Need help in making transportation decision

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TheRedHare
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Need help in making transportation decision

Postby TheRedHare » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:16 pm

Hi, I recently moved into my new apartment, and now I'm starting to consider selling my truck which is a 1996 Ford Ranger and get a bike. I think I might get around 1,300 for it, but I'm not too sure. My workplace is about 3 miles from where I live so the commute isn't bad at all. I checked out some of the local bike stores, and beginner bikes range about 250 to 350 which I'm not sure is a good deal. I'm thinking of just walking to work for the time being so that I don't have to deal with paying for gas and parking. I checked out some bikes on Craigslist, but again I'm not sure about some of the older rode bikes - I found one for like 75, it's a Schwinn. Here's the link https://charleston.craigslist.org/bik/5912854567.html


I'm a little hesitant about selling the truck because it has been pretty useful thus far because of the traveling from college (SC) to home (GA), but now that I'm Charleston, there isn't much need of a car. My only concern is what I would do when I want to go back to GA to visit family. I looked at train tickets, but they take forever and cost about 180 for a round trip. I suppose that is cheaper than paying for insurance, maintenance and gas for a car.
What are ya'lls thoughts

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Miss Lonelyhearts
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby Miss Lonelyhearts » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:14 pm

Without trying to downplay the significance of your choice, I believe the decision not to own a car carries greater emotional weight for Americans than perhaps it does for those in other countries. It seems to represent a certain break from mainstream thinking and mark one as a bit of an outsider. At least that's the explanation I offer for the recurrence of questions like yours, which seem to be an evergreen topic on this forum.

You'll find a three mile commute quite manageable, and in Charleston year round shouldn't be too much of a problem (exception: hurricane season?). What bike you ride is less significant than just getting one and trying it out. If you find it agreeable you can either retire from bike shopping then and there or go down the rabbit hole of trying to find the perfect bike. If you're buying used, just make sure to ride it at least around the block before you hand over the cash. If you rode as a kid/teen you'll have a decent idea of what's comfortable and what's not.

The immediate financial impact of owning/selling seems not very significant compared to other decisions you'll make, so I wouldn't sweat it overmuch. If the utility of $1300 seems more meaningful to you than the option of getting in your car and driving somewhere, sell away. But there's no reason you can't own both, or hold onto the car until you're comfortable with biking.

As someone who has never owned a car in his adult life, I frequently find myself wishing I was in your position (own an old, paid off car) and hearing people in your position wish they were in mine. The major things I find myself missing are being able to easily transport large, one-time purchases or stock up on bulk groceries without having to schlep on public transit or load down my bike. The ability to drive middle distances for trips and family visits is also nice.

All purpose thought on transportation that I probably read here at some point: optimal mode of transportation is the one that can complete your journey on one "fill-up." For a bike, this is the distance you can ride without having to take a rest and eat. For a car, as far as you can drive on one tank of gas. Farther than that starts to weight towards rail, and 1000+ miles justifies air travel.

Farm_or
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby Farm_or » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:41 pm

Why not keep your truck for awhile? If you take to the new bike, just mothball the truck and cancel the insurance.

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TheRedHare
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby TheRedHare » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:29 am

I believe the decision not to own a car carries greater emotional weight for Americans than perhaps it does for those in other countries

This is very true. I think the main reason, like you said, is that break away from the mainstream. I came from a place that was very remote and you needed a car to get anywhere, but now that I'm in a location where everything is within a few miles, I don't really need the car.

I frequently find myself wishing I was in your position (own an old, paid off car) and hearing people in your position wish they were in mine

It's funny how things like that work :lol:

just mothball the truck and cancel the insurance

I completely forgot that you could do this. I'll probably just do that so I don't have to pay for insurance and other things, but still have it on hand if I do find myself needing it.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby Gilberto de Piento » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:08 am

Why not keep your truck for awhile? If you take to the new bike, just mothball the truck and cancel the insurance.


