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Thread: Where to begin?

  1. #1
    Mr. Safety ChemESGH's Avatar
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    Where to begin?

    Hi all, I'm new to the forums and about 15 years removed from my last bike ride...(around the age of 12). A friend from work purchased a bike a couple of months back and has been getting back into riding. Discussing this with him piqued my interest and he referred me to an LBS and these forums. I'm looking for a new outlet to exercise and lose weight, as well as a good, sustainable way to relieve some stress.... Especially as our first baby is due in 7 weeks!!

    I have been doing weight training at home, and tried to do some walking, but I never really could get into the walking thing, and got to where I dreaded coming home from work because I was going to have to go for another walk!

    So here I am, reading the forums and trying to figure out where to begin. I figured I'd just go to Walmart, pick up a cheap Schwinn cruiser, and get going. After getting some education here, I figured that might not be the best way to get started. I plan on visiting the LBS this weekend. Being 6'2" and 300#, I have a feeling I might not be a typical customer, which is why I will need help and advice on what to look for, what will be able to handle my current weight and minimize any potential negatives that would discourage me from continuing to ride.

    I appreciate everyone's help and advice!

  2. #2
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChemESGH View Post
    Hi all, I'm new to the forums and about 15 years removed from my last bike ride...(around the age of 12). A friend from work purchased a bike a couple of months back and has been getting back into riding. Discussing this with him piqued my interest and he referred me to an LBS and these forums. I'm looking for a new outlet to exercise and lose weight, as well as a good, sustainable way to relieve some stress.... Especially as our first baby is due in 7 weeks!!

    I have been doing weight training at home, and tried to do some walking, but I never really could get into the walking thing, and got to where I dreaded coming home from work because I was going to have to go for another walk!

    So here I am, reading the forums and trying to figure out where to begin. I figured I'd just go to Walmart, pick up a cheap Schwinn cruiser, and get going. After getting some education here, I figured that might not be the best way to get started. I plan on visiting the LBS this weekend. Being 6'2" and 300#, I have a feeling I might not be a typical customer, which is why I will need help and advice on what to look for, what will be able to handle my current weight and minimize any potential negatives that would discourage me from continuing to ride.

    I appreciate everyone's help and advice!
    Welcome. What kind of riding do you want to do?

  3. #3
    Mr. Safety ChemESGH's Avatar
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    Well, right now, my goal is to work up to being able to ride to and from work, approx. 10 miles from home. All flat, mostly straight roads/highways. I'll stick to the neighborhood roads first as I build up endurance then begin venturing out onto main roads... at least that's my current plan as I've worked it out in my head.

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChemESGH View Post
    Well, right now, my goal is to work up to being able to ride to and from work, approx. 10 miles from home. All flat, mostly straight roads/highways. I'll stick to the neighborhood roads first as I build up endurance then begin venturing out onto main roads... at least that's my current plan as I've worked it out in my head.
    You could ride almost anything. Look at a entry-level mountain bike or hybrid.

  5. #5
    Senior Member theetruscan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    You could ride almost anything. Look at a entry-level mountain bike or hybrid.
    For a road commute, a relaxed road bike with panniers would be kind of choice as well (Surly LHT for instance). But, a LHT will run you $1000, whereas an entry level hybrid/mountain bike can be had new for half that. If commuting is really what you want to be doing, get a bike with rack mounts and get panniers. It can be a mountain bike, a hybrid, a road bike, a unicycle (could be tough), a recumbent, or a tricycle, but get panniers and a rack.

  6. #6
    On the road to health. Griffin2020's Avatar
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    The surly is a good option, but take a look at the Specialized Allez. Less than $1K, relatively comfortable, yet agile and rather light. Weighed significantly more than you when I started riding mine (some hills) to and from work. Now I am about where you are and in just under 6 months I have broken one spoke on the stock wheels. I carry a single pannier (unless I need more room, then I add the second), strapped onto a Trek Back Rack II.

  7. #7
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Welcome - your goals are right on target.

    If you want to try cycling without going into too much debt, I'd suggest that you try a store that has a little better quality then WalMart. Dicks Sporting Goods has some nice entry level bikes. Sometimes the LBS will have some less expensive bikes or used bikes. I got my first bike at Dicks. It's a Diamondback. On sale they are around $200 - $300 and the quality is good enough that you will not get frustrated. I rode that for a year then got a better bike. I still use the Diamondback for my beater bike.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  8. #8
    Mr. Safety ChemESGH's Avatar
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    Thanks all for your replies.

    Surfing the LBS website, this sounds like what I definitely want to start with:

    "Hybrids or cross bikes are almost as fast and easy to pedal as road bikes, while being almost as comfortable and versatile as mountain bikes. They're great for commuting, errands and all-around fun."

