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Old 05-16-10, 06:18 PM   #1
Imagonnabike
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Help me get started, please.

I will be 50 years very soon and I need assistance in buying a bike. I would like to have a bike to join bike riding groups on rides. I want to lose weight and join the bike riding sport. I do not know how to get started. I was thinking of spending about 400.00 for a starter bike but was told that was very unreasonable. I know that there are other things I will need, light, helmet, water, where to carry my cell phone and keys? Bike rack, etc.

Can someone please help me get started? Any advice you can offer to help is appreciated.
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Old 05-16-10, 06:33 PM   #2
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Best thing for you to do is visit a few bike shops and tell the owner what your goals/plans are. Then test ride all the bikes the owner suggests and buy the one that feels the best.
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Old 05-16-10, 06:41 PM   #3
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Four hundred is not unreasonable. Talk to people who ride and ask them where they shop and if they are happy with their LBS (Local Bike Shop). Then talk to them, tell them what you can spend and see what they recommend. If you can go to $500, you can get some accessories. You don't have to buy everything at once (except the helmet). You can carry your phone and keys in your pocket at first. Then maybe a handlebar bag or a bag that goes under your seat. I commute daily and have both a front and rear rack with cargo nets to hold stuff :-) Good luck.
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Old 05-16-10, 06:42 PM   #4
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Yes indeed - visit a bike shop and find out what size/type bike you need. You might then look around for a used bike, you will usually get a lot more value with a used bike. You can then sell it off and get a new bike once you have some experience and know what you want. Also - if you keep your eyes peeled you can sometimes find perfectly good bikes people are throwing out in their trash. With a $100 of parts or repairs you can sometimes bring an old bike back to life.

If you find a Craig's list bike, come ask us if it is a good deal, I am sure many here would be glad to help you, we are always getting asked this question.
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Old 05-16-10, 06:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Imagonnabike View Post
I will be 50 years very soon and I need assistance in buying a bike. I would like to have a bike to join bike riding groups on rides. I want to lose weight and join the bike riding sport. I do not know how to get started. I was thinking of spending about 400.00 for a starter bike but was told that was very unreasonable. I know that there are other things I will need, light, helmet, water, where to carry my cell phone and keys? Bike rack, etc.

Can someone please help me get started? Any advice you can offer to help is appreciated.
Being new it would be wise to shop your local bike shops. They can recommend a bike where you can try a few and see what you like riding. They can fit you to the bike and that is very important. Try more than one bike shop till you find a good felling from one of them. If it is a good bike shop they should be able to answer all your questions and fit you properly.

As far as things like a saddle bag and a pump and things that you might need once you get into riding you can get them to from your LBS or on line. You should only get the basics like a pump water bottle and cage to hold it, spare tub, patching kid until you get into riding then if your into it you can add other things as you go on. Resist the urge to by your first bike on line. You should be fitted to it and thats where your LBS comes in. Good luck once you get riding your going to love it. Oh and always always where a helmet. Look forward to more reports of how your making out. Take some pics of the bike you get and post them.
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Old 05-16-10, 06:47 PM   #6
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How to buy a bicycle:

http://www.jimlangley.net/crank/howtobuyabike1.html

http://www.veloweb.ca/bikefit.html

http://bicycleuniverse.info/eqp/fit.html
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Old 05-16-10, 07:26 PM   #7
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1) Where do you live? If you'll be riding on flat land with good
roads, you can get by with a less forgiving frame. For example, when I visited Florida, I thought any non-racer who bought much more than an inexpensive aluminum frame was wasting their money.

2) Any flexibility issues? If you have a bad back or stiff neck, you might not want to buy a bike designed for a racer.

3) What is your temperment? If you're content with your lot in life, you can get by with less bike than if it just pisses you off to get dropped in a group ride.

4) You will need these things right off the bat:
helmet.
saddle bag
pump
spare tube
patches and tire irons
Allen wrench set

5) You almost surely will want:
gloves
cycling shorts
jersey
cool looking shades
signed maillot jeune by Lance Armstrong
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Old 05-16-10, 07:31 PM   #8
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Live in San Antonio Texas, Temperment? Easy going, no stress. Yea I am okay alone dont worry about me. Just be sure I have something to eat. Wait I want to do this to lose weight.....
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Old 05-16-10, 07:33 PM   #9
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Okay dumb question but were does the pump, wrench.... go? And dare I ask,
signed maillot jeune by Lance Armstrong
what is that?
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Old 05-16-10, 07:40 PM   #10
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Flat tires happen occasionally, so if you don't know how to change an inner tube - have the bike shop people show you when you buy the bike. It's not a big deal to learn and it's a necessary skill.

