Sunday, April 11, 2010

what we did on Saturday...and Sunday

OK friends, time for a frugal lesson -

Here's the background:  Jacob is almost ready to move up a size in bikes.  My friend Jen has been telling me about this "used bike sale" in her town down the road...

So, Saturday morning rolls around, Joe and I are sitting at the table making "weeked plans" ... oh, it was already 9:30 a.m.   Joe reminds me that we wanted to go to the Used Bike Fair in Libertyville.  I had in my phone calendar that it started at 8 - when I sent it to Joe's phone it got moved to 9 - at 9:30 we were still sitting at the breakfast table, and more than one of us was still in our pjs.  Needless to say, we thought we'd probably missed the good bikes.  But we all threw on acceptable "out of the house" attire (don't call Clinton & Stacy) and head off to Libertyville - initially we don't tell the clan where we're going because, well, it's almost gauranteed to be a failure, and to make at least one kid mad.  But, during the seven minute trip I had a lapse in judgement and told them what we were going to do.  Yeap, there were tears!

So, we walk into the bike sale ... there are bikes there that perhaps I rode as a kid - which my kids will politely tell you - is A LONG TIME AGO - in bike years, it's horribly old.  There are four bike trailers, and a seat (without a bike).  There are two boys bikes - one is a Specialized brand bike, the other is something else.  The other bike is missing a seat ... um, no boy is gonna try sitting on that, and no parent is gonna let their child try riding it.  The Specialized has a merciless flat back tire, and is dirty, missing a grip, the seat slides up and down and round and round like a merry-go-round, and looks like it hasn't seen the inside of the garage in a while ... maybe ever.  So, with a price tag of $35, we himmed, we hawwed, and then we said ... "we'll take it".  See, luckily Joe knows a thing or two (or more) about good bikes - his bro used to own a bike store, and Joe and I are HUGE  Tour fans- we've also followed the US Amatuers thanks to a family friend who used to race in them.  Fixing up this bike would not be for the faint of heart or undereducated about bike repairs, but we threw it in the van and started the "Heron Bike Repair Shop".  WHAT FUN!  Everyone got  into it ... everyone got something on their bike fixed, and with alot of love and attention Jacob's bike was working great.  But, it was still missing a grip - so Jacob and Joe headed into the Bike Shop in Libertyville.  (We could have had all of the work done there, but at a minimum $50 to look at it, and more to fix all that was wrong with this beaute, we weren't going that route!).  Joe and Jacob found a similar model, but without all the coolness of Jacob's - it was $189.  Then, they found the real version - a few years newer, but same components - six gears with a grip shifter, "real" brakes, front shocks, etc... sticker price ... ready ... $289.00!!!

YES!  We spent less than $45 (the grips were $9.30) and Jacob has a rockin' cool - super fast bike!  And he's the proudest kid in the universe, for he knows that HE HELPED MAKE THIS BIKE!  It's so nice to have something work out.  We likely could have gotten up on time, gone to the bike sale, found a really nice, in good repair, bike for about $60, and we surely would have walked past this dilapidated Specialized bike with flat tires and a wobbly seat - but look at all we learned, and how much we saved on a really great bike!  What a great family weekend!

Oh, I forgot to mention - the Daily Herald was there, looking to take some pictures (the photographer no doubt got the time wrong too), and JACOB & JOE are in the paper!  Now we have a seriously proud six year old who's picture has been in the paper!

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