One man’s “junk” bicycle is another man’s transportation

[This article is not intended to slight the Continental Bike Shop. They’re one of the best shops in Metro Detroit and have a long history of supporting the bicycling community.]

Friends don't let friends ride junkThere is a somewhat popular bumpersticker saying, “Friends don’t let friends ride junk.” It’s intended message is to encourage people to buy higher-quality bikes at independent shops rather than low-cost department stores bikes.

But that message can reinforce a bit of bicycle snobbiness.

What about those that can only afford the department store bikes? Or what about those riding the second- and third-hand department store bikes? Or what about those living in cities like Detroit — a bike shop desert — where you can’t even buy a new Trek or Cannondale without heading to a suburban bike shop?

And what about those living in areas prone to bike theft? Sometimes a junk bike is a better choice.

This goes beyond road bicycling. Mountain bike festivals sometimes have a Huffy toss where the contest is to throw a Huffy bicycle like a discus. What message does that send to those who can only afford to ride a Huffy?

It seems we need to encourage all biking, from carbon fiber to high-tensile steel, from 24 speeds to one.

Perhaps a better bumpsticker message would be “Ride what you got.”

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One Response to “One man’s “junk” bicycle is another man’s transportation”

  1. Heather Hansma Says:

    My bike is a Schwinn I got at K-mart. I did my research and for what I could afford, I’d still have to use my Sears card which limited me to K-mart or Sears. My bike is only $250. Now I have the capital to buy a newer bike… buy why? I’ve only had this bike for a year and it is a great commuter bike. Really. It is a nice bike. Rides beautifully.

    You know what I noticed about the “higher end” Schwinn commuter bikes? They just feature all the accessories I bought on my own, like my bike rack system. That is it. Same gear system. Same quality of frame.

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