Friday, April 6, 2012

our new bikes

We knew we wanted bicycles for fun and cheap transportation.

Emma found hers quickly. It's a crank-forward model, the Suede by Giant, that she bought from the local bike co-op, Hub. She wanted several gears, and she liked the crank-forward because it would put her a little closer to the ground, which would make her feel a bit more secure.

I was torn between getting an old beater that no one would want to steal, or an adult tricycle that would be great for hauling things, or a recumbent that would be easy on an over-50 body. But recumbents are expensive, trikes take up a lot of space, and beaters really aren't fun to look at or ride.

Then Emma spotted the Elektra Cruiser 1 at REI. I like the added ergonomics of the crank-forward and the simplicity of having a bike with only one gear. Its gear is a bit low, so when I'm in better biking shape I may change the sprocket to get a little more speed out of it. Or maybe not. It's good to go slower and see more.

Neither of these bikes are as cheap as something from Target or Walmart—without any extras, mine was about $275 with state tax, and Emma's was nearly $500—but we bought them with the intention of keeping them the rest of our lives.

I did a little googling for average bike prices, and concluded what we paid is reasonable for a well-made bike:


  1. That's the thing. When you're buying something you're going to use for the rest of your life, it can't be too cheap.

    I learned that about shoes, years ago. I always got the cheapest shoes, at Walmart or whatever, and they'd last about a year. The first time I got good shoes, I was surprised to see that they lasted faaaaar past the price differential. I have a pair of shoes that is fifteen years old, and still going strong.

    Of course, I take good care of my shoes, too.

    I've wondered if this is a class thing. I learned about the lasting qualities of good shoes, but how many people don't, or can't?

    1. Someone could do an interesting article about that, I suspect. Working class folk definitely appreciate things that last. I notice that with tools and guns and cast iron frying pans, things that get passed along to friends or children. But it's true that in general, if we have to choose between having something cheap or nothing at all, most of us will go with something cheap. My buying is very different when my financial future seems secure.

  2. I would argue that it's not just working class folk that appreciate things that last, except that I don't actually know anyone who isn't in the working class. And i would also argue that buying things that last is a learned skill that *most* working poor ( in this country) never learn.
    However, I was trying to find a way to message you personally, and yet my Google skills are no good compared to technology's kung-fu, so I am sending you a meek message here. Now that you live here in my fine city again ( not really MY city---I take very little responsibility for it), I think I should have you and Emma over for dinner. And maybe Steve. We could invite him, too. Maybe.

    1. Oh, I suspect everyone appreciates some things that last. It's just that in our throw-away economy, buying things that last is a luxury. Which is to say, I agree shopping well is a learned skill, but without some wealth, you can't exercise the skill.

      Email: shetterly at gmail.