The Chainlink

 I guess it's about time to think about how to get through this winter. Basically, I want to ride my Bianchi San Jose,

which was stolen in the spring, but replacing it is not a financial option
anymore. At the time I bought that bike, I was leaving it in the bike
room in my office building (well, except for when I left it outside
and it got stolen). But now my bike mostly sits outside at UIC, so
I'd prefer something a little less flashy- and new-looking anyhow.

I don't have a ton of money to devote to this. I also receive a U-Pass as part of my tuition, so I know that if I don't have a bike that's well-suited to winter riding, I'll
just take CTA. Nothing wrong with that!- I just would prefer to keep

Here are my options:

-Ride my touring bike, which already made it through one winter of riding, but I then had to spend a ton of money in the spring having it overhauled and getting a new rear
derailleur (it had seized up from the salt or something). I love this
bike and would be  devastated if it got stolen. It is covered
with stickers, though, and all the decals have come off, so it's not
much to look at. I prefer riding fixed when it's snowy and icy, which
would not be an option on this bike.

-Ride my fixie, which does not have enough clearance for fenders or wider tires, but which is easy to take care of and clean. I like it a lot but am not super attached to

-Sell my fixie and spend the money buying something more practical for winter riding. This would be my top plan, except I am concerned that September is not a particularly great time to sell a bike for what it's worth.

-Buy a beater bike for cheap, keep it clean but don't invest much in its care. I have never cared for this approach in the past, although now that I'm rather broke it's
sounding like a good option. My concern is that I might not enjoy
riding it very much, and if that's the case I'll more frequently opt
for CTA, or just not leaving the house.

What to do?

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Heather - there are really no clear answers here. Every option has pros and cons.

If it were me : I would go with the first or last option.

First option : ride it as is; and in the spring take it to west town bikes and overhaul it yourself for much cheaper.

Last opion : get a beater really cheap; get it ready for winter at WTB; and get some fenders for it (if it doesn't have them)

hope this helps
Use your u-pass.

Seriously, it's free (well sorta), and your (near) broke. Why make your commute more expensive than needed?
whatever bike you decide on there are ways to keep it running well.

1. The salt and water will destroy your bike so it's best to keep it dry.
hanging it up is a good way to dry it off or just use towels then hang it somewhere warm if you can.

2. Rinse it regularly. The salt will stay on your bike even after it dries so you'll want to literally rinse the entire bike when you can then hang it back up.

3. Keep it lubed. If it's a beater and in the winter I would just go for heavy motor oil because it will last longer and protect from water, however it does collect more dirt. If you plan to maintenance regularly then shell out about $8 buy some Tri-Flow and use it on your chain once a week. Wipe your chain off first. Put it on heavy, then wipe it dry.

4. Get it looked/overhauled if you can once a month even. Regular upkeep is important since a lot of parts have to work harder in the winter so it's good to know if anything needs replacing.

5. Make friends with a bike mechanic because we Love what we do and appreciate anyone who rides in the winter.

6. All else fails use the U-Pass and have a good winter.
step one: fend for yourself
step two: ride fixed all winter

you don't need fat tires, but i do suggest a front brake if you don't already have one. i also suggest lubing your chain every week (at minimum), parking inside at night (and whenever possible), and overhauling everything in spring.
I would go with the last option too but maybe a trip to Working Bikes or Blackstone would fit the bill a little better. It might mean a not so bad winter bike you might get to like. I think fenders would really make a difference and they had a pile of them on Saturday at Working Bikes that were cheap. They are a little backlogged on their maintenance right now so you would need to show up early for a good find because they are selling out fast.
Hub geared three speeds don't have derailleurs that get trashed in the salt and the brakes always work.
Something super cheap and road worthy might cheer you up in the cold because winter riding is so much fun!
Sorry to hear that your bike was stolen!



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