It is nearly impossible to buy a new bicycle from the local bike shop but there are a lot of used bicycles out there. Beware though as it is a sellers market and if you see a gem you should snatch it up as quick as you can.
The funny thing I think I have noticed is that vintage (1990 and older) bikes are reasonably priced. Just looking through Facebook marketplace shows some very fairly priced Trek 800 and Trek 830 bikes. Those were Chromoly Steel bikes and many, many people use these old steel frames to build up top of the line touring bikes. So the Facebook Marketplace sellers have it exactly backwards on the vintage stuff.
Which leads me into my next point…………As long as the frame and the fork and bottom bracket is okay MOST EVERYTHING ELSE IS A CHEAP AND EASY REPLACEMENT.
Case in point. Here’s a Tern Folding Bike I found a while back. I will use this bike as an example of used bike selection. It was in essentially good shape with minimal issues that were cheaply fixed. It also came with lots of extras making it a good purchase candidate.
Tern Link D7i
There was quite a few things that needed some attention on this bike BUT IT WAS STILL A GOOD DEAL because none of those things cost a lot to fix. Here’s a list of things I noticed on first inspection:
1968 Schwinn Stingray
Do you remember your first bike? I do. That first bicycle was your ticket to independence. You could GO PLACES that were previously unobtainable to you or they suddenly became obtainable a lot faster.
This may have not been my absolute first bike but it was my first REAL bike. A 1968 Schwinn Stingray. I’m mostly sure about this because I remember the Coppertone color and not the year but the Stingray history has the Coppertone color in 1968 which would have been about the right time as well.
Getting a new bike is still like that for me. Although primarily I ride my bike to lose weight and maintain health I still get a thrill of GOING PLACES and driving down roads that I probably wouldn’t take my car down. The ability to view your surroundings is greatly enhanced with a 360 degree unobstructed view traveling at 15 miles per hour vice 55 miles per hour in a metal cage.
Alas, this is supposed to be a Tech Blog but bicycles are quite technical these days, and what could be more technical than a bicycle that folds up into a small space and is ready to unfold and ride in SECONDS?.
I got my first folding bicycle around 2008, I think, from a Sporting Goods shop in Okinawa called Sports Depo. Pretty sure it was a 2008 Dahon MU P8.
Dahon MU P8
I was going through a bike phase and something about this bike intrigued me. It was small, relatively light, and folded up into a neat little square.
I used to travel to a nearby island for work called Ie Shima which was accessible by ferry. I would sometimes just carry the bike onboard with me and unfold on the other side and go have an adventure. Such are the things memories are made of.
Several months ago I reached a saturation point with the guy in the mirror. He was clearly getting too fat. I was also staring my retirement directly in the face and didn’t want to be old, and fat, and on the couch. I wanted to LIVE and ENJOY my retirement.
When I lived in Japan about 6 years ago I was an avid runner, and bicyclist, and when I moved back to the US all those interests began to slide. It’s a lot more dangerous to ride in the US than it is in Japan and in fact on my very first bike ride in the US in New Bern, NC 6 years ago someone threw a bottle at me. On a Sunday morning, no less.
So I dedicate this post to Baron Karl von Drais who is credited with inventing the first bicycle called the “Draisine”. Too bad for him we don’t still call it that. Then again one of the guys who didn’t necessarily invent something first but made patented improvements on it may have something to say about having things named after you. Case in point. Thomas Crapper. People are forever still going to “The Crapper”. I’m not joking. Look it up.