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Cheap Rides

Old 01-31-06, 10:08 PM
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We are spending a few weeks in south FL, but there wasn't space to bring a bike along. I decided to look for a rental, a discount store cheapie or a thrift store bargain in this area. I wanted a temporary or disposable bike to explore the area around Bonita Springs. My choices turned out to be pretty unappealing, but I settled on an old 10-speed Huffy roadbike from the Lion's Club Thrift Shop. After the purchase price and replacing the rear tire and pedals I now have $38 in the bike. After all the bearings were repacked and everything else generously oiled one afternoon, it rides better than it has any right to. It appears to be at least 20 years old and all steel. It was never a "good" bike and is rusty and a bit noisy, but it has been giving good service for 3 weeks now. It has covered over 30 miles some days and has traveled from Ft. Myers Beach to Naples so far. In 3 more weeks, it will go back to the thrift shop as a donation. I have never seen anything positive about Huffy in the bike forums, but I'm impressed with this one's simplicity and durability, especially as it appears to have been ridden with little or no maintenance for many years. It's now a carefree, funky and fun ride.


It's been almost 6 weeks now and the Huffy is still wheezing along. The shifters are by Sachs and are not indexed which I have finally become accustomed to. Unfortunately the steering head bearings are indexed, which can be disconcerting at times. I have to keep reminding myself this is a throwaway bike and not worth the time and expense to bring everything up to snuff. Just set it up a bit loose and concentrate on the scenery. This part of FL has wonderful cycling weather at this time of year but the motor vehicle traffic is very heavy. There is a fair to good pedestrian/bicycle path network in the area, but many paths are as crowded as the roads with walkers and very slow cyclists wobbling along on "beach bikes." Still, you've got to give the wobblers credit for getting out there at all. There's often a bit of sand on the pavement as well as deep sand traps along the shoulders. It will be nice to get back to more open roads and some hills when we return to NC next week. These flat, straight roads have gotten boring after a few weeks.

Last edited by Lurch; 02-21-06 at 07:39 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 01-31-06, 11:25 PM
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Bikes: 1969 Peugeot U08, unknown MTB circa 1980, '93? Merckx MX-Leader

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VERY cool!

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Old 02-01-06, 09:24 AM
tom cotter
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it's possible that because it's 20 years old that it was better built than a comparable bike would be today. ORRRRRRRRRRRRRR, it's possible that we just don't give these bikes their due respect. Either way, you've given us a great alternative for worry free biking far from home. thanks
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Old 02-01-06, 11:27 AM
Velo Dog
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It's perfect for what you're doing with it, and if all us snobs would admit it, it's probably close to the bike the average person (average non-cycling person) needs. You don't have much money in it, you can ride it anywhere without worrying about it, and the extra few pounds and presumably clunky handling don't matter in the kind of riding you're doing.
I have a friend in her 80s who still cycles occasionally, and when she does, she rides an old steel mixte-frame ("girl's bike") three-speed she bought in a thrift shop for $10 when she was 72. I repacked the bearings and adjusted a few things for her, and as far as I know it hasn't had anything but chain lube, and not much of that, since then. I wouldn't want to ride it 50 miles, but she loves it for the four-mile trips she takes.
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Old 02-01-06, 12:45 PM
Mmmm, Blue Salsa....
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I have a friend who rode the Houston to Austin MS150 years back on a old steel Huffy clunker, the ride is actually over 180 miles with a fair share of hills on the way. He peeled the decals off because he thought he'd get ridiculed for riding 'a Huffy'. He never got off and walked, and finished ahead of over 1000 riders of 'high quality' snob rides....

2006 Gary Fisher Marlin MTB
2004 Salsa LaRaza aka "Mmmm, Blue Salsa" (853 steel is real, baby!)
2003 Kona Humu Humu Nuka Nuka Apua'A Singlespeed - Gone, but not forgotten
1998 Diamondback Outlook MTB
1990 Centurion Cavaletto 'Gaspipe Beater' Roadie
1978 Volkscycle 'Frankenbike' CroMo Tourer
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