I obsess over vacation plans?!?

Thanks again for everyone's time.
Mary
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Old 01-19-09, 06:46 PM   #11
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stanford

Wow, the prices at Stanford campus are EXCELLENT. I'm sending them an e-mail to see if they will help us after hours though - they close Sat at 3 and are closed Sunday. Our flight is supposed to arrive at Noon, but who knows with the way airlines are running now!
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Old 01-19-09, 07:58 PM   #12
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The only upright road bike I've got is a 56.
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Old 01-19-09, 08:16 PM   #13
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These guys are kind of pricey but their rental bike are top quality. Who knows, you could talk them into a good package deal.
If buying from Craiglist and selling at the end is something you'd consider... an alternative would be to by something at Performance (they're likely to have a sale going on + 10% team performance cash back) and use Craigslist to line up a buyer for them before you even come here. Who wouldn't want a two week old bike at a big discount?
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Old 01-20-09, 10:32 AM   #14
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Read up in the "Road" section of this website (bikeforums.net) for some thoughts on the department store bikes. If I recall correctly, the bikes are not THAT bad, but the skill of the builders is a bigger concern. Sounds like you guys may be handy with tools, so perhaps you will be OK with that. There is very little riding in Yosemite valley that I know of. In my view, you would be better off to spend your time there hiking the trails (and cross-country skiing at Badger if there is snow).

Also, can a small SUV really fit two full-size bikes inside, along with all your biking gear and your suitcases? That would be impressive to see.

Best of luck and enjoy the trip!
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Old 01-20-09, 11:42 AM   #15
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I have fit two full sized road bikes plus full sized backpacking packs plus two adults in my brothers VW GTI I'm sure an SUV could handle even more.

And I would second ROJA's suggestion of hiking in Yosemite. Unfortunately the cables that help you get to the top of Half Dome don't usually go up until the end of May (Memorial Day weekend) but there are plenty of other options that would show off the park better than you could see from the road.

You should have exquisite cycling in Mendocino and Healdsburg though. Enjoy your trip and be sure to post back here if you do a write-up of it
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Old 01-20-09, 12:22 PM   #16
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I don't think folding bikes would work for us, we couldn't get the quality we would want at the price point we are willing to work at.
If it's just for traveling, you don't need a Cervelo or Calfee level bike.

Most folding bikes are just fine. You will probably use them more than you think.

My fiancee and I rode folders through Europe, carrying them on trains, etc..

We rode through the French Alps, including up Alpe d'Huez. I passed several guys on high zoot bikes on my way up.

I was on a Downtube Mini, a cheap folder that costs only $459... http://www.downtube.com/mini_folding...rcher_hub.html

Descending back to Florence on a folder:


Take them on the train:


Alpe d'Huez


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Old 01-26-09, 04:52 PM   #17
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Thanks again to everyone on your help. That recommendation on the campus bike shop REALLY did the trick. Their prices are great and their staff seem to be very nice and helpful. I'll do some in person research on our rental vehicle at the local jeep dealership - it is a jeep liberty or similar which everyone I talk to says is WAY too small. If so, I'll just upgrade to a mini-van or something, whatever I can get a good deal on. . . Now that I think on it, maybe we could sleep in the mini van and save more $$ (just kidding!).

I'm so pleased to have found such a helpful forum - especially helpful to a newbie, which is very nice to see. Thanks again!
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Old 01-26-09, 05:45 PM   #18
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Thanks again to everyone on your help. That recommendation on the campus bike shop REALLY did the trick. Their prices are great and their staff seem to be very nice and helpful. I'll do some in person research on our rental vehicle at the local jeep dealership - it is a jeep liberty or similar which everyone I talk to says is WAY too small. If so, I'll just upgrade to a mini-van or something, whatever I can get a good deal on. . . Now that I think on it, maybe we could sleep in the mini van and save more $$ (just kidding!).

I'm so pleased to have found such a helpful forum - especially helpful to a newbie, which is very nice to see. Thanks again!
Glad to hear that it worked out!
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Old 01-26-09, 06:02 PM   #19
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Have a great trip!
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Old 01-26-09, 06:03 PM   #20
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Have fun, hope we get to see a ride report afterwards.
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Old 01-26-09, 08:10 PM   #21
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Have a great trip! Heck, you guys have even me thinking of a folder...


...oh, and uspspro, I've only gone on a couple of rides with you and Ruth, but my impression is that you have freakishly strong legs. No offense.
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Old 01-26-09, 10:36 PM   #22
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...oh, and uspspro, I've only gone on a couple of rides with you and Ruth, but my impression is that you have freakishly strong legs. No offense.
He does, it's true.
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Old 01-26-09, 10:47 PM   #23
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my impression is that you have freakishly strong legs.
It's quite frightening, really.

See that picture of him on Alpe d'Huez? He's totally got that Mini in the big ring.

(Yeah, it only has one, but still!)
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Old 01-26-09, 11:08 PM   #24
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Have fun, hope we get to see a ride report afterwards.
Yes, and pictures, too.
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