Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

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Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:54 pm

I'm a HUGE winter activity guy (I get out skiing 3x a week, skating 1x a week and hockey 1x week), but sadly winter is coming to an end and summer will soon be here : (

Typically, I've spent the summer trying to escape the heat (I hate the heat), but last summer I realized I need to get out more and enjoy more of the summer.

So I'm thinking of picking up biking. Problem is, I don't know anything about bikes (unless they come with an engine and go vroom vroom)

I do have cross country trails nearby and some mountain bike trails 1/2 hour away as well as some really nice paved trails through scenic parts of the city, so I need a versatile bike. I was thinking about getting a mountain bike for the XS trails then buying road tires/rims and using a quick tire change system to quickly change to As I'm just starting out, I don't want to invest heavily, so I'm thinking around $450 for the bike and then a few extras and stuff (helmet and road tires/rims), bringing the total price to around $550.

A friend of mine recommended me a bike like this: Aggressor 2.0 as a good starter bike. I know a lot of the members here go biking, so I imagine there are many other suggestions out there.

Do you guys have any other recommendations? Obviously I'm looking for a good bang/buck bike at around the $450 mark.

As my butt hasn't been on a bike saddle since childhood, I'm thinking a gel seat would be good. Any suggestions there?
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:46 pm

Hunt around for 2012 models going out of season. I could give loads of advice about what/where to buy in the UK/France but US pricing seems out of line compared to the market here.

If you are over about 5'10" and intend to use one bike for both road and xc, take a look at some 29"-wheeled bikes. At least try one out at a local shop. They're not quite as good value as 26" wheeled bikes yet, but the larger wheels make road cycling far more efficient and I actually prefer the larger wheel for the really rough stuff too.
The 29" wheels normally raises the price by $50 or so, but it's worth the extra it if it stops you from buying a second bike for the road.

My general advice is to try and avoid bikes that use plastic parts and pressed steel when you should be seeing aluminium parts and cast steel. Unfortunately, I don't think $450 MSRP gets you quite into that territory, but if you're just starting out, the Aggressor should do the trick. As a rule of thumb, You need to spend £500/€600 ($750 or so?) on a mountain bike for it to survive a season without getting mashed up, but if you're just doing some light summer trail riding, this probably isn't an issue for you. I would look for bikes with Shimano Acera or Alivio components if you can find them on 2012 bikes in a sale, it's a step up from the Suntour/Altus stuff in terms of durability- but at least that stuff is still serviceable enough for a bit of rough stuff.

The only other comments I have are:

  • that you are underestimating the cost of a helmet and spare set of wheels/tyres. Double your budget to $200 for those parts at least, or just start of with some semi-slick tyres and see how you get on with them.
  • As long as you are physically quite fit, don't change the saddle. Put up with the thin/hard one for a couple of weeks. You are supposed to sit on your pelvis bone, and unless you have extra 'junk in the trunk', your arse muscles will get used to it as long as you are persistant. After a 36-month break my buttocks had completely forgotten how to deal with a bike saddle but even then the soreness goes away soon enough. Big fat gel seats are good for very very infrequent riders, but if you plan to ride once or twice a week you'll actually be less comfortable on one before long.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:19 pm

Biking is fun, and a great way to stay in shape. Welcome to the fold!

Go to a bike store and spend a few hours test driving different bikes in your price range. A 5-10 minute ride on a bike will give you some idea of how it feels and let you eliminate the bikes you don't like, and see which ones you are comfortable on.

A proper mountain bike with shocks and whatnot will make riding on pavement more difficult than a true road bike, but it'll work. Changing the rear wheel is a pain, with all the gears and other stuff you have to change. If you know what you're doing it's not the hardest thing, but it's not a quick matter of just loosening a few bolts. Look into that process more before you consider changing rims as a viable solution.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:02 pm

Thanks FireGryphon,

The way my friend talked about changing the wheels it made it sounds like it was pretty easy, but I always had that doubt in the back of my mind.

