Advice on what to buy
It's been awhile since I've been on one of these formum places so I might be a bit out of place at first. I joined because now that we have our rv and have started going south in the winter I am interested in learning about bikes! My husband will still be employed this winter but I am older than he and would enjoy hearing suggestions on buying a bike just for pleasure riding.
We will be in St. Marys GA where the lay of the land is akin to a bowling alley. However I am an astmatic and have not ridden since a child... 55+ yrs ago. So I guess that makes me old... out of shape and wheezing! The big question is "What should I buy?"
Having heard the "more gears, the better", sort of scares me as I have never ridden anything with gears. My old bike had what I guess today would be called ballon tires???
I am just a little old lady from NH who wants to get out and go while hubby works one more winter and hopefully then he will get with the program as well. What should I consider for purchase?
Trek, Specialized, and Giant (and probably most others) have fitness/hybrid bikes that are specially sized for women. You will want to buy from a good Local Bike Shop (LBS) that will fit a bike to you, rather than trying to get you on whatever they have on the floor.
As to gears, all of the newer bikes come with indexed shifters. This means that shifting is not very tricky and is very smooth. There is a learning curve of what gear to use and when to shift for best speed/effort, but it isn't rocket science.
I've had asthma all my life and bicycling was the only physical activity I was permitted as a child. My wife and both daughters also have mild asthma and have no trouble on the bikes - in fact my bride is much faster up hills than I am - I credit this to her youth and the salubrious effect of being married to me:lol:
Search the forum for "new bike" or similar phrases and you'll find hundreds of good recommendations. Your best bet is to visit several bike shops and test ride as many bikes as you can.
Welcome aboard and enjoy the ride!
First thing to do is find a local bike shop (LBS) and have a chat with them. In fact find several shops to find the one that seems to offer the information you want. The choices on bikes is vast so not a great deal we can advise you on yet.
Originally Posted by GrammaK
Most bikes will have gears nowadays but a couple of pointers. As you are on the flat- you will not need really low gearing that may be found on Mountain bikes. If you are riding on the road- then a Mountain bike will not be the bike for you. And although you may think it will add comfort- then steer away from bikes with front suspension. It will slow you down and take energy from you.
Most shops will allow a test ride nowadays- so try a few out and see what type of bike suits you.
During a recent trip to southwest Florida I rented a hybrid bike with the Shimano Nexus hub. I liked it. I'm not sure why someone living in the flatlands and presumably not training for crits anytime soon wouldn't get a bike equipped with it: virtually no maintenance, plenty of gears to chose from, no chain-suck. I'd get a nice hybrid bike with Shimano Nexus and live happily ever after.
I own a bike with the Nexus, and love it. I use it for commuting, and just general riding about at times. Easy way to start, with little maintenance other than keeping chain lubed (every 3-5 rides for conditions here), and sprockets cleaned when I wash the bike once-a-month.
Oh, and bike tires can lose pressure quickly. Check every 2-3 days at least. Most days I fill mine before I leave for the commute.
Well, really the gearing does not take long to adjust to. It is pretty simple and intuitive.
As for bikes, well that is a matter of preference and taste. I think if I were buying a first bike now, a hybrid would really appeal to me. But I think once I discovered their advantages, I would still go for a road bike. I am not sure whether a road bike would fit your needs or not. Almost any kind of bike will work in St Marys GA so you will have a hard time going wrong.
One possibility is a comfort hybrid with an internal hub (like the aforementioned Shimano Nexus hub). These can have 3, 7 or 8 speeds. I really like the 8 speed hubs, but they are pricier and the selection is limited.
An easier to find option is a Specialized Globe Carmel 2 26 (long silly name). It's a 3-speed comfort bike that is very easy to ride, and very smooth. Great for casual riding around town or on bike trails.
Another option with the 3-speed hub is from Electra (my wife has one of these). Extremely comfortable to ride.
Electra also offers two 8-speed internal gear hubs, which are pricier but fun:
Raleigh offers a nice 8-speed that is cheaper, less than $600. Rides a bit differently than the Electras, but who knows which you would like better:
A nice, comfortable derailleur-geared option, an 8-speed, with spring saddle, old-style North Road-type handlebars, fenders, is this Raleigh from REI:
You really need to get to a couple of bike shops and try things out. A number of people (50+ & 60+) that I have met on bike trails really like some of the newer, more comfortable bikes. Have gotten back into riding specifically because they make it fun to ride. Some like the more aggressive styles, others like the more relaxed, sit up straight designs.
My wife, 71+, learned to shift a 3X7 = 21 (both grip shifters and Sora on a road bike) speed bike quite easily about 10 years ago - and she hadn't ridden much at all, ever.
She loves the gears and is very adept at shifting. In fact, she shifts for just about any little up or down section of the trail. Much more than I do.
Don't be afraid of the gears or of shifting them. They are your friend. And, she has had several bikes, and maintenance has never been a concern.
4 years ago, the Bianchi Milano looked almost exactly the same, and sold for almost exactly the same price. Except then it had an 8-speed Shimano hub, instead of today's 3-speed hub.
Originally Posted by FloridaBoy
Take the weight of the bike into account. I teach cycling merit badge to kids and wince when one of them shows up on a nifty looking bike that is more suitable for weight lifting than for cycling. The parents don't know any better since many of them have never ridden anything but a mass-merchandise store bike. You don't have to get the lightest bike on the planet but look for one with a modest weight. If you get near a place with a fair sized population and access to Craigslist, you may be able to get a much better, lighter bike used over new for even fewer dollars.
The effect of weight depends upon what type of riding one does. When I ride rail trails, it makes almost no difference. I own a 20 pound bike, a 30 pound bike, a 30 pound recumbent and a 42 pound recumbent. I don't notice much of a difference weight-wise when riding on flat terrain.
My least comfortable bike to ride is easily the 20 pound bike. It's fun to ride for shorter distances, but anytime I'm going to ride for 25 or more miles, I ride one of the heavier bikes.
Tom, do you ever feel like you might be living in some sort of parallel universe?:D
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
Thank you to...
...everyone who took the time to explain about all the good choices. I have found all the above to not only answer many questions, but encouraging and mechanically helpfull.
I will tell you my husband has already laid down the law on Landrider with..."TOO HEAVY"!!! We will be hauling this/these bikes either on my little Chevy or on the back of our rv so I am printing out all your good suggestions and hopping on down to the two bike shops in the city.
Thank you all again.
If you're just getting into (or back into) riding, check this site out: http://www.biketoledo.net