I'm really enjoying riding the Trek again. I've been getting out almost daily for rides ranging from 5 miles to 12 miles. But its days really are numbered. The sprockets and shifters/derailleur are showing their age. The handlebars are starting to have a little give to them that can't be tightened out. The rear wheel is out of true -- not terribly, but noticeably -- and it will need new tires long before I've put in the minimum of 1,000 miles I am committed to riding this year.
As much as I'd love to take the Trek frame in to my favorite bike shop and tell them to hang all the new stuff it needs on it, my guess is that would set me back at least $300-400. That's not happening any time in the foreseeable future.
$80 didn't work out. Now I'm thinking more like $180 including tax:
Good reviews for both the brand (Critical) and the specific bike. 57cm frame size available. Single speed with flip-flop hub. I'd rather have quick release for the wheels, and I'll probably want to put a rack on it, but otherwise I'm sold. And I think I can save up the dough for it by spring.
Update: I went ahead and ordered the bike this morning on credit instead of saving up for it. Why? Because last night I noticed the price at Amazon and at the Critical Cycles site was back up from the $169 sale price to the usual $199 price. I hadn't expected that -- my plausible assumption was that they were having a sale in advance of introducing new models. When I went looking, I found it still on sale for $169 at, you guessed it, Walmart.com. I'm having it shipped directly to me instead of having the local store assemble it, though. I like to pay cash on the barrelhead when possible, but in this case credit will save me $30 instead of costing me more (as long as I pay it off in six months or less; I plan to pay it off in two or three).