Author Topic: Want to start biking  (Read 4913 times)

AgileTurtle

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Want to start biking
« on: November 03, 2014, 09:13:26 AM »
I want to become a bike rider. I came to the realization years ago I do not like mountain biking (feel like I am allways seconds away from getting seriously hurt)  My friends tell me road biking is more fun. You guys who bike commute, do you ride road bikes? Do you ride good bikes or garage sale 10 speeds?

Any help and information to point me in the right direction would be helpful. I currently do no have a bike.

nereo

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 09:51:40 AM »
glad to hear you're considering using a bike!  It's one of the best things you can do for your budget and will have added benefits for your health and the environment.

For basic commuting, I use a hybrid bike with smooth tires.  It's best on paved surface streets but can handle dirt paths and the occasional bump and crack better than pure road bikes.  I bought mine used online for $240 (new I think it sells for around $700).  I also don't worry as much about it getting stolen as I would with a fancy road bike.  It's probably more than I absolutely need, but it rides well, has a fairly light aluminum frame and gets me where i want to go.  Four months of not buying a bus pass pays for the bike (or 1 month of not using my car for commuting). 

If you are new to biking i'd recommend at least going to a bike shop and riding around a few bikes to find what you like, and getting a sense of what size frame you'd like.  Then watch craigslist to see when a similar bike comes up for sale. 

MayDay

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 10:02:47 AM »
I find road bikes wobbly feeling. I had mountain bikes as a teenager (only ever road on streets, lol) so it's probably just that I'm not used to it. Still, I didn't care for the feeling.  I now have a hybrid with wider, smooth-ish tires. I only ride maybe 10 miles round trip, so it works for me. It was around 300$ new, 6 years ago.

destron

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 10:07:26 AM »
There is a spectrum between road and mountain bikes. I ride a hybrid bike for my daily commute. I use slick tires for speed May to September, and tires with some more grip the rest of the year (it rains quite a bit in the Seattle area, I'm sure you've heard). My recommendation would be to lean more towards a road bike or hybrid. You will go so much faster so much more easily, it will be a better experience. People who are just starting out on bikes often want mountain bikes to commute because they feel safer, but they get frustrated and quit more often.

GuitarStv

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 10:08:44 AM »
I use a road bike during the spring, summer, and fall and a hybrid during the winter to commute.  The learning curve has a lot to do with getting comfortable cycling with traffic, and learning safe cycling habits.  The tires for road use tend to be much narrower which feels a bit less steady than wide mountain bike tires.  The idea to go into a bike shop to find an appropriate sized bike is a good one.

Left

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2014, 10:14:48 AM »
I've stopped riding my bike :( but I go to the gym and ride it there :( I know, it's a more costly ride but I find that I'm too out of shape for real road biking (gym bike is easier to pedal). I'm also too wobbly on the real bike too instead of a stationary one and it's cold out. Yes I have lots of complainy pants excuses but I'm building goal to ride in spring again. I rode it 1-2 miles each day this spring/summer so I'm hoping to do it again next year. I don't commute by bike though. My around the neighborhood bike is an older 12 speed bike which seems to be enough gears. I'm unable to ride it further but it's more of me being out of shape and not that the bike doesn't have enough gears since I don't find it hard to pedal, I just can't pedal that much up a hill >.>. I picked up the older bike off craigslist for about $50, still in good shape and I like the mixte shape of it because I don't crush my man parts when I straddle the bar when I'm at a stop and stand up. Not sure if this part is important to you, but city riding seems to have lots of stop/go and at longer stops I like to hop off bike and just stand there instead of reach foot to one side and lean. Older steel bikes handle abuse a bit more I think, at least I don't feel too troubled when I dropped it down a flight a stairs. The "heaviness" of the bike isn't something I concern myself with on the steel bike, I weight like 100x my bike so I don't even notice if the bike is 5 lbs more than a carbon frame.

edit: and I still haven't quite figured out how to come to a complete stop when I'm going downhills very well if I have to do it quickly :(. Just saying, road biking is scary fast if you aren't used to it. I don't know if mountain bike brakes are bigger or if it is speed or thicker tires but it's a lot easier to stop with a mountain bike.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 10:22:58 AM by eyem »

skunkfunk

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2014, 10:26:43 AM »
I've stopped riding my bike :( but I go to the gym and ride it there :( I know, it's a more costly ride but I find that I'm too out of shape for real road biking (gym bike is easier to pedal). I'm also too wobbly on the real bike too instead of a stationary one and it's cold out. Yes I have lots of complainy pants excuses but I'm building goal to ride in spring again. I rode it 1-2 miles each day this spring/summer so I'm hoping to do it again next year. I don't commute by bike though. My around the neighborhood bike is an older 12 speed bike which seems to be enough gears. I'm unable to ride it further but it's more of me being out of shape and not that the bike doesn't have enough gears since I don't find it hard to pedal, I just can't pedal that much up a hill >.>. I picked up the older bike off craigslist for about $50, still in good shape and I like the mixte shape of it because I don't crush my man parts when I straddle the bar when I'm at a stop and stand up. Not sure if this part is important to you, but city riding seems to have lots of stop/go and at longer stops I like to hop off bike and just stand there instead of reach foot to one side and lean. Older steel bikes handle abuse a bit more I think, at least I don't feel too troubled when I dropped it down a flight a stairs. The "heaviness" of the bike isn't something I concern myself with on the steel bike, I weight like 100x my bike so I don't even notice if the bike is 5 lbs more than a carbon frame.

