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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Value and bicycles



I believe in quality. Some things you just do not scrimp on. Who in their right mind wants to use something like a cheap bargain basement ladder? Never scrimp on the stuff that can get you killed.

Price is not the measure of value. The saying, “You get what you pay for,” has plenty of exceptions. Sometimes quality means fewer expensive features but better basic features that you actually need.

A couple years ago I was looking for a bicycle. Being a heavy guy I needed something solid, but didn't want to pay custom fat guy prices. Working with my local bike shop I decided on a Jamis Explorer with a steel frame. While it wasn't cheap, it was half the price of custom fat people bikes. It has held up quite well. All in all, it's been good value for the money.

Bikes are very common on cruising boats. They make a lot of sense. They are simple, require no fuel, increase what a person can carry, and provide good range. Bikes are a great way to go exploring in a new port.

Unfortunately, the marine environment takes a heavy toll on bikes. Even “marine” grade bikes don't seem to fare all that well. I've seen special folding marine bikes. The aluminum alloy frames are fine, but all the components fall apart. Silly expensive ones seem to hold out better, but even they seem to have trouble with corrosion. I don't want to expose my nice bike to those conditions.

What to do? Bikes on a boat are extremely handy, but the salt air and water destroys them. Last winter I looked at a lot of boat bikes -hundreds. There were a few very high end bikes in good shape. They were well maintained and stored in dry, well ventilated areas.

However, the most common bike out there were cheap ones. They were either cheapo big box store bikes or old bikes from yard sales. Most of them looked pretty beat up. In the long run it's cheaper to keep replacing cheap bikes than trying to keep a quality bike in good shape. Bikes were looked at as consumable items.

When I get a boat big enough to carry a bike, I'm going to look for an old fashioned single speed model. They are slow and heavy, but sure beat the heck out of walking everywhere. An added bonus is that they won't be the first bike stolen out of the bike rack.

-Sixbears



8 comments:

  1. This might be something with possibilities: http://www.gizmag.com/wooden-sandwich-bike/29963/

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    1. Interesting bike. More money than I want to spend, but interesting.

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    2. I was thinking more about you taking the idea and building your own.

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    3. Okay, now that makes a lot of sense. :)

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  2. I've had many a bike on my two yachts and it is as you said, better to keep replacing a cheap one for just a few bucks. I've had mine stolen or borrowed, dropped in the sea and just left behind to go to a good home when no longer needed. In this case cheap is best...

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    1. It's what the live aboards mostly do, so they might be onto something. At Marathon FL there are hundreds of bikes at the dinghy dock and most of them are beaters.

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  3. my bikes casme from Goodwill, yard sales, or rebuilt from junker piles

    they never look "cool to steal" but because they got rebuilt with bettter bearings, chain, and inner tubes; nobody suspected such "junkers" to ever hide such improvements

    and in "Florida" and other places, expensiove bikes get stolen, either to be quiickly resold or get chop shopped into repair parts

    Wildflower

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    1. I've heard of people giving their bikes crappy looking paint jobs to disguise their quality. Love your stealth improvements. Good idea.

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