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  1. #1
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    new and no clue how to start

    Hi. I haven't been on a bike in 25 years or so but really want to start (mainly to lose weight). I'm a female - 5'5" - 256 lbs. I am confused by all the bike types and don't know how to start. I live in NYC and will only be riding on pavement and probably not for long distances at first. I am so clueless how to get started and would really appreciate any advice on how to choose the right bike. Also, since I am not sure I can stick to it, I'd rather not spend a grand. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    There's a lot of bikes out there, but it sounds to me, that you may like something like the Trek Navigator. You can see how it feels, then the giant has the Sedona. Keep trying them out and see which one feels the best to you.
    George

  3. #3
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    You will want to visit a local bike shop (LBS). Visit the New York regional sub-forum and ask for recommended shops near you. At this shop, you will want to get "fitted". That's where they check to see what size bike will fit your body shape/size.

    If you have a good budget, you can get a bike there, brand new. There are new bikes in every price range from say about $700 on up. But since you said you're not sure yet about cycling, you may want to look for a used bike from either Craigslist or eBay. If you do either of these, post the details here. Many of us have experience and would love to give you our opinion on a sale if it's a good deal or not. Regardless, make sure any bike you do get has a sturdy pair of wheels for heavier people.

    Also in your budget, you'll want to get a pair of padded cycling shorts and a good helmet and gloves, and a water bottle or two. That's about it. Anything else?

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  4. #4
    Old Enough to Know Better WalterMitty's Avatar
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    Go rent a bicycle and see what you like.

    For Example:
    http://www.centralparkbiketour.com/bikerentals.htm
    http://pedalpusherbikeshop.com/page.cfm?pageID=42

    I can assure you, I wouldn't have started if the entry fee for trying it out was over $300.00. That may sound bad, but I re-started bicycling on a Wal-Mart Bike my Daughter had discarded. It was (is) a piece of junk, but it got me going again.

    I can think of worse ways to dip my toe in the water than taking a tour around NYC on a rented bike with a tour guide. Just play like you're from out of town and do it up big.
    Youth we got, what we need is a fountain of Smart!

    "Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?"

  5. #5
    "Fred"--is that bad? DTSCDS's Avatar
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    I agree with the renting idea. It is REALLY hard to know what you want when you don't know what you want. I would suggest renting more than once and more than one type of bike if that is possible. That way you get to see how different bikes feel. Concentrate on how each one feels, what you like or don't like and how it could be better. The more you know about what you like then the easier it will be to find a bike that will make you happy long-term.
    Most of all, just get out there and start pedaling! I wasted a lot of years because I was not a 175 pound pro-level body type. I just ASSUMED that I couldn't.
    What a crock!

    Like the Nike ad said, "Just do it!"
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  6. #6
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Hi Froggy2, welcome to the forums and hopefully to your new addiction.

    As previously suggested you should go to a local bike shop and speak with an associate. For the most part they arn't snobby but remember a lot of it has to do with the sales associates mood that day. You have lots of options and the shop has to earn your buisness. Thankfully just about every major brand carry a similar lineup of bicycles with the differences being marginal at best, don't feel you have to put up with a jerk salesman because your stuck on a name brand. No, larger people don't fit the mold (no pun intended ) of an ideal cyclist but we do make up a niche market that some shops choose to close in on. Having said there are lots of good choices for less than $500 in the comfort/hybrid/hardtail mountain bike range.

    Riding a bike is something that you never forget to do, the muscles will take some time to come back but don't worry about it. We all start somewhere, my first ride was a struggle to make a mile that left me gasping for air on my lawn. Even if all you do is make it around the block thats still more cardio exercise than most people get in a week. Every pedal rotation is one closer to a new and improved Froggy.

    Bau

  7. #7
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    Hi Froggy,

    I don't know if this helps or not, but I'm new too, and in much the same position as you. Apart from a few odd short rides, I haven't cycled since school 25+ years ago; and I was (some might say I still am) completely bewildered by the world of modern bikes.

    There are really two things that have helped me start getting things sussed - hanging round places like this and reading any thread that might be of interest, and going into local bike shops (LBSs), selling a good variety of makes, and asking them what bikes they'd recommend for me.

    Some of the shops I've been in have been good, some not so good, but it's helped me suss out what bike is what and also to sort out what I'd expect from a bike shop, and how to tell a good one from a bad one. Don't let them wind a bike into you till you know what you want, though.

    I'd agree it might be worth either hiring various bikes or - when you've picked up a bit more, or on someone's recommendation - buying something very cheap, secondhand, essentially throwaway. I've got an old racer I bought for £20 ($40); although I've probably not done 20 miles on it and something breaks every time I use it (on the bike, not me!), it's helped me work out what I do and don't want in a bike at virtually no cost.

    Try lots of different bikes if you can, and go for what you feel happy and comfortable on. I'd also say think about what sort of cycling you want to do in the future if it all works out, and (particularly if you do spend significant money) get something which will extend you and grow with you.

