Bicycles & biking

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I'm considering getting into bicycling. I discovered that there are a few hundred miles of safe, paved bicycle trails in my area, and extending out to a state park. Biking seems like a good exercise and good low-cost family outing. My wife borrowed my mom's bike, which is a $600 Trek brand bike from a bike shop. She loves it.

    I on the other hand, found my bike behind my mom's garage; a '92 Schwinn Mirada Sport. It has been sitting out in the rain for 3 years or so. She bought it at a garage sale for 35$. The shifters didn't work and the tires were nearly reduced to dust. I took the shifters apart, oiled and cleaned them, put them back together and they work almost great now. Still one shifting bug I have yet to work out. I replaced the back tire and tube for $30 but I can't decide whether it's worth putting any more money into.

    I got a bike trailer from the flea market and we have gone on 2 bike trips so far, both <10 miles. Pending more trips to see if we all actually enjoy it, I think I want to get into touring. Not extreme touring days or weeks at a time, but just day trips, maybe out to the state park for camping. So I want to get a touring bike that it rugged and I can pack a gear on. I'm going to have gear packed on the bike frame itself and I'll be pulling a trailer with 2 kids and more gear in it, so I'll need low gears.

    So here's the question parts of my question: (1) Why do bikes cost so friggin much? Everything I read about bike touring says the Surly Long Haul Trucker is the king of the road, but it's $1400. It's made of steel, just like my Schwinn. Even the frame alone is >$500, 5 tubes of steel welded together. (2) Is my Schwinn worth putting any more money into? It is actually set up like a touring bike, with the mounts for panniers and racks, and it is the perfect size for me coincidentally. Looking at ebay, walmart, craigslist, etc. the only bikes I can find that meet those two needs cost at least $500. (3) What is the deal with bike shops? I've heard the the majority of bike shops won't even touch a Schwinn. Is this some sort of elitism or is there a legitimate reason for it? (4) Is there any reason why I shouldn't try to build my own touring bike? As I mentioned in question #1, if there's something magical about the construction of a bike frame, I don't know about it. I can sorta weld, and I've got half an idea how a frame jig should work. I think I could make a passable bike frame. I assume the fame would need to be annealed after welding to relieve stress; I might be able to do that at home if I can come up a way. That would save me at least a portion of the cost of getting a nice touring bike. (5) If I did make my own bike, would the bike shop turn their noses up at it like they do the schwinn?
     
  2. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    have you seen the public buses that carry the riders bike in front on a rack. go to

    the transit treminal and ask when they will have the next bike auction. you can get

    a good cheap bike .
     
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  3. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    But if you plan on putting your bike on the bus you need to take a mini class and get a permit. On the plus side for you guys they approved a trail from coast to coast from St Petersburg to Daytona. I'm sure will be hiking to start, then mountain bikes, the pave it.
     
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  4. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    My experience: Bought a used bicycle for $10. Rode that to school, to work, and home each day. Easily 50 miles a week. After 2 years of this, I was 5'9", 165 pounds, and my thighs were so big that I had difficulty getting my jeans on, and I was wearing bush cut jeans! My resting heart rate was 50.

    I'm not expecting you to do 50 miles a week, but I can say from experience that it can only do good things for you...unless you need to keep your legs slim for swimsuit modeling.:rolleyes:

    ps, I NEVER even tried to do any kind of high speed or fast acceleration. It was impossible on a $10 bicycle, so don't think you need to do wind sprints to get some exercise. You don't even have to get sore muscles. This brings up one of what I consider a more important lesson in life. You don't have to hurt to grow muscles. I never did wind sprints on crutches, either, but I'm built like a brick outhouse, legs, chest, and arms, after my experiences.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
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  5. maxpower097

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    I'm recovering from back injuries so I'm walking/speedwalking right now. I hope to be able to actually run in a year or two. I wanna swim more but am scared if I throw a vert. in the pool.
     
  6. THE_RB

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    Feb 11, 2008
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    Trendy tossers with too much money. :)

    Seriously now, you can build a great bike for less than the cost of buying one. If you like the geometry of your Schwinn frame, just upgrade the other parts. You can pick up nice cranks, wheels, shift gear etc all pretty cheap, especially if you check ebay.

    Most of the stuff just bolts on and it's very easy to work on.

    Personally I like a quick release front axle, so you can pop the front wheel off in a second and put the bike in a trunk etc.

    And twist-shift controls "grip shift" or other brand, like they use on mountain bikes. Also some flat type bars are better for control and comfort, those silly racing bars are meant for just that. If you are not going to race and ride everywhere at max speed then go for comfort and control.
     