Chrispy, I'm probably 5'9", maybe 5'10". I'll keep the 29" rims in mind as I'm going Saturday to check out bikes. I'll skip the gel seat and just go with the plain old seat. My seat will just have to toughen up.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:10 pm

Also, get a good pair of bike shorts. They're padded, and that helps an awful lot in the saddle.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:14 pm

Honestly, I wouldn't worry about the difficulty of swapping out the rear wheel. Take the wheel out and put it back in a few times and you'll get a hang of it. Just make sure you put the chain on the smallest cog in the rear and smallest sprocket in the front before you attempt to change it out as it'll make it easier for you to do so. Besides... you're gonna have to learn these skills anyways if you plan on owning a bike so might as well get comfy with them.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:33 pm

I bought this used for 200 bucks from a tenant of mine. I've checked Craigslist and found some decent stuff locally in my area.
Image


I ride it mostly on the road , but on occasion take it on some sandy semi hard pack trails in my area. It needs to go in for a "tuneup", but otherwise I cant complain.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:40 am

I bought this a few years ago and I love it.

Oh yeah riding shorts are a must.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:59 am

I'll provide a counterpoint on riding shorts.

I used to use riding shorts, but the good ones I liked were really, really expensive (around $70-$90 per pair) and I was wearing them out like crazy. About two years ago, I mostly stopped using them and use normal gym shorts on rides less than 30 miles. That works just fine if you're willing to put up with some pain. I do have a good seat that's mostly gets rid of the "male numbness" problem, but without padded shorts, I sometimes get that after a while.

When it comes to buying a bike, I think the $450-$500 price point you're looking at is perfect for an adult getting back into riding. That price point is really where you get the most bang for the buck, I think.

When it comes to bicycling, I'm a "shut up and ride" kind of guy. Any decent bicycle, especially in the $450 range, will provide years of good service if maintained properly. When things break, just upgrade them and move on.

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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:46 am

esc_in_ks wrote:I'll provide a counterpoint on riding shorts.

I used to use riding shorts, but the good ones I liked were really, really expensive (around $70-$90 per pair) and I was wearing them out like crazy. About two years ago, I mostly stopped using them and use normal gym shorts on rides less than 30 miles. That works just fine if you're willing to put up with some pain. I do have a good seat that's mostly gets rid of the "male numbness" problem, but without padded shorts, I sometimes get that after a while.



You are quite right, I have gone through a few pairs of Shorts already at 80 bucks a pop. I.m interested in your saddle, what are you using? FWIW, I have a big ass :P
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:51 am

tanker27 wrote:You are quite right, I have gone through a few pairs of Shorts already at 80 bucks a pop. I.m interested in your saddle, what are you using? FWIW, I have a big ass :P


I think the closest currently available saddle to what I use on all three of my bikes is a Serfas RX. I find saddles to be like anything that requires a good fit (shoes, keyboards, whatever): opinions vary greatly.

I think it's been as much about a good saddle as it is just forcing myself to get used to riding without fancy shorts. I ride 150 miles/week for about 7-8 months of the year, but when I transition from the cold weather to the warm weather, it takes a little while to get my butt used to it again.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:54 pm

I've been out of the biking hobby for a spell but the Aggressor in your OP looks pretty similar to my Giant which was in the same price range -- front shocks but no rears (pretty much the best compromise for mixed road and trail use), Shimano derailers, and disc brakes. A notched saddle is not a bad idea, though -- does help with the whole numbness thing.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:05 pm

Don't worry about switching tires. Unless you go full roadie or full off road you can get by just fine on mildly knobby tires with a center ring.

I have a 29er and it is a great compromise bike with the ability to go both ways, As one person noted the big wheels give you an enhanced off road stability in deep puddles with rocks scattered around and in the snow. The rest of the time the smaller wheels are a bit more agile. On the road it feels a bit more centered than the 26ers but not by much.

