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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 05-18-09, 01:09 AM   #1
mr geeker
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super cheap tour

sometime in the near future i intend to go on a tour of my home state, iowa. my current bike is dead and i'm in the market for a new one. being more strapped for cash than most seem to be, i.e. $600 is out of my price range, i decided i'm going to get a waly world (wal-mart) bike. specificly this one: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=8399245 . would this be a good bike for a beginner such as i, for one planned as such?
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Old 05-18-09, 02:48 AM   #2
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You'll be in a lot of pain due to the handlebars and of course won't be going very fast. You see people with far lesser bikes on Ragbrai, though whether those bikes last longer than a week is up for debate.

Check Craigslist.
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Old 05-18-09, 02:49 AM   #3
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That's the best $132 new bike I've seen. My Schwinn Le Tour with rear rack, collapsible Wald baskets, Avenir toe clips and frame pump cost nearly twice as much in 1982.

Look into Goodwill or similar second-hand stores, the local bike shop, and garage sales (there's a lot of decent, usually unridden bikes cluttering up people's houses). You can get them for nearly nothing if you catch folks when they're moving. You might find a real bargain in the used bike market for about the same as new from Wal-mart.

When you get the bike home, inspect it carefully before riding to make sure that is has been assembled properly. If you don't know what to look for, seek out a knowledgeable person for help.

Be sure to inflate tires to specified pressure before each ride, and clean and lube the chain regularly.

Good luck!
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Old 05-18-09, 03:39 AM   #4
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For about 100$ you can get a bike off craigslist or ebay that will be much more reliable. Wal-mart bikes , for the most part, are essentially disposable. One thing breaks you throw the whole thing away. A quality used bike will be much better and worth the repairs IF something does break down on the road. It will also be a better bike in terms of everything to do with performance and comfort.
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Old 05-18-09, 04:50 AM   #5
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sometime in the near future i intend to go on a tour of my home state, iowa. my current bike is dead and i'm in the market for a new one. being more strapped for cash than most seem to be, i.e. $600 is out of my price range, i decided i'm going to get a waly world (wal-mart) bike. specificly this one: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=8399245 . would this be a good bike for a beginner such as i, for one planned as such?
It's not the best choice, but there's nothing about the bike that says you CAN'T tour on it. There's a poster here on the Touring Forum, GPSBlake, who rode from SC to TX on a Schwinn Sidewinder.

That said, you can sometimes get a better bike second hand by shopping on Craigslist, eBay, second-hand stores and garage sales. Personally, I'd pursue that route.
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Old 05-18-09, 06:25 AM   #6
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If you buy that bicycle do check spokes to ensure they are taut; often less expensive bicycles will have wheels built with differing spoke tension--some too loose--and that will create a problem once the bike is loaded.
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Old 05-18-09, 06:32 AM   #7
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I hit up the Des Moines Craigslist and found:

http://desmoines.craigslist.org/bik/1175843248.html

http://desmoines.craigslist.org/bik/1175426594.html

http://desmoines.craigslist.org/bik/1174467622.html

http://desmoines.craigslist.org/bik/1172683264.html

These are all relatively inexpensive, and would work for lightweight touring. Flat bars (like on the mountain bikes) give some people wrist trouble on long rides. Bar ends run about $15 or $20 and can minimize that nicely. Bikes like these may have short chainstays, but your Walmart choice likely has the same problem. The shorter the chainstays, the lighter the load needs to be... which isn't a bad thing in this case, since lighter loads mean you can get away with a cheaper rack and panniers. The more you carry, the more the bike needs to be designed for carrying weight, and this adds to the cost.

Poking around at bike shops that sell used bikes is also worthwhile. You'd pay a bit more than at Walmart or on Craigslist, but you can usually find a bike that's *meant* for carrying a load too. And the bike shop will make sure the bike is in proper working order, so you won't run into any surprises with your brakes or shifting.

If you really need the bike to be as cheap as possible, for as long as possible, I'd hunt for a local bike co-op. Bike co-ops teach bike repair, and have build-a-bike programs (sometimes only for kids, sometimes for everyone) where you can earn a bike by repairing it. Since fixing a bike can get pretty expensive, this is a good route if you need to save money. The more you know about bike repair, the easier it is to do things on the cheap.
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Old 05-18-09, 06:32 AM   #8
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Speaking of Wal-Mart bikes, http://www.withoutaclue.netfirms.com/
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Old 05-18-09, 06:39 AM   #9
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Read the reviews on the Walmart site.
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Old 05-18-09, 09:39 AM   #10
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+1 for the used bikes.

If you do go with Wal-mart, keep in mind that the people that do final assembly on the bicycles there were not hired to be bike mechanics and frequently don't know what they are doing. After doing some work on my friends' bikes in college, some trouble spots to look out for are:

The wheels. Make sure that they are true and that the spokes are appropriately tensioned.

The brakes. The rims are usually steel, so they don't stop very well under any circumstances, which makes it really important that the brakes be adjusted properly. Check the toe-in. If the brakes squeal when they get wet, don't worry; that's what steel rims do.

The hubs. The kid assembling the bike probably didn't check these at all. They will probably be loose, and riding on them without getting rid of the play will ruin them very quickly.

It looks like you found one without suspension. That's good, because the suspension on the mountain bikes is a safety hazard.
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Old 05-18-09, 12:56 PM   #11
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the problem with Craigslist is my only form of transportation other than a bike is my feet... that and every time i inqure about one on there i never get a response. all the local bike shops seem to be out of my admitedly small price range. i've looked other places, but being as i have a rather short stature for an adult male (5' 4 3/4") most bikes are also too big.