edit: and I still haven't quite figured out how to come to a complete stop when I'm going downhills very well if I have to do it quickly :(. Just saying, road biking is scary fast if you aren't used to it. I don't know if mountain bike brakes are bigger or if it is speed or thicker tires but it's a lot easier to stop with a mountain bike.

I smell a crisis.

nereo

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2014, 10:38:36 AM »

edit: and I still haven't quite figured out how to come to a complete stop when I'm going downhills very well if I have to do it quickly :(. Just saying, road biking is scary fast if you aren't used to it. I don't know if mountain bike brakes are bigger or if it is speed or thicker tires but it's a lot easier to stop with a mountain bike.

Learn how to use your breaks correctly before you injure yourself or someone else.  it's a skill that takes some practice to get right, and many causal cyclists don't know how to stop effectively. http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

daveydinner

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2014, 11:15:37 AM »
Up to a certain point you're going to get what you pay for in a used bike, and a $50 budget might leave you more discouraged than encouraged about riding it. I've been there.  A couple hundred is more realistic for something you plan to ride daily. The beauty of the local bike shop is they'll let you try out a variety of bikes in different styles and price ranges and you should get the one you find most comfortable and safe on.

Here's another neat article to add to the Sheldon Brown link above.
https://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=86

Personally I always recommend folks going for a cheap way to get into cycling to check out steel mountain bikes from the 80s and 90s (pre-suspension). There are hundreds of them available on any local Craigslist, many in excellent shape, maybe in need of a tuneup and new cables or chain. Don't buy on description, take it for a spin.


epipenguin

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2014, 11:35:15 AM »
I went in to a local bike store and told the owner that I needed a comfortable old lady bike for commuting on. That was 10 years ago - $300 later I got a sturdy 7-speed bike with a basket that is still going strong. Now, admittedly, I have not commuted on it for 10 years as I've been very off-and-on, but it's going to be "on" again soon. I've even taken it on biking trails (not true mountain bike trails - the easier ones, but off road). It's basically a hybrid, but with comfy things like a wide seat, mud guards, and the aforementioned basket.

I would happily do the same again as far as buying the bike - yes, I could probably have found something cheaper, but going to a local store gave me the confidence that it was the right fit, it was a good bike I wouldn't necessarily have gravitated towards, and I helped a local business.

SailAway

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2014, 01:39:43 PM »
We've retrofitted my mountain bike for commuting, which kind of turned it into a hybrid. We put narrower, less knobby tires on it, fenders and a back rack. Oh, and a bell, lol. Love it, works great for what I need.

tofuchampion

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2014, 01:51:03 PM »
I have a road bike.  It's an old one - a '72 Schwinn Varsity - and was only $120 on craigslist.  It's heavy but durable, fast enough for my purposes, and, in my humble opinion, quite pretty.  ;)  It's not as light as modern bikes and doesn't feel wobbly to me at all - it's very steady.

I've been commuting on this bike (4-7 miles each way, depending on where I was living/working) for 2 1/2 years and it's been fantastic.  Older bikes, if well-built and maintained properly, can be a good inexpensive option to get started.

AgileTurtle

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2014, 02:00:10 PM »
Thanks for the replies. I am going to go to a bike store and see what I like and how I size up.

Pixelshot

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2014, 02:22:45 PM »
in my experience, the main thing is to find a bike that fits your body, and to fine tune it as needed. You start by finding the right bike size. Different brands use different measurements, so it's not like having a shoe size, you have to go brand by brand to a certain extent. But, trying out a few will give you the basic size you need. Then, pick a size that works for you and look on craigslist. I prefer road bikes because it takes less energy to get around town (translation=I'll ride it more) and I can go faster.

After you find the right size, you can fine tune the fit by changing the stem and seat posts to fit you even better.

You can go in to a bike shop and ask to try out a few - then write down the brands and the sizes and look for used.

MoneyCat

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Re: Want to start biking
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2014, 06:29:31 PM »
I bought a cheapo Next 7-speed bike from Walmart.com for $90 including sales tax with free home delivery.  I put it together once it arrived and it has worked just fine for my cycling needs for three years now.  You really don't need to spend a ton of money on a bicycle, even if you plan to use it daily.


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