Just have fun with it, the rest will come with time and as you decide what's best for you.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:26 pm

Awesome, thanks guys!

I think I'll skip the biking shorts for the (immediate time being) and just try to "toughen up", but we'll see how that works out.

I was in a store today looking at some "hybrid tires" (if that makes sense). The sales guy was saying these tires are ok for the road and can handle gravel, so I'll probably just go with that. *If* I get into this biking thing (haha, I already spend so much money on skis and hockey), then I for sure see myself going much more cross country and maybe venture into downhill...but that would be next year.

I'll be checking out some more shops later tomorrow (Saturday). I'll keep you guys updated.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:14 pm

Well, after a full day of bike shopping, I think I found it.

Most of the places didn't have sales on/were out of 2012 or only had $100 off. But my local winter shop (where I buy all my skiis/boots) had a Raleigh Talus 29 sport (reg $799CDN on sale for $549) with 20% off bike helmet/accessories. http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/mountain/29-hardtail/talus-29-sport-12/ The Tulus 29 sport seems to have pretty good reviews on-line and does have 29" tires. It does have knobby tires but the bike shop will switch them to a more "road friendly yet able to do cross country" tire.

Haven't seen any other "deals" like that so far, so I think I'll grab that.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:04 pm

Looks good. You should have a lot of fun with that bike. Once you figure out what you like most you can start to specialize a bit with tires etc.

Good luck. Oh and if you don't fall down once in a while in the bush you are not being crazy enough. ;)
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:44 pm

PenGun wrote: Good luck. Oh and if you don't fall down once in a while in the bush you are not being crazy enough. ;)


Haha, I live by a similar mantra when skiing. If your skis don't look beat up by the end of the year (wood skiing, jumps and everything else), you weren't really skiing. I've had some really good falls (claps from the chair lift), so I'm no stranger to wiping out. Although snow hurts a lot less...

Thanks guys!
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:45 am

Quick note, before setting out on a ride, make sure the seat is set so that, on the bottom of the pedal rotation, your leg is almost fully extended but your knee does not lock out. Too high, and you'll tend to lose control of the pedal and possibly injure your knees. But if it's too low, you'll overwork your legs.

Experienced cyclists already know this but novices sometimes don't, so I'll just throw that in there :)
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:26 pm

My new toy, the difference between this , 2012 GT Karakoam 2.0 29er and my 2001 Gary Fisher is pretty dramatic.

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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:43 pm

I'd sort of like to get into cycling, but I don't have a lot of free time as it is, and most of my active time every week goes into working out and my parkour practice. (⊙﹏⊙✿) Such that it is in this rural area. My plyometrics are coming along though!

I'd really like to be able to get around my area without using fuel, but it seems the only bicycles made for people my size (~146cm, very narrow frame and long limbs) are made for children. (╥﹏╥) I mean, I don't care if it's a My Little Pony bicycle, but one or three gears is not really going to cut it.

Admittedly, I haven't looked around that much, but I'd like something a little more ... serious. Something more intended for getting around, rather than off-road or trick use. You know? ┐(‘~`;)┌

edit: corrected height based on measurement taken today 4/3/13
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:46 pm

auxy wrote:I'd sort of like to get into cycling, but I don't have a lot of free time as it is, and most of my active time every week goes into working out and my parkour practice. (⊙﹏⊙✿) Such that it is in this rural area. My plyometrics are coming along though!

I'd really like to be able to get around my area without using fuel, but it seems the only bicycles made for people my size (~143cm, very narrow frame and long limbs) are made for children. (╥﹏╥) I mean, I don't care if it's a My Little Pony bicycle, but one or three gears is not really going to cut it.

Admittedly, I haven't looked around that much, but I'd like something a little more ... serious. Something more intended for getting around, rather than off-road or trick use. You know? ┐(‘~`;)┌

You can get some pretty small mountain bikes. I had a 17" Norco Pinnacle for many years and it was tiny. Amazing technical bike though.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:31 pm

Well Auxy, I'm assuming your long limbs and emphatic use of ascii faces means you should be looking for a women-specific frame.