I second this idea. Assuming the truck is a good one, it likely will be hard to replace at that price if you need another one.

Regarding the bike, old road bikes like that will work. $75 is a fair price to pay if it doesn't need anything. It's a good place to start if you have no money to spend but it also might make you think you hate biking when really you just have an uncomfortable, slow bike. If you can spend a little more I recommend getting a used road bike or mountain bike from the 90s on up, something that was originally sold in a bike shop. Be aware though that if you want to mount fenders and racks it can get complicated because more modern bikes may not have the appropriate mounts.

Specific points on an old road bike:
Negative:
1. Heavy
2. Uncomfortable due to bad seat and very low bars, outdated levers, etc.
3. You have to take a hand off the bars to shift
4. Twitchy relative to a modern commuter or mountain bike
5. Limited selection of tires due to outdated 27" wheels
6. Harder to see what's going on and control the bike in traffic due to the seating position

Positive:
1. Likely has mounts for racks and fenders
2. Easy to maintain
3. Hard to damage
4. Not much of a target for theft
5. Cheap to buy and maintain

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vexed87
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby vexed87 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:36 pm

The ERE wiki has a great bike section. I'll also second the advice to hold on to the motor until you get confident, I did the same, once I had a few weeks of daily riding under my belt I was ready to drop the car.

I started out on a crappy MTB hybrid, I spent a fair amount converting it with slicks, lights, mudguards etc, then decided the MTB wasn't a good fit for me and subsequently spent £700 on a brand new (but on sale) Giant Defy 1. It is a mid range 105 spec'd bike and runs well and reliably. I still ride it now, but seen as though I ride so much I felt justified adding a singlespeed to my collections. I have since decided that the singlespeed wasn't for me and swapped it out for a more commuter friendly bike which I'm still building up at the moment. The road bike is quick and aggressive, which is great in good weather, but I need something more suitable to the local weather and with rack mounts.

The great thing about buying used is you can give yourself permission to change your mind after realising something isn't quite right, but avoid doing what I did and spending money on upgrades you can't transfer over to another bike! :roll: If you buy new prematurely and decide that the bike isn't right, you'll get hit with instant depreciation should you need to sell on so choose wisely!
Last edited by vexed87 on Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

OTCW
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby OTCW » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:59 pm

I think if you have a gap in car insurance, it can really affect your rates going forward. You may be able to get a really inexpensive occasional use liability only policy though. I'd discuss all the options with your insurance carrier to see what is a good fit.

Also, I'd lean towards keeping the truck. They are cheap and easy to fix, and can last a ling time as they are body on frame. Good for moving, hauling stuff, etc. I have an old small Nissan truck that I love, and hopefully can keep indefinitely.

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TheRedHare
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby TheRedHare » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:13 pm

The ERE wiki

Wow, I did not know this thing existed! I'll be sure to check out more stuff on the wiki. But thanks for the tips!
I tired meeting up with the guy who was going to sell me the $75 bike, but he flaked on me -_-
I then decided to walk into a local bike shop and asked them about their commuter bikes. They recommended me some bikes they had by Tribe, based out of Brooklyn. I tried out a $375 hi ten steel one, and a $575 CROMO steel one. Those things were so light and fast! I'm thinking about saving up and getting the CROMO one because they seem to last longer.

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TheRedHare
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby TheRedHare » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:17 pm

Also, I'd lean towards keeping the truck. They are cheap and easy to fix, and can last a ling time as they are body on frame. Good for moving, hauling stuff, etc. I have an old small Nissan truck that I love, and hopefully can keep indefinitely.

Yeah so far my truck hasn't given me any real trouble; although, I don't know how many miles are on it because the tachometer was broke when I got it :/
I've currently got my insurance with State Farm and have full coverage liability and comprehensive. It also has a pretty low $250 deductible. I pay a little under $500 for six months. Does sounds like a good deal?

