Beltway bachelor seeks bargain bicycle
March 3, 2019 11:19 PM   Subscribe

Where can I buy a used or refurbished bike in the DC area, accessible from the Greenbelt/College Park area?

I just moved back to the area, and it seems like I can only find bike shops in DC and Maryland that sell new (and remarkably expensive) bikes. I found a couple used bike shops in Arlington (Old Bike Shop and Phoenix Bikes), but that's it. I'll go to Arlington if I absolutely must, but it's an hour Metro ride each way (to say nothing of the fare).

Are there any bike shops closer to me that sell used or refurbished bikes?
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk to Shopping (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Mount Rainier Bike Coop is probably the closest and cheapest option.

Big Wheel Bikes refurbishes their rentals and sells them as used. They’ve got a location in Bethesda. But, their used bikes are still pricey and the biggest selection is at their Arlington store.
posted by chrisulonic at 1:04 AM on March 4, 2019

A little further but still much closer than Arlington is Gearin' Up in NE DC, which is a nonprofit that also teaches local teens bike repair skills. It's a small place with rotating stock, so just give them a call before heading over.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 4:01 AM on March 4, 2019

Phoenix Bikes and others are having a used bike sale this weekend at Big Bear Cafe in NE DC. (That website is for Evite but you don’t actually need a ticket.)
posted by sizeable beetle at 5:45 AM on March 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you feel comfortable buying from a private seller: DC Used Bicycle Marketplace
posted by veery at 6:29 AM on March 4, 2019

You can also go the Craigslist route for used bikes, but you'll have to sift through a lot of duds. If the seller can't tell you when the last time the bike had a tune-up, that's a bad sign. Good luck! (I tried out 1 bike and spent 10~ hours researching before finding my current bike for a great price (at least going by the Bicycle Blue Book value). There's some good stuff on Craigslist if you are willing to spend time searching. I found better results sorted by value, to filter out all the junk bikes in the sub-150 dollar range).
posted by devrim at 6:45 AM on March 4, 2019

Arlington is a total PIT via metro from College Park; there's plenty of bikes on your side of the river.

Proteus is a good shop but I don't think they do used.

I would absolutely start with the Mt. Rainier Coop, then failing that the swap meet in front of the 7th-Day Adventist church during the Takoma Park Farmer's market on Sunday, then failing that down to the little bike shop down the street on Carroll.

Although TBF my standard beater these days is an aluminum frame fixie purchased from BikesDirect for < $300.

If you're comfortable wrenching I'm happy to give you an older aluminum fixed-gear frame, but it needs a wheel, tires, and pedals.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:07 PM on March 4, 2019

Oh my god, I forgot I'd posted this!

aspersioncast, that's really generous, thank you! That said, I'm pretty comfortable maintaining a bike, but I've never built one before. I'm sure there's no better practice than doing it, but I'm a little worried about knowing what to buy and setting the right tension on everything (like, I've never had to install cables or buy the right kind of chain). I do basically just need a beater bike, though. Do you think it makes sense to just get one from a shop and spend more time adjusting and maintaining it before diving into building one from scratch?
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:25 AM on March 7, 2019

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