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Great comments. I would keep an eye at craig's list and also local garage sales. Strongly recommend that you stick to name brands only because most bike shops will not work on unknown or "lesser brands", due to insurance. You may want to visit a bike shop that you like and ask. Good luck.
"Excellence is but for the few."
I don't know about your town, but here in Boise, ID. we have the BBP (Boise Bike Project) They are a non-proft bike shop and they accept donations, such as bikes and components. The volunteers will either repair the bike or part it out and sell the parts. If the bike is repaired it is then placed or sale. You can pick up a bike starting at $50 and go up. I'm working on a project bike right now and I have $50 invested and the bike has full Shimano XT and Deore components and suspension on an American made Raleigh frame. To learn more about the BBP check out their link here www.boisebicycleproject.org/Welcome.
And when buying used, it is important to take the bike to a bike shop for a tune up to make sure all components are functioning properly and safely.
I also suggest to buy used, but it can be hard to know what to look for.
There are so many factors involved, that it's to give advice in this forum.
My first suggestion would be to stick with the name brand used bikes; Trek, Specialized, Giant, Marin (there are others, but these are the most prolific).
Look at the manufacturers current websites to get an idea of the type of bike you want (sometimes the models have not changed names for years).
Try not to get discouraged at the prices, used bikes go for MUCH less than new ones.
Secondly, ride the bike and make sure EVERYTHING works. Shift through all the gears and make sure the brakes work WELL. Make sure that it fits you as well.
Good luck, and let us know what you find.
Edited by: TOPAHI at: 6/6/2011 (16:16)
Riding a bike is FUN!
The treadmill is NOT!
Never argue with idiots... They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
My suggestion is to look for bikes that are desbribed as commuter or hybrid bikes. These are typically a tad lighter than, say, a mountain bike, but the rider sits upright. rather than hunched lower as on a road bike. You might want to go for a lighter bike than a cruiser seeing as you will also be towing a trailer. I used to use a Trek hybrid before getting a road bike and I really loved it. I still use it for jaunts around town on the weekends. It sounds like you will be biking primarily on paved roads so this would be a good option.
Do some research on the size bike you should get, as that will make all the difference as to comfort.
Lastly, bike trailers for kids come up all the time on Craigslist. I am looking for one too and have found that the ones advertised in the baby/child section are offered for less money than the ones posted to the bike section!
I'm also on a budget and bought a schwin at Walmart. It works for now hoping to be able to get a good one some time. Also I'm not sure where you are from, but we have a organization called scope that will give helmets if there are people who need one. Good luck!
Ugh... I know exactly what you mean. The choices... new or used... are utterly overwhelming. That's part of the reason why I'm still riding a 25 year old bike that I paid $80 for. I wouldn't mind having a new one, but there's no way I can afford anything even half decent, and what I can afford would probably be garbage.
***** Laurie in Northeast Ohio *****
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I did look on craigslist, however, I am not sure what type of bike to even buy for my needs. From my reading, it would be a Cruiser/comfort bike? What would be a good brand to look for? I see a lot of Schwinns, but not sure if that is a good brand. It was a bike I had growing up,...
Keep your eyes on Craig's List and local garage sales...you're probably already doing that...lol!
Another idea: don't know if you are fortunate enough to have a local bike club filled with handy fellows like ours... We have big-hearted, generous members who are ALWAYS scavenging bike parts, old, unwanted bikes and cobbling together, rehabbing bikes for either free or very low cost, often done for schools.
Here's one example:
You might ask around bike shops to see if they are aware of any programs like this. Odds are a bike of this sort will be better than anything you could buy in the store for your price range.
Here's some other message threads with bike buying advice:
Here's another message thread from the Slow Riders SparkTeam:
Good luck with your efforts!! Keep us posted on how you make out!
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Hello, I am wanting to buy a bike for commuting from work to pick up my son from school, about 6 miles each way. I have a VERY tight budget and I am very over-whelmed with all the bike choices. Hoping the biking will help cut our gas budget and get me in better shape. :)
Please help. I really can't spend more than $150 to $175 on a bike. My budget it THAT tight cause I would also have to buy a trailer or carrier for my son (3 1/2 year old). Not to miention helmets for the both of us.