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  1. #1
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    New guy here... Looking for advice

    Hey guys I am 24 years old and the last 4 years I just have been way too lazy and have gained 50 lbs. I am 6'1" 250 lbs and I would like to get back down to around 190 or so. I just got a gym membership and have been doing a lot of lifting but my cardio is lacking. I play basketball once a week but I need to do more and I hate running especially with the shape im in right now. I dont know a lot about bikes as the only time I ever had a bike was just growing up wen I was a kid. I never have biked since. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what kind of bike? What kind of bike rides should I do? Trails? Normal roads with hills? I do have a limited budget as I just graduated college recently and dont have the best job in the world. I am thinking my best bet is to buy Used on Craiglist. I think I can get the best bike for my money on there. I am working with about $100-$150 to spend. I dont need the best bike in the world, just something reliable to get me going and get into shape. If anyone has any suggestions I would truly appreciate it. I live in Chicago and there is a ton of Bikes listed on the chicago craiglist site but it just seems so overwhelming. I have no idea what kind of bike to be looking for?

  2. #2
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubsfan23 View Post
    Hey guys I am 24 years old and the last 4 years I just have been way too lazy and have gained 50 lbs. I am 6'1" 250 lbs and I would like to get back down to around 190 or so. I just got a gym membership and have been doing a lot of lifting but my cardio is lacking. I play basketball once a week but I need to do more and I hate running especially with the shape im in right now. I dont know a lot about bikes as the only time I ever had a bike was just growing up wen I was a kid. I never have biked since. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what kind of bike? What kind of bike rides should I do? Trails? Normal roads with hills? I do have a limited budget as I just graduated college recently and dont have the best job in the world. I am thinking my best bet is to buy Used on Craiglist. I think I can get the best bike for my money on there. I am working with about $100-$150 to spend. I dont need the best bike in the world, just something reliable to get me going and get into shape. If anyone has any suggestions I would truly appreciate it. I live in Chicago and there is a ton of Bikes listed on the chicago craiglist site but it just seems so overwhelming. I have no idea what kind of bike to be looking for?

    100 dollars isn't a lot to work with. An entry-level bike at a bike shop will set you back 300-400 or more. Craigslist can be great if you know what you are looking for, but there's an awful lot of low-end department store bikes at inflated prices - 10 year old bikes from Wal-mart for 400 bucks, etc.

    But before you start looking, you should think about what sort of riding you want to do. A mountain bike, for instance, is designed with off-road riding in mind. A road bike isn't designed for mountain bike trails. A hybrid or flat-bar road bike works well for commuting, if that's what you want to do. You'll find folks here will be better able to give you practical suggestions if you clarify the sort of riding you want to do.

  3. #3
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    I do understand $100-$150 isnt a lot to work with. I could come up with some more if I absolutely needed to but I am only getting 24-32 hours a week right now at a part time gig and am buried with bills. I did see a decent amount of Bikes on Craiglist for $100-$200. I am just looking for a bike to get me thru this summer and if I enjoy riding I will save more money to get something nicer next year or something... As for the type of riding I am not really sure. Do they make bikes that can do both trails and concrete or no? If not I guess it would be better for me to start with a bike to ride on concrete as there are a lot of paths by me and I could just ride thru neighboorhood every night. And I am not looking for a commuting bike... The only place I might commute to with my bike is the gym, that is about it... thanks for the reply

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubsfan23 View Post
    I do understand $100-$150 isnt a lot to work with. I could come up with some more if I absolutely needed to but I am only getting 24-32 hours a week right now at a part time gig and am buried with bills. I did see a decent amount of Bikes on Craiglist for $100-$200. I am just looking for a bike to get me thru this summer and if I enjoy riding I will save more money to get something nicer next year or something... As for the type of riding I am not really sure. Do they make bikes that can do both trails and concrete or no? If not I guess it would be better for me to start with a bike to ride on concrete as there are a lot of paths by me and I could just ride thru neighboorhood every night. And I am not looking for a commuting bike... The only place I might commute to with my bike is the gym, that is about it... thanks for the reply
    A hybrid or flat bar road bike will work on both paved surfaces and gravel trails. Don't take it off-trail or off-road. A mountain bike can be ridden anywhere, but they tend to be heavier and the knobby tires slow you down on pavement.

    Keep in mind accessories such as a helmet and gloves. Neither are expensive, but both cost money. Probably about 15 dollars for each. If you ride after dark lights are a good idea.

    On Craiglist, avoid any bike made by Next, Quest, GMC, Jeep, and other Wal-mart items. Approach Schwinn with caution - the brand's been damaged by cheap bikes made for big box stores, although there are some decent Schwinns around.

    While on the subject, my budget bike recommendation is a 200 dollar Schwinn hybrid sold at Target and Wal-Mart. The components are low-end, but the bike seems well-made.

