Wednesday, August 4, 2010

bike chick tip wednesday!

hello y'all! hope you are having a great week! tomorrow i jump on amtrak and get to enjoy a lovely ride from connecticut to boston! i can't wait!! i love trains! one of my favorite ways to travel but my number one is by without further ado...

bike chick tip #4: what to bring with you when checking out a bike and what to look for...
this post in mainly for those searching for a bike on craigslist. bike stores & bike shops don't require this much planning or scrutiny because most of the time you will be looking at a new bike and they will have tools and such for you if needed.

so you have made an appointment with someone on craigslist to check out a bike...first wear something comfortable or wear something that you would wear riding...if you are going to mainly wear dresses or skirts when riding then i suggest you wear one to make sure you feel comfortable wearing a skirt or dress while riding...i like to wear black volleyball shorts under my dresses & skirts..makes me feel more comfortable if a gust of wind blows up my skirt...also here is what you should bring along with you...a magnet, an allen wrench & adjustable wrench...

so you meet with the person to view the bike...what should you look for? the first thing i would look for is rust and dents. this is a very important thing for a bike. if it has minimal amounts of surface rust that can be scrubbed off with steel wool...if it is a lot rust then you are looking at more of a project bike...were you will need to stripe the paint of the bike and scrub any rust off...primer the bike and paint...this is probably not what most people are looking for but if you are a diy person i say go for it! if the bike has dents it may have been in a crash and is no longer structurally sound. frames with bad looking dents should be you have checked out the rust and dents and it's good to go...

what next...walk around the bike and look at the bike super dirty? this might be a sign that the person selling it to you didn't take care of the bike so it might need some tlc...check if the brakes work before can do this by rolling the bike and squeezing the brake...are the brakes squishy, squeaky or uneven? be confident that the brakes will slow you and the bike down while riding..look at bolts that connect the seat, the handle bars, wheels & cranks..if they are rusted it might be impossible or extremely hard to remove/replace them...

here are where your tools you brought come in...the magnet is to to test whether or not the bike is made of steel...a magnet won't stick to aluminum or carbon fiber and you should be careful of these types of bikes as they are made more for racing and not for everyday use. a steel bike is what you want. it is sturdy and great for everyday riding BUT try picking up the bike first to see if you can stand lifting you live up 3 flights of stairs? will you be able to carry it down to the subway?

the allen wrench or adjustable wrench will be used to make adjustments to seat and handle bars...remember my last post about fit....if you have made the needed adjustments then you are ready to take her for a ride!! if the bike has gears shift through all of them to make sure they work...use the breaks....does the bike pull to one side? look down at the wheel while riding does it wobble? all of these things can make a huge difference as putting a new set of wheels can be really expensive ($200ish)...take one last look at the bike does it have character, did you enjoy riding it? if so pay the man and you and your bike can ride off into the sunset or fog together :D remember if there are any style or small fit issues those can be fixed...more to come!

what is your first memory of your bike?



  1. I have two very distinct bike memories: When my mom ran my tricycle over with her VW bus (accidentally) and then my first big kids bike which was a Huffy banana seat bike with a rainbow on the seat. It was so rad!

    these are great tips!

    ps- I love that you bike's name is Maryjane, mine doesn't have a name yet :(

  2. biking is so fashionable these days lol everyone is doing it.

    all my bike memories revolve around falling of one :)

    great post <3


  3. very good advice! mind if i pass it along?

  4. Never mind bikes (jk), I am just loving that hand-tooled leather handbag!

  5. citygirl: yes please pass this info along :D

    becky: i know i LOVE that bag, got it at a garage sale for $5!! super steal!


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