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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 08-18-13, 05:14 PM   #1
bikepearly
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newbie bike store and bike questions in the Greater Seattle area (Issaquah)

Hi all!

Over the last few months I have ditched my car for the most part and walked to grocery stores, bus stations, library, etc. and my trips are typically 30 min to 1 hr. Eventually I plan to go car free (probably after this winter).

My walks/ future bike rides around Issaquah are 2-3 miles, slight slopes but either manageable or I will just dismount My commute to work is currently multi mode, it includes a bus ride. I can lock the bike in a secured storage location before taking the bus. I am not sure if I will want to eventually bike all the way to work, the full commute trip involves some significant hills and threading through crazy highway intersections.

I have read through ~10 pages of the newbie bike questions. And a recurring theme is to get something stocked and recommended by the local bike shop. Given my short commute needs any entry level bike appears reasonable. The thing is, in Issaquah within the walking distance there are two small bike shops. One specializes in Specialized (gerk's), the other one in Trek (bicycle center of Issaquah). There is also a REI branch.

If I choose to take the bus, then, I believe within the City of Seattle there are actually a lot more bike shops. Being a 5 ft tall female, some of the more traditional, upright bikes available in the City are the most appealing to me right now from an aesthetic POV. But these bikes certainly stand out, people here either have road bikes or mountain bikes.

My questions are actually how often do I have to bring a bike in for servicing, and would I consider lugging the bike on a bus such a hassle that I stop using the bike?

If you were me, which is the longest distance you're willing to travel to a bike shop, and does it matter much that the bike shop is within walking distance in case I have to roll it in?

Other advice about what bike to get, which shop to patronize is also welcomed...

Thanks.
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Old 08-18-13, 11:19 PM   #2
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You could take the bike that you buy in Seattle to whichever local bike shop that you feel most comfortable at for service, it does not *have* to go back to the store it was bought at for service.
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Old 08-18-13, 11:21 PM   #3
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Actually, on second thought, what you could do is find a bike that you like in Seattle, make note of the make/model/color/size/etc. and take that information to the local shops, see which one is willing to work with you, makes you feel comfortable working with them, and will order the exact bike that you want.
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Old 08-20-13, 11:29 AM   #4
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newbie bike store and bike questions in the Greater Seattle area (Issaquah)

Do you have friends with bikes that come close to fitting you? Starting out on a road bike is very awkward, it was for me at least. They are twitcher than hybrids or mountain bikes and you just need lots of practice to feel comfortable on them in traffic and in close quarters, but they are the most efficient bicycles for pavement. I borrowed a mountain bike when I started commuting, then borrowed and eventually bought a Novara randonee from a buddy and quickly fell in love with commuting on road style touringbikes because everything you want or need is there, well everything I wanted and needed at least. Depending on your needs and budget, I'd say 1; get what you can afford and what you are comfortable on. if you are new or inexperienced with bikes, buy new. Too many variables buying used. Make sure it has a rack, fenders, lights. Buy a floor pump, multi tool kit, tire levers, patch kit and spare tube 3. Learn basic maintenance, taking your bike in to the lbs for every flat will be expensive, and commuters are ridden pretty hard, take a lot of abuse and in turn need normal upkeep. Good luck with everything!
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Old 08-20-13, 11:37 AM   #5
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My wife, who is 5' 2", just ordered a Trek 7.4 FX (hybrid with no suspension) in 13-inch frame size. Without knowing exactly what you look like, I'd guess a Trek 13-inch bike would be a good candidate if you're interested in a hybrid model.

We bought our bikes from Gregg's on Green Lake. They have a lot of Trek and Specialized bikes in stock. It's quite a ways out from Issaquah, but if you've got the time to come over to Seattle, Gregg's would be a good place to at least check out bikes, if not buy one.

Good luck!
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Old 08-20-13, 11:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by bikepearly View Post
...
My questions are actually how often do I have to bring a bike in for servicing, and would I consider lugging the bike on a bus such a hassle that I stop using the bike?

If you were me, which is the longest distance you're willing to travel to a bike shop, and does it matter much that the bike shop is within walking distance in case I have to roll it in?

Other advice about what bike to get, which shop to patronize is also welcomed...

Thanks.
These question depend very much on individual inclinations, and how much you're willing to learn to do yourself. My commuter has never been in a bike shop, while some people are totally dependent on a relationship with a shop. Either way, starting out you'll probably want to use a shop at first for at least adjustments and advice, which ideally means buying from a nearby bike shop.

Since you say this, "Given my short commute needs any entry level bike appears reasonable", and I agree with it, shopping for a bike shop is way down the list of priorities. Get the bike you need, then look for a shop as a secondary objective if at all.
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Old 08-20-13, 02:22 PM   #7
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I would stop in and talk to your neighbor, Kent Peterson. I think he works at The Bicycle Center. He has loads of experience using a bike as primary transportation and an active blog here: http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/
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Old 09-29-13, 12:14 AM   #8
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REI is a good reliable place for a new bicyclist to start out. If you buy a bike from them you get a free tuneup. Their sales approach is no pressure. They carry only quality gear and bikes. They sell Specialized, Cannondale, Marin, and their own brand Novara. They have no junk. And they have all the clothes and other bike gear that you might like to shop. You get a one year guarantee on what they sell. Check them out. Member since 1987.
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Old 09-29-13, 01:37 AM   #9
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I would start by test riding everything at REI. Next, I would go to the Specialized and Trek local bike shops and test ride the bikes that most resemble what I liked at REI. I would then decide based upon ride comfort and LBS accommodations. If your budget is tight, the REI outlet has some pretty good deals online.

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Old 09-30-13, 10:14 AM   #10
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I would start by test riding everything at REI. Next, I would go to the Specialized and Trek local bike shops and test ride the bikes that most resemble what I liked at REI. I would then decide based upon ride comfort and LBS accommodations. If your budget is tight, the REI outlet has some pretty good deals online.
That's good advice. I've dealt with REI quite a bit and they tend to be knowledgeable people who are willing to help you out. I've been to the Trek dealer in Southcenter Mall. Their staff is helpful, too.
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