    I've seen the road bike groups around town on weekends biking on the roads, and eventually I'd like to get to that point....though staying bent over for long periods of time doesn't look too pleasant to me, at least right now.

  9. #9
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    Oh, it's not as bad as you think!

    Personally, I really like my Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT), and it would certainly fit your needs. Mine is my primarily (only, really) mode of transportation and I ride it everywhere too far to walk. But with a new baby on the way, it may be a bit expensive, I believe list on them is now 1100. However it comes with a really good quality 36 spoke wheel set (XT hubs, Alex Adventurer rims), a comfy, stable ride, and is really strong.

    I am far from a parent, but if to comes down to spending an exorbitant amount on high end photography gear that you are going to regret buying a few months down the road or a sweet ride, go for the ride!

    I fell back into my old habits (mostly) over the winter and put a bunch of weight back on, so I'm checking in at 6' and over 300 lbs myself, and I can attest to the fact that the LHT is up for the job!



    Mine doesn't look quite like that anymore... I added front and rear racks, and the rear rack does not play well with the saddle bag, so it came off. And my bike is freshly cleaned in this picture... far from the current situation
    2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker
    2008 Trek 7.2fx

  10. #10
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mesasone View Post


    Mine doesn't look quite like that anymore... I added front and rear racks, and the rear rack does not play well with the saddle bag, so it came off. And my bike is freshly cleaned in this picture... far from the current situation
    Oh man I'm drooling all over my keyboard.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  11. #11
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    "Hybrids or cross bikes are almost as fast and easy to pedal as road bikes, while being almost as comfortable and versatile as mountain bikes. They're great for commuting, errands and all-around fun."
    A hybrid is also going to give you a more relaxed riding position than a road bike or mountain bike. I dare say they're a little more comfortable than a mountain bike too.

  12. #12
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    Don't spend a dime until you ride a bunch of bikes!

    I mean when you're a parent the expendable income gets a lot harder to find and you don't get many opportunities to spend your money on something as awesome as a bike. So take your time and enjoy it. I don't mean you should be jerking around the folks at the bike shop, but when they know somebody is seriously intending to make a purchase they will go the extra mile helping you find the right bike.

    Test rides, not a once around the block but really taking a bike through its gears, will tell you a lot more about what will work for you than anything else. For instance, you seem to be considering a hybrid bike based on its selling point of being the best mix of road and mountain attributes, yet many people are absolute death on hybrids, saying they are the worst of each, lacking both the road bike's lightness and speed as well as the mountain bike's durability and agility. You just won't know until you make some thorough comparisons and push each bike a bit.

    The other thing that happens in the process is that you get to know the people in the various bike shops a bit, and that can be the beginning of an important relationship. As you haven't been riding a bike since you were twelvish, it's fair to presume you don't know much in the way of bike maintenance, so you are going to be relying on these folks to keep your bike working for you, particularly until you learn some of the basic routine stuff for yourself. (which is also fun )

    I would suggest figuring out ahead of time what you can spend and sticking with it. If you aren't feeling like you can get what you need at the top of your price range, consider picking up a used bike, after all whatever you get is used after you buy it, right?
    "Bluegrass is the punk-rock of country!"

  13. #13
    Mr. Safety ChemESGH's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your feedback and advice!

    I visited Bikes plus, one of the LBS's here in town yesterday on the recommendation of a friend. They were VERY helpful, answering all my questions, giving advice, showing how some of the routine stuff (taking off tires for tube changing, multi-tool/supplies to keep in case of a breakdown, etc.) I rode several of the bikes around the neighborhood behind the shop. I was a bit leery at first as I haven't ridden a bike in years, but it came right back to me. It was an excellent experience, and something I know I am going to enjoy! The sad part was after just a few rides on various bikes, at less than 0.5 mile per ride, I was feeling it already in my legs...kinda sad, but I have to start somewhere!

    I did like the Trek 7.1FX, it felt sturdy, sat up straighter...and the Shimano gear change clicker (not sure what the actual name for these are) worked better for me than the twist grip shifter on the Trek 7000 I rode.

    I was also surprised at how light these bikes were. My old bikes must have been made of lead, but these things, I feel like I could pick them up with one finger and fling them across the store.

    I'm actually taking my wife back up there this morning to show her what I rode. She could tell I was pretty excited about it after getting out and riding a bit yesterday.

    I know I asked tons of noob questions, but the guy I was talking to there was very patient and friendly. I also noticed lots of routine customers that seemed to have good relationships and repoire with the guys at the shop, so it looks like they have established themselves well within the local bike community.

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