Welcome to cycling and to the 50+ forum.
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Old 05-16-10, 07:45 PM   #11
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Whoever told you that $400 was not enough if you buy a new bike is completely correct. I've seen some folks try the hybrid route with a $400-$600 bike, then they find out their group ride options are limited. If you are serious about group rides, go for a road bike. If you can increase your budget to $700, then you have a good chance of finding a road bike at an LBS. Most certainly, you need to go to a LBS to see what costs are and what bikes they might have on sale. If money is tight, and you have a Performance shop nearby, you might want to see what they have in an entry level road bike.
If you are limited to $400, think used bike off of Craigslist. For $400 you should be able to find a entry level, late model bike with brifters (brake/shifters) probably SORA or Tiagra level. But it's hard to get fitted on a used bike. Most new riders would be better off at an LBS.
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Old 05-16-10, 07:54 PM   #12
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If you are a motivated person, ride by yourself for a bit. Or, connect with one or two like minded people for riding.

Group rides IMHO become competitive way too often. Even those groups that say they are not competitive soon are.
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Old 05-16-10, 07:57 PM   #13
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Welcome to the over 50 forum. All the advice given here thus far is good. My 2 ( I just like using this because the 20-somethings don't know what it is. )

-$400.00 can buy you a very fine beginner's bike from a shop.

-Buy from a bike shop, never a department store! The reasons for this are another entire
discussion, but you'll get a quality machine that is fitted correctly, and will last a long time.

-Fit is mission critical. A good shop will make sure you get a bike that fits. They will make all necessary adjustments.

-A hybrid, which looks like a cross between a mountain bike and a road racer, might be something to consider. Lots of people ride them, and make out just fine with them.
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Old 05-16-10, 08:04 PM   #14
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Thank you everybody and thank you for the 2 cents. So if I can not find something on Craigslist what is everyones thought on this one?

http://bikeworld.com/product/trek-wo...00-47536-1.htm
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Old 05-16-10, 09:26 PM   #15
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Thank you everybody and thank you for the 2 cents. So if I can not find something on Craigslist what is everyones thought on this one?

http://bikeworld.com/product/trek-wo...00-47536-1.htm
I suggest you start with a nice hybrid bike from a bike shop, the one you pictured is a fine example. With CL and Fleabay there are a few gems, but there is a lot of dog excrement too. If you find a specific type of cycling suits you better, then you can always get another bike. Heck there are folks here who have a hybrid, a road racing bike, a road touring bike, a hard tail and a full suspension mountain bike. All are used for different purposes.
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Old 05-16-10, 11:53 PM   #16
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Okay dumb question but were does the pump, wrench.... go? And dare I ask,
signed maillot jeune by Lance Armstrong
what is that?
maillot jeune= "yellow jersey" worn by overall leading rider of the Tour de France. I believe Weak Link was attempting a bit of humor with that remark.

$400 will only get you a very intro level bike, IMO.... but that is probably okay because with experience you will want a better bike anyway. If there is a trail system in your area I would suggest you put in a bunch of miles there just getting into riding before you venture into roads and traffic. And riding with friends of similar ability is helpful but not absolutely necessary. Good luck!

Last edited by billydonn; 05-16-10 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 05-17-10, 06:33 AM   #17
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While you're exploring a purchase in your local bike shop (LBS) ask them about organized clubs in your area. A large, well organized club will have graded rides, perhaps A through F, at least half of which will be "no drop". These rides have leaders who are responsible for pace and regroups. the club may even have a training program for new riders. The average pace for the slowest of the groups may be in the 10-12 mph range (on level ground) and rides could be as short as 10-15 miles. A hybrid would be fine for these rides and it won't take you long to build up enough to partake in them.

If you live in a small community you may not find a cycling club quite so organized, but the LBS should also offer a means for meeting like-skilled cyclists.
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Old 05-17-10, 07:20 AM   #18
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While you're exploring a purchase in your local bike shop (LBS) ask them about organized clubs in your area. A large, well organized club will have graded rides, perhaps A through F, at least half of which will be "no drop". These rides have leaders who are responsible for pace and regroups. the club may even have a training program for new riders. The average pace for the slowest of the groups may be in the 10-12 mph range (on level ground) and rides could be as short as 10-15 miles. A hybrid would be fine for these rides and it won't take you long to build up enough to partake in them.

If you live in a small community you may not find a cycling club quite so organized, but the LBS should also offer a means for meeting like-skilled cyclists.
This thread is a wealth of good info for a noob. For me, it was joining a group like RD mentions that really got me hooked. I really doubt if I would have logged 4500 mi this last year if it was just me. Now I have taken so great memorable solos, but the high speed (and occasional low speed) club rides are my "bread and butter" Oops, sorry for the food reference! But really, proper nutrition and hydration before, during, and after a ride is critical, especially as you improve.