Many of the big brands (Trek, Specialized, Marin, GT) offer women's bikes which basically shortens the distance between the seat and the bars, tilts the seatpost back to maintain centre of gravity between the wheels and generally changes the geometry ratios of body/legs away from gorilla-torso and more towards peabody-longlegs. Whilst they don't have as large a range as the "unisex" (blokes bikes) you can normally find everything from cheap city runabouts all the way up to top-end downhill bikes or full-carbon road-racers.

Oh, and Sargent Duck, you have yourself a really decent starter machine there - I was using something similar right up until I started competition riding; By the time you've destroyed that you'll either have been bitten by the bug like me or decided that you just like getting from A to B on reasonably smooth track with the minimum of effort ;)
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:06 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Well Auxy, I'm assuming your long limbs and emphatic use of ascii faces means you should be looking for a women-specific frame.
Hehe. (*´艸`*)
Chrispy_ wrote:Many of the big brands (Trek, Specialized, Marin, GT) offer women's bikes which basically shortens the distance between the seat and the bars, tilts the seatpost back to maintain centre of gravity between the wheels and generally changes the geometry ratios of body/legs away from gorilla-torso and more towards peabody-longlegs. Whilst they don't have as large a range as the "unisex" (blokes bikes) you can normally find everything from cheap city runabouts all the way up to top-end downhill bikes or full-carbon road-racers.
Ohhh~! Most of the women's bikes seem to be too large for me, though. Maybe I just need to learn how to adjust them? (*・艸・)
Chrispy_ wrote:getting from A to B on reasonably smooth track with the minimum of effort
Dat's me! (^v^)I want a bike I can ride around instead of hauling around an extra three seats and wasting gasoline everywhere.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:13 am

Find a local bike shop, and then work from there, is what I'd say.

Also, it may work out that your best bet is to modify a good quality kid's bike (hint: nothing sold at Wal-Mart or any other big box store). Most single-speeds can be converted to something like an 8-speed internal gear hub (which is sealed from the elements, and uses a heavier chain that lasts much longer and requires less maintenance - although for most internal gear hubs, changing flats is a little harder) without too much trouble (although a rear brake may be difficult to get without spreading the frame).

Edit: A couple other things about your riding conditions...

How hilly is the terrain where you are? If it's flat terrain, 3 gears might actually be enough unless you're seriously loading the bike down, and 3-speed hubs are ridiculously reliable. Also, how much precipitation and wind do you have to deal with?

And, how much of your car use are you planning on offsetting? What kind of distances are you planning on riding?
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:13 pm

bhtooefr wrote:Find a local bike shop, and then work from there, is what I'd say.
I called one local bike shop but they said they don't stock anything in my size; they only sell adult bikes. _| ̄|○
Actually, the guy I spoke to was really rude and made some really insulting implications about my claims of being 22... (/ _ ; )
bhtooefr wrote:Also, it may work out that your best bet is to modify a good quality kid's bike (hint: nothing sold at Wal-Mart or any other big box store). Most single-speeds can be converted to something like an 8-speed internal gear hub (which is sealed from the elements, and uses a heavier chain that lasts much longer and requires less maintenance - although for most internal gear hubs, changing flats is a little harder) without too much trouble (although a rear brake may be difficult to get without spreading the frame).
Hmm! (・ω・`*)
bhtooefr wrote:A couple other things about your riding conditions...
My area is really flat, and I'd be riding on roads, so I guess that answers that question. I live in Southeast Texas; it's mostly below-sea-level floodplains; all of the elevation changes are man-made.

3 gears seems like really few for cruising at speed! (つω⊂* )

Of course, you would know better than me, but I'm not interested in off-roading at all; I'm interested in covering distance. Even my car has seven gears! Hehe. (Well, six forward.)

