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  1. #1
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    Cycling Advice for Newbie

    I live in the midwest and we have our fair share of snow. I am in slim down mode and trying to cut 65lbs.

    That said, I'm looking for an exercise alternative to the treadmill and have been considering buying a bike for the spring. I enjoyed bike riding when I was younger.

    Looking for others who have cycling experience and can offer some guidance especially around what sort of workout one can expect and what is the best set up for indoor cycle exercise/training until the snow goes away!

    I am currently 230lbs and about 6'1. I'm not looking to invest more than 300-500 dollars. I live pretty close to Sioux Falls, SD so there is a Dick's Sporting and Scheels for a few places to pick up a bike.

    Any advice to share would be appreciated.

    Thanks~

    Kris

  2. #2
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Start by spending your 500 at your local bike store, not the sports department. Big difference in quality and level of bikes. One you can ride off road for yrs w/o much problems, the department store version, i'd be scared on the 2nd attempt

    If not shop the used market. You should size up on a 56, 58cm road bike or a large MTB pending what type of riding you want to do. I'd recommend a 29er if you go the MTB route. Also check out www.bikesdirect.com their prices includes shipping

  3. #3
    Let's Ride! Jimbosays's Avatar
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    I like keeping an eye on Craig's list and such. But didn't see a lot of great "price/quality" selections in your locale (a couple "maybes"though.)

    http://siouxfalls.craigslist.org/search/bia?query=+

    I would stick a recognized quality manufacturer and shop for a used model - Just keep a casual eye once you have narrowed your shopping spectrum. Each of mine were 2-3 years old and at about 1/4 of the list price . . . And could hardly be classified in "used" condition.

    Don't think your first ride will mostly to be the one you'll use forever. I started with a cruiser/comfort bike a year ago . . . And now on my third - added a road hybrid and finally a road bike last month.

    I'm no Olympian at 300 lbs. and early 50's - but biking provides a nice opportunity to get a lil' exercise and get out in your community.

    Just decide a model range you might like and start shopping!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Cycle Babble's Avatar
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    As jsigone posted, check your local bike shops. I found a 2013 model road bike and got $700 off the retail price. If you shop last years close-outs you may find a really good deal on a bike that will give you more enjoyment than a mega-chain purchase....along with the fact they will have it set up right for you.

    Good luck
    John S
    The Declaration of Independence grants me the right to the pursuit of happiness.......I choose that pursuit on my bike.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    Start by spending your 500 at your local bike store, not the sports department. Big difference in quality and level of bikes. One you can ride off road for yrs w/o much problems, the department store version, i'd be scared on the 2nd attempt

    If not shop the used market. You should size up on a 56, 58cm road bike or a large MTB pending what type of riding you want to do. I'd recommend a 29er if you go the MTB route. Also check out www.bikesdirect.com their prices includes shipping
    This, all the way around.

    Get the bike you want, and more importantly, the bike you'll want to ride all the time. If you love your bike you'll love to ride, and that's why you're here, right?

    As for how we get from here to spring in the midwest ... I have a mag trainer I use in the winter, and right now I'm doing weights and cardio at the gym three to four days a week. Going to start doing yoga too.

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    I'd like to do road but have the option to ride off road. My wife and I also go camping so a lot of the times the campgrounds are gravel roads. so what sort of bike would that be?

    I'll go check out the local bike shops this weekend. The catch for me is I have a Dave Ramsey "wife" on a mission, love her but it puts a damper on my free spirit spending

    Though, we are one bill away from being done with the debt snowball so hopefully I can plead to spend some $$$

  7. #7
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    In that case a touring bike, or a cyclocross bike, would both be good to look into.

    The "cross" bike has a geometry similar to a road bike, drop handlebars like a road bike, but accepts wider tires. My cross bike is a Kona Jake ... love it. I use it for commuting a lot, so I have commute specific tires on it, but I'm doing a gravel ride/race in April so I'll put a little bit more "knobbier" tires on it for that.

    You could also consider a mountain bike, but me personally I'd use that for most trails/single track type stuff out in the woods rather than on gravel roads and paths.

  8. #8
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    For a beginner, you will most likely be fine with a $200-300 hybrid (cross between a mountain bike and a flat bar road bike) special at Dick's or from the used market, assuming you know the ins and outs of bicycle maintenance. If you think you'll need assistance in that field, definitely form a good relationship with your LBS (local bike shop), which can only be done by buying from them.

    Lastly, it doesn't matter where you get or how much your bike costs, as long as you enjoy riding it!
    Want to ride fast? Just ride with a slower group.
    Want to feel like a kid again? Dust off that old bike hanging in your garage!

  9. #9
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmixhawkeye View Post
    I am in slim down mode and trying to cut 65lbs.....

    I am currently 230lbs and about 6'1.
    I'm 6'2" 237 and want to get to 200! Your targetis 165? Are you nuts or am I setting my goals too easy?

