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  1. #1
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    Newbie Clyde and Athena need input

    My husband and I are planning to buy our first bikes in more than 15 years. The husband is an uberclyde at just under 300 with an ideal weight of 205. I am a formally thin chick, but just meet Athena guidelines now.

    The primary thing I have learned on these forums is to pick the bike that you love and that makes you want to ride. With that in mind, we googled and then test road bikes yesterday. I would love your thoughts on where we stand right now because we know nothing about bikes.

    We each have a 500.00 budget. For both of us comfort is king.

    Me

    * I am woefully out of shape. Even a teeny chick I was what is referred to as skinny fat, 112 pounds of skin and bones and no muscle at all.

    * Plan to ride bike paths, quiet streets and maybe some main road stuff along waterways. I want the bike for fun, but also for exercise and would like to have the ability to take 20-30 miles trips. I will totally be the lady with the basket on front at the farmers' market.

    *I looked primarily at electra townies and trek pures, with a few others thrown into the mix. I know I don't want a road, MT bike or a bent.

    * I like the flat foot feature a lot. Even as a kid I didn't like the feeling of not being able to touch the ground easily. I am unsure if I feel this is a requirement, but it is important.

    * I liked the crank style bars ok, but loved the cruiser bars. I don't like coaster brakes (I get joy out of peddling backwards) and would have to add a second brake to a coaster, which I would rather skip. However, the coaster bike looks make my heart sing, esp. the Electra amsterdam and gypsy. My dream bike is the amsterdam 8 speed, but it is double my budget. No bend in the budget, we are old graduate students.

    * I am really struggling with the 3 versus 7 speed. The area I live in now is pretty flat, but I am from the adirondacks and will be returning to the area in a year. Buying a second bike next fall might be an option, but unsure at this time. I don't plan on needing to be speedy for group rides or anything, but don't want to struggle up every hill I meet. Being so out of shape is also a factor.

    * This may sound silly, but I really prefer a bike with a chain guard. Are these an easy add-on after purchase?

    *Trek makes a cruiser style with 7 speeds, but unable to test ride it in my region and that makes me wary of ordering.

    Him

    * Overweight, but with very strong legs. Think ex-footballer type. Stocky and barrel-chested.

    *Leaning towards a trek sport because he finds the comfort bikes to be well, comfortable.

    * Will prob. end up using bike for far more exercise related riding than joy riding. Would like to take frequent trips of 10-25 miles.

    * Plans to use it to commute 2 miles each way, at least once a day. Would like to attempt winter commuting.


    Sorry this is so incredibly long. Any info or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bluegoatwoods's Avatar
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    I don't feel competent to recommend any particular bike. I don't think it matters a whole lot anyway; almost anything, other than terrible mis-fits, will work for you. A bike can be modified to suit. Different handlebars and seat posts being the easiest mods.

    The best advice I can give is to get something and start riding it. Don't pass up a chance to ride; sleeping a bit too late is not a good enough excuse. That's not to say that I think you'll do something like that. It's just a good example of what to avoid.

    Perhaps in as little as a few weeks you'll find yourself thinking, "Hey...this is kinda neat". Maybe it'll take a bit longer. In perhaps another year you'll notice that you're getting far more strong than you would have expected. Somewhere between the two you'll have "gone over the hump". You'll be a commuter. It's all gravy after that.

    So get out and ride. Best of luck to you and have fun...

  3. #3
    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    I'll tell you what, the way you've described your goals, it doesn't matter what bike you get. Sounds like you just want some exercise and to get out a bit.

    I ride on a 26 mi. bike path and I see every type of rider. I ride a Trek FX 7.3 and love it. However, on the same path I see ultra high dollar road bikes to vintage cruisers with basket fore and aft and nice big chain guards. You know what else I see - a smile on, almost, every face.

    Go to a bike shop - I haven't really found a bad one yet - tell 'em you've got $500, take your pick and go ride. Or, do what I did 3 yrs. ago. I bought a $50 used bike, put a $40 seat on it that was comfortable, paid a shop $50 to set it up correct and rode it till a month ago. Then, after some experience, I knew what I wanted.

    You sound like the type that's going to really enjoy a bike.

    John

  4. #4
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    First off congratulations that you and your husband decided to take the plunge and get riding .

