|My current rig: Fransesca|
Many communities are fortunate enough to have some sort of bicycle cooperative of some sort. The Binghamton area is home to a loosely organized group of mostly retired gentlemen who fix bikes and give them to anyone who will get use from them. They get bikes from a few sources: donations from individuals, police departments, and reclaiming abandoned bikes. They are a truly fantastic resource for this community: Southern Tier Bike Project It is best to reach them via the website.
I contacted them around May this past summer not knowing how to ride at all. I was directed to Steve, who offered me a fairly inexpensive mountain bike. He was then kind enough to teach me how to ride. We did figure eights in a parking lot for a couple of hours. I could not sleep that night in excitement for future adventures on 2 wheels.
Since the start of this past summer, I have gone on a 500 mile tour, and have become a committed bicycle commuter. My commuter bike is pictured above. It was abandoned on the Binghamton University Campus, and recovered by Steve of Southern Tier Bike Project. He cleaned it up significantly and put some new parts on, including cables, and possibly a chain. For my purposes of a 4 mile commute each way, from the City of Binghamton to the Town of Vestal, this bike is perfect. I love having flat pedals, a rack to carry stuff, front and seat suspension, and fenders front and back. I put slicker tires on and have panniers from the 80's to hold lunch, tire irons, a spare tube, handpump, Parktool multi-tool, and occasionally a U lock. I named her Francesca.