I need a bike during my 3-month jaunt to Claremont, CA. One big question is whether I should try to fly with my existing bike, which is a roughly $700 mountain bike, or buy some sort of bike when I get there.
Flying with my bike
US Airways / America West says that you can fly with your bike, but you have to disassemble it and box it up and it will cost $80 each way. I’ve found some tutorials on how to box your bike, but I’ve never disassembled my bike before, and I’m worried that it might be damaged in transit. Does anybody have any experience with flying with a bike?
Buying a bike
anarkystic suggests that I get a touring bike of some sort, and I’m not sure my existing bike fits the bill. My dream is actually an Xtracycle, which start at $600 fully assembled, but the problem with those is that they cannot easily fit into a bus if I want to take public transportation part of the way and bike the rest. Also it would need some extra disassembling if I wanted to take it home on the plane / in a box.
To be more realistic, I’d probably just buy a cheap, ordinary bike when I got there, if I were buying a bike. The local bike shop sells new bikes starting at $250-300. Karen sent me an ad for a student “Selling a diamondback centurion road bike late 80s early 90s. In peak condition. good components, 58 cm frame.” for $150… the internet suggests that this is a decent line of bikes. A bike shop within driving distance is selling used bikes starting at like $10 according to Craigslist. Which sounds best? I don’t know whether a cheap used bike for like $20 would be really useable without lots of fixing…. wouldn’t it come out to the same as a newer bike after repairs are done, if the tires need replacing etc.? Wouldn’t I need a higher quality bike for biking long distances?
Forget the bike and rent a car
If I’m getting a car I’ll probably skip the bike, or buy a really cheap used one, since if I’m going any distance I’ll just take the car. I can rent an economy car from the local Enterprise for 3 months for an estimated $1693.23.
For your reference, once I finish training with Kaplan I can earn $20 / hour teaching / tutoring, but I’m only expecting to work part time, maybe 20 hours a week (leaving the remaining time to work on Free Culture projects, etc.). So $400 / week means that at least a month of work will go to paying for that car. Figure another month of work pays for the rent, and I’ll have the remaining month or so to pay for my other expenses… I’ll just barely break even for the trip, if I don’t end up in the red. If I refuse to rent a car, assuming I can get cheap groceries nearby, I should be able to have some money left over to save or spend on fun things.
My roommate Glenn has offered to let me use his car on occasion to buy groceries, and I may be able to join Karen’s friend Kathleen in shopping at Costco, so there is some hope that I can get by without a car. The main problem is that I need to get to training at the Kaplan center in Riverside, even if I’ll end up working closer to Claremont… Riverside is a half-hour drive away, and a 2-hour bus ride. I guess I’ll need to check up on how long training will take, and where I will work once I’m done with training. I am also concerned about finding healthy groceries that will please me within biking distance or within the kindness of my car-owning acquaintances.
So, to recap:
* Should I fly with my existing bike or buy one when I get there?
* or, is relying on a bike + public transportation stupid in So Cal? Should I get a rental car instead?
UPDATE: deaminerva suggests that I try carpooling, which might be possible if I develop relatively regular hours (although I suspect I won’t). We’ll have to see where I end up teaching/tutoring and at what times. Wikipedia suggests emotorpool as a carpool finder, I’m open to other ideas… This might be a possibility for surviving without a car.