  5. #5
    just going for a ride... lbear's Avatar
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    Biking is an excellent way to lose weight. I have lost 70lbs biking.
    The hard part is finding a bike in the $100-150 range that will not need more money spent to get it ridable. I can be done. But it would help if you knew someone that bikes that could go over CL with you. VERY important is to find out what size bike you need. Great Bike + Bad Fit = Bad ride.
    A local bike shop could help with that.
    I just looked at Chicago CL.... You might be able to find something...http://chicago.craigslist.org/sox/bik/1140005761.html
    http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/bik/1140095319.html
    I just realized how over priced Portland's CL is.
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  6. #6
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    Ok I think I will go with either Hybrid or Flat bar than bc I will be riding on pavement and some gravel trails as their is a long gravel trail right by my house. Helmet and Gloves... hmmm I didnt even think of those things. I hate the idea of wearing a helmet but I guess its probaby a good idea! Are gloves a must? Thanks for the list of Bikes to avoid on CL and your Bike recomandation for my budget... I will take a week to get help from all you guys and make a decision on what to do

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lbear View Post
    Biking is an excellent way to lose weight. I have lost 70lbs biking.
    The hard part is finding a bike in the $100-150 range that will not need more money spent to get it ridable. I can be done. But it would help if you knew someone that bikes that could go over CL with you. VERY important is to find out what size bike you need. Great Bike + Bad Fit = Bad ride.
    A local bike shop could help with that.
    I just looked at Chicago CL.... You might be able to find something...http://chicago.craigslist.org/sox/bik/1140005761.html
    http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/bik/1140095319.html
    I just realized how over priced Portland's CL is.
    yea thats why I came here bc I figured just buying any bike on craiglist isnt a good idea. I need help picking 1 out that will be good for me. I dont want to go to a Bike shop and pay an arm and a leg for a bike. I figured bike size is very important as I would like to be as most comfortable as possible while riding. That is why I listed my 6'1" 250 lb frame hoping that would help give an idea of what I should be looking for bike size wise... Is that bike you showed me on CL a bike you think would be good for me?

  8. #8
    ong
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    Do you have a friend or a friend-of-a-friend who knows bikes well? Buying used is a really good idea, especially in your price range, but it really helps to have someone help you pick out a bike that's relatively mechanically sound and also fits you well. Plus, you'll want to be able to do your own adjustments to brakes and shifting, or you start eating up anything you saved in service fees at bike shops (most places will charge $75 for a full tuneup, which is what most used bikes need).

    The Park Tools repair site will be your best friend!

  9. #9
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ong View Post
    Do you have a friend or a friend-of-a-friend who knows bikes well?
    I live in Chicago and can help you find a bike, however buying in the $250 to $300 range might be needed to improve your options. I'm also your size. PM me with your contact info.

    Michael
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ong View Post
    Do you have a friend or a friend-of-a-friend who knows bikes well? Buying used is a really good idea, especially in your price range, but it really helps to have someone help you pick out a bike that's relatively mechanically sound and also fits you well. Plus, you'll want to be able to do your own adjustments to brakes and shifting, or you start eating up anything you saved in service fees at bike shops (most places will charge $75 for a full tuneup, which is what most used bikes need).

    The Park Tools repair site will be your best friend!

    No I dont have a friend who Bikes so that is why I decided to come here to find some info before making a purchase... I figured buying Used would be a good way to go because I can get more for my price range but have no idea what to look for. As for tune-up I never thought of that but I will keep that in mind. That site looks cool.

  11. #11
    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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    http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/bik/1140859626.html $85 and appears to be a 56-58 CM frake. Says 22.5, but that was measured from the crank to the seatpost. This appears to be a good fixerupper.
    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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  12. #12
    just going for a ride... lbear's Avatar
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    If you want flat bar and wider tires Tom has a good eye. However I think you should pick out bikes that
    appeals to you. We can Ya/Nay them.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/bik/1140859626.html $85 and appears to be a 56-58 CM frake. Says 22.5, but that was measured from the crank to the seatpost. This appears to be a good fixerupper.

    hmmmm that Bike doesnt look bad at all for the price... Is this good for someone 6'1" 250 lbs? I like the looks of this one

  14. #14
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubsfan23 View Post
    Ok I think I will go with either Hybrid or Flat bar than bc I will be riding on pavement and some gravel trails as their is a long gravel trail right by my house. Helmet and Gloves... hmmm I didnt even think of those things. I hate the idea of wearing a helmet but I guess its probaby a good idea! Are gloves a must? Thanks for the list of Bikes to avoid on CL and your Bike recomandation for my budget... I will take a week to get help from all you guys and make a decision on what to do
    Gloves aren't a requirement, but many people like them and think they are a good idea. Bike shorts are also worth considering if you need them.

