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Old 04-27-05, 11:27 AM   #1
Dawnshadow
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Buying 2 bikes for a college dorm. I know nothing about bikes. Where to look?

Hello.

I'm a member of the Community Council of a small regional campus' residence hall. There's a nice walking and bike trail that runs right past the hall, so we wanted to buy a pair of bikes for our 200 residents. We have plenty of money. We need a pair of bikes that are easy to ride (there are a few hills so some speeds might be nice, but the less there is to screw up, the better,) durable, and easy to maintain. We would keep it locked up, make residents sign a release for so they don't sue us if they take a fall, and provide all appropriate saftey gear, such as helmets.

As I said, I know nothing about serious biking. Can anyone make any reccomendations on where to start looking, or tips on brands to choose or to avoid?

Thank you.
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Old 04-27-05, 11:31 AM   #2
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look in the dumpsters around town get um fixed up enough to ride. that is my ghetto/ugly bike advice. then after you have been biking a few months you can decide what you would like in a bike for your life in college. hmmm. maybe the bike experts on this page would have better advice than the rider of ghetto bikes. ......
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Old 04-27-05, 11:38 AM   #3
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So these will be public bikes for 'rental' by residents of the dorm?

Does your college have a cycling club? Maybe you can find some contacts there.
Does the town have a bike/ped group, or local bike clubs?
If you know nothing about biking, it would be nice to find somebody on campus who does.

If your community does not have a bike co-op, or a re-cyclery that has lots of
used bikes available, I would then go to any local bike shops (LBS) in your area.

Used bikes found at the LBS are usually of a high enough quality to be re-sold by them.
These bikes go through inspections/tune-ups/repairs before being put on the sales floor.

If you have nice budget to work with, the LBS will probably have some good new bikes
for your options (I'm thinking Specialized hybrids) - you also need locks and lights!

Good Luck!

Last edited by * jack *; 04-27-05 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 04-27-05, 11:49 AM   #4
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Bikes are pretty personal things and experience shows that communal bikes are respected like supermarket shopping trolleys. They are also cheap enough for anyone to own.

If you can't find a couple of beater bikes, and/or want something new then the best bet is probably a lower-end hybrid model from a major brand (Trek, Giant, Specialized etc).
Pick your bike shop first, then look at the brands they sell.
Besides a helmet and lock, you may also want a spare tube and a cheap get-me-home pump.
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Old 04-27-05, 12:37 PM   #5
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A coulpe of things to think about:

1. Lease from your local bike shop who will tune them up every once in a while ( suggest a contract for this )

2. Every year our University police would pick up old/abandoned bikes after the year and after notice was given. Kept the bike theft ring outa business and they would use the money for a special fund. The pollice had their pick of the bikes for a while. Might work for you. Mom and dad would buy these bikes for the new kids and when they flunked out or left they would abandoned them.

3. I would suggest bikes that were easy to ride on the style of hybrid or cruiser bike and plan to replace them every year or so. by all means have a competant tech tune them up on a regular basis. This could be lawsuit city if someone's little darling skins their knee on one.
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Old 04-27-05, 12:49 PM   #6
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Get the local LBS to donate a couple of low end bikes for advertising in return. You could plaster "Bikes donated by xxxxxx" all over the place. With 200 students, there will surely be some bike sales in it for them.
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Old 04-27-05, 01:04 PM   #7
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The Chicago police have some Cannondales that they zip around Chicago. I don't know which ones they have, but if you give them a call, you can get the names. Those bikes are sturdy, and they seem to last a while too.

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Old 04-27-05, 03:35 PM   #8
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Two bikes are not going to provide a comfortable or safe fit for students who might be 4 feet 10 inches or six feet eight inches tall.

You said you have "plenty" of money. Rather than buy two expensive bikes, it might be better to buy six or eight $200 bikes in sizes ranging from extra small to extra tall.

For example, Trek makes an entry level mountain bike in a wide range of sizes. Shops near me often have that bike "on special" for $199 or $225. So, you could buy six of them for $1,200.