I won't be riding (in theory, of course; I realize life sometimes has other ideas) in rain or wind. I have a car (2012 Hyundai Veloster), so I'll take that if the weather report looks bad. (」・ω・)」
bhtooefr wrote:And, how much of your car use are you planning on offsetting? What kind of distances are you planning on riding?
Well... (゚、 。`フ

I don't really know! I've never really (erm, well, almost never at all) ridden a bicycle, actually; I've spent more time on motorcycles than bicycles. As a child I grew up in a really poor, crime-stricken area, so I wasn't really allowed to go outside, much less riding around away from the house.

I now live in a lush rural area where coyotes are more of a concern than gangsters, and though I love to run, the distances are just too far! It takes me about 90 minutes to run to the closest store of any kind, which is ~10.4mi per Google Maps, so, around 7mph, something I'm understandably proud of given my size! ε=ε=┏( ・◇・)┛ I don't mind the run at all; I can sustain that pace for quite a bit longer than 90 minutes, but it's just too much time! I don't have time anymore to run for 3+ hours in a day -- no matter how much I'd love to -- unless it's one of my relatively rare days off. (TヘT)

Sooo, I was really thinking it'd be nice to have a bicycle to ride to accelerate those trips! My girlfriend has a Kawasaki KLR650 "dual-sport" dirtbike, which I am comfortable on, but I would really prefer to avoid using fuel, polluting (environmentally and noise), and the higher possibility of injury -- not to mention I don't have a Class M license! (つω⊂* )

I was thinking I'd also like to ride to work sometimes to save fuel and wear-and-tear on my car, but I don't think it's realistic. I work full-time, 19.6mi away per Google Maps. If I could hit 20mph reliably, I could make the trip in about an hour one-way, which is ... not really acceptable, and I don't even know if that kind of speed is realistic?
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:56 pm

Myself, I average about 11-12 mph on a recumbent trike (with an 8-speed internal gear hub). I'd be a bit faster if it had better tires, I'm sure, though. And, I'm not at all fit.

20 mph... depends on your fitness, really, and how far you're willing to push yourself (read: how sweaty you're willing to be at the end of the ride). And the aerodynamics. A 3-speed hub can work fine here on a bike, it's all about setting up the input gear ratio properly, although you may want more gears. (I'm a huge fan of internal gear hubs due to their lower maintenance and ability to shift at a stop, but the higher-end ones get more and more expensive quite quickly, whereas derailleur gearing is inexpensive for a wide range.)

Honestly, if I were in your situation, I'd be considering a velomobile - a streamlined recumbent trike designed for minimum aerodynamic drag. However, I wouldn't recommend one for a new rider due to the extreme cost (the cheapest ones are several thousand dollars) - figure out what you want first with lower cost cycles, THEN get a velo if you want one (you may not). Many of them are quite heavy, but that's not much of an issue in your case unless you have a lot of stop and go (hills can be a problem, but only if you can't get momentum into them). And, weather protection is good in them, too.

The other thing you may consider is a multi-modal commute. Drive part way, ride the rest of the way.

As far as types of cycles, though, there's a ton to choose from. Most inexpensive would be a conventional upright bicycle (which is divided into several types of bicycle - road, cyclocross with road tires, touring and "commuter", hybrid, and Dutch-style are a few of the types that are good for street riding, very roughly in order of how aggressive the riding position is (and therefore how fast they tend to be), although many "commuter" bikes are straight-up hybrids with racks and fenders). Recumbents tend to be significantly more comfortable - especially the fast ones, whereas fast upright bicycles can be uncomfortable (especially without training), and a recumbent designed to be fast can be very comfortable while still being significantly faster than the fastest uprights, due to better aerodynamics - even without streamlining. However, they also tend to be significantly more expensive due to being a niche market (especially 2-wheel recumbents, and the trikes aren't as fast unless they're velomobiles), and they tend to have unique parts that some bike shops don't know what to do with.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:12 pm