  15. #15
    just going for a ride... lbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubsfan23 View Post
    hmmmm that Bike doesnt look bad at all for the price... Is this good for someone 6'1" 250 lbs? I like the looks of this one
    For a bike like that, that size should work for you. You might even use one a little bigger.Try it out. When you stand over the bike, you want about 1-1.5 inch clearance between the top tube and your jewels.
    2011 Soma Double Cross
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  16. #16
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    thanks for the help guys... still browsing craiglist looking for what will work best for me.

  17. #17
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    St. Charles has some hills to deal with, where will you be riding?
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  18. #18
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Check out this add http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/bik/1138113239.html

    You know, you can always post a wanted to buy add

  19. #19
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Keep your eyes open for industrial bikes in good shape. They don't show up too often. When they do, they're sometimes overpriced, but sometimes underappreciated and can be had in that price range. We're talking heavy single-speed cruisers here, generally Worksman or Schwinn Heavy-Duty bicycles. They're tough enough for a hefty person. It's up to you to supply the power.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    St. Charles has some hills to deal with, where will you be riding?

    Well im new to riding, and havent rode bike around here but I am thinking along the fox river as they have some paths that go long ways.... Also some other paths around that I know of that go pretty far. I think there is a trail that goes like super far around here I dont remember what its called but it runs right by my house. Also just around the neighborhood. And yes there will be some hills to deal with.... i still havent gotten a bike. I am hoping by this wknd

  21. #21
    Shrinking Clyde
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    For your size 56-60cm bike should fit depending on leg lenght and such. Do not buy untill you get a chance to try the bike out and make sure it is functioning. Check the break pads and make sure they are not to the change mark. Listen for any odd sounds when you move the crank and spin the wheels by hand while standing over them to see how out of true they are. I can't think of anythign else to check before you buy.

  22. #22
    Senior Member BigPolishJimmy's Avatar
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    Are you mechanically inclined? I ask because basic bicycle repair is not a hard to learn. Wheelbuilding is more advanced, but changing tubes and cables are fairly easy tasks that many people avoid because they feel intimidated. I got back into biking last year and was able to get several junk bikes off of freecycle www.freecycle.org I posted a wanted ad on my local list and people were very generous with their old bikes because they didn't want to fix them and were happy to see them go to a good use. These were of course for the most part junk walmart/department store bikes, but I also got a salvagable Puch and an old Trek w/531 Reynolds frame too. With the cheap bikes I ride on the road and on very easy trails. I would never dream of jumping one or even curb-hopping or even going full-tilt down a downhill because I could easily snap a crank and hurt myself if I get fiesty. So yeah, three bikes for free a cable set from walmart for $5 a new innertube, a yardsale helmet, and a bit of work and I was riding. Sure there was a while there when I really wanted to ride but had to wait for it, but I was working with less budget than you are. If I could have bought a good bike it would have been faster and better, but the nice thing about wrenching on a xmart/dept store bike is you don't have to worry about ruining it because it's pre-ruined. The other nice thing is once I learned a bit more I was able to buy a few old bikes and do some minor repairs, sell them and upgrade the bikes I wanted to keep for myself and my family. Now my bike habit is paying for itself, slowly and with work but still it's rewarding. The other day I bought an old Trek 800 sport for $40 from Craigslist which my son will ride. Last week I bought an old Schwinn Frontier at Goodwill for $20. The Trek needs an innertube and the Schwinn needs adjustment in the shifters.

    One major hint when looking at old junkers, look closely at the tires. You do not want to buy a yardsale bike for $30.00 and then have to spend another $50.00 (min) on new tires,tubes and rim strips just to have a bike that's worth $30.00 when you're done.

    If you're not mechanically inclined, or don't want to learn how to fix bikes just ignore all of this and listen to the others on this list, they can help steer you away from mistakes on your first purchase.

    Good luck,

    Jim

  23. #23
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    If all you can spend right now is $100, then you just need to get a beater that fits you and start riding. Take some time to figure out what kind of bike you want and wait until you have a larger budget before you buy a nice bike. Personally, I wouldn't recommend a hundred dollar bike as a primary means of getting in shape. You have a gym membership so hop on an elliptical machine when you're done lifting. Yeah, it's boring. But that's what Ipods are for. Start riding a bike ASAP because it's fun, but do some cardio at the gym and focus on your diet in addition to that to get in shape.

    I've been in the same position as you. I got really lazy and gained a bunch of weight to where I was at 235, but now I'm back down to 196. I was at 192, but then I bought a bike about a month ago and gained four pounds of muscle on my legs.

  24. #24
    Senior Member BigPolishJimmy's Avatar
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    Also, check your local bike shop(LBS) for used bikes. I could have bought a Fuji for just over a hundred at the LBS and had a much better bike to start out with had I looked there first. I'm 6'4" and 285 and biking last year helped me drop some weight and more importantly got me excercising where I wasn't doing any at all.

  25. #25
    Senior Member BigPolishJimmy's Avatar
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    Oh... hey this bike co-op near you may be worth checking out:

    http://workingbikes.org/

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