Budget for some OnGuard Bulldog U-locks, and helmets. About $300 on day one for six bikes. Then, another $300 per year for tires, tubes, and maintainance. So, your total budget for one year for six bikes would be $1,800 and your second year budget about $300.

Have some "artistic" type do a nice job of lettering the sides of the frame: "Kennedy Dorms - Campus Police 555-7777" so folks from off-campus don't wander off with them.
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Old 04-27-05, 07:08 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advice so far. I'll thke this to the meeting tomorrow night and we can all talk. You all have some great ideas that we wouldn't have thought of.

"So these will be public bikes for 'rental' by residents of the dorm?

Does your college have a cycling club? Maybe you can find some contacts there.
Does the town have a bike/ped group, or local bike clubs?
If you know nothing about biking, it would be nice to find somebody on campus who does.

If your community does not have a bike co-op, or a re-cyclery that has lots of
used bikes available, I would then go to any local bike shops (LBS) in your area."


Yes, we are "renting" them out. I don't think there's a cycling club or any co-ops, but there might be something on the main campus. One of the other Council members is looking into local bike shops this week.

Bikes are pretty personal things and experience shows that communal bikes are respected like supermarket shopping trolleys. They are also cheap enough for anyone to own.

If you can't find a couple of beater bikes, and/or want something new then the best bet is probably a lower-end hybrid model from a major brand (Trek, Giant, Specialized etc).
Pick your bike shop first, then look at the brands they sell.
Besides a helmet and lock, you may also want a spare tube and a cheap get-me-home pump.


Good point. The bkes might not last too long... The idea of a spare tube and punp is good, but how hard is it to change the tube if we include directions with the bike?

"1. Lease from your local bike shop who will tune them up every once in a while ( suggest a contract for this )"

VERY good idea. That way, we can just lease them in the early fall and spring, and not have the bikes sitting around and rusting (or taking up room in the office somewhere) all winter when it's too bad to ride.

"2. Every year our University police would pick up old/abandoned bikes after the year and after notice was given...."

I don't know if we have that problem here-- aside from the 200 residents, the rest of the students commute-- but they might have some up at main campus....

3. I would suggest bikes that were easy to ride on the style of hybrid or cruiser bike and plan to replace them every year or so. by all means have a competant tech tune them up on a regular basis. This could be lawsuit city if someone's little darling skins their knee on one.

OK, I'll do research into those types. If our maintance man can't tune them up, we'll take them back to the shop every so often. We're going to have release forms to keep from getting sued if someone gets hurt.

Get the local LBS to donate a couple of low end bikes for advertising in return. You could plaster "Bikes donated by xxxxxx" all over the place. With 200 students, there will surely be some bike sales in it for them.

Very good idea. We have plenty of money, but not unlimited money. And people on the trail will see the advertising, too!

"The Chicago police have some Cannondales...."

OK, will look into it.

"Two bikes are not going to provide a comfortable or safe fit for students who might be 4 feet 10 inches or six feet eight inches tall.

You said you have "plenty" of money. Rather than buy two expensive bikes, it might be better to buy six or eight $200 bikes in sizes ranging from extra small to extra tall.

For example, Trek makes an entry level mountain bike in a wide range of sizes. Shops near me often have that bike "on special" for $199 or $225. So, you could buy six of them for $1,200."


That's more than we wanted to spend right away-- if no one wants to ride the bikes, they'll just sit there-- but if the bikes are popular we'll definely buy more.

"Budget for some OnGuard Bulldog U-locks, and helmets. About $300 on day one for six bikes. Then, another $300 per year for tires, tubes, and maintainance. So, your total budget for one year for six bikes would be $1,800 and your second year budget about $300."

Sounds reasonable.

"Have some "artistic" type do a nice job of lettering the sides of the frame: "Kennedy Dorms - Campus Police 555-7777" so folks from off-campus don't wander off with them."

*nods*


Thank you, everyone, for the good advice.
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Old 04-27-05, 11:14 PM   #10
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Little late here...but another possibility might be Worksman Bikes, they are pretty bulletproff.
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