Buying a used bike that will fit your budget
Buying a Used Bike
by Tricia Goss
We all know that bicycling can save lots of money when compared to driving, and that it is good for your health and the environment as well. However, purchasing a good bike can be expensive. Although using the bike instead of your car will likely save you more than the cost of the bike over time, it might be difficult to find the money you need upfront to buy a bike. Here are some tips that may help you when buying a used bike that fits your budget.
Networking is said to be the best way to find a new job. It may just be the best way for buying a used bike, as well. Simply let friends, colleagues and acquaintances know the type of bike you are seeking. Ask them to keep their eyes and ears open and to spread the word that you are in the market for a good used bike. There is a good chance that, even if one of your direct contacts is not selling a bike, a friend of a friend may have just what you need collecting dust in a garage.
Check out local bike repair shops, the smaller the better. Customers sometimes drop off a bicycle for repairs and never return for them or are unable to pay the bill. The shops will then sell these bikes to cover the cost of the repairs. In addition, they may refurbish cast-off bikes and sell them for a fraction of what a new model would cost. An added bonus is that you can rest assured your bike is in good condition.
It might seem contradictory, but it is worth calling or dropping by shops that sell new bikes as well. These retailers often have a small section of used bikes that they might not advertise. This is especially true with smaller, independent bicycle shops.
Contact your local law enforcement agency to find out if they hold auctions of confiscated items, such as bicycles. Police and sheriff departments will often sell bikes and other items retrieved during crimes at annual or even monthly auctions. Check with law enforcement offices in nearby locations as well for a wider selection.
Don't forget to look online when buying a used bike. Websites such as Craigslist or other online local classifieds are bound to have the type of bike you are seeking. There are other sites that cater specifically to people looking to buy and sell quality used bicycles, as well.
Of course, when looking for an affordable used bike, you should also check out those terrific treasure troves of gently used goods such as thrift stores, swap meets and yard sales. Pawnshops are another great place to find the bike for which you are on the lookout. Save gas and travel time by calling around to resale and pawn stores to ask whether they have any bikes. If so, ask the types, conditions and selling prices. Do not be afraid to haggle at yard sales, swap meets and even pawnshops, either.
When you find a bike that meets your needs and fits your budget, be sure to test-drive the bike and check it thoroughly for safety before plunking down any cash. Look for cracks in the frame, damaged handlebars and dangerously worn brakes. Your safety is one factor on which you should never scrimp!
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