bhtooefr wrote:20 mph... depends on your fitness, really, and how far you're willing to push yourself (read: how sweaty you're willing to be at the end of the ride)
Huh. My fitness isn't a problem; I'm the fittest person I've ever met. I work in an office, though...
bhtooefr wrote:Honestly, if I were in your situation, I'd be considering a velomobile [...] (the cheapest ones are several thousand dollars)
I don't ... why ... why would you recommend something costing thousands of dollars to me? щ(ºДºщ) I'm shopping for Intel HD and you just recommended a Titan!
bhtooefr wrote:The other thing you may consider is a multi-modal commute. Drive part way, ride the rest of the way.
Seems intensely silly. There's nowhere to park my car along the backwoods state highway and then I'd have to get my bike out of the trunk -- no easy feat for me; I'm not even 100lbs soaking wet -- and ... yah, no. :lol: ( ´◔‿ゝ◔`)
bhtooefr wrote:As far as types of cycles, though, there's a ton to choose from.
I see that! Any links to good shops? Is there a "Newegg for cycles?" Hehee...

I'm not a cyclist -- yet -- and I don't know ANYTHING about them. The overwhelming majority of what you just said flew straight over my head despite googling a few key terms. I don't have any idea how bicycle shifters or brakes work, how bicycles are constructed, the benefits of various types of equipment or what the various types of bikes are or anything like that; until a few minutes ago, I definitely had no idea what "derailleur" meant (and I'm still pretty foggy on how it's supposed to operate)! (;゙°´ω°´)
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:38 pm

auxy wrote:I'm not a cyclist -- yet -- and I don't know ANYTHING about them. The overwhelming majority of what you just said flew straight over my head despite googling a few key terms. I don't have any idea how bicycle shifters or brakes work, how bicycles are constructed, the benefits of various types of equipment or what the various types of bikes are or anything like that; until a few minutes ago, I definitely had no idea what "derailleur" meant (and I'm still pretty foggy on how it's supposed to operate)! (;゙°´ω°´)

A: Toofey is a geek for anything that moves. Case in point, his recumbent (i.e. pedaling while sitting/lying down) trike. The man enjoys rebuilding diesel fuel pumps from 20+ YO VWs.

B: Given what you've said about yourself size-wise, finding an mass-market "adult" bike (i.e. 24" or larger wheel diameter) is going to be a real challenge and one that is likely only solvable through large applications of the cash you don't have. Nothing against you in any way, but mass-market designers work between the 10th and 90th percentiles and leave the outliers to the custom shops.

C: Derailleurs are magic, except when they don't work and you have to dig the chain out of them.

D: The finer points of bike construction are lost on me. If it pedals and I go, I'm good.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:50 pm

Captain Ned wrote:B: Given what you've said about yourself size-wise, finding an mass-market "adult" bike (i.e. 24" or larger wheel diameter) is going to be a real challenge and one that is likely only solvable through large applications of the cash you don't have. Nothing against you in any way, but mass-market designers work between the 10th and 90th percentiles and leave the outliers to the custom shops.
Well, I know that much. o(╥﹏╥)o Trust me, I know; I'm well-acquainted with being outside the curve of 'normal' in terms of size: I had to put a custom seat in my car, I special-ordered a custom-made computer chair, I have to special-order my clothes if I want anything approaching a decent fit with adult styling, etc ad nauseam.
Captain Ned wrote:C: Derailleurs are magic, except when they don't work and you have to dig the chain out of them.
:lol: :lol: :lol:
This is hilarious because this is the exact impression I had when reading the Wikipedia article! (*≧▽≦)ノシ)) I thought, "this must work, because they're common, but they must work by magic! and I bet it's a huge pain when they break."
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Re: Need some advice for picking up a pedal bike this summer

Postposted on Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:52 pm

Hey now, I do NOT rebuild the fuel pumps, and the only diesel VW I own now isn't even 15 years old. Damn things are way too complex and have way too many adjustments to go wrong. I send that crap off to a shop in Portland, OR. :P

Anyway, I mentioned a velomobile due to it being the vehicle best suited to the workload you're using, but it's most likely not the best suited to your finances, and I did say that it's not good as a first bike. It's something to consider in the future, basically.

