I’ve been regularly biking for about 2 years. It’s one of the biggest behavioral changes I’ve made that consistently contributes to my goals of financial independence and fitness. I am happy to say that using a RideKick combined with a really inexpensive Craigslist bike, I was confident enough to get out there on the road, and actually replace car miles with cycling miles.
Unfortunately, I haven’t yet reached my goal of regularly commuting to work twice a week, and problems with my $25 beater bike have hindered me too often this summer. I finally decided, after multiple rides resulting in broken spokes and a wobbly wheel, to throw in the towel on the old girl and find a new bike. I’ve proven to myself that I enjoy cycling, that I can do it in any season, and that it’s a good challenging hobby, so why not upgrade my steed?
My initial scan of Craigslist didn’t surface anything great – trying to buy a used bike in the middle of summer, in my city, is a challenge. While I waited for something nice to come along, I shopped at a few local bike shops. Every shop recommended an entry level hybrid, geared toward commuting – these were pretty nice, but also quite similar to my current bike. They also cost a minimum of $500 new from a shop, while I was hoping to spend under $350. My dream scenario was finding a really great deal on a used, fast road bike. After scoping out the market and doing some test rides, I realized that modern road bikes are quite a bit pricier than hybrids, but they are really fast and fun to ride.
I considered buying a bike online from Bikes Direct or Nashbar, as they have some decent deals on new bikes if you’re willing to DIY the final assembly after delivery. Instead, I finally ran across a gently used 2012 road bike (a Giant Defy 3) listed on Craigslist. The seller wanted $800, which is way more than my initial budget, but after a week of researching prices and realizing my budget was too low to get something great, I upped my budget and offered $600 for the Giant. After some negotiation, we agreed on $650 and I took the bike home.
I am still wondering if I splurged a little too much, but I am having a lot of fun so far. Everything about owning a new bike is a luxury after fussing on my old beater for so long (all of the gears work!). Most importantly, everything is much faster and smoother than I thought possible, and I now feel more confidence in commuting more often. The new bike (combined with my Ridekick) has shaved 10-15 minutes off my commute in the morning, and I’ve ridden to work twice a week for the past 2 weeks (1 more day this month, and I will have broken my own monthly mileage record). Yesterday I added a rear rack ($23), which may enable me to stop relying on the Ridekick as often as I have previously.
Despite my hesitation to spend so much money, I am really happy with how my bike search ended up, and I think my new bike is going to make a great commuter for years to come.
Just getting started bike commuting? Check out my related blog.