Monday, March 21, 2011

Craigslist to the rescue

Bike SchoolImage by PortocalaMecanica via FlickrPrissy keeps growing. Her pants get short. Her knees come up to her chin on her bike. (Didn't we just buy her a new one?)

She's a teenager. A small one, but a teenager none the less. And she bikes to school. She's had lots of adventures on her bike. Like kids who let the air out of her tires. Or the time she fell in to the pond--bike, backpack, library book and all.

And the bike is too small. I hit the local bike shops and was completely shocked at the prices of new adult sized bikes. Shocked, I tell you.

"Do you sell used bikes", I asked the clerks.


I heard about a cool place called Bikes Not Bombs that trains city kids to fix bikes, sells them at a profit, and uses the money to support their operations to do stuff like send recycled bike parts overseas where people are trained to repair and make new bikes, which contributes to their local economies, and provides reliable transportation for people who need to get to work.

Unfortunately, the bikes didn't fit Prissy and the prices didn't fit our pocketbook.

I was a little skeptical when someone suggested Craigslist. First, a lot of bikes get stolen in our neck of the woods, and I didn't want us to be the market that supports that. Second, I've had great experiences selling on Craigslist (you find junk you don't want, you take a picture, somebody comes to your house, gives you cash, and takes away your carp), but I've never bought anything. Third, I didn't really know what to look for.

But after enough bike shop trips, we kind of solved the last problem. I emailed a few folks about ads they posted. We found one that seemed like it might work. It was in somebody's parents' garage, and they just didn't need it anymore. $65. (The cheapest new bikes were upwards of $300). Done and done.

They were thrilled to get rid of it. Prissy loves her new grown up bike. Happy dance.
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