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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 04-15-08, 07:53 PM   #1
smarterbike
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Newbie Here

Hi everybody. I'll be 49 in September and I hope I don't have to wait another year before being eligible to receive advice from this subforum. I'm about a week and a half out of knee surgery for torn meniscus and want to get into cycling, preferably mtb. A former runner, I don't have a bike or any gear, and I'd be interested in hearing any suggestions on what to get, what to stay away from, etc. For instance, I'm guessing I should go to a LBS and stay off CraigsList. Thanks for your input.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:08 PM   #2
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I think they'll let you in, but you could be a little more specific. MTB? What kind of terrain? How long of a ride? How much do you want to spend?
If you're a total beginner, a lot of people will tell you to get a cheap bike and start riding, and a lot of things will become obvious.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:37 PM   #3
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I don't know much about MTBs but welcome to the group. You could have lied and told us you were actually 50 and we would never have known! Now, we will all look at you as a kid.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:24 PM   #4
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Welcome, smarterbike- glad to hear you're recuperating, and best wishes for a full recovery. I'd definitely go the LBS route- seek out several and check out the staff as well as the goods. Big John's questions and advice are very well-taken. I also got back into cycling about 4 years ago, and went the MTB route, thinking that was what I wanted to do, but not really realizing that there was a whole universe of riding beyond trails. That said, I do love single track and all, but I've since gotten much more into road, almost to the exclusion of other riding. I think the moral of the story here is to keep your mind open, and if you're just getting (back) into cycling, I'd take John's advice and go with a cheap(er) bike- say a hybrid that could take packed gravel trails and such yet still be comfortable on the road too. Stay away from Craigslist and Ebay for now- go to a reputable LBS, shop around, take (many) test rides, and don't be afraid to chat it up with LBS staff, friends, and in here. Information is power, especially in this business.

One more thing- I suspect you know this- it's all about fun!
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Old 04-15-08, 09:39 PM   #5
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hiya, smarterbike, and welcome.

I don't think anybody here will complain. They don't begrudge me my participation, even despite the fact that at 56 my interests and thought processes see me more often than not conversing with my grandchildren rather than my children!

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Old 04-15-08, 09:47 PM   #6
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Welcome, and here's to your speedy recovery.

Visit several local shops and pick their brains about the best cycling in your area and the bikes they have to fit you and your needs. One shop may specialize in road biking, while another in mountain biking. Don't let them push you in a way you don't want to go. I have found that if they don't have time for you before the sale, they won't be any friendlier later.

Cycling is much more forgiving on the knees than hurdles ever were.
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Old 04-16-08, 03:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big john View Post
I think they'll let you in, but you could be a little more specific. MTB? What kind of terrain? How long of a ride? How much do you want to spend?
If you're a total beginner, a lot of people will tell you to get a cheap bike and start riding, and a lot of things will become obvious.
I'm thinking along the lines of improved bike trails with gentle hills for now. Maybe even fire roads. I like the recommendations of going cheap and keeping my options open until I really know what I prefer. Thanks again for all the input and warm welcomes!
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Old 04-16-08, 03:23 PM   #8
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I'm thinking along the lines of improved bike trails with gentle hills for now. Maybe even fire roads. I like the recommendations of going cheap and keeping my options open until I really know what I prefer. Thanks again for all the input and warm welcomes!
Don't go too cheap- Wallymart bikes are not the best in the world.

That first bike is normally wrong- Mainly due to not good enough quality- but do you feel like spending $1500 on your first bike?

Things to remember-

The first bike is there only to tell you what your second bike will be.

It will normally take around 2 years to get bike fit

Lycra works--and so do helmets- but you don't want to find that out too quickly.

The best place for information is your Local Bike Shop. (LBS) They take a lot of finding but they will advise you on the type of bike- sell you a bike that fits- and offer you a range of bikes. You will not find it very easily so visit lots of shops and the good one will pick you. It will stand out.

Fire roads and Bike trails do not Require a mountain bike- Look at Hybrids aswell for possible road use- OR even Cyclocross bikes.

Good Luck.
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Old 04-16-08, 03:29 PM   #9
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Fire roads and Bike trails do not Require a mountain bike- Look at Hybrids aswell for possible road use- OR even Cyclocross bikes.
Good advice. If you get something like a hybrid, cyclocross bike, or hardtail mountain bike then if you ever upgrade to a more "extreme" mountain bike then your "starter" bike can still make a good commuter/around town bike.
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Old 04-16-08, 03:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by stapfam
It will normally take around 2 years to get bike fit
Really? Wow, well congrats to me I think I hit 2 years this week.
But, hey, smarterbike, welcome to our world. You're gonna like it here.
I don't know about the first bike only being good for knowing what your second bike should be.
Granted my first bike was a Hybrid since I thought I was too old -too old- for a road bike anymore.
I wasn't too old, I was just out of shape. It didn't take long to see that I still loved roading more than off-roading but I still love my Fisher; I just don't put in as many miles on it anymore.
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Old 04-16-08, 04:34 PM   #11
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It will normally take around 2 years to get bike fit
Two years? Heck, I have been at it 10 years and still don't consider myself "bike fit."

Guess I need to go back to "bike school!"

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Old 04-16-08, 05:17 PM   #12
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It will normally take around 2 years to get bike fit
Now I have my excuse stapfam. I have another six months to go - maybe even a year depending on how I choose to view it. Last year at this time, I was putting riser bars on the old hybrid because I assumed that was the right thing for someone my age with a sore lower back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
Fire roads and Bike trails do not Require a mountain bike- Look at Hybrids aswell for possible road use- OR even Cyclocross bikes.

Good Luck.
I was looking for something similar - crushed stone trails and country roads. I settled on a Cyclocross bike last fall (after I figured out where I went wrong with the old hybrid) and have been very happy with it.
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Old 04-16-08, 06:09 PM   #13
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Older road bikes also can be a good choice for a cheap starter bike that can handle roads, mild trails and fire roads. They tend to have more relaxed geometry, forgiving steel frames and can accept wider tires.


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Old 04-17-08, 02:26 PM   #14
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Really? Wow, well congrats to me I think I hit 2 years this week.
But, hey, smarterbike, welcome to our world. You're gonna like it here.
I don't know about the first bike only being good for knowing what your second bike should be.
Granted my first bike was a Hybrid since I thought I was too old -too old- for a road bike anymore.
I wasn't too old, I was just out of shape. It didn't take long to see that I still loved roading more than off-roading but I still love my Fisher; I just don't put in as many miles on it anymore.
Now you are the prime example SKT. I know you have the "New OCR C2" to improve your riding- but Look back from when you started- The 2 years are up and just compare what you used to do and how you hit that hill now. (Especially with the new clipless pedals.)

And that first bike?You probably were too old for a road bike at your old level of fitness- but not long before a different bike was on the cards. Bet that if you Got the OCR to start with- you would have improved just as well- but I dare say the wallet would not have stretched to such a good bike when you did not know if you were going to stay in cycling.

So be warned smarterbiker

Cycling is dangerous- It will seriously damage your wallet if you let it.
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Old 04-18-08, 11:20 AM   #15
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I am a confirmed road cyclist. I think in terms of road cycles and nothing else. But I have a friend who rides. We were at a ride recently and she went out and rode 66 miles (most of it into the wind) on her $300 hybrid. I find that totally inconceivable. But she enjoys it. The thing I am saying, is that there are all sorts of different kinds of cycling. You really need to figure out what kind you like and get the kind of bike that fits your style.
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