Saturday, December 22, 2007

$5 bikes?

Suburban at post office.12.23.07

Every once in awhile I come across or hear of folks who want or need bicycles, but say they can’t afford them. If what they’re looking for are fancy racing bikes, then I’m sympathetic. The bicycles I like at our local bike stores usually cost more than $2,000, well beyond what I can afford. That’s one of the reasons I spend time wrenching old bikes.

But if you’re looking for a bicycle for general transportation purposes, you should be able to pick one up for free, or really cheap.

Take the bicycle above, which I used today to go to town, pick up mail at the post office and do a few chores. It cost me $11 at a thrift store and all I had to do is cover up some rust, apply some grease and pump up the tires. (I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to fix the rear freewheel and make it spin, until I found out that this bike has an oddity called a front freewheel.) It’s a nice, sturdy bike and the fenders keep you nice and dry. Using this bike instead of my car for a portion of my travel, the pay-off period in terms of gas savings was probably a week and a half or less.

Of course, I’m a big-time newspaper publisher who controls the means of production, so I can afford the whopping $11 price tag. For the proletariat masses, I might suggest a less expensive alternative – $5 bikes from Humboldt Sanitation and Recycling right here in McKinleyville.

It’s hit and miss, but there are often several bikes parked near the scales. What can you get for $5? I noticed a few weeks ago that they had a female version of the bike pictured above. It appeared to be in perfect shape. This week I was there and Jerry Eaves picked up a decent mountain bike for $5. It looked nearly new, except for some rust. Jerry rode off into the sunset on a mountain bike with index shifting and spanking new tires. Not bad.

On Sunday, I’ll burn enough gas in my compact car to purchase three of these bicycles along with a burger and fries.


Blogger mark said...

Electric Bicycles and Electric Scooters

Elmo The Electric Bike and Electric Scooter Guy

Dude, awesome pictures and blog!!!

This is an excellent blog for electric bicycles. There are not too many around like this. Thanks for making this such an interesting subject. Oh, by the way, Wired Magazine has a great article on hybrid cars this month. (Jan 2008 issue).

God Bless,

8:49 PM  

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