    I've been through the Dave Ramsey program. He and Ron Blue sure do take the fun out or a consumptive lifestyle!
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  10. #10
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmixhawkeye View Post
    I'd like to do road but have the option to ride off road. My wife and I also go camping so a lot of the times the campgrounds are gravel roads. so what sort of bike would that be?

    I'll go check out the local bike shops this weekend. The catch for me is I have a Dave Ramsey "wife" on a mission, love her but it puts a damper on my free spirit spending

    Though, we are one bill away from being done with the debt snowball so hopefully I can plead to spend some $$$
    You want a cross bike if you're going to do much non-pavement riding. They're very similar to road bikes but generally accommodate larger tires. They're also usually geared a little lower on the top end if that bothers you.

    Once you've purchased your bike and some suitable clothing (shorts, helmet etc) cycling can be pretty inexpensive, unless you're like me and you have upgrade-itis all the time. Work into your discussion the monetary penalty associated with being over weight, and the future medical expenses. You're certainly not obese by any means but I imagine you can rationalize the money that way.

    Here are some: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm Look for the cyclocross bikes.

  11. #11
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    Hmmmm
    I would hunt for a steel frame 1990's vintage "mountain bike" with no suspension
    The Trek 800 series come to mind- under $150 in good shape- 26" tires
    Or higher end the trek 900 series -under $225 in great shape 26" tires
    Or the Trek 700 series-$100- to $225 -the 750 and above fancy Double butted chrome Moly steel-so they are more pricy than the 700,720,730-these have road bike sized tires- 700c(about 2" taller than a 26" tire/wheel) but take a tire 40mm wide-nice high volume tire takes the bumps out of roads

    So a used Trek-or any of the chrome Moly steel no suspension mountain bikes of that era-great do anything bikes
    nice upright riding position-no drop bar pain in the neck
    But USED gets you MUCH more bike than new
    and in general-decent bikes-don't wear out-
    most used bikes-are so little used-it hardly matters
    get pictures of the bikes you are considering- post here-ask what folks think
    Lotta full time cheapskates here-so they will always imply "you paid too much-or that bike is over priced"
    and get the BEST used bike-in the best shape-cosmetic shape indicates general condition-so let your eyes be your guide-
    beat up bike-is a BEAT UP BIKE!!
    Buy used-craigs list

    PS Trail riding means you want a 1990's rigid -no suspension MTB-those treks-nice high volume tires-slightly lugged if needed-those Treks are perfect for that purpose-do anything bikes-when I sell them I write "Urban/suburban/light trail do anything bikes perfect for our crummy potholed streets"
    I have sold a fair numbers of these treks-the sell well-as they should since they literally are DO ANYTHING BIKES- not just my puffery

    Good luck
    charlie
    Last edited by phoebeisis; 02-20-14 at 04:07 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
    I'm 6'2" 237 and want to get to 200! Your targetis 165? Are you nuts or am I setting my goals too easy?

    I've been through the Dave Ramsey program. He and Ron Blue sure do take the fun out or a consumptive lifestyle!
    Sorry PhotoJoe.... I am trying to get to 185. Perhaps I had a typo. My high is 250 and right now I am around 230. I got the lovely high blood pressure this year and have to take daily meds so I want to get my weight down and keep it down and hopefully I can drop the BP med.

    Thanks all that have replied. I will shop the market this weekend and see what I can come up with.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmixhawkeye View Post
    If it fits, that might work. Any decent bike might work, though only you know how much riding you intend to do. That style bike is probably best for shorter rides, maybe 10 to 15 miles. That said, if you are just riding for health and fitness and not for speed or on fast club rides, no reason you couldn't ride that bike an hour a day, every day when the mild weather eventually returns to the Midwest. For about $200 or $250, it is probably a good value, though I would say that if cycling is your thing, you will probably be looking for something better in a year or two. It is probably an OK value at $300.

    It wouldn't be my first choice, but I have been riding for 16 years and know what I like and don't like, and generally I don't care for suspension forks and, especially, suspension seatposts. (that said, I rented a bike with both last fall on vacation and didn't hate it as much as I hated other suspension forks and seatposts in the past) New, I believe that bike cost about $500 retail. Only you know how much you will need that suspension front fork. Useful if you ride a lot of gravel, not so much if you ride mostly paved roads. Worth checking out. I don't know what your used market is like, but I would offer $250 and see if the seller takes it.

    Once you get a bike, ride as much as you like, but mix it up. Cycling is good exercise, but not the only exercise. Weights, jogging, walking, yoga, etc... are equally important as your body will adapt to riding fairly quickly. Also, if you are in slim down mode, it is still more about what, and how much you eat as it is about how much you ride. So stick with water, rather than sports drinks when out on rides. You might need an energy bar or some trail mix on a long ride, but not too much. It is surprisingly easy to make improvements to your bike fitness and not lose any weight at all.
    Last edited by MRT2; 02-21-14 at 09:33 AM.

