Author Topic: So, on the bike.  (Read 7027 times)

RyanHesson

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
So, on the bike.
« on: July 09, 2014, 10:58:14 PM »
So, I don't actually own a bike. My roommate owns one and I tried to learn on his but his is just way too big for me, I moved the seat all the way in but it's hard for me to even pedal all the way because they extend beyond my feet. So I'm thinking of buying a smaller bike.

Some things about me:

1. I don't actually know how to ride a bike. When I was a kid everyone was riding skateboards, no one bikes. So I learned how to ride a skateboard. But I haven't done that since I was about 13. So, I'd like one that's easy to ride.
2. At this point, I'm looking for a cheap bike. This is just to make sure that I can utilize it and ride it properly. If this all works out well I'll get a better bike later. So cheap is a must.
3. The bike will be used for commuting I guess. It looks like I want a road bike? I don't know much about the types.
4. Where I live biking is not possible most of the year, though it is possible June, July, August. Maybe last couple weeks of May and first couple of September. Before I get arguments, yes, I could ride in late April/Early May and probably into most of October and I won't get hypothermia, but we can still get snow and freezing temperatures during those times, and I'm not a hearty cold guy, so I probably won't. So I don't really need a bike that can get through snow, and I don't want to pay extra for one that can because I won't use that.
5. I don't really know what size I need? So I looked at Walmart and I don't think the sizes there match up with what I'm seeing. It looks like I should be looking for something like a Size 52 or 54. I think the bikes on Walmart are using a different scale.

Any recommendations?

MDM

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9495
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2014, 11:04:08 PM »
Any local bike stores that do rentals?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 12:03:09 AM by MDM »

TJ79

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2014, 11:16:51 PM »
Frame size is typically measured by the seat tube length. But as a guideline (for a bike with a horizontal top tube), you should be able to stand over it comfortably, with no more than a couple inches of clearance.

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/bike-fit.html

I'd also recommend looking on craigslist for a used bike, rather than buy one new. Especially as a beginner that may or not may enjoy it. You'll get way more for your $, and it'll have better resale value.





RyanHesson

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2014, 11:28:22 PM »
Most of the bikes I'm seeing on craigslist are from people living pretty far out. Gas out there and back will eat up a hefty portion of the cost. There's also just not that many. I was thinking of just ordering one from Walmart.com. Free delivery for orders over $50, and it looks like they have some bikes going for $80.

Guardian

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 70
  • Location: Arizona
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2014, 02:35:14 AM »
Whoa whoa whoa.

Back away from the Walmart, dude.

Read the link below, then see what you can find on Ebay, Craigslist, BicycleBlueBook, PinkBike, Nashbar, or Bikesdirect.

I've read a few of your posts, believe me, you're smart enough to avoid the walmartian crap.

http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/01/buying-bikes-from-craigslist.html

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2014, 07:15:40 AM »
yeah I know almost nothing about bikes and even I would say Walmart is a terrible idea. I don't know how far out "pretty far out" is but Craigslist is a much better option. I guess if cheap is a must and CL pickings are too slim, you could look at it as paying $80 to rent a bike for a couple months?

also, if you only want to use it for transportation and don't care about going super fast or far or anything (this describes my bike usage), I have a hybrid instead of a road bike and I love it. definitely easier to ride if you aren't very good/are just getting back into it (IMO), and the upright posture makes it easier to look around and see traffic and stuff. not sure if it would be possible to find one of those on CL where you are (are you in Alaska?!?) but something to look for!

MandyM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 544
  • Location: Lexington, KY
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2014, 07:26:03 AM »
What about borrowing one from a friend while you learn? Ask around, I bet there are plenty of people that have bikes sitting idle in their garage.

merci001

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2014, 07:34:48 AM »
You might consider going to a bike shop and asking them to help you get sized for a bike. Where I live there are many bike shops and they are more than willing to do this. You don't necessarily have to buy from them. Although, many have a lot of used bikes they sell. Also, there are a couple of bike shops in my area where they will teach you how to ride, so ask teh bike shops in your area about this.  I live in a urban area that is biker friendly.

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2014, 07:38:40 AM »
What about borrowing one from a friend while you learn? Ask around, I bet there are plenty of people that have bikes sitting idle in their garage.

+1   

Also, garage/ yard sales.