Last edited by mr geeker; 05-19-09 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 05-18-09, 01:00 PM   #12
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Buy the first $20 bike that you find, whether it fits or not. Use that one to find the next one, and then sell the first one.
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Old 05-18-09, 03:26 PM   #13
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Go for it as long as it's not too big for you. I didn't see anything about sizing.

Check all nuts and bolts for tightness. Make sure the shifting is accurate and smooth before you take it off the lot. Consider narrower, puncture resistant road tires. Keep the load as light as possible.

Have fun.
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Old 05-18-09, 03:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mr geeker View Post
the problem with Craigslist is my only form of transportation other than a bike is my feet... that and every time i inqure about one on there i never get a response. all the local bike shops seem to be out of my admitedly small price range. i've looked other places, but being as i have a rather short stature for an adult (5' 4 3/4") most bikes are also too big.
I suggest you put up a WTB ad on craigslist. Explaining what your looking for and your size. What you want to do and so forth. Let the offers come to you. Also explain your bike situation as well. You may end up with a free or almost free bike. Posting it will cost nothing and what do you have to loose trying this method?

Also......... Make it clear that your looking for something under $100 and see......... Your car free situation.

I've done this two different times and ended up with bikes that worked and also within my budget. The bikes also had never been listed on Craigslist.
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Old 05-19-09, 10:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by mr geeker View Post
the problem with Craigslist is my only form of transportation other than a bike is my feet... that and every time i inqure about one on there i never get a response. all the local bike shops seem to be out of my admitedly small price range. i've looked other places, but being as i have a rather short stature for an adult (5' 4 3/4") most bikes are also too big.
Des Moines has a city bus system. It doesn't look great from their website, but the buses do have bike racks, and fares are $1.50. Expensive, but it does extend your range a good bit.

And that's not short for an adult. The average adult woman is 5'3". If you're focused on getting a typical road bike with drop bars, you will have issues... but those issues have a lot more to do with our culture being sexist than with it being impossible to make a road bike for a short person. If you can deal with a Raleigh 3 speed (you'll need a step through, the men's styles did not come small enough) or with a "women's" mountain bike, you can get a bike.

The idea of putting up a wanted to buy post is an excellent one. If there's a university nearby, check for abandoned bikes on campus on move-out day... and at any rental housing. A friend who is 4'11" trashpicked herself a Raleigh 3 speed that fits that way. Free definitely is in your budget. (the bike has since cost her about $15 for an inner tube, a new nut for the rear wheel, and a basket for the back rack)
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Old 05-19-09, 11:09 AM   #16
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It looks like the Wal-Mart price went up $3 since this couple rode 4000 miles across the US in seven months on their $129 Wal-Mart bikes.



Here's a quote from their web site:
Over and over we heard, "those bikes aren't intended for anything but bike paths in the park, they're for sidewalks, not the open road," and, "they'll die on you in a couple of hundred miles, you don't know how to fix them, you'll get stranded in the middle of nowhere - what then?"

This wouldn't be the recommended way to do it, but it proves that with a bit of resourcefulness and determination you can tour on just about anything that rolls.
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Old 05-21-09, 11:34 PM   #17
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i took everyones advice and looked at cl one last time, and lo 'n behold, i actualy got a response from someone. and to think, i had just about given up on responses from said board. its a 19.5" framed 2004 trek 830. the kicker is that i'm giving less for it than i would have for the waly-world bike.
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Old 05-22-09, 06:41 AM   #18
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Congratulations! Sounds like you found a nice bike for your trip.
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Old 05-22-09, 06:52 AM   #19
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i took everyones advice and looked at cl one last time, and lo 'n behold, i actualy got a response from someone. and to think, i had just about given up on responses from said board. its a 19.5" framed 2004 trek 830. the kicker is that i'm giving less for it than i would have for the waly-world bike.
The 830 is the entry-level mountain bike in Trek's line. You should be able to put a rear rack and panniers on it. Perhaps replace the knobby tires with road ones.
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Old 05-29-09, 11:48 PM   #20
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i took everyones advice and looked at cl one last time, and lo 'n behold, i actualy got a response from someone. and to think, i had just about given up on responses from said board. its a 19.5" framed 2004 trek 830. the kicker is that i'm giving less for it than i would have for the waly-world bike.
heres the picture of most of it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Img00030.jpg (94.5 KB, 34 views)
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Old 05-30-09, 12:14 AM   #21
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You just got 10X the bike over that Wally World bike.
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Old 05-30-09, 11:48 AM   #22
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I bought this on craigslist for $20. Best deal I found so far.
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Old 05-30-09, 12:35 PM   #23
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Although the bike has been purchased (good buy, by the way), I just came across this interesting site.

http://www.propertyroom.com/

~R
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Old 05-30-09, 08:22 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by mr geeker View Post
i took everyones advice and looked at cl one last time, and lo 'n behold, i actualy got a response from someone. and to think, i had just about given up on responses from said board. its a 19.5" framed 2004 trek 830. the kicker is that i'm giving less for it than i would have for the waly-world bike.
Oh- now I understand! I haven`t followed this thread from the beginning, so when I read the first post I was completely baffled as to why the heck he was looking at that piece of crap when, according to his signature, he already had a perfectly good hard tail mountainbike. Much better, Mr Geeker .
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