...any of the big box stores like Academy, WalMart and Toys R Us. They won't be top of the line bikes but for light riding (no jumping ramps! no time trials!) they work just fine. I have one I bought new at the base exchange for $99 that I ride for exercise and short errands. I've had it for 7 years and keep it in the garage in between rides. I slimed the tires so I haven't had a lot of problems with flats and do a general tune up every year or so. I do check weekly to make sure all bolts are still tight.
The alternative is a used bike. This site has some excellent pointers for buying a used bike: http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/commute/commbike.htm
They suggest: "Finding a used bike for sale is a little harder than finding a new one, but there are a number of likely sources. First, many bike shops sell older bikes, and they are an excellent source, as they usually overhaul the bike and correct any problems before selling it. Second, in many towns there are retired men who collect, repair, and sell older bikes at a low cost. One form of advertising used by them is to simply park some of the bikes in the front yard. Third, I often see bikes for sale at flea markets and trade days or from roadside venders. Try yard/garage sales too. Fourth, in many towns the police collect abandoned bikes and, if no one ever claims them, sell them at a yearly auction. Fifth, in college towns, the students are often anxious to sell their bikes at the end of the year, often selling a practically new $500 bike for $50. Sixth, Goodwill, pawn shops, and others sell older bikes. Finally, if you enjoy tinkering, practically new bicycles are discarded every day because they need a little repair; a friend was able to supply his family's bicycles from the town dump."
Actually in some college towns there are a lot of bikes at the Goodwill. You can buy one for $10 to $20, spend $70 or so fixing it up and be good to go. That is how we got my daughter's current bike at a Goodwill north of Austin, Texas.
http://www.bikeofdoom.com/category/dept-store-bikes/ refers to these inexpensive bikes as Department Store Bikes or Bikes of Doom. He seems to feel that cheap bikes need a lot more repair than more expensive ones, but I suspect a lot of it is how you ride and treat your bike. My son's cheapos have lasted longer than his fancy Treks and other mountain bikes.
I do recommend getting the simplest machine you can tolerate as I have found that the majority of problems I have had with cheap bikes is with gears and derailleurs.
· 9 years ago