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  1. #1
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    First Adult Bike for an Athena

    Hi! I am brand spanking new to these forums, although I have done a lot of reading and lurking and have been looking for a bike for about a year. I've been on a weight loss/exercise journey for three years now, so I've conquered my fear of running and 5ks and even did two half-marathons (mostly walking). Now I am ready to buy a bike and conquer that fear as well!

    I was a great rider as a kid, on my ten speed from the 1980's, but I've not ridden as an adult. The friends I knew who rode were at levels far above me - 50 mile races, riding down ski mountains - and couldn't offer much support or guidance. Truth be told, I'm nervous and trepidatious about speed, and riding altogether. But I want to be able to go out with my 6 year old and cruise around the neighborhood, and bring the bikes out to the beach and ride along the boardwalk or pavement. (We live in suburban NJ near the ocean.)

    I think my best bet is a cruiser, but I want one with hand brakes and my husband thinks an aluminum frame would be better (he's worried about a heavy bike on slight hills - doesn't want me to get discouraged!) It seems these do exist, and I love the way the cruiser handles arch up - less scary to me than the "real" bikes you all ride!

    As the experts - do you have suggestions? Not just brands, but what else to look for. I am favoring the Electra Coaster 7D. I tried one in the fall and liked it. Also, are there size considerations with cruisers? I see the information on road bikes but didn't know if anyone that applied. I'm 36 yrs old, 215lbs, and 5'7".

    Thanks so much!

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    while I understand your fears I think you need to keep in mind that a bike doesn't move on it's own. It only goes fast if you make it go fast. If your trying to lose weight but resign yourself to dilly dallying going slow your going to be disappointed. Assuming that you don't have any injuries, there is no reason why you couldn't be fit to a some sort of flat bar road bike or "comfort bike" Incidentally, some of these comfort bikes have a bit of a beach cruiser look. Your husband is definately right, you want to have some gears and a lighter bike, not because a lighter bike will make you any faster but because it will be easier to push up a hill if the need arises!

    A flat bar road bike will have hand brakes and your pretty much in control in that respect. as you get some miles under your belt, you will become more comfortable with the speed. I got my gf a road bike last year and immediately took the drop bars off of it and outfitted it with flat bars. The geometry on it is very upright and she feels comfortable and in control. she also has no desire to set any land speed records. She spent a month riding it indoors on a trainer as rehab from a minor knee scope and after the fact she was riding incredibly fast. The flat bar bike is ultimately more versatile. The elcectra you mention probably weighs in the neighborhood of 40lbs. it's made from what is known as hi ten steel or what some call gaspipe. it's very heavy.

    Of course, we always say, the bike to get is the bike that inspires you to ride. go to a bike shop and try out a couple of different bikes. I recommend test buying the following bikes

    Giant Dash, Flat bar road bike, nicely styled, sloping top tube sort of gives it a cruiser feel but it's aluminum with a steel fork and probably weighs about 25lbs. it will be as fast or as slow as you can make it go. http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/....3/7299/44121/

    Dead set on a cruiser, giant makes an aluminum one http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...en/7362/44128/

    In between the above two bikes is the Cypress it's like a cruiser but geared like a road bike with 21 speeds and it has a front suspension fork for comfort on bumpy streets and it can also tackle dirt trails if needed.
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...ve/7339/44536/


    Do note that almost every brand has similar styles of bikes, I chose giant becaue my lbs is a giant dealer and I see these bikes all the time. there are similar options at similar pricepoints from all different manf. Best thing you can do is go try some out.

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    Just wanted to chime in that you really should test ride a few different brands/styles of bike before making your choice.

    I initially was thinking I wanted an Electra Townie 21D, but I tested a Specialized Ariel, then the Townie, then a Giant Roam (which makes a women's version that is step-through). I found that the Electra bike, which is made in only one size for each model, just didn't fit me as well as the other bikes. Also, we live in a pretty hilly part of the country, and I didn't get nearly the same bang for my pedaling buck on the Townie. Granted, it was a comfy ride, and I could see why if you're going to mostly ride flats in the city or at the beach and you are worried about sitting up high on a regular bike you might still get one. Just make sure you test out other bikes before making that decision.

    Have fun! We've really enjoyed learning about bicycles and getting to know the folks at our LBS, as well as test riding a few different bikes.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeptemberGirl
    Truth be told, I'm nervous and trepidatious about speed, and riding altogether. But I want to be able to go out with my 6 year old and cruise around the neighborhood, and bring the bikes out to the beach and ride along the boardwalk or pavement.
    It really does, at least to me, sound like you have sorted out what type of riding that you are interested in doing. If that is pretty much it, then I don't see why a beach cruiser / cruiser wouldn't be a good choice.

    If you would like to pursue more aggressive / athletic riding and hilly terrain then following motobecane69 advice would be a great start.

    I don't think there is any substitute for taking as many test spins on different styles as you can.
    At the end of the day, buy the one you like based on your own reasons and I suspect you will enjoy the experience more.

