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-   -   Need help, new to cycling ! (http://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/942329-need-help-new-cycling.html)

konatablackstar 04-08-14 08:56 PM

Need help, new to cycling !
 
Hey all,

I've just been introduced to cycling by one of my co-workers. I am captivated by the exotic look of road bikes, and the idea of working out, saving money on commuting, and reducing my carbon footprint.

I want to bike to school which is about 10 miles from my house. Since i live in NYC i am not sure what kind of bike i should buy, or where to start looking for the matter.

I am 5'6'' and i weigh 130 pounds, male.

I love the look of road bikes, but if i cant use that for my situation, then ill deal with it. The main problem i have is figuring out with the busy roads of NY, if it would be ideal to get a road bike.

tjspiel 04-08-14 10:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by konatablackstar (Post 16654396)
Hey all,

I've just been introduced to cycling by one of my co-workers. I am captivated by the exotic look of road bikes, and the idea of working out, saving money on commuting, and reducing my carbon footprint.

I want to bike to school which is about 10 miles from my house. Since i live in NYC i am not sure what kind of bike i should buy, or where to start looking for the matter.

I am 5'6'' and i weigh 130 pounds, male.

I love the look of road bikes, but if i cant use that for my situation, then ill deal with it. The main problem i have is figuring out with the busy roads of NY, if it would be ideal to get a road bike.

There are a few different types of road bikes. For commuting a cyclocross or touring bike can be good choices. A cyclocross bike is a specialized type of road bike designed for light duty off road racing. The biggest advantage they have over a standard road racing bike is that they can take wider tires which will smooth out the bumps. A touring bike can also take wider tires, is designed to haul a lot of stuff, and has a less aggressive riding position. Touring bikes typically aren't going to be as exotic looking as the road bikes you're probably thinking of. Cyclocross bikes may or may not be.

There are also flat bar road bikes and road bikes that are designed more for the weekend warrior than the serious racer. Some will have mounts for racks and fenders which many commuters feel are required equipment.

If I were you I'd just go to a bike shop and try out a bunch of different types of bikes, - including some hybrids and see what you think. Other things to consider are where you're going to keep your bike, how you plan to carry your stuff, and what the road conditions are like. Is it going to be locked to a rack where it might get banged around by other people locking up their bikes? Are bike thefts common at your school? Do you want to do longer rides on the weekends?

The other thing to consider is your budget. Because of the more complex shifters road bikes tend to be more expensive than other types of bikes. It's a generalization though. A low end road bike is still going to be a lot cheaper than a high end mountain bike. It's also the reason I mentioned a flat bar road bike. Flat bar road bikes can use less expensive shifters while still having the lively feel of a road bike. They (generally) cost less and some people prefer flat bars anyway.

gsa103 04-08-14 10:39 PM

The big thing with commuting is the distance. 10 miles may not seem like all that much, but with traffic you're looking at ~45 min each way. The other option is a multi-mode commute such as bike+bus/train.

The OP is in NY, I think you can assume bike theft is standard operating procedure.

EnsitMike 04-09-14 02:40 AM

In N.Y. and assuming you'll leave the bike out for long periods of time on a normal schedule… You'd best get a beater steel bike for cheap. As undesirable looking as possible.

Anything nice is going to be stolen.

metz1295 04-09-14 10:21 AM

as cool as the road bikes may look, an upright flat bar may be a better fit in a high car traffic area. you're likely to be stopping a lot and you'll need to pay extra close attention to cars making sudden lanes changes. this type of attention needs is better served if you're more upright. my son has this bike and I think it would be perfect for your needs if your budget and security for the bike allows.

Specialized Bicycle Components

I do agree with the statement about theft. spend $100 on an old used bike if you think that will be a problem. 1.) it's less likely to be stolen. 2.) if it's stolen you're only out $100.

Leisesturm 04-09-14 10:28 AM

Well a Sirrus Sport isn't $100.00. Bikes do get stolen in NYC, but all of them? Really? But lets say you wanted to lower the odds. Getting a folding bike for around the same price as that Sirrus Sport might be a better way than to ride a bike so awful that no one even wants to steal it. Just saying.

H

metz1295 04-09-14 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leisesturm (Post 16655757)
Well a Sirrus Sport isn't $100.00. Bikes do get stolen in NYC, but all of them? Really? But lets say you wanted to lower the odds. Getting a folding bike for around the same price as that Sirrus Sport might be a better way than to ride a bike so awful that no one even wants to steal it. Just saying.

