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Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Jul 8, 2011 6:04am
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Does anyone have any experience with bikes and letterboxing? I'd like to buy a bike but I'm not sure which type would be the best. My first guess is a mountain bike for hitting trails but I don't want to limit myself. There are some really nice "peddle friendly" letterboxes that I can get to by taking the road.

Any experience and advice?
Tri-Colored Paws
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619584 by Tri-Colored Paws
Jul 8, 2011 8:11am
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MN8x may be able to help. Eagle Eyes and she likely are the folks to check with. Great family.
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619584 by Tri-Colored Paws
Jul 8, 2011 8:15am
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Hi Tri-Colored Paws,

I used to own a bike shop, so here goes some facts first.....

Road Bike.....skinny, high pressure tires must be at full inflation or you will suffer "pinch-flats" just entering an average driveway. Check tire pressure EVERY RIDE! High maintenance. Pretty useless on a gravel road, let alone a "trail". They are very efficient. That's why they are used for racing.

Touring Bike.....Heavier duty road bike. Check tire pressure twice a week. Less efficient, but more forgiving of rough roads. Still pretty "sketchy" on a gravel road.

Cross Bike.....(Do they still make these?) A touring bike with Mountain Bike handlebars and knobbier, slightly wider tires. Slightly better on a trail if it is pretty well maintained and not a loose surface.

Mountain Bike.....(Thinking of the least expensive here) Will handle trails fine and can still be ridden on roads. Most forgiving for air pressure. Check once a week. High pressure road tires are also available. You could switch back and forth as the need presents itself. Upright handlebars that put you in a position similar to being on the top portion of the road bike's handle bar. As the handle bar gets higher the front wheel loses traction in the turns.

Suspension Mountain Bike.....The heaviest, least efficient, and most "secure" on loose terrain. The most work to ride "up" the hills, but has the best traction when flying down those same hills.

Unicycles or recumbents are also made that could be used in any situation if they are designed accordingly.

So.......personally.......I like a mountain bike with two wheel sets (Road tires/off-road tires) for my one bike that can be used in the most extremes.

Hope it's not too confusing for you....
Y~K b
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619620 by Yak King blues
Jul 8, 2011 12:53pm
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Ooh, can I ask a bike question, too?

Son's away at college for the first time, and he's going to want/need a bike when the fall semester starts. He'd outgrown the bike we bought for him years ago, so he was riding my husband's mountain bike, but he left it out at a friend's house and it got stolen.

So whatever he gets is going to have to be relatively cheap, since he's got to pay for it, and he's jobless.

My husband (who went on a bike-buying spree years ago) still has a beach cruiser in the garage, so son COULD invest his money in fixing that one up, or he could buy a new one if he can find something in the Poor Student price range.

Any recommendations? Oh, and he's in Tallahassee, FL, so no snow and ice, but some hills. Roads and sidewalks, not rough terrain.

Ever so grateful for any guidance! DebBee
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619680 by DebBee
Jul 8, 2011 2:10pm
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Sure....
College Town = Stolen Bike!

I'm in a College Town, and bike theft is continual....even when the are properly locked up.

.....so .......need to find a garage sale "beater" that functions well, but looks pretty terrible. It will STILL need to be locked up well though. That seems to be the best way to try to keep a bike around a college campus that will remain your own.

Y~K b
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619701 by Yak King blues
Jul 8, 2011 8:17pm
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Actually, it got stolen here at home, just a month before he left. But yeah. Theft had occurred to me. I figured we'd seek out the most bad@$$ bike lock we could find, regardless of what bike he winds up with.
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619620 by Yak King blues
Jul 9, 2011 5:55am
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So.......personally.......I like a mountain bike with two wheel sets (Road tires/off-road tires) for my one bike that can be used in the most extremes.

Your advice is great. Thank you. I stopped at a local bike shop yesterday and he suggested the same thing about the mountain bike with an extra road tire so I guess that's what I'll be looking for. :) All I need to do now is get familiar with brands so I can recognize them when I see them. I'm thinking USED to start with till I have some trail riding experience and bike maintence under my belt. My son's "parted-out" pile of dump bikes should help me practice taking off tires, replacing tubes and "learning by doing" other bike maintenance that I might need on the trail.

Any advice on tools for a maintence kit for the bike? The guy at the bike shop gave me a few ideas.
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619791 by Tri-Colored Paws
Jul 9, 2011 7:55am
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Any advice on tools for a maintence kit for the bike?

Take the bike to someone you trust once a year for a basic tune-up.

You should have, at least, a "folding bicycle multi-tool" that will FIT most of the fittings that may need adjustment, a patch kit, an extra innertube, and a small, but nice quality pump that can be carried on the bike or in a tool bag.

You might want to consider puncture resistant tires (Kevlar belted or equivalent). Don't try "Tire Liners". They will cause flats from rubbing holes in the tubes.

Y~K b
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619810 by Yak King blues
Jul 9, 2011 1:47pm
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Thanks a ton for the bike advice. :)
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619701 by Yak King blues
Jul 10, 2011 8:37am
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find a garage sale "beater" that functions well, but looks pretty terrible

There was a posting on instructables.com about how to make a good bike look like a beater. It basicly involved using cans of spray paint and bad painting skills among other things.

There was some debate if this really did deter theft.

Shiloh
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #619772 by DebBee
Jul 12, 2011 7:11pm
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My husband worked in Egypt for a year and after having several bikes stolen he painted a new one hot pink...stopped the thefts. :0)

oph
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #620777 by One Particular Harbor
Jul 12, 2011 7:43pm
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That's awesome! Not sure my 18 year old could bring himself to be seen on a hot pink bike, though. < g >
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #620777 by One Particular Harbor
Jul 13, 2011 4:52am
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My husband worked in Egypt for a year and after having several bikes stolen he painted a new one hot pink...stopped the thefts. :0)

I LOVE IT! I could go HOT pick with big purple flowers, yellow centers and LIME green leaves! What a riot. No one would take something like that. *giggle, giggle* I'll have to keep thinking.....gody and creative. That will keep them away. :)
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #620831 by Tri-Colored Paws
Jul 13, 2011 5:12am
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PS

The idea of a custom designed letterboxing bike is a fantastic thought. You could even pick out your attire and bike accessories to match your trail name. :D

Love it, love it, love it. Totally UNCOOL!
Re: Purchasing a bike for letterboxing
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #620831 by Tri-Colored Paws
Jul 13, 2011 8:27am
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I could go HOT pink with big purple flowers, yellow centers and LIME green leaves!

This reminds me of my bike when I was a little girl in the late 70's early 80's ;)