Fleacircus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2014, 08:41:02 AM »
+1 for asking around (friends, coworkers, people at church, etc.) and garage sales.

As far as learning to ride, take the pedals off the bike (if you don't know how, ask a handy friend or take it to a local bike mechanic).  You will push the bike with your feet and learn to balance and steer that way.  When you can maneuver a good distance without putting your feet down, put the pedals back on and you will easily begin pedaling.

PloddingInsight

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 308
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2014, 08:50:52 AM »
OP is looking for a temporary bike to learn on while he develops his knowledge of bikes and determines what kind of bike he wants for real.

If walmart is the cheapest option, go for it!  Don't listen to the Walmart haters.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2014, 09:04:19 AM »
OP is looking for a temporary bike to learn on while he develops his knowledge of bikes and determines what kind of bike he wants for real.

If walmart is the cheapest option, go for it!  Don't listen to the Walmart haters.

I hate to say it, but I've got to agree with this. It sounds like the OP lives in the Arctic Circle or something (possibility of snow in May and October?!), and maybe even a rural/small town area, both of which add up to used bikes being far and few in between. Unless he can go shop for a Craigslist bike when he makes his monthly trek into the Big City to stock up on provisions, maybe Wal-Mart is the only choice left.

However, OP, if you do decide to get a Wal-Mart bike, DO NOT LET THE STORE EMPLOYEES ASSEMBLE IT FOR YOU. They do not know what they're doing, and it will be unsafe to ride. Assemble it yourself, or pay a real bike shop to do it.

Finally: if there's a town within 50 miles of you with a population numbering 5 digits or more, ignore the above and look harder for a used bike.

hybrid

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1673
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • A hybrid of MMM and thoughtful consumer.
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2014, 09:40:00 AM »
If you can skateboard, you can figure out how to bike quickly enough, you already have a huge head start when it comes to balance. I agree with simply finding one to borrow if practical. I also like the idea of a hybrid over a road bike should you get to that point, it's much more forgiving and comfortable. I use a road bike and though I love the speed I can manage from it I would not describe it as overly comfortable. Bigger tires make for a much more comfortable ride and it reads like you are going to be a more casual cyclist, so enjoy the ride.

PindyStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 241
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2014, 10:01:02 AM »
3. The bike will be used for commuting I guess. It looks like I want a road bike? I don't know much about the types.

I would recommend starting with a bike with flat handlebars, which causes you to sit in a more upright position on the bike. These types of bikes are typically call "hybrid" bikes. Some "mountain" bikes will also do, but for either a hybrid or a mountain bike you do NOT want a front suspension unless you plan to do off-pavement biking. This may require looking at older mountain bike models, commonly found on Craigslist/garage sales for not much money. Obviously YMMV, and you should just get on several different bikes and try them out (store, friends, etc.).

This is a bike WITH a front suspension (on the arms that hold the front wheel):
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-High-Timber-Front-Suspension-26-Ladies-Bike/20581462

This is a bike WITHOUT a front suspension:
http://www.wayfarerbike.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/7.3fx.jpg

Flat handlebars and sitting upright are more comfortable and give you a better sense of balance and control as you learn. Frankly, unless you are going much over 15 mph, the difference in air resistance is fairly minimal. Several folks here bike quite a lot with hybrids or slightly customized mountain bikes.

With this basic setup, you can then start to think about other things like tires, how to carry things, seats, clothing, etc.

I also think this sizing chart is easier to read:
Road/hybrid bikes: http://www.ebicycles.com/custom/content_files/ebicycles-bicycle-sizing-chart-road-bikes.pdf
Mountain bikes: http://www.ebicycles.com/custom/content_files/ebicycles-bicycle-sizing-chart-mountain-bikes.pdf

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2014, 11:16:57 AM »
I would recommend starting with a bike with flat handlebars, which causes you to sit in a more upright position on the bike. These types of bikes are typically call "hybrid" bikes. Some "mountain" bikes will also do, but for either a hybrid or a mountain bike you do NOT want a front suspension unless you plan to do off-pavement biking. This may require looking at older mountain bike models, commonly found on Craigslist/garage sales for not much money. Obviously YMMV, and you should just get on several different bikes and try them out (store, friends, etc.).

...