    Good Luck

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    I'd like to add that the other reason you will hear us say try several different types of bikes is because while we all jokingly talk about the concept of buying multiple bikes for whatever purpose, it's not feasible for a lot of people so by testing several styles, you can hopefully avoid buyers remorse. When i got back into cycling I initally swore I wanted a low end mtb because I was a heavier rider, suspensioin forks are cool, and other silly reasons. Got to my lbs and he pointed out to me that at 250lbs, i was going to bottom out the suspension fork, the bike weighs 35 lbs and would be tough to bring upstairs into my 5th floor walk up, and if I was commuting and time was an issue it wasn't going to be nearly as fast. he put me on a flat bar road bike and it was night and day. after a couple of weeks, I found I was riding constantly for fun not just commutting and had drop bar bike envy and I kinda wished I had tried out one.

    So of course, I ended up getting that 2nd bike...and a 3rd............and a 4th lol Whatever you do, keep the main goal and purpose in mind and just have fun with the whole process!

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    SeptemberGirl, Buy whatever you fancy and have fun. Should you want more performance and saddle time in the future we can all cross that bridge when you get to it.

    My sister retired her old road bike a few years ago and stopped riding. Late last year she began asking me bicycling questions because she missed riding. I wouldn't tell her what to buy exactly. She bought a step through (girl's frame) Trek Skye and is completely happy. You might fancy that model also?

    Brad

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    Senior Member JohnA42's Avatar
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    Any chance you could borrow or rent a bike and try it out riding the beach/boardwalk/etc? Might help you get a better idea of what you want.

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    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    Right now don't over think things. If the bike fits, and you enjoy riding it, then get it. And as mentioned before, test ride as many as you can to get a better idea of what you like and feels right.

    If you get into riding, then you can always get bikes more suited for the purposes you have in mind.
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  9. #9
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    You're in luck. There's a ton of used cruiser bikes for sale. Why? People either don't ride them at all and sell them or they ride a bunch and want a faster/more versatile bike like Motobecane69 suggests. I rode my dad's cruiser for a while and decided that biking is what I wanted to do. As far as losing weight, exercise will only go so far. I tried to just exercise and only lost 25 lbs in six months. It wasn't until I combined exercise with a sensible, sustainable diet that the weight came off. No fads, no secrets, just not giving up and staying with it. 20 months so far.

  10. #10
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    As others have pointed out, ultimately the bike to get is the one that makes you want to ride, now. If that's a cruiser, cool. Will you bump up against its shortcomings in time? Maybe, maybe not, depending on how far you take cycling. But you'll enjoy it, ride it, and have a much better idea where you see this going in your life. If you remain content with the bike, fantastic - you're out there riding, improving your health and having fun, and no one can say otherwise. If, in time, you discover it's holding you back, then replace it. At least you will have had the fun and fitness of getting out there in the interim. Buying a particular type of bike you're not familiar or comfortable with, with the thought that you'll learn to like it, is a surefire recipe for dropping the sport like a bad habit as soon as the novelty wears off.

    BTW, you're not a fan of Big Star/Alex Chilton, by any chance, are you? Or The Bangles?
    Craig in Indy

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    Wow, thanks for so many replies! I had no idea this was such an active message board.

    To answer some of your points...

    Weight loss. I in no way think this bike will help me lose weight. I mean, I'm not going to knock it if it does, but I am not a newbie on that front. Lost 80lbs, gained some back, did two half marathons...I've got the weight loss thing down. I know what nutrition works for me and what doesn't and what exercise I'll stick with and what I won't. About three years ago I was skinny and frankly, amazingly toned. I'm taking the baby steps to get back there!

    BUT that's an excellent point. Will I want to transition spin classes to outside once I have a bike? I just don't know. I love spin but am afraid of real bikes. Crazy but true! In my head, I understand that if I do, another bike purchase is in my future. The way my life is right now, there is no time during the week to ride, and weekends are really for my family. Which is why I've chosen gym-centric activities that provide built in childcare.

    That brings me to the cruiser idea. Besides being easy to ride, the instant comfort of being upright and having both feet able to be firmly planted on the ground at a moment's notice, I can also ride it casually with my six year old and my husband on the weekends. Can I do that with a more performance model? Of course. But my primary concern is that I will ride it, love riding it, and be the one who drives this train. And not decide it's too much and not just jog alongside my daughter's bike. Which I totally admit to doing!

    You have all brought up excellent points, however, at taking a look at other models. Thank you for the examples. Before this post I was pretty set on the Electra - it's an aluminum and I liked it when I rode it in the fall. But I will go back and revisit those other models I was a bit too timid to try. I tried a bunch but dismissed them pretty quickly. It doesn't hurt to re-try them and really look at their features and gauge my comfort. Maybe I am less of a wuss than I think!

    Excellent point, too, about not over-thinking it. And that the bike only goes as fast as I make it go!

    We have not 1, but 3 LBS's close by. I am tempted to make a day of it Saturday and try bikes to my heart's content! I'll let you know how I do.

    As to the music question, does anyone not love Big Star? I start to geek out when I talk about how much I love music, so I'll just say, nice catch and leave it at that!