I started last March on a borrowed road bike that was a close fit. It was an '89 Trek 1200, and that sucker is still light and fast. There were 4 problems with it. 1 it was too small by 1" and 2. it was borrowed. 3. it is aluminium with a cro mo fork, so the ride was jarring on long rides. 4. it has "down tube shifters" which work great, but are not as safe and convenient as today's integrated shifters. I have as yet to return the bike as it works great for the occasional trip to the store, and the owner is in no hurry to get it back.

I bought a bike in Craigslist, but it was a mistake. It was too small. I got lucky and was able to sell if at a nice profit. But with all I learned in the first 2 months of riding and research, I knew what I wanted and was able to by a bike on line. It's a great way to get a lot of bike for the money, but it's not for everyone. You have to know what you want, what size you need, and be able to do the minor assembly, fitting, and adjustments, or pay someone to do it. A good LBS will provide you with a lot of value, so visit several, talk to a lot of people, ride a lot of bikes, and make a good informed decision. And after a while if you find you have made a mistake, don't be afraid to correct it.

$400 won't buy anything new worth having in the road bike arena, but a lot of research and learning and LUCK can get you a good deal on craigslist. Do you feel lucky?

I really enjoy the social aspect of club rides and the speed of a road bike, but when you are in a pace line at 25+ there's no time for socializing. All that happens at the beginning, warm up, rest stops, and afterward.
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Old 05-17-10, 07:34 AM   #19
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Thank you everybody and thank you for the 2 cents. So if I can not find something on Craigslist what is everyones thought on this one?

http://bikeworld.com/product/trek-wo...00-47536-1.htm
Like others have said, you have to decide what you're going to do with it. If you want to do group rides with others who have road bikes, you will want a road bike. That Trek will be heavy and slow, but fine for noodling around by yourself or with others on similar machines. If you'll notice it had the handlebar way above the saddle, a position set-up for comfort, not aerodynamics.
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Old 05-17-10, 08:13 AM   #20
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. . . Can someone please help me get started? Any advice you can offer to help is appreciated.
The most important thing is to actually get on a bike and ride, ride, ride.

Unless you are already fit you will slow. You will have trouble with hills. You may even conclude the whole thing was a mistake. Riding will take care of that.

At least to start, focus on the duration and enjoyment of your rides. Push yourself only gently. If a hill is too much, get off and walk. If you can average only X MPH, so be it. As the hundreds of happy miles accumulate and you are hooked on cycling, only then commence pushing yourself.
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Old 05-17-10, 08:33 AM   #21
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maillot jeune= "yellow jersey" worn by overall leading rider of the Tour de France. I believe Weak Link was attempting a bit of humor with that remark.
Whew, no one called me out on that one.

IIRC from my high school French, jeune = young, and jaune = yellow. What I meant to say is to get a young jersey signed by Lance, which are much easier to come by than the yellow jerseys.

No more Ovaltine at bedtime for me.
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Old 05-17-10, 08:56 AM   #22
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Live in San Antonio Texas, Wait I want to do this to lose weight.....
I was stationed at BAMC for 5 years in the eighties. Between La Fonda and Crumpets (which might not exist anymore) I was always just barely squeaking by the weight requirements, so I feel your pain.

SA is pretty rolly and the roads were crap, so you'd want a nice bike if you can swing it.

Last edited by The Weak Link; 05-17-10 at 09:37 AM. Reason: bad spelin
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Old 05-17-10, 09:25 AM   #23
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Here are some links to bike clubs in your area:

http://www.coolcatscyclingclub.com/
http://www.hcbtc.org/
http://www.sawheelmen.com/

You might want to make contact with them. The Cool Cat club at the top of the list indicates they are recreational road club open to all levels of riders. I might start there.
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Old 05-17-10, 09:41 AM   #24
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Here are some links to bike clubs in your area:

http://www.coolcatscyclingclub.com/
http://www.hcbtc.org/
http://www.sawheelmen.com/

You might want to make contact with them. The Cool Cat club at the top of the list indicates they are recreational road club open to all levels of riders. I might start there.
Sigh. Not to hijack the thread but I loved my time there. San Antonio me gusta. Dos Equis es mi cerveza.
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Old 05-17-10, 10:28 AM   #25
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Okay dumb question but were does the pump, wrench.... go? And dare I ask,
signed maillot jeune by Lance Armstrong
what is that?
Pump goes in the seat bag or clips to the frame of the bike, depending on what you get.
other tools go in the seat bag (also on the list).

Signed Maillot Jeaune is a friendly dig at the folks who will suggest that you spend megabucks (Google "mailliot jaune")
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