  8. #8
    Senior Member racethenation's Avatar
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    There are those that may disagree with me on this, but find a bike that looks comfortable to you and feels good to you. This can be borrowed from a friend, found on Craigslist, or even (gasp!) Wal-Mart or Target. Then go ride as much as you can. You will probably wear out whatever you find, but it will let you know what you want to do. When I started this addiction (I mean hobby) in January, I could barely ride 4 miles. Now I am riding as much as 30 at a time. I started on the Hufffy Mountain Bike that I have had sitting in the garage for years. It cost $70 brand new in 1996. In January, there was no way that I could have imagined paying even a couple hundred dollars for a new bike. I have since dropped about three times than that on a new bike and accessories, but if I had gone out day one and bought a bike, I would have bought a bike that did not match what my future goals. I have actually changed my mind about what I wanted about three times as my skills and addiction level have increased. My point is that you should find something and ride it. When it falls apart on you then you should have a good idea of what you want.

  9. #9
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    Yeah, renting a few different styles might be a good idea just so you can get an idea of what you'd like to buy. Also, if you live in NYC, there is a killer used market on craigslist that you check out once you have some idea of the style/brand/size you are looking for.

  10. #10
    Old Enough to Know Better WalterMitty's Avatar
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    Ride report?
    Youth we got, what we need is a fountain of Smart!

    "Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by froggy2 View Post
    Hi. I haven't been on a bike in 25 years or so but really want to start (mainly to lose weight). I'm a female - 5'5" - 256 lbs. I am confused by all the bike types and don't know how to start. I live in NYC and will only be riding on pavement and probably not for long distances at first. I am so clueless how to get started and would really appreciate any advice on how to choose the right bike. Also, since I am not sure I can stick to it, I'd rather not spend a grand. Thank you!
    Ok Doll, first off, you MUST stick with it. Nothing is more important than your heath. Bicycling is the only exercise that will help you, all other forms of exercise are simply too boring to stick with. Here's my advice:

    Get a hard tail (no rear suspension) mountain bike from Trek or Specialized.
    Get a Brooks Flyer saddle.
    Get lycra bicycle shorts (not to be worn with underwear), the best you can afford
    Get a simple bike computer and track your progress (anything measured will improve)
    Stop drinking diet sodas.
    Take "before" pictures of yourself.

    Mountain bikes are very sturdy and have very low gear ratios so you can climb hills easier. Get some smooth street tires and it will roll easier.

    Most important: WHEN YOU FIRST START TO RIDE, YOU WILL SUCK!!!!!!!!!
    Own it. Accept it. It's a rite of passage we all go through. Remember, every time you go for a ride, no matter how short, you are a hero.

    The months to come will be filled with both joy and heartache, you are about to change your life profoundly, when things get tough, go for a ride, when people are mean to you, go for a ride, when you're hungry, go for a ride.

    You are welcome here and among friends, please tell us about your progress and the fun adventures you have on your bike.

    Having a bicycle in your life will improve it more than you can know.

    Now get that bike and ride!
    Last edited by Richard_Rides; 06-09-08 at 12:49 PM.

  12. #12
    Stooges Woman
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    Quote Originally Posted by froggy2 View Post
    Hi. I haven't been on a bike in 25 years or so but really want to start (mainly to lose weight). I'm a female - 5'5" - 256 lbs. I am confused by all the bike types and don't know how to start. I live in NYC and will only be riding on pavement and probably not for long distances at first. I am so clueless how to get started and would really appreciate any advice on how to choose the right bike. Also, since I am not sure I can stick to it, I'd rather not spend a grand. Thank you!
    Hi, froggy2 - I'm new to these forums and saw your post. I guess we're in the same boat! I'm 5'2" and weigh @ 210 lbs (have lost 15 pounds in the past few months from walking & Weight Watchers).

    I'm also just getting back into biking after many years, and it's confusing. Some here have suggested renting a bike; may I also suggest borrowing them? Perhaps your friends or relatives who have bikes would let you try them out. That would be even cheaper than renting.

    Also, don't be afraid to get something that's not quite right, because you can at least get on it and ride, and find out what you do and don't like, then later find a bike that matches your needs.

    Good luck! I'll be hanging around here too so will enjoy reading what you decide to do!

  13. #13
    Senior Member BigPolishJimmy's Avatar
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    Also check the local shop for 'previously owned' bicycles if you're budget is limited. I just saw an old Fuji today for $120.00 that has been looked over by the shop mechanics, seems like not a bad deal and wouldn't hurt too bad if stolen.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    I'd also suggest looking at used bikes to start.
    That will educate you about what you really want in a bike. After a month or 2, you'll be much more informed and can go for the new bike. You then sell the used bike for about what you paid for it, Maybe more if gas prices keep rising.
    PS- You'll get more re$ale out of it in August than December!

  15. #15
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    Take your time, ride lots of different styles of bikes, keep your comfort in mind.

    Do you prefer sitting up straight with your weight more on your seat? Do you want to ride fast or slow? Do you want to commute, use your bike for utility (groceries, shopping, etc.)? Be sure to tell your LBS personnel what you have in mind. Your reasons for riding will probably change over time and as you drop inches.

