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Cycle shopping in the Midwest

So I got flown out to Nebraska for 3 weeks of job training, after which I go home for two weeks, then come back for three more weeks. I wasn’t able to ship one of my bikes out here to ride around when I’m off work so I set about looking for a cheap bike locally. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Apparently bikes are the new toilet paper. Local craigslist was barren. All three local bike shops were completely out of stock in anything adult sized that cost less than about $800. All six Wal-Marts were out of stock of pretty much all adult bikes. I was hoping to spend under $400 but it was seeming more and more improbable that I’d snag a decent bike to ride around. I did find a craigslist seller asking just $200 for his ~10 year old disc brake-equipped Gary Fisher/Trek hybrid bike, but his wife sold the thing out from under me before I could get there.

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I was about to give up when this popped up on CL:

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~2008 Trek 7.3 FX, 22.5" frame, sparingly ridden. Seller had just got it back from a professional service and tune-up to the cost of $221 (he gave me the receipt!). New tubes, tires, brake shoes, a few replaced spokes, wheels trued, new chain, cables and derailleurs adjusted. Came with the rack, bag, and panniers.

Snagged this beauty for $320, which I ordinarily would have thought a bit high, but with the receipt for recent work plus the rack and bags, not to mention the scarcity of bikes everywhere I looked, I wasn’t about to turn it down.

Picked it up yesterday afternoon but it stormed pretty much all night. Went to Wally World and picked up some ancillaries like a mini pump, tool kit, patch kit and cheap cycle computer and installed those last night. My first ride was this morning to the office (the apartment they put us up in is a bit under 4 miles away). Took it to work, then back to the apartment for lunch, back to the office, then took it for a leisurely ride around a nearby lake. 22 miles on the first day.

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Illustration for article titled Cycle shopping in the Midwest

Rides a bit stiffer than I’m used to with the slightly skinnier 32c tires and hard saddle, but I’ll get by for two months. Otherwise it rides great. Eerily silent, the rear hub ratcheting is extremely quiet.

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