Do you own a mom (or dad) bike?

July 1, 2011 | By | Comments (11)

Summer is here, which for many of us means summer days with families tooling around town, down rail trails or along shore sides on bicycles.

Now that my husband has “gone pro,” making his Bike Guy moniker official, I find myself having an increasing number of conversations with other parents about their own bicycles. And here’s what I’ve discovered . . .

A lot of parents are riding around on terrible bikes.

Either they have a bicycle they received 20 years ago, which probably hasn’t been serviced since it left the store, or they are interested in buying a bicycle to ride with the kids but don’t want to spend more than $85.

Keep in mind, these are the same parents that will spend $200 on a Trek Jet for their child to use for one or two seasons before needing something new. Or spend more than that to rent a bounce house that will be used for one day (but, granted, will give countless hours of enjoyment).

Believe me, I get it. Why spend money on a piece of equipment that is going to get limited use, or seems like a luxury when the back-to-school supply list is looming. But I can also make this promise – a good bicycle will last you a lifetime.

I asked my husband recently what he thought was the minimum amount a person should spend to buy a bicycle. Not a racing bike, or a tricked out mountain bike. But a solid, serviceable bicycle that a non-bike obsessed parent could use to keep up with the kids and get a little exercise.

His answer – $300.

As I’m actually looking to replace my “mom bike,” I decided to take this budget and see what I could find. I want something that doesn’t weigh a ton, has a dropped top tube that would allow me to easily mount the bike and can accommodate a basket or bike rack (for transporting jackets, food and other must haves when riding with children). And I want something that’s pretty and feminine, unlike my current bike which looks like the cycling equivalent of an army tank.

I found a couple of “city bikes,” which appears to be a cross of a hybrid and a beach cruiser, from Schwinn (the name alone makes me feel 8 years old again):

  • Jenny 1-speed– It’s pink! I wonder if it would be weird to put streamers on the handle bars
  • Women’s Gateway City – $100 less than my budget, this one has a rack installed already!
  • Sierra 7 – On sale the bike is below my $300 budget and includes 7 speeds which does help on hills.

That’s not to say there aren’t ways to get more for your $300 budget.

If you are patient, and know what you want, you can often find good deals on specialty sites such as Performance, at local bike shops clearing out inventory at the end of the year, or through sites like eBay which will have lightly used options.

(As an aside, I can tell you, from my husband’s perspective, maintaing a quality bicycle is easier than trying to fix a cheap bike that didn’t work properly at the start. And remember, you won’t grow out of your bike like the kids will!)

Do you have a mom or dad bike? What’s your ride?