H

that's why I stated that if the sirrus can be protected, it would serve his needs well. if he has to chain it to a pole on the street, then buy the $100 bike.

caloso 04-09-14 11:58 AM

If you're going to be locking it up outside, get the best lock you can afford; spend the remainder on the bike.

fietsbob 04-09-14 12:12 PM

Quote:

reducing my carbon footprint.
Since bikes and parts all are coming from around the globe , the bunker oil burned in the container fleet

is a carbon debt that even a bicycle has to attempt to compensate for over time .

which is just the conflict of the consumer world.






theft is reduced by bringing the bike in off the street .. the ugly functional bike may be a better thing if you cannot haul it in

but overnight even that would be gone of vandalized by morning .

noglider 04-09-14 12:17 PM

Any bike will do the trick, honestly. It's a matter of what you like and what works for you. Spend $200 or $300 on a used bike and see what you like and what it lacks. Then you'll know what to get for your second bike. Don't upgrade the first bike. Keep it. You'll appreciate it for its beater-ness.

WestPablo 04-09-14 03:49 PM

Many messengers in NYC ride either fixies or single speed bikes. Single speeds are less expensive and require less maintenance as well. Checkout the single speeds @ www.nashbar.com.

Call customer service for correct sizing, before you place your order. The bike comes 90% assembled already :)

If you have any major hills to climb, you might wanna forget about a single speed! :D

turky lurkey 04-09-14 06:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noglider (Post 16656137)
Any bike will do the trick, honestly. It's a matter of what you like and what works for you. Spend $200 or $300 on a used bike and see what you like and what it lacks. Then you'll know what to get for your second bike. Don't upgrade the first bike. Keep it. You'll appreciate it for its beater-ness.

+1

Just get a bike a start riding, if you keep at it you'll figure out what works for you.

tjspiel 04-09-14 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by metz1295 (Post 16655729)
as cool as the road bikes may look, an upright flat bar may be a better fit in a high car traffic area. you're likely to be stopping a lot and you'll need to pay extra close attention to cars making sudden lanes changes. this type of attention needs is better served if you're more upright. my son has this bike and I think it would be perfect for your needs if your budget and security for the bike allows.

Specialized Bicycle Components

I do agree with the statement about theft. spend $100 on an old used bike if you think that will be a problem. 1.) it's less likely to be stolen. 2.) if it's stolen you're only out $100.

While I do understand the argument you're making, I want to state for the record that there is nothing about drop bars that precludes anyone from riding as upright as they would on a Sirrus. Folks are used to seeing racers having their saddles set much higher than the handlebars but that's entirely optional. I have three bikes with road bars (drops). One has the tops about level with the saddle, another several inches lower, and a third that's kind of in between.

The first bike I mentioned is effectively very much like the Sirrus in terms of riding position when I'm on the tops. The beauty of drops is that I can comfortably ride in a more aggressive position if I choose. And as far as Urban traffic goes, I like narrower bars and the ability to keep pace with traffic. That's easier with a more aggressive riding position and I don't feel I give up much (if anything really) in terms of being able to see what's around me.

konatablackstar 04-09-14 07:37 PM

Thanks to all for your advice.

I have more specifics if that will help.

I attend a college where the bike park is in the front of the building and is monitored by security and surveillance. I intend to buy a U-lock and a seperate lock for the bike to be attached to the bike parking. To ensure security I spoke to one of the security guards and he told me they caught a few perpetrators that go after the bikes that are loosely attached to the metal frame with flimsy locks that can be cut. The bike theifs often go around with a cutter in they're backpack posing as a student, and then making a quick cut to run off with the bike. My plan is to get ample protection in order to dissuade the theif, as well as put it in a direct spot in front of cameras and security. Also i will register my bike and take pictures for additional security. I also plan on mounting my bike in my garage and having it under lock and key.

woooh that was tough.

Back to the main issue of the commute.

The commute i make is from queens to long island city, which according to google maps is an hour by bike.
Knowing NY, the roads are rigged with cracks, working zones, and lots of traffic. Also weather can be unpredictable at times. I want to take as much precaution as i can. I dont want to end up as a statistic.

I saw this bike as a beginner and affordable bike for me, any thoughts ?
Amazon.com : Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano : Road Bicycles : Sports & Outdoors

If you think i should go with something better, please, i need any help i can get.

Another think im worried about is my height. As i stated in my original post, i am 5'6", so would a 50 cm be good for me, or a 54?

Thanks alot for all the great people who were quick to help out !

Quote:

There are a few different types of road bikes. For commuting a cyclocross or touring bike can be good choices. A cyclocross bike is a specialized type of road bike designed for light duty off road racing. The biggest advantage they have over a standard road racing bike is that they can take wider tires which will smooth out the bumps. A touring bike can also take wider tires, is designed to haul a lot of stuff, and has a less aggressive riding position. Touring bikes typically aren't going to be as exotic looking as the road bikes you're probably thinking of. Cyclocross bikes may or may not be.

