redress

Buying Used Bicycles: saving money, saving the earth, and saving sweet bikes from disuse.

Today’s post has been completely circumvented by an adventure down to Des Moines to look at and purchase a pair of really sweet vintage French bikes. This post has not gone through the wonderful hands of Karen, the silent steady force of corrected grammar and spelling. Any misspellings and grammar errors are my own and I apologize in advance.

Bikes are a great way to get from here to there and back again for a minimal amount of cost. You see things when you are on a bike that you wouldn’t see otherwise. You burn loads of calories while riding a bike vs driving in a car. It’s faster than walking. You can get a vintage bike for a pretty good price and it’s just as good if not better then most entry level bikes that cost about the same (or more).  You give a bike a fresh go around that might otherwise sit there unused too. And, since it’s the end of the season, it’s a pretty good time to get one at a really good price.

{image from craigslist listing – it is nasty out right now}

I love my hybrid Bianchi (love!), but as I push my miles higher and higher each ride, a lighter, skinny tired bike has become appealing.  I’ve been scouring Craigslist, Freecycle, and Ebay for a vintage touring/road bike for the last few weeks. This past Saturday morning I finally found not just one, but two bikes to love and ride around. They are a set of French Motobecane’s, the lady is a 1979 and the “gentlemen” is most likely around the same period.

{image from craigslist listing – it is nasty out right now}

The “lady” bike is a Mixte (thanks for letting me know about this crazy typo, thinking one thing and typing another), which I really like (the hi bar extends from the front post to the back wheel hub as a set of two parallel bars). I love the classic look. Both are pretty much all original and have been ridden maybe a total of 350 miles (there’s a odometer hooked up to the men’s bike).

{image from the Motobecane catalog}

I took the lady bike around for a spin (in the rain) and it fits like a glove, or a perfectly fitting bike, whichever. The guys bike fit Jason well too. Amazing how that worked out.

Of course I found this amazing article on buying a vintage bike after the fact, and luckily everything on the list checks out on these two bikes.

{image from the Motobecane catalog}

So what happened to today’s craft related post? Why am I posting about cycling vs crafting? Well, I wrote today’s post last night and the plan was to shoot photos for today’s post today, but we dashed down to des moines thinking there would be plenty of time to shoot after looking at the bikes. Well, it turned out that the lock on the storage unit was changed and we were delayed quite a bit before we could see them. When we got home it was much to dark to take any kind of reasonable photos. So instead of crap photos, I decided to share our new to us bikes with you.

I’m going to take photos in the morning, so I’ll share the new crafty exploit with you then instead of waiting until a “regular” post day. Consider today’s post one of those “bonus” posts about a random side passion. If you are interested in cycling around Iowa and fitness stuff, check in on my personal blog which is turning into a kind of weird cycling/getting fit/meal planning/mini farming journal. I’ll be posting detail shots of the bikes later this week (on my other blog) as I clean them up.

Crafting soon! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving break!
Kristin

2 thoughts on “Buying Used Bicycles: saving money, saving the earth, and saving sweet bikes from disuse.

  1. hi! congrats on getting a nice used bike (or two)!!

    just to clarify that your awesomeawesome step through frame is a “mixte,” not a “fixte” (unless i guess it’s like a fixed gear mixte, in which that name mashup is super rad…). i have one myself that i lovelovelove.

    https://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/06/buying-vintage-mixte-what-to-look-for.html is a good post on what to look for in a mixte. careful if it is rainy where you are with steel rims. it’s rather hard to brake, as i’ve found out from personal experience going down a hill in a rainy sf winter day.

    anyway, just happened upon your blog today through the endless google reader posts. can’t wait to catch up on it in my feed :)

    best,
    ctx

  2. Thanks for the great informative comment! I can’t believe I made that taboo of a typo. I was thinking about mixte and clearly my mind and hands did not sync up. That would be a pretty sweet bike – a fixed gear mixte :)

    I have been really digging the blog you mention. I love the upgrades she did to her “paired” bikes. I did some more digging around outside in the garage and found that, luckily, they are alloy rims she mentions in her post, and thankfully the bottom bracket and wheels are all in good repair.

    I’m definitely facing what she did with being scared crazy about riding a skinny tired bike + drop handle bars for the first time. I did a few laps in the circle in front of our house today and am starting to feel better about it.

    The pair of them will be my winter project for sure, I’ll be posting loads of updated pictures on my other blog as I make improvements.

    Have fun riding around, glad you are enjoying the blog!
    Kristin

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