    Thanks again, and feel free to throw anything else at me - models, opinions, other info - I am happy to be schooled.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnA42 View Post
    Any chance you could borrow or rent a bike and try it out riding the beach/boardwalk/etc? Might help you get a better idea of what you want.
    Fantastic idea. This will get you an extended test ride, and a sanity check, too. If you want a bike, and a cruiser in particular, after that, you probably aren't going to change your mind for a while.

    There is, however, a danger to this approach. I talked a pair of friends (married couple) into renting bikes for a day and joining me at a nice, scenic park on the water. They had a lot of fun, and had forgotten just how much joy there is in a bike ride. That weekend, one of them had a new bike. The next weekend, the husband had a new bike, too. Neither of them was planning on it. Anyway, next thing you know, the wife starts using the bike to get to and from work.
    Don't believe everything you think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Fantastic idea. This will get you an extended test ride, and a sanity check, too. If you want a bike, and a cruiser in particular, after that, you probably aren't going to change your mind for a while.

    There is, however, a danger to this approach. I talked a pair of friends (married couple) into renting bikes for a day and joining me at a nice, scenic park on the water. They had a lot of fun, and had forgotten just how much joy there is in a bike ride. That weekend, one of them had a new bike. The next weekend, the husband had a new bike, too. Neither of them was planning on it. Anyway, next thing you know, the wife starts using the bike to get to and from work.
    I am going to check into bike rental this weekend. I've not seen it but we live near vacation towns, so it must exist!

  14. #14
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    Again, ride as many bikes as you can within your budget. Also, be cognizant of "sticker shock" .

    At this point I wouldn't worry to much about weight, frame material, components, or whatever. Just get on something that you like and test ride. If you see a couple of models that you are thinking about, you can ask here.

    By riding a bunch of bikes you will get a better idea of what feels comfortable. You may also start thinking about what type of riding you might enjoy doing besides spending time with the family. Maybe trying to commute to work, or going grocery shopping, or spending a day enjoying local scenery.

    Good luck, and keep us posted .
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    Again, thank you all for your input. I spent the last six weeks trying out bikes and I picked one! Placing the order today. I'm very excited and have to not second guess myself!

    I'll post pictures when it comes in. Be forwarned - it's as girly as they come!

  16. #16
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeptemberGirl View Post
    Again, thank you all for your input. I spent the last six weeks trying out bikes and I picked one! Placing the order today. I'm very excited and have to not second guess myself!

    I'll post pictures when it comes in. Be forwarned - it's as girly as they come!
    But, but, you didn't tell us what it is!

    Can't wait for the pictures and congratulations on finding a bike you like.

  17. #17
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeptemberGirl View Post
    Again, thank you all for your input. I spent the last six weeks trying out bikes and I picked one! Placing the order today. I'm very excited and have to not second guess myself!

    I'll post pictures when it comes in. Be forwarned - it's as girly as they come!
    Good to hear SeptemberGirl !

    The main thing is you get a bike you like and would enjoy riding. Keep us posted.
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  18. #18
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Congratulations! We're all looking forward to seeing pics when you get it.
    Craig in Indy

  19. #19
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    Pix of the bike....and rider
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  20. #20
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    Looking forward to pics of your bike. I'm fairly new here too and know what your going through. I didn't learn to ride a bike until last August and bought my first bike without ever test riding it. I was too scared to tell the guys at the local shop I couldn't ride. I learned to ride on that bike, but quickly moved on to a hybrid, then a full blown road bike.

    Good luck with your new bike!!!

    Shannon

  21. #21
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Shannon, that is very cool.

  22. #22
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    I'm not sure what you ended up ordering (and I just jumped onto this thread today, waaaay after it was first posted), so for what it's worth, the Electra Townies and Trek Pures (essentially the same) are fantastic.

    My wife is clumsy on bikes and afraid of them, but I went and bought her a Trek Pure, even though she told me not to, and she rides it all the time. Loves it.

    I have the men's version, and can ride it as far as I wish without any discomfort in the back, hands, or buttocks. Perfectly smooth and comfortable.

    It's not a workout bike, though. It's not easy to stand and pedal, due to the unique geometry, but it's such a fun bike. Now we ride together and can really relax and enjoy.

    If you're looking for an intense workout, however, it's not the ideal bike. A hybrid would be better for that.
    I'm two-tired to ride today.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roadtrip View Post
    Looking forward to pics of your bike. I'm fairly new here too and know what your going through. I didn't learn to ride a bike until last August and bought my first bike without ever test riding it. I was too scared to tell the guys at the local shop I couldn't ride. I learned to ride on that bike, but quickly moved on to a hybrid, then a full blown road bike.

    Good luck with your new bike!!!

    Shannon
    That is SO cool! Go you!!! Have you done races yet? Do you ride with others?

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    But, but, you didn't tell us what it is!

    Can't wait for the pictures and congratulations on finding a bike you like.
    I can't believe I left these details out! Bike purchase went to my head. It's an Electra Townie. Hot pink with lime green. Trying top post the picture of me with it now...I'm so bad at picture posting to forums. It's really silly because I can handle technology except for this simple thing that everyone else can do, apparently.

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