There are also flat bar road bikes and road bikes that are designed more for the weekend warrior than the serious racer. Some will have mounts for racks and fenders which many commuters feel are required equipment.

If I were you I'd just go to a bike shop and try out a bunch of different types of bikes, - including some hybrids and see what you think. Other things to consider are where you're going to keep your bike, how you plan to carry your stuff, and what the road conditions are like. Is it going to be locked to a rack where it might get banged around by other people locking up their bikes? Are bike thefts common at your school? Do you want to do longer rides on the weekends?

The other thing to consider is your budget. Because of the more complex shifters road bikes tend to be more expensive than other types of bikes. It's a generalization though. A low end road bike is still going to be a lot cheaper than a high end mountain bike. It's also the reason I mentioned a flat bar road bike. Flat bar road bikes can use less expensive shifters while still having the lively feel of a road bike. They (generally) cost less and some people prefer flat bars anyway.

konatablackstar 04-09-14 07:41 PM

Thanks alot for your advice. Much appreciated.

Quote:

Originally Posted by tjspiel (Post 16654621)
There are a few different types of road bikes. For commuting a cyclocross or touring bike can be good choices. A cyclocross bike is a specialized type of road bike designed for light duty off road racing. The biggest advantage they have over a standard road racing bike is that they can take wider tires which will smooth out the bumps. A touring bike can also take wider tires, is designed to haul a lot of stuff, and has a less aggressive riding position. Touring bikes typically aren't going to be as exotic looking as the road bikes you're probably thinking of. Cyclocross bikes may or may not be.

There are also flat bar road bikes and road bikes that are designed more for the weekend warrior than the serious racer. Some will have mounts for racks and fenders which many commuters feel are required equipment.

If I were you I'd just go to a bike shop and try out a bunch of different types of bikes, - including some hybrids and see what you think. Other things to consider are where you're going to keep your bike, how you plan to carry your stuff, and what the road conditions are like. Is it going to be locked to a rack where it might get banged around by other people locking up their bikes? Are bike thefts common at your school? Do you want to do longer rides on the weekends?

The other thing to consider is your budget. Because of the more complex shifters road bikes tend to be more expensive than other types of bikes. It's a generalization though. A low end road bike is still going to be a lot cheaper than a high end mountain bike. It's also the reason I mentioned a flat bar road bike. Flat bar road bikes can use less expensive shifters while still having the lively feel of a road bike. They (generally) cost less and some people prefer flat bars anyway.


noglider 04-09-14 07:56 PM

Your ideal size is really a range. I don't know what that is, but I can comfortably ride a bike that is 54 to 58 cm, maybe smaller and bigger. I've discovered I like short bikes, which is nice for me because they're lighter and stiffer, and they fit into cars better. I'm 5'9.5" tall with very short legs. Your ideal size may between 50 and 54 cm. Measure your pubic bone height, aka PBH. One rule of thumb is to multiply that by 2/3 and you'll get your ideal road bike size. Then add or subtract 2 cm.

That bike on amazon looks ok but I don't like mail order bikes, especially for newbies. Get a used bike on Craigslist and fix it up or have a local mechanic fix it up.

Trek800Antelope 04-09-14 08:02 PM

i'm fair weather bike commuter - and bike to work from time to time - which i did today - i ride my bike from queens into westside of manhattan going through LIC -really any bike will do as long as everything works. i ride a 20 year old bike to work but just started last year because it was only last year that i found out they have a bike rack inside the building. but i also have a weekend bike which i never leaves my sight.

you should go to a bike shop get fitted - and then look at their selection and suggestions - if i can't lock up my bike inside a building i'd consider a folding bike and take it to my cube or in your case - class.

good luck with your search.

noglider 04-09-14 08:07 PM

Oh yeah, see if your parents' homeowners or renters insurance covers bike theft. And don't lock up a fancy bike in public. Use a better lock than half the people use to encourage the thieves to move onto other bikes.

rnhager 04-09-14 11:08 PM

I think you will find commuting via bicycle far more rewarding than you imagined. Trading in my hour-plus commute each way everyday, getting bent out of shape while during in traffic listening to crappy for a couple miles of riding and reading on the train and/or bus in between was a no-brainer for me. I just wish I had made the switch sooner.

As far as a bike, get something that fits, and is in decent shape mechanically. Get some lights. If you plan on riding when the weather is less than suitable, fenders are nice. I like what tjspiel had to say about handlebars
Quote:

...as far as Urban traffic goes, I like narrower bars and the ability to keep pace with traffic. That's easier with a more aggressive riding position and I don't feel I give up much (if anything really) in terms of being able to see what's around me.
Kryptonite makes great locks. They're pricey, but if you've ever had a bike stolen you probably regret not buying a more sturdy lock.

