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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-29-12, 10:05 AM   #1
shaylajane
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Help a newbie pick a bike?

(ETA: I realized I forgot a major question of mine... Would a cruiser be ok for this kind of commute, or should I totally scrap that idea and focus on hybrids/road/city bikes?)

I really know nothing about bikes, I haven't ridden one regularly since I was about 7. But I'd like to get a bike for commuting/grocery shopping/general transportation. To work or the store would be no more than about 3 miles one way.

I was thinking I could just get a cheap cruiser, but I posted on Yahoo Answers and all the people who responded said a cruiser would be awful for that and that I should get a hybrid. Well, I'm having trouble finding a hybrid small enough for me and within my price range. (I'm about 4'11", and my dad is buying it so really price is his call, but I know he doesn't want to spend a ton. Plus I'd need to have a little left in the budget for accessories.)

I saw an archived thread on here describing a similar situation (about a 2.5 mile commute), and a lot of people said to just get a cruiser. So I'm conflicted. I'll post some links to the bikes I'm considering. Any help or opinions are appreciated!

This is probably my #1 choice right now:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-De...-Bike/15711183

Similar and cheaper, but no rear rack, which I really like about the first one:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/24-Huffy-C...-Bike/19799025

Again, no rear rack...:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Kent-La-Jo...-Bike/17206791

Here's a "commuter or utility bike" I found on craigslist, but I'm always a little iffy about craigslist, especially when I know nothing about what I'm buying:
http://madison.craigslist.org/bik/3023561605.html

This one is a long shot... It's kinda pricy, I'm really not sure Dad would say yes to that price!:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...sex_deluxe.htm


I guess to summarize the main things I want/need: something I can ride short distances through town that's not too expensive. preferably something with a rear rack/place for storage/to carry groceries. something small enough for me. something that I can ride in an upright position. and good looks are a plus too =P
I think that's it! Thanks in advance for any help ^_^

Last edited by shaylajane; 06-29-12 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 06-29-12, 10:12 AM   #2
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Get this one.. It has everything you want.

http://madison.craigslist.org/bik/3023561605.html
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Old 06-29-12, 10:18 AM   #3
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1. Welcome.
2. Ask you dad what the hard limit is on the budget.
3. Don't even think about BD at this time- you know nothing about bikes. If your dad did, I'm sure he would've influenced your list.
4. Forget Wal-mart and other big box stores. They are cheap initially, but will cost as much (if not more) as an entry level bike from the LBS in the long run.
5. Best to rely on the knowledge base a LBS provides. If budget constraints really dictate otherwise, the next best thing is to find a bicycle coop. You get most of the same LBS knowledge, combined with learning your own wrenching skills, at a reduced price.
6. Based upon your name and height, I'm guessing you're female, so you might want to consider contacting a Mod about joining the mythical 'Women's sub Forum'. It exists, but shielded from the general population, so doesn't show on the main index.
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Old 06-29-12, 10:22 AM   #4
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If you go by a bike shop, people there will help you select a bike,
and more important, be there to help you with maintenance and repairs.
service after the sale..

Wally World type stores just treat it as something to run thru the cashier.
they are infamous for poor assembly. then you are on your own.

Even if you don't buy on the spot, you get a 'show and tell',
at the bike shop,
so learn something in the Q&A exchange.

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-29-12 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 06-29-12, 10:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Get this one.. It has everything you want.

http://madison.craigslist.org/bik/3023561605.html
17" frame may be too big for a 4'11" person, but it's worth taking a closer look at that price.
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Old 06-29-12, 10:24 AM   #6
shaylajane
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Get this one.. It has everything you want.

http://madison.craigslist.org/bik/3023561605.html
So does it look like a good bike then? That's my main concern, I don't know anything about them so I wouldn't know if it was bad or if something was wrong with it.
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Old 06-29-12, 10:27 AM   #7
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the adjustability of smaller wheel,folding bikes,
makes them a good option for smaller people.
And they wont take up much room at home.