    I'm torn between suggesting a new bike for you or trying your luck on a used one. like bluegoatwoods pointed out you should just get something and start riding first. See if you like it or not.

    One poster pointed out to me that the first bike is usually the learning bike. The one you get experience on. After you get experience you have a better idea of what type of riding you will be doing and better informed on future purchases. I don't want you to blow $500 thinking it will serve you better than a $100 bike if all it will do is sit in a garage.

    However, one bike that caught my eye is the Specialized Globe series bikes. They fit right around your budget and look similar to both the Electra's and Trek's you mentioned.

    For your husband its hard to pick. A 2 mile commute almost any bike will do. With trips of 10 -25 miles I think a road bike would be the way to go. For him I would suggest Craigslist or something. Also see if you have any friends who know something about bikes to go with him. It seems new bikes start off right at the top of your budget whereas a decent used hybrid can be found relatively cheaply.

  5. #5
    Grammar Cop Condorita's Avatar
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    Test ride until you find what you're comfortable with, and buy that. Each of you.

    (And grad students really oughta know the difference in rode and road and formally and formerly. )
    That which does not kill me has made a massive tactical blunder.
    Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen. Louis L'Amour
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  6. #6
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    It sounds like you need an old 3 speed. They can still be had on Craigslist for about $100 around here. Have you looked at the Schwinn Coffee and Cream line? They match your wants as far as I can tell and Performance sells them pretty cheap.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprite1 View Post
    * I like the flat foot feature a lot. Even as a kid I didn't like the feeling of not being able to touch the ground easily. I am unsure if I feel this is a requirement, but it is important.
    I should point out that it is often a challenge starting out with people that get back into cycling that proper fit with most bikes often involves not having to touch the ground easily. But it's easily learned how to handle a bike like that with some time. It's part of properly learning how to ride. Many of us simply didn't ever *completely* learn how to ride.

    Fact is, most people tend to ride with their bike saddles too low. I see it time and again in many other riders I witness. You get your feet being on the ground, but at the same time, it can really tax your knees in a way you don't want, since you're scrunching your legs up in an unnatural position while riding. Especially for longer distances (starting at about 5-10 miles), where minor problems in fit can really show up. It didn't matter to most as kids, simply because the body was more durable and malleable then (and the bikes were different and more "fitting"), but much harder in adulthood to stand for doing with your body what it wasn't meant to do. It's just simply easier in the long run to get a proper fit and learn how to handle not being able to put your foot immediately on the ground than to have an improper fit and have problems.

    Just something to think about.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sir-Loin's Avatar
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    Congrats on getting started. I would check your Craigslist and the paper for a good deal on a used bike. $500 for a new road bike will be doable but with less options than used. What City are you close to?
    Sir-Loin
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  9. #9
    Senior Member turtlewoman's Avatar
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    I agree with the Craigslist idea. Another option might be looking for an LBS in your area that sells used bikes. That way you could test ride and have the benefit of some expertise from the LBS staff. Don't get hung up on brands, though. You might find just the right fit in a brand you had never thought or heard of.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Craigslist/eBay is certainly an option. I don't recommend it to new riders as they're not sure what to look for in a bike, or what to look for in damage to a bike. +1 on taking your budget to an LBS with your list and talking to them. Definitely avoid the X-Marts (waste of money).

    And BTW, a road bike is recommended by so many people simply because they are the best bike to ride...on the road. They are the most comfortable--through their set-up and through their efficiency in moving you forward. Don't take this as an emphatic instruction to only get a road bike instead of anything else, just a request to keep your options open and not eliminate them from your list.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  11. #11
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    The "pedal-forward" bikes are great for running to Starbuck's for a Latte, or cruising around the neighbourhood. After 5 miles, I'd be wanting to burn it and drive over it with a truck, though. The pedals are right below the saddle on all other bikes (except 'bents, of course) for a reason. Climbing even the slightest of hills on a PF style bike sucks. Really sucks.

