What ever the winter atmosphere is throwing down on us in SW Minneapolis the results are nasty, slick, icy streets and snow trampled rough paths. This is not flakey snow, it is hard pellets, a familiar form of freezing rain that two winters’ past this area was spat on raining ice from the sky for months on end. That was the winter sidewalks stayed covered in white and the streets were rutted like century old Pompeii roads. The day progressed at home with one trip after another to the garage and back into the house. While winter threw a fit I overhauled the Raleigh wheels, headset and bottom bracket.
The bike had made it from June of 2010 with absolutely no maintenance except I cleaned the chain once and lashed my fender to an eyelet after loosing a screw. The reason for the overhaul is that the bike passed a critical test which was to prove that a beater bike can be a reliable form of transportation. But not just any beater bike will do and not every bike rider will have the results I had. For a typical clueless rider maybe one summer season is all that a beater bike will take before needing maintenance. The point for the beat bike rider is to pay attention to your bike and make improvements incrementally in your knowledge of bike mechanics and stewardship of your bike. The Raleigh and every other bike I ride are a tool that works for me if I treat it right. Bikes are like pets you can’t kick around a bike and expect it to like you back.
Was in Target today and snapped these shots of New bikes. In that I have just been raving about my 25-year-old bike and a fresh overhaul I want to reiterate the message on cheap department store bikes. Do not buy these bikes. I cannot ride a bike of this poor design for more than a mile or two. Why do you think you can? People are wasting money on these purchases. All these bikes are heavy. The components are the lowest of the low. A good cell phone cost more than one of these bikes. Only the clueless will buy a bike from Target and Wal Mart.
Your kid bikes will tear up fast so if you have to buy a kid bike get one with coaster brakes. Take up walking if you think you must have one of these shit hole bikes. The one positive note here is the rubber tires on the Schwinn actually looked good. But, like that is the object for marketing of this type of bike, even an expert eye could tell the tread was soft and rubbery. Looks are deceiving.Ride your bike more and buyer beware.