I'll go ahead and drop a link to the late Sheldon Brown's website: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/

There's an absolute treasure trove of information about cycling that he, his wife, and a friend of his have compiled over many, many years cycling and working on bicycles. I'd look there first, long before looking at Wikipedia, if you've got a question about how things work.

Another thing is that in the cycling community, everyone has a different opinion. Sometimes this is due to different experiences, sometimes this is due to different desires. For instance, ever since aluminum frames came out, there have been debates over what material a frame should be made out of (a high-quality steel frame has a springiness to it that can feel quite nice to ride, and the tubing tends to be much thinner than other frame materials, so some prefer steel for aesthetic reasons as well). And there's also carbon fiber and titanium, but that just gets really expensive, and isn't called for for a commuter bike. Honestly, for your first bike, either steel or aluminum would be fine. (If you do get a steel bike, ideally get a chromoly steel frame, "hi-ten" steel is the cheap, heavier stuff that doesn't have anywhere near the supple characteristics that chromoly steel is known for. That said, my smoothest riding bike is a cheap single-speed Dahon folder made of hi-ten steel, the trick being that it has a sprung saddle.)

As far as a "Newegg for cycles", things tend to be more scattered. In the cycling community, there's a strong push to use your local bike shop instead, even if it's a little more expensive, because many local bike shops are excellent small businesses that take the time to help you. Sounds like your local bike shop is NOT one of those excellent businesses, though, so the main online places for bicycles and parts are Performance Bike (which also has brick and mortar stores), Bike Nashbar (also owned by Performance), and Bikes Direct. None of those places cover recumbents or velomobiles at all, but those are very much niche market. That said, as a newbie, I would HIGHLY recommend that you actually go to stores and try bikes out (and, please don't waste a salesperson's time by "showrooming" - if you like what you see and they've spent time helping you, buy it - but at the same time, if they don't have anything that works for you, that's also understandable), see what fits you and what you like. I wouldn't order a bike sight-unseen unless I knew exactly what I wanted, and knew that the bike was exactly what I wanted.

Most bikes you'll find are going to be equipped with derailleur gearing nowadays, for what it's worth, but internal gearing is becoming more popular for things like commuter bikes (where they're ideally suited). You will want a rack and fenders (even if you're not riding in the rain, you may want to go for a ride when the roads are wet). You will also want good lighting, even if you don't plan on riding at night (sadly, a lot of front lighting sold in the US is mediocre).

Most low-end bikes that are sold in the US use some form of rim braking, which is OK, but not my favorite. Drum brakes aren't that popular, but can be excellent for a commuter bike (although I've not used them - I wanted to retrofit a front drum brake to my folding bike, but the fork is too narrow for any of the readily available drum brakes), and disc brakes are fairly popular and are extremely effective (but can be a bit tricky to adjust, depending on model). Coaster brakes are not usually a good idea for various reasons (you can't backpedal to rotate the pedals to where you want them, for one).

Oh, and regarding types of bicycle... as far as upright bicycles (which is pretty much everything that'll be inexpensive), it basically depends on how upright you want to be - some bicycles have a very upright riding position that's similar to a cruiser motorcycle (crank-forward bicycles), but those tend to be very unaerodynamic, some are like a standard motorcycle (the hybrids (which are a hybrid of a rigid (no suspension) mountain bike, and some road components (mainly tires)) being the biggest example, and some commuter bikes use hybrid geometry), some are like a sport touring motorcycle (many touring bikes, and many commuter bikes use a touring geometry because touring and commuting actually have very similar needs, just with less cargo), and some are like a sportbike (road bikes).
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