Well said.  I've been looking at the new city bikes the Sky Yeager has designed for Swobo and they are around $700.  It would be good to see high quality commuter bikes for less. 

On 5/28/08, Sherief <sgaber@gmail.com> wrote:
I think the whole department store bike issue is a real obstacle to cycling.  On the one hand, prices of decent entry level bikes have gone up up up in recent years, making the 149.95 price point on a lot of those wal-mart beasts seem reasonable.  However, as has been our experience at the Austin Yellow Bike, and one that I'm sure others have noticed, those bikes are effectively disposable.  All of the parts within them are near irreparable.  Hubs that you can never quite adjust because the cones start pitting from the box, bad springs, rust, etc.  You pay less but if you actually intend to ride then you end up paying more for a replacement or futile service.  This more often than not puts a sour taste in people's mouths for cycling and the gateway never happens.

I've thought about some way we can get the knowledge out about the virtues of used/older bikes, etc. and the pitfalls of those tantalizingly cheap department store bikes, combined with the refurbishing and sale of (better) used bikes.  A lot of people don't realize that a bike *should* last you 20, 30, even 100 years. I've almost wanted to stand around in the department store bicycle section and hand people leaflets, perhaps shouting "It's a trap!".   When people come into our shop to work on those bikes the difference is made clear enough to them, but something broader could be interesting...

Snobbery towards department store bikes, and more importantly those who ride them, is counter-productive and doesn't help anyone, but department store bikes must nonetheless be stopped.  Their disposability and hassle is arguable anti-bicycle.


On Tue, May 27, 2008 at 9:17 PM, Gern Blanston <getgern@gmail.com> wrote:
When people ask me what the best bike to get is...I answer, "The best bike is which ever one you will get on AND RIDE!, not just have it sit in storage."

On 5/19/08, Cuper <cuper@neighborhoodbikeworks.org> wrote:
And what about for the people are won't to come into your coop for all of the perceived social, racial, economic, and other barriers we all know way too well?  By telling folks *who are already intimidated by you* that those bikes are garbage, and implying that anyone who buys one is stupid, you are alienating potential shop users and customers. 

Those department store monsters aren't great, but can be "gateway bikes."  If you find a more positive way to pitch your product (instead slamming what many people feel is the best they can do), the folks who are riding department store bikes now are light years more likely to come to you in a year or two or five.


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veganboyjosh@gmail.com wrote:

On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 8:17 AM, Bruce Lien <bikedadlien@yahoo.com> wrote:
how do low income families who can only stretch their budgets far enough to buy their kid a bike for under $100, $70, or $40 do so? While some might advocate they buy used bikes, check out the junk sitting at the Goodwill with exorbitant prices on them, sold as is and you can see why that is not a viable option. Garage sales are great alternatives, but again the bikes are sold "as is" which often leaves a bike in need of some TLC from a good mechanic.    Bruce

several things the people on this list have or have access to:

volunteer power/time/energy.
bike knowledge.
decent--better than dept store bikes.

this is just a brainstorm that just came to me after reading gary, rafael, and bruce's emails....but what if we could somehow get the word out to these low income families with no LBS that the coops are the place to go. some kind of mailorder thing...i'm not sure how it would work, but if we're operating on a national level, then shouldn't we be able to address at least some of the basic needs of everyone in the country?
 just an idea, i've been thinking about for all of 30 seconds. unlike gary's and rafaels, which both sound awesome and doable...

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