Beater Bikes

Earlier this week, a favorite blog of mine, “Lovely Bicycle,” wrote about beater bikes. Velouria’s angle was to spotlight a new line of inexpensive bikes with the brand name, “Beater,” that are designed to fill the same role as a run-of-the-mill beater bike would fill.

And it got me thinking — I don’t really have a beater bike of my own, do I? If I do need a bike I can hop on for a trip to the store, or to run an errand or two, or to serve as transportation in the rain, I don’t really have anything to fill that role, do I?

And then it occurred to me — I do. I’ve got that mountain bike. The one I never ride. The one I put the rear rack on because I was going to make it an errand bike. The one I put narrower, smoother-treaded tires on, because those big knobbies weren’t a lot of fun to ride on on pavement.

But the mountain bike is, above all, a mountain bike, and today I actually rode it for its intended purpose — I took it out and rode some of the bike trails in South Austin. More about that experience in another post. My point today is, if I’m going to use the mountain bike for trail riding, it’s not really a beater, is it? It’s my mountain bike, and I still have to find something to serve as my go-to for everything else bike.

Well, maybe not. The great thing about the mountain bike is that it’s designed to be bashed around. I sure clunked the pedals and chain stays against enough rocks today. There’s no reason I can’t ride it to the store, or on rainy days if I don’t want to ride my road bike then.

All right, then — I do have a beater bike, even if it’s one in pretty good shape. And frankly,¬†given my past record at using the bike as a utility vehicle, I probably won’t do most of those things.

How about you? Do you have bike that is a jack-of-all-trades, that can fill any role that your “main” bike — be it road or mountain — doesn’t fill? What kind is it? How do you use it? Is it a rolling wreck, or is it still a spiffy ride?


  1. says

    I recently dropped off my beater bike in the shop for an overhaul. It’s been at least three years since the “Marin” has felt the hands of a professional mechanic.
    I bought it to use as a winter commuter bike back in my working days and for 6 years it got me back and forth in weather that would make a mail carrier blush. It’s my utility bike now, taking me to places like the market, the beach and the coffee shop.

    The Marin now has some competition since LL Bean in Freeport Me. made me an offer on a Felt Single Speed a year ago.

  2. says

    out of my fleet of 5 bike i guess my “beater” would be my single speed aluminum giant bowery, i call it my coffee bike, its my go to bike for running errands and meeting friends in town, built it out of spare parts and a swap meet frame

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