i've been riding bikes ever since i was a little kid. and i hated it. my first bike was yellow, and i must have asked my dad 1,000 times to raise the pedals on the bike. when i’d turn/lean and pedal, the pedals would scrape the ground.
later on, in middle school and early high school i'd have to ride my bike to my friend's house if i wanted to play. everyone else would get rides in cars with air conditioning from moms or older car driving brothers. getting my driver’s license was not only a moment of transit freedom, it was also a goodbye to my pedal powered nemesis.
then in college miraculously bikes were cool again! cars cost money to park, run, maintain, and bikes could get you to a friend’s dorm or an apartment party much faster. most of the guys in my dorm followed my lead and purchased bmx bikes like the one i had. since i had experience owning and working on bikes, i was the dorm go-to guy for a quick tune up, flat change, or even a new paint job. no other dorm had so many bikes in top condition at all times.
one dark night my yellow bmx was stolen, and i haven't had a bike since. i was crushed, but it happened just as i moved 15 miles away from campus. not too long after it was stolen my bike would have simply taken up storage space in my new apartment. a word from the experienced: use a u-Lock. cable locks can be cut through with a simple hacksaw, chain link locks can be snipped with bolt cutters. it takes the power of a small car jack to bust open a u-lock. my yellow bmx was just chained.
to sum up my bike background, i’ve disliked owning and riding bikes (aside from a small stint in the college dorms).
fast forward to the present day. one week ago i moved to the mission district (link). the mission has a reputation as being the hipster neighborhood. and one thing that comes with hipsters are their bikes. i figured when in rome you realize that it wasn’t built in a day, so when in the mission you accept your mission and get a bike.
after a few days cruising craigslist’s bikes for sale, i got a pretty good idea what was out there. my decision would be between a bmx, road, mountain, or hybrid bike. a hybrid is a mix between a road and a mountain bike.
bmx bike – small and portable, cheap and rather abundant. plenty available at $40-$70.
road bike – the most expensive yet the most desirable. $100-$1,500.
mountain bike – the most abundant, the least cool, and they are big.
hybrid – almost as costly as the road bike but didn’t see many listed.
i continued my craigslist combing for 3-4 weeks, and developed two requirements for my soon-to-be-bike, i decided to find a bike that is 100% functional yet cost me <$50.
on july 15th it showed up. 40miles away, a fresh grad from berkeley was looking to clear some space out of his trailer park home. he posted two pics and two sentences about the bike, and that was all it took to grab my attention.
Road Master Pro Tour for sale - $35
I bought this one to ride in my school few years ago from another owner; however, in the end, I didn't ride it at all.
I will also throw in a free master lock ( U shape).
Just want to get rid of this junk out of my house. No low baller plz. Pick up only
i emailed him promptly. within a few minutes, he replied, and a time was setup to see the bike. he then took the craigslist listing down, as he was being overwhelmed with responses of people wanting to buy the bike. i was the lucky first to reply!
his name was phat, hey he was vietnamese, and he had just graduated from berkeley school of engineering with a mechanical engineering degree! what do you know, same as me (except uc irvine is no uc berkeley)
as i pulled up to his driveway i noticed that he was a very smiley fellow. we exchanged greetings and headed towards the bike. i rode it up and down the streets, and could tell that with a few adjustments this bike would run tip top. he said he just wanted to get rid of it because it’s been sitting for a while.
in random conversation i told him that i too hold a mechanical engineering degree. he asked me where i worked, and i told him a bank. “but i used to work in aerospace down in los angeles!” he said he'd been job hunting for 2 months (since graduation), and was getting nowhere. i could tell he was a bit beat up by the job search. i know his struggle. i assured him that something would come up, and that with his engineering degree he could do more than be an engineer.
i didn't have $35 dollars exactly, so i handed him $40 and told him "since i didn't bring 35 dollars exactly, will you take $40 for the bike and u-lock?" he smiled yet again and we went our ways.