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-29-12 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 06-29-12, 11:09 AM   #8
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Hi there ShaylaJane!

Are you a teenager and still growing?
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Old 06-29-12, 11:18 AM   #9
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My son is about your height, and he rides a late 90s Trek 800 mountain bike with slick tires. frame size is 13.5". He is chomping at the bit to jump to a bigger size (as he is growing and he wants something new), but the 13.5" frame fits him perfectly right now.
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Old 06-29-12, 11:19 AM   #10
shaylajane
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Hi there ShaylaJane!

Are you a teenager and still growing?
Nope, 20, so probably pretty much done growing... Just short =P
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Old 06-30-12, 03:03 AM   #11
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I recommend a bike from craigslist as a first bike. You might find the bike of your dreams and if not, you'll discover what you don't like in a bike. You can probably also resell for price about the same as you bought it for. Do you have any friends that know about bikes? Take one along to look at bikes.

Here are a few articles I found that provide some helpful tips on what to look at when purchasing a used bike: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/transp...t-used-bicycle, http://bicycleuniverse.info/eqp/usedbikes-guide.html, http://www.ehow.com/how_14157_buy-used-bike.html.
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Old 06-30-12, 03:12 AM   #12
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I just got a Windsor Kensington 8, and while I like it quite a bit for my 3 mi commute, I don't think getting a bike from bikes direct would be a good idea for a newbie - I had to do quite a bit of assembly/adjusting/wheel truing on my bike and replaced the tires before going on a ride. +1 on finding a good LBS and asking about their entry-level, used bikes. Other things to get at the LBS:

-spare tubes
-tire levers
-pump
-front and back lights
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Old 06-30-12, 08:21 AM   #13
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Insofar as buying a cruiser is concerned, it all depends upon your terrain and the "cruiser". Most cruisers are like single speeds, in that they don't have multiple gearing. This makes them more suited to a flat terrain. The flat terrain along with their wide tires make them perfect to ride along the seashores, beaches, and boardwalks. That's where they got the name, "Beach Cruisers".

So therefore, you could ask the same question about a single speed and the answer would be the same. As long as you will be riding over a flattened land surface, either a single speed or a cruiser will be just fine.

However, OTOH, if you have challenging hills or serious inclines of any kind, you will most inevitably need a geared bicycle, such as a road bike, hybrid, or mountain bike. Due to your lack of height, I would suggest that you go with a bicycle that has a low profile. I think that a bicycle with a 26 inch wheel diameter would be more appropriate in accommodating your comfort needs.

I would therefore recommend the following:

1) The Giant Sedona.st ~ $350
www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/sedona.st/9025/48885/

2) The Giant Boulder.w ~ $360
www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/boulder.w/9043/48966/

3) The Mercier Nano ~ $300
www.bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/nano.htm

4) The Raleigh Special Cruiser ~ $260

www.raleighusa.com/bikes/cruiser/special-12/

Checkout the female version in white!
www.thebikestand.com/raleigh-cruiser.html

***********

Of course, the most economical approach to obtaining a bicycle would be to join a local bicycle co-op and inform the leadership and mechanics that you're looking for a chromoly steel ladies bicycle. If the co-op is a very resourceful one, eventually either the right bicycle, or its frame will surface and you can begin to build your very own bicycle with the components made available to you at the co-op. You will be able to build your bike, right there under the watchful eyes of seasoned veteran bicycle mechanics.

If the right bicycle or frame does not surface at the co-op, that's alright because you will be on the continued prowl for the proper used bicycle via Craigslist, yardsales, and thrift shops, anyway. Eventually, with the right attitude and relentless determination, you'll find the right bike.

Of course, you could always order the proper bicycle frame online and then proceed to build it at the co-op, as well.

So there you have it. I'm sure there are other alternative ideas out there somewhere, as well...

However those are mine.

Good Luck!

Last edited by SlimRider; 06-30-12 at 08:44 AM.
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