Flat handlebars and sitting upright are more comfortable and give you a better sense of balance and control as you learn. Frankly, unless you are going much over 15 mph, the difference in air resistance is fairly minimal. Several folks here bike quite a lot with hybrids or slightly customized mountain bikes.

This is good advice too. I would add that you don't want any suspension. No front suspension, certainly no rear suspension (those don't even make good cross-country mountain bikes!), and not even a springy seatpost. If you're riding and you feel like it's excessively bumpy, the solution is to stand up on the pedals and let your legs be the suspension.

Also, feel free to get an older non-suspension mountain bike, but if it has knobby tires then you should certainly replace them with slick ones. Bikes are not like cars; bike tires for pavement should always be completely smooth (although a lot of them have some amount of tread because most casual cyclists don't understand that fact).

My commuter bike is an '80s or '90s no-suspension mountain bike with a flat handlebar and wide, slick tires.

PindyStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 241
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2014, 11:36:28 AM »
I agree with Jack's advice on tires. But they're not something you have to worry about immediately. My secret plan for the OP is that as the cycling bug grows he can get a pair of studded tires eventually too and tackle those winters! :)

I actually have a 1990's mountain bike I bought off CL sitting in my basement as my backup bike, still with very knobby tires on it. The one day I rode it on my 20 mile round trip commute was quite a workout! A pair of slicker 26" tires is on my to-consider-buying-sometime-soon list.

RyanHesson

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2014, 12:48:18 PM »
What about borrowing one from a friend while you learn? Ask around, I bet there are plenty of people that have bikes sitting idle in their garage.

Only 2 of my friends have bikes, both are several (well, one is about 4 inches taller than me, my roommate about 6 inches taller) inches taller than me. I tried my roommate's but it's just not possible, it's too big for me. I didn't ask my other friend but I asked him the size and it's the same size as my roommate's. A size 20, not what that scale is?

There was one in town that I saw that might work, it was $300 though, probably just a fancier bike than I need. There were a few 20 miles out but only 1 was an adult bike and it looks like it's the same size as my roommate's bike and also too expensive (I think that one was $350). Then there's a bunch just scattered all over the state.

From the chart posted for hybrid it looks like I need a size 51 or 52 bike, so a bit smaller than size 54.

Quote
Finally: if there's a town within 50 miles of you with a population numbering 5 digits or more, ignore the above and look harder for a used bike.

I live about 15-20 miles from something in the 5 digits (where the Walmart is), but it doesn't look like anything appropriate is there (though I can wait - stuff will pop up probably). Fortunately I'm far south of the Arctic Circle (I'm in the continental US), just far inland. But I'll check again since I think I was only looking for road bikes, not hybrid.

Quote
You might consider going to a bike shop and asking them to help you get sized for a bike. Where I live there are many bike shops and they are more than willing to do this. You don't necessarily have to buy from them. Although, many have a lot of used bikes they sell. Also, there are a couple of bike shops in my area where they will teach you how to ride, so ask teh bike shops in your area about this.  I live in a urban area that is biker friendly.

There's a bike shop but I think they use a different scale, that's where my roommate got his bike, which they said was size 20 and is way too big for me.

PindyStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 241
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2014, 01:33:37 PM »
Different types of bicycle frames are measured differently. I don't really understand it all either. Plus I think you may be mixing inches and centimeters. It sounds like you should be looking for a ~52cm road or hybrid bike, or ~16 inch mountain bike. I would guess your roommate's bike is a 20 inch mountain bike.

Also, unless you are buying a very specifically fit road bike, there is not really a functional difference between men's and women's bikes, so at this size you may find something labelled "women's" and as long as the color is OK by whatever your standards are it should work just fine. Some guys even prefer the step-through style that is usually labelled "women's."

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: So, on the bike.
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2014, 02:08:36 PM »
Different types of bicycle frames are measured differently. I don't really understand it all either. Plus I think you may be mixing inches and centimeters.

That's okay, nobody understands it! For example:
Quote
Anarchy reigns; I know of one bicycle line that made a running change in the middle of the year. You could have two bikes of the same make, model, year and nominal size, but one was 2 cm larger than the other! The only way to know was to measure them.

At any rate, OP, if you read the linked article you will first become more confused about frame sizes, then if you read it a second time you will become less confused. Overall, I think it will be helpful. In fact, if you read all the other articles on that website, you'll know exactly what kind of bike you want. : )