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  7. DerStrom8

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    Feb 20, 2011
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    I agree with most of what has been said. Biking is a great form of exercise, and the best part about it is that it doesn't require any fancy stuff. I don't think I have ever bought a bike. I've pulled mine out of scrap piles and with a little penetrating oil and a few bucks I was able to get them usable.

    My advice would be to not try for anything fancy. Just get a very basic model, and it will serve you fine. Especially if you have PAVED bike trails, you don't need to worry about fancy suspension or anything like that. My personal opinion would be to fix up the bike once, use it for several years, fix it up again, etc.

    I have recently gotten back into biking, and I absolutely love it. It's a very peaceful and relaxing way to get around. Good exercise, and allows you to get plenty of fresh air. Even if you can get a bike to work for a single season, it's well worth it.

    My $0.02. Good luck strantor, and have fun!
     
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  8. Brownout

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    Jan 10, 2012
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    Can't you buy a bike at Wallmart for like $70?
     
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  9. DerStrom8

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    Good point.
     
  10. t06afre

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    The $70 bike is crap. It is better to invest some money and get a good bike. That you can have for years. Made of good parts. A few years ago I got a bike that I will estimate cost around $900 in the US. I have used that bike a lot and it works as it should this day. THe $70 bike will rust, fall apart and give you nothing but grief
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I decided I'm keeping the schwinn. It's perfect and I haven't found anything that convinces me that I need to pay $1400 for something I've already got. I'm replacing the 7 speed road gear cassette with a 7 speed mountain bike cassette so I have the lower gears for pulling the trailer up hills. I also plan to get a a handlebar that gives more position options. Other than that, the only thing I plan to buy is a rack for gear, but I won't need that until myself and my family are capable of day-long, or longer rides.
     
  12. strantor

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    Nice bike t06afre.
     
  13. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

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    Nice bike t06afre
     
  14. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    [​IMG]

    This one was about £400, it's a hybrid, so wheels like a racer, but comfortable riding position like a mountain bike. Mountain bike tyres really slow you down on the road, you won't believe the difference unless you have tied it.
     
  15. strantor

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    I'm using hybrid tires; smooth inside and grip outside. I'm sure they're a compromise - neither a good road tire OR offroad tire, but I'm slow anyway. I'm pulling a trailer with kids and a picnick in it, and later I'll be loaded down with gear. That's the main reason why I can't justify paying out for a bike. From what I can tell, you pay for speed. The lighter the bike, the more expensive. Well there's a thousand dollar difference for only a few pounds difference. If I was 1% body fat and counting ounces in my skin-tight clothes and bicycle frame it might be worth the fee, but the way I see it, as soon as you strap a bag to the bike, you've just negated that thousand dollar difference.
     
  16. tracecom

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    Apr 16, 2010
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    You have inspired me. I went to the outbuilding to look at my Ross Hi-Tech mountain bike that I bought new in 1986. Wonder what I would need to do to it to make into an around town street bike? I guess the tires are dry rotted. What else would go wrong with a bike that has been in the dry, but not ridden in a long time?

    Let's see a pic of that Schwinn!
     
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  17. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I would go with the mountain bike tires for reliability and wear a back pack.
    Those skinny tires are just too easily punctured.
     
  18. DerStrom8

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    Feb 20, 2011
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    I've never been a road biker, I'm a mountain biker. I've only ever owned mountain bikes. I guess that's because I've lived in Vermont almost all my life, not many paved roads in my hometown. Mostly just dirt roads and woods trails.
     
  19. strantor

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    It's in pieces right now. I took the rear wheel apart trying to ascertain what model of cassette it has currently, what new cassette will fit it, and what chain will fit it. It's a bit of a puzzle I still haven't figured out, as my stuff is several renditions obsolete and some new stuff works with some old stuff, but not other old stuff, and not on tuesdays. Sifting through the web of tribal knowledge and people who speak in such thick bike lingo that I have to google every third word.

    But anyway, here's what it looks like:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    When I first found it and saw that hideous amalgam of green and yellow, I thought it was sun-scorched previously green bike, but after looking at other pics online I see that they were all painted this way

    Reminds me of this fish:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Punctureproof slick tyres have come a long way recently, I've not had one in a while and I'm riding over broken glass all the time. The speed difference compared to treaded is amazing, my flat road speed is around 25mph compared to maybe 15mph with a heavy tread. The one I'm using at the moment is Continental Sportcontact City 700X28C. It's pretty cheap, lasts well, low rolling resistance but excellent grip.
     
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