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Old 04-18-16, 01:58 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2014
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Bikes: Volagi Viaje (rando/gravel/tour), Cannondale Slice 4 (tri/TT), Motobecane Fantom PLUS X9 (plus tires MTB)

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In my area, there are a couple of bike mechanics that refurb used bikes on the side, operating mostly off of Craigslist.
You can often get a decent used hybrid for less than $200 from these kind of guys. My wife got a very decent one for $125 that she still owns and uses.
As a brand new cyclist, you are likely to run into things like flat tires, things that need lubricating/adjusting, etc.
Most craigslist seller/mechanics while not giving the level of service/warranty that you'd get from an actual bike store, will at least try to help you out if something goes badly awry.

It would help if you're reasonably mechanically handy - if so, you can search YouTube for just about any kind of basic bike maintenance job and get at least 11 different opinions about how to do it.

Other initial purchases to think about: 1) helmet 2) some way to secure your bike in place

I would not spend too much time agonizing about what kind of bike to get. Just get something affordable that gets you out riding. Then, after a few months, you'll be posting on here about how you want a mountain bike or a road bike or whatever. Hybrids are a very serviceable first choice.

In answer to one of your questions above, I would not freak out about rust spots per se in a $150 starter bike. However, to whatever extent rust spots reflect neglect or abuse, I'd certainly expect the price to reflect that (lower). For a starter bike, you want everything to work reliably off the bat.
alathIN is offline