    As for your husband...
    If he plans on commuting, or seriously riding at all, I wouldn't go for a "comfort" bike. I would go for a hybrid. Something like this: http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/hybrid/detour-65/

  12. #12
    Senior Member Big Pete's Avatar
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    I bought a bike off Craigs list but I looked for what felt like forever and the day before I was going to give up I lucked out and found one. Not only was it a bike I liked but more importantly it is a bike that fit me correctly paid $140 but I have put about $200 into it with tires seat bars grips and I just ordered pedals but most of the stuff was cosmetic, except the seat and tires now that I am comfortable and riding we met other people who ride and have a blast!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bigboxeraf's Avatar
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    [quote=Sprite1;9491611]
    * Plan to ride bike paths, quiet streets and maybe some main road stuff along waterways. I want the bike for fun, but also for exercise and would like to have the ability to take 20-30 miles trips. I will totally be the lady with the basket on front at the farmers' market.

    *I looked primarily at electra townies and trek pures, with a few others thrown into the mix. I know I don't want a road, MT bike or a bent.

    * I like the flat foot feature a lot. Even as a kid I didn't like the feeling of not being able to touch the ground easily. I am unsure if I feel this is a requirement, but it is important.
    QUOTE]

    Congrats on deciding to become a cyclist; I started 2 years ago and I love every second of it. Please reconsider the pedal forward preferance. You've decided to start exercising and that's great. Please reconsider the pedal forward design is great for a casual ride to the cafe or store, but it is not a very efficient machine and requires more effort per stroke. You may not have many hills but you will have wind and you will quickly become miserable on cruiser.

    Why don't you buy a used hybrid and accesorise it with baskets. Get comfortable with not bing able to put your feet flat. I was out of balance when I started riding again but it came back quickly. If you keep at it for a couple of months it will be a blast. Cruisers and Pedal forwrds are Just too inefficient for fitness. Test yourself, you will be sore at first but if you keep at it you will grow strong and relish the ache.
    Last edited by Bigboxeraf; 08-16-09 at 01:49 PM.

  14. #14
    Lone Star Tex_Arcana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    It sounds like you need an old 3 speed. They can still be had on Craigslist for about $100 around here. Have you looked at the Schwinn Coffee and Cream line? They match your wants as far as I can tell and Performance sells them pretty cheap.
    You probably don't want to go to Performance for a Schwinn Coffee or Cream unless your looking for a single speed which is all they have to offer for those models.

    However if you go to a Schwinn dealer you could probably find the 3 speed models there, or they can order them for you. Those are nice bikes, but don't be tempted by the Sid or Nancy (kinda tragic names for his and hers bikes anyway) with the 3 speed automatic shifters.

    Since you expressed an interest in the flat footed geometry of the Electra Townie you might check out the Giant Suede which generally runs a bit less expensive the the Electra's. They don't offer much in internal gearing though, but then you probably noticed that derailured bikes tend to run a bit cheaper then internal gear.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    Fit fit fit. More important than anything else 10x

    Having said that, I think rigid mountain bikes fitted with slicks is an excellent choice. Add fenders and pedals with Powergrips for the commuter. These bikes have strong wheels, strong frames, and good brakes. Gearing will be overkill for what you want, but that's ok.
    What is bicycle touring?
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  16. #16
    Member ncman's Avatar
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    my wife got a Trek Pure as a 1st bicycle and LOVES it she would not trade it for the world
    and there are 2 good hills on out normal route one is long with a small grade and the other short and a LARGE grade both can be done on her bike ......
    Bottom line is comfort ..we had to change her seat and upgraded to better shifters (she didnt like the twist shifters)..Bottom line she would never trade her Pure for any bike .....
    Me .....I tried a pure and agree that it is great for running around but as I too was build like your husband riding a pure felt as if it was slowly falling apart under me....you could get him to check out the navagator bikes that trek makes those are nice


    BTW my wifes pure just finished 50 miles this weekend
    with me riding behind her on my MTB with NO PROBLEMS we even stopped a few times to help out other stranded bikers with there problems

  17. #17
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    Thanks for all the advice. As someone mentioned up-thread I'd rather avoid craigslist because I know zero about bikes and would have no clue as to what to look for in determining quality, or in identifying potential issues. At this point, I am more comfortable dealing with our LBS.

    The pedal forward comments are something I am really mulling over. I know this is a very specific question but is this bike http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...so/calypsowmn/ a pedal forward? It is a cruiser, but not a flat foot design. It also offers 7 gears, which I am beginning to feel I want.

