Author Topic: Bike resources for a newbie  (Read 3660 times)

Miranda

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Bike resources for a newbie
« on: August 09, 2015, 12:56:32 PM »
Hello all. I'm thinking of getting a bike for my errands and whatnot. I'm a total newbie-never even had a bike as a kid. In doing some reading it seems more involved than I thought. Tools,  repair kits, maintenance. I did some searching to find some resources for what I need to know and have, and there are thousands! Does anyone have any they found particularly helpful? I started reading too much I think, got overwhelmed, and was ready to just give up.

I have questions about the basics,  but also day to day stuff, like where to leave your bike when there are no bike racks around, or how to share lanes with cars who are passing you. I'm more than a little nervous.

vhalros

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2015, 01:12:57 PM »
Yeah, it can be overwhelming, but you can figure it out. As far as how to deal with traffic, I find this pretty helpful: http://cyclingsavvy.org/hows-my-driving/

As far as locking it, Hal Ruzal's videos are informative and amusing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTA3JsZWiec . Keep in mind he is in NYC; adjust your level of paranoia based on your location.

For a general overview of maintenance, I like "The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair" by Todd Downs. This is good for learning the names and different types of everything, as well has how often to do maintenance. Then I tend to look up videos of specific things as needed.

Sheldon Brown's website is also a pretty good resource for many things. Here is his section on locking: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html , and an article on stopping an stopping: http://sheldonbrown.com/starting.html (surprisingly few people seem to know how to do this).
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 01:21:34 PM by vhalros »

Miranda

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2015, 03:10:01 PM »
Thanks for the resources! I never thought to look at videos.  I'll check them out and try to hit up the library for the book.

Learning how to ride seems easy enough, all the other details seem a bit much at times. I struggle just to put together bookcases! But I figure other people just as incompetent as me have figured it out, so I can, too.

PizzaHawk

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2015, 11:59:46 AM »
I don't have many online resources to offer, but one thing to note is that you don't need nearly as many accesories as people will tell you.

Must haves:
-Lights (ABSOLUTELY NECCESARY, even if you don't think you be riding at night. Even for day rides, I always keep mine with me. It could always start raining, or you'll be pulled over on the side and want a flasher, etc.)
-U-Lock

If you're going to be riding more than a mile, or whatever distance you wouldn't want to walk back home, put together a basic kit either in a underseat bag or to be carried in a backpack:
-Spare tube
-Tire levers
-Small multitool
-Either a minipump or CO2 cartridge for reinflating

Everything I listed you should be able to pick up for about $80 if you shop around and find sales. The lights, ulock, and tools will last you for a long time.

One other thing is to remember that not all road bikes are created equal. Even if you want to buy one online, absolutely go in to a bike shop to test ride a few. Every shop I've ever been to has been more than happy to help people out and answer questions and size you for a bike. Find the right size (long rides are terrible on the wrong size bike) and find out what kind of bike you want in the store, then go out and find the best price for that model type. When I bought my first bike as an adult, I ended up buying a vastly different model (for less money!) than what I would have originally ordered, after spending an hour in the store learning about different things.

Miranda

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2015, 05:50:55 PM »
Thanks PizzaHawk. It can seem a little overwhelming at first. It was starting to sound like I would need to pack a bag just to ride!

I'm going to try out riding to places like the park, where I'm not riding on any major roads. I don't live someplace where you see bikes more than a few times a year on the roads.

I'm thinking about getting a folding bike, simply for lack of places to store it at my apartment building. No one in the area sells them, but I'm going to go try out some regular bikes to get a feel for sizes.

JJNL

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2015, 11:48:41 PM »
Kudos for wanting to get into biking! I would however counsel against a folding bike. And I actually own a folding bike - I take it on the train to work (folded folding bikes travel for free on trains where I live) so I can cycle from the station to the office, and bought it in order to be able to do this. However, for riding in my own town I own a normal-size bike. I'd never buy a folding bike as my primary bicycle if I were you. Why?
- folding bikes are generally more expensive than non-folding bikes, especially if you want quality
- maintenance costs / effort are higher, there are more moving parts on it and more things that can break
- even though great strides have been made in building comfortable folding bikes, the foldability will cost you on the comfort front. Quite a lot, if low-cost is what you're after.

Question for you: do you HAVE to store your bike inside? If you live somewhere where there's not too much rain / snow, you could leave your bike locked outside without major consequences. If it does rain or snow a lot where you live, you do want to find somewhere to put it inside in order to avoid it rusting - but even if you can't this still shouldn't prevent you buying a bicycle. i'd just buy a much cheaper one if I knew it was going to succumb to rust within a few years. Can you hang your bike on a wall or ceiling inside your building/ your apartment? http://www.homedepot.com/b/Storage-Organization-Garage-Storage-Mounted-Garage-Racks-Shelving/Bike-Racks/N-5yc1vZc89pZ1z0tuq4 A couple of bucks will buy you a wall-mounted contraption to hold it. Also, this; http://www.wikihow.com/Hang-a-Bike-on-the-Wall

Lastly: check Craigslist before buying! 2nd hand bikes are usually a good deal.

Miranda

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2015, 06:53:09 PM »
Thanks for the feedback! At my apartment building, I cannot store a bike in my apartment or outside on the sidewalk. I can rent a bike locker, I was just hoping to save the expense. If they're really not good quality, I guess I'll rent the locker. And I do plan to buy off Craigslist, I was just hoping to try some out at a bike shop first. As I've never had a bike before, it seemed like a good idea.

robartsd

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2015, 04:42:58 PM »
I haven't rented bike lockers frequently, but when I've looked into them they've usually been fairly inexpensive ($10/month?). I don't think the trade-off of saving that little is worth the price premium you'd pay for a decent folding bike (of course there's always the chance that you find a great deal on a used one). In addition to the fit/comfort disadvantages, folding bikes can also be more hassle to lock up (of course you're also more likely to be able to bring it in) at various place you go by bike.

While bike maintenance is not particularly difficult, and I'd certainly encourage you to take on basics like flat repair and cleaning and lubing your chain, you still may want to build a relationship with a local bike shop that you trust. You might consider taking the bike you purchase in to the bike shop you felt the most comfortable with when trying out bikes to have their service department check the adjustment of the brakes and derailers as these parts can be quite fiddley. Don't worry about them being offended that you purchased a bike somewhere else - I'm sure they're much more interested in your ongoing patronage for service and accessories than they are in an the initial sale of a bike.

Miranda

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2015, 07:02:19 PM »
Sounds like a good plan! Thanks for the advice. I have a bike shop scoped out that seems good, and I'm going to get some books on bike maintenance from the library.  The only bike lockers in the area are at my new apartment building, so I'm waiting to hear what they will charge. They're still deciding, as no one has used one yet! People in this area really don't ride bikes except at parks. Crazy.

robartsd

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2015, 04:22:13 PM »
The only bike lockers in the area are at my new apartment building, so I'm waiting to hear what they will charge. They're still deciding, as no one has used one yet! People in this area really don't ride bikes except at parks. Crazy.
Sounds like the market rate is $0 (supply greatly outstrips demand). A quick search online finds many transit locations rent out bike lockers for $50/year and hourly rates of $0.05. They also often have a key deposit. I did find one article where a transit raised rates for the first time in 32 years from $70 to $200 greatly increasing the vacancy rate. You might see if they'll go for $20/year with a key deposit.

Miranda

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Re: Bike resources for a newbie
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2015, 05:56:39 PM »
I actually talked with them today and they agreed to rent it to me for free :)