OTCW
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby OTCW » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:22 pm

Comprehensive on a $1300 truck is probably not worth it IMO. I'd give them a call and see about dropping that and see how low $ a policy you can get for various low mileage scenarios. For example, price for 5k miles a year or 3k miles a year, etc.

Trucks can earn you a lot of social capital too. Couple that with with a strong back and some basic handyman skills, and you can earn even more, plus save money for your own needs.

wheatstate
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby wheatstate » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:32 pm

+1 for keeping the truck as you transition to the bike.

How many miles do you drive per year? ...as this number goes down, vehicles can last long time between $$$ repairs.

Garage sales, bike co-ops and used bikes from serious bikers are my favorite ways to get cheap bikes.
CL can be hit-or-miss because everyone thinks they have a $$$ bike.

Consider a liability only possibility on your truck. $500 seems reasonable for a 6-month comprehensive policy. $1000/year in insurance sounds like a lot of insurance on a $1500 truck. I would expect a liability only policy would be $100-$150 for 6 months.

enigmaT120
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby enigmaT120 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:59 pm

I pay about 500 bucks for 6 months but that's for both my '81 Toyota 4wd pickup (liability only) and my '04 Honda Insight. When I retire I can sell the car.

x2 on the low miles extending vehicle life. I know I'm doing good when I have to change the oil in the truck based on calendar (once a year) rather than miles.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:11 pm

I have found that adding a cargo trailer to my bike has greatly improved its usefulness. Just about anything I could fit in the trunk of a small car, I can now haul with my bike. I am a 51 year old woman in only moderately good shape. I also pay $60/year to maintain a zipcar subscription, occasionally make use of Lyft or Uber, rent a u-haul, or mooch/buy transportation off of a friend. You will need a creative web of options beyond bicycle/walk to replace owning a truck, but it isn't too hard to construct such a web if you live in an urban environment.

For traveling distances greater than manageable with a bike, I have found that Megabus rates combined with even purchase of an extra ticket for bicycle are by far the best deal. If Megabus isn't helpful for the routes you need to travel, other bus services or ride-share options might serve. Even relatively short distance travel can be combined with opportunities to make or save money through trade. Is there anything available for sale in your current location that is not readily obtainable at that price in your former rural location?

Also, you may eventually experience difficulties with registration and/or parking your vehicle if you do not keep it insured. Your opportunity cost for selling and then having to buy again could be easily estimated by a quick look at what's available on Craigslist. Let's say it is even upwards of 30%, that would still only be around $400, which would easily be eaten up with just a few months of insurance coverage costs. Vehicles that are not currently being driven still need to be maintained. You will have to at least go out and check tire pressure and start the engine every so often. Therefore, my considered vote is that you sell the truck and use part of the proceeds to buy a decent bike trailer (one made for hauling cargo rather than kiddos.)

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TheRedHare
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Re: Need help in making transportation decision

Postby TheRedHare » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:06 pm

The great thing about buying used is you can give yourself permission to change your mind after realizing something isn't quite right, but avoid doing what I did and spending money on upgrades you can't transfer over to another bike! :roll: If you buy new prematurely and decide that the bike isn't right, you'll get hit with instant depreciation should you need to sell on so choose wisely!


Yeah I did not want to buy any of the new bikes the local bike shops were offering. They were around $360 for the cheapest ones; and they are not worth it!
I managed to find a used, 80s, 24' BMX Murray bike. It looks more like an art piece because it's got some red accents, red tires, red handle bars, and these red, tiger striped pads around the chassis lol. It looks pretty killer. It's also got a nice Brooks seat to go along with it. I took it for a test ride, and it felt great. Unlike a rode bike where you are hunched over, this one has you seated upright and feels more comfortable. The guy is asking $275 for it which I think is a really good price. I was also thinking that it would be a good buy because I can resell it at the same price, if not more because it's rare. I check online to find something similar I could not find a thing.


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