    The husband and I have both tried the navigator, as well as several other bikes, but will ride them again on our next visit. After the last visit the husband began to feel he might want a hybrid. We plan to stop into the LBS two more times before making any purchases. Each time we learn a bit more about what feels good and what specifics exist and what we might want.

  18. #18
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprite1 View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. As someone mentioned up-thread I'd rather avoid craigslist because I know zero about bikes and would have no clue as to what to look for in determining quality, or in identifying potential issues. At this point, I am more comfortable dealing with our LBS.

    The pedal forward comments are something I am really mulling over. I know this is a very specific question but is this bike http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...so/calypsowmn/ a pedal forward? It is a cruiser, but not a flat foot design. It also offers 7 gears, which I am beginning to feel I want.

    The husband and I have both tried the navigator, as well as several other bikes, but will ride them again on our next visit. After the last visit the husband began to feel he might want a hybrid. We plan to stop into the LBS two more times before making any purchases. Each time we learn a bit more about what feels good and what specifics exist and what we might want.
    No, not a pedal-forward; it just has really slack angles (ie: cruiser).
    Yes, you want the 7 speeds; if not in a derailleur setup, then in an internally-geared hub (Shimano Nexus, Alfine, etc.)

  19. #19
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    Thanks, Platy. The LBS is ordering one for my to try because it meets all my needs, but there is no way I am comfortable buying one without riding around a bit. One more bike to add to the list of possible choices.

  20. #20
    Senior Member cod.peace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlatyPius View Post
    The "pedal-forward" bikes are great for running to Starbuck's for a Latte, or cruising around the neighbourhood. After 5 miles, I'd be wanting to burn it and drive over it with a truck, though. The pedals are right below the saddle on all other bikes (except 'bents, of course) for a reason. Climbing even the slightest of hills on a PF style bike sucks. Really sucks.
    The exception here is the Rans crank forwards. They are friggin' uphill rockets. Really. They go for about $600-700 used, a bit out of the OP's budget.
    old steel Specialized Hardrock

  21. #21
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    Thanks for all the help. Dh ended up with a navigator and I bought the trek linked above. We rode four miles the first day, last Sunday, and it was great fun. Dh has been riding at least 3 times a day for totals of about 15-20 miles. I ran into major soft tissue issues (rubbed raw) and have been walking painfully since the first ride. I believe I may have finally healed enough to ride again today. Dh is tipping the nose down for me and I hope that helps because 1 day of riding and 3 of healing is not the ratio I want.

    Again, thanks!

  22. #22
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Your chaffing problem may be more related to clothing choices than your saddle. Yes, a 4 mile initial ride will leave you a bit sore from the saddle, but you shouldn't really have a chaffing issue to the point of being rubbed raw from your saddle.

    Did you wear lose shorts that have heavy seams?

  23. #23
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    Wearing non-cotton clothing will help a lot (including undies). If you get into pedaling longer distances, consider a pair of bike shorts (yes, the spandex) & chamois butter. You can wear shorts over them if modesty is a concern.

    For anyone looking at this thread for suggestions: One option for people who want their feet on the ground is a crank-forward bike (kind of a mix between a recumbent and a standard bike). However, I have not seen ones in the $500 range yet.

  24. #24
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    I was wearing regular cotton shorts. I plan to pick up bikes shorts, but haven't had the time this week. The rubbing to rawness also seems related to pressure. It feels like all my weight is on my soft tissue. I moved the seat (a cruiser style) around and lowered it a bit, but have been too busy to check it out on a ride. My seat seems to have a strong slope to the center and then back up again, like a bowl. That results in my weight all resting on my (TMI WARNING for details below)




    labia, which is what was pressured/rubbed raw/swollen.

  25. #25
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    Buy a bike the first one as noted earlier is a learning bike and you will more than likely upgrade to within a year to 18 months. Check around garage sales, Craigslist but spend within your budget. Gear and equipment swap outs can be done over time as more money becomes available. The most important thing is to get out there and start riding. My husband and I are having the time of our lives and we spend quite a bit of time together on a local trail.
    [url=http://www.TickerFactory.com/weight-loss/wiCrShS/]
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