    It helps to read a few blogs to see bikes and hear what others use their bikes to do. You might google bike blogs and look for NYC cyclists.

  16. #16
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    If you are on a strict budget, and unsure about long term riding interest level, then get a cheap throw away bike, via a garage sale or Craigs List. Then if you get serious about riding, at that point, you should donate the bike and get a better one.

    You do not need to spend $200 to $300 to introduce yourself to this activity, particularly given you are looking at short rides. I don't know that you will see the difference between a top end bike versus XMart bike on a five to ten mile ride.

    As far as any confusion on types of bikes, with the right tire, a mountain bike, a hybrid, or a road bike are all suited for the type of riding you described.

    Search the archives and you will see plenty of info on favored bikes.

  17. #17
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Hi foggy, and welcome!

    Try looking into the regional forum for your area. There has to be a ton of people who ride where you are!

    Get to know some of the forum members as well, since they are your best resource for where to ride and where to shop.

    I have to agree that the used route may be your best way to go, until you are a full fledged pedal junkie. Just remember, no matter how much you pay or what type bike you are on, if it doesn't fit, it will hurt, be awkward, and you will grow to despise it over time. So long as a bike fits, you can ride. Distance isn't the measure of where you (read: most of us) are going. The beauty of this activity is just doing it.

    It's a great group here, lot's of support and encouragement. Please do keep asking questions and keep us posted on your progress with the hunt and the ride!

  18. #18
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    The OP posted her question a week ago and that was her first and only post. I hope she comes back, she spelled the word "Lose" correctly and I really like it when a chick flaunts her education. I hope she gets a bike but she's been pretty quiet all week...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by froggy2 View Post
    Also, since I am not sure I can stick to it, I'd rather not spend a grand. Thank you!
    (I'm a newb myself so give my opinion little weight.)

    When I went to the local bike store in the same situation last year, they recommended a Giant Cypress (very similar to the Sedona that has already been recommended). The Cypress ST is ~$300.

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/lifestyle/

    If you can find a bike store that is local to you that will work with you, that might be the best bet.

  20. #20
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    Wow!! Thank you so much. There is just so much to consider and I really found it all intimidating. I had no clue that I could rent a bike. I'm going to start looking for bike shops tomorrow and will definitely visit the forum for recommendations. Thank you for the specific bike suggestions and the links. I have to admit to being nervous as heck about riding in the streets in NYC because as Richard_Rides pointed out, I know I'm gonna suck. I did find a street near my house that is closed off to all traffic and is two miles long so I decided that is where I am going to start until a) can stay on the bike, b) figure out how the brakes work, and c) decide that I won't get killed the first time I cross a street. I'm very relieved to hear that I won't have to break the bank when I get started and hope I end up as addicted as the rest of you! Thanks, again!

  21. #21
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    You'll know you have the bug when you consider riding around Lake Michigan's shoreline in a month a normal ride.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  22. #22
    If you fail, make it epic AndrewCO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froggy2 View Post
    Wow!! Thank you so much. There is just so much to consider and I really found it all intimidating. I had no clue that I could rent a bike. I'm going to start looking for bike shops tomorrow and will definitely visit the forum for recommendations. Thank you for the specific bike suggestions and the links. I have to admit to being nervous as heck about riding in the streets in NYC because as Richard_Rides pointed out, I know I'm gonna suck. I did find a street near my house that is closed off to all traffic and is two miles long so I decided that is where I am going to start until a) can stay on the bike, b) figure out how the brakes work, and c) decide that I won't get killed the first time I cross a street. I'm very relieved to hear that I won't have to break the bank when I get started and hope I end up as addicted as the rest of you! Thanks, again!

    All I can sadly offer is good luck!
    "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." - From: 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance'

  23. #23
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    If your budget is low, check out the Jamis Coda, Kona Smoke, Kona Dew, Trek 7.2 FX, Specialized Globe or Globe City, Raleigh Detour/Detour Deluxe, and various Breezer bikes. They're all comparable hybrids in the under $500, and can all be made into nice city bikes (racks/fenders, some even include 'em).

    Don't be afraid to ask for test rides on various styles. One thing you may want to keep in mind is that the more upright you sit, the more weight will be centered on your butt, which can be rough for rides of more than a few miles. On a "comfort" bike or cruiser you sit more upright than a "fitness hybrid" or road bike.

    The bike you need is the one you'll ride. Get the one that rocks your socks the most, and post pics here when you're done!
    Last edited by mojomuskrat; 06-10-08 at 08:33 PM.

  24. #24
    If you fail, make it epic AndrewCO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mojomuskrat View Post
    If your budget is low, check out the Jamis Coda, Kona Smoke, Kona Dew, Trek 7.2 FX, Specialized Globe or Globe City, Raleigh Detour/Detour Deluxe, and various Breezer bikes. They're all comparable hybrids in the under $500, and can all be made into nice city bikes (racks/fenders, some even include 'em).
    My wife likes her Trek Navigator 2.0 WSD.
    "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." - From: 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance'

  25. #25
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    Yeaaa! She's back!!

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