I don't know how densely populated an area you live in, but riding in large metropolitan areas can be nerve racking at first. It took me a couple weeks to get used to keeping my head on a swivel.

Shahmatt 04-10-14 12:40 AM

Why not add a recumbent to that mix of options?

MichaelW 04-10-14 01:50 AM

For an everyday commuter for 2x10miles in the city, look for the following features:
-tyre clearance for 32mm+fenders (min), more for winter studded tyres.
-threaded eyelets for fitting rack and fenders.
-Kevlar protected tyres, even on cheap bikes.

Consider:
-Disc brakes for all-weather consistent braking.
-Hub gears for low maintenance.
-Hub dynamo for fit and forget lighting.

I dont make a big deal out of drop vs flat bars or 700c vs 26" wheels or steel vs aluminium, they all work for me.
Pick your route with care and learn some vehicular cycling techniques.

CrankyOne 04-10-14 06:03 AM

You should check out a bike shop focused on commuters like Rolling Orange in Brooklyn or Adeline Adeline in Manhattan. Life is much easier when you talk to people who understand commuting vs people who understand recreation and racing. They might also be able to help you out with routes. Of the two I'd probably start w/ Rolling Orange.

At one time LIC was on the first wave of Citibike and then got pushed back. Are they still planning to include it? Any idea when? Deeper in to Queens I think is still 2016.

Any way you go, you'll enjoy it. Much better than being a tunnel rat.

tjspiel 04-10-14 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by konatablackstar (Post 16657363)
I saw this bike as a beginner and affordable bike for me, any thoughts ?
Amazon.com : Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano : Road Bicycles : Sports & Outdoors

It's a budget bike that will require assembly when you get it and very likely a tune up based on what the reviewers said. I'd also add better tires the overall cost.

An entry level name brand road bike from a bike shop is going to list for around $700. Last year's models or getting something on sale will bring the price down somewhat. Getting something equivalent online from a place like Bikes Direct will save you $150 - $200 but you will need to assemble it or pay to have it assembled. You also won't have the piece of mind that comes with being able to try it before you buy it or having somebody help you get the right size and have it set up correctly.

Having said that, I'm assuming there is a limited amount you can afford to pay for a bike and purchasing new from a bike shop may simply not be an option. Before going the on-line route though I would suggest you try and find a bicycle co-op in your area that has a Spring bike swap. You get the benefit of having a knowledgeable staff person help you find the right bike while not having to pay a premium for a brand new one.

The last thing I want to do is make this overly difficult. If trying to find a bike swap is too much hassle or doesn't turn up a bike you like for a reasonable price, then by all means get something online. Just understand that the really cheap bikes are cheap for a reason, - but they will still get you from point A to B.

WestPablo 04-10-14 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by konatablackstar (Post 16657363)
Thanks to all for your advice.

I have more specifics if that will help.

I attend a college where the bike park is in the front of the building and is monitored by security and surveillance. I intend to buy a U-lock and a seperate lock for the bike to be attached to the bike parking. To ensure security I spoke to one of the security guards and he told me they caught a few perpetrators that go after the bikes that are loosely attached to the metal frame with flimsy locks that can be cut. The bike theifs often go around with a cutter in they're backpack posing as a student, and then making a quick cut to run off with the bike. My plan is to get ample protection in order to dissuade the theif, as well as put it in a direct spot in front of cameras and security. Also i will register my bike and take pictures for additional security. I also plan on mounting my bike in my garage and having it under lock and key.

woooh that was tough.

Back to the main issue of the commute.

The commute i make is from queens to long island city, which according to google maps is an hour by bike.
Knowing NY, the roads are rigged with cracks, working zones, and lots of traffic. Also weather can be unpredictable at times. I want to take as much precaution as i can. I dont want to end up as a statistic.

I saw this bike as a beginner and affordable bike for me, any thoughts ?
Amazon.com : Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano : Road Bicycles : Sports & Outdoors

If you think i should go with something better, please, i need any help i can get.

Another think im worried about is my height. As i stated in my original post, i am 5'6", so would a 50 cm be good for me, or a 54?

Thanks alot for all the great people who were quick to help out !

Decent entry level road bikes purchased new with drop handlebars, usually cost more than $800. Decent performance hybrids generally cost less, but upwards of $500. Your best bet for a road bike with drop handlebars would be something used from Craigslist (or the like). In fact, IMHO,your best bet for a bike would be to purchase a used chromoly steel bike from the 80's or 90's era (without a suspended fork), that can accept wide tires. You're most probably going to need wide tires, if your roads are all beaten up.

OTOH, you can usually get a fairly decent entry level hybrid or mountain bike for less than $500, if you purchase it online.

My personal choice for NYC streets would be the Nashbar Cyclocross single speed @ $400. Checkout www.nashbar.com


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