  15. #15
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    So I visited two local bike shops.

    Both were suggesting the Hybrid Mountain Bike or Mountain Bike.

    The one store sold Kona or Specialized brands. The sales person said the Specialized was better. He also said with a bike purchase I'd get 1 year of labor included. Their bikes started at $550 and up.

    The other shop offered the Giant or Cannondale but their bikes started at $700 and up. Again they would give 1 year of labor with the bike purchase.

    I didn't ride any but now that I've looked am more inclined to buy the Mountain style bike. If I plan on doing any amount of riding I'll likely end up on gravel given I live in a rural community.

    I'm still stuck on the price for entry level so didn't make a purchase. The one place have very low end used bikes that I didn't think were worth considering.

    I skipped going to Dicks or another box store at this point.

  16. #16
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    If you are going to buy new don't overlook Scheels, they sell Treks (at least up here) and have far better service than your average box store.

    That being said, I would buy used. I am sure there are many of us that bought our first bike new and regret the decision. My Salsa Vaya is the only NEW bike I don't regret. The bikes I spend most of my time on are 20+ years old. You can get a good quality used road bike and a mountain bike for your budget. Keep reading this forum and watching Craigslist, ask questions, when spring comes (if ever) you are in a good garage sale finding area. The BEST deals I have found and certainly the nicest condition bikes have been at garage sales.
    I do not claim to be a doctor, scientist, genie, bike magician, good looking, or qualified in any way. The contents of my post are opinions and should be taken as such.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmixhawkeye View Post
    Sorry PhotoJoe.... I am trying to get to 185. Perhaps I had a typo. My high is 250 and right now I am around 230. I got the lovely high blood pressure this year and have to take daily meds so I want to get my weight down and keep it down and hopefully I can drop the BP med.

    Thanks all that have replied. I will shop the market this weekend and see what I can come up with.
    They also recently reduced the BP threshold for treatment.

    I went from borderline to high with this change. I've struggled finding a BP med that did not have negative effects. After reviewing the change in relative risk for my particular case, I've decided I'd live with the risk and work towards lowering BP with more and more miles. I'm NOT suggesting this for anyone else, just me... Just pointing out they changed the guidelines...

  18. #18
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digger531 View Post
    If you are going to buy new don't overlook Scheels, they sell Treks (at least up here) and have far better service than your average box store.

    That being said, I would buy used. I am sure there are many of us that bought our first bike new and regret the decision. My Salsa Vaya is the only NEW bike I don't regret. The bikes I spend most of my time on are 20+ years old. You can get a good quality used road bike and a mountain bike for your budget. Keep reading this forum and watching Craigslist, ask questions, when spring comes (if ever) you are in a good garage sale finding area. The BEST deals I have found and certainly the nicest condition bikes have been at garage sales.
    Love the Salsa Vaya. Almost bought it, but ultimately decided the Casseroll fit my needs better.

  19. #19
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmixhawkeye View Post
    So I visited two local bike shops.

    Both were suggesting the Hybrid Mountain Bike or Mountain Bike.

    The one store sold Kona or Specialized brands. The sales person said the Specialized was better. He also said with a bike purchase I'd get 1 year of labor included. Their bikes started at $550 and up.

    The other shop offered the Giant or Cannondale but their bikes started at $700 and up. Again they would give 1 year of labor with the bike purchase.

    I didn't ride any but now that I've looked am more inclined to buy the Mountain style bike. If I plan on doing any amount of riding I'll likely end up on gravel given I live in a rural community.

    I'm still stuck on the price for entry level so didn't make a purchase. The one place have very low end used bikes that I didn't think were worth considering.

    I skipped going to Dicks or another box store at this point.
    Kona, Specialized, Giant and Cannondale are very similar. You won't go far wrong with any of those brands. It comes down to what fits, and meets your needs. $550 to $700 is about what a decent new bike goes for at full retail. 1 year free adjustments is good, but not great service for the money. The place that sold me my bike offers 2 years free service, tune ups and adjustments.

    What happened with the used bike on Craigslist?

  20. #20
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    can someone explain to me the bike sizes I'm seeing? I.e. 15" through 22" I am thinking of a Kona 29" but have not decided yet.

    what about the brands Marin and Diamond Back?

  21. #21
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    So I finally bought a bike off of Craiglist. Before anyone says it I know it is a P.O.S but the price was right.

    It is a Mongoose XR-250.

    It has issues thus my reason for posting the reply. The fork needs to be replaced and I am wondering if I can buy any fork or do I have to find exactly the same fork.

    Also given it's a used P.O.S. I don't want to spend a bunch of $$ for a new fork.

    The basic issue is the fork is seized up and the top seal part on one side is off.

    I can ride it as is.. but would like to have a fork on it that I know is not broken, etc.

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