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  1. #1
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    Petite Woman 50+ (Does age really make a difference?)

    Hi there,
    Here's my bike story and where I am now.

    It had been decades since I rode a bike and I was looking for a small-framed bike with the bar in the center as low as possible for easier mounting/dismounting. In other words, I wouldn't have to lift my leg too far to straddle the bike.

    I did find a bike last year and I wound up getting a Girl's Trek Bike because it had a small frame, 24" wheels, was a mountain bike and I didn't feel too high off the grounds. I was very rust so I took a few very valuable lessons and started riding again w/o falling off the bike (this happened twice and the bike as I'm discovering now was relatively heavy!). This bike was recently stolen so now I am in the market again.

    At the moment I am looking at a "Specialized" Bike for $400 new. I did not test ride it yet, but it seems like a reasonable size for me at 5"1. My question is this. Lately I've been seeing a lot of bicycles ridden by both men and women where the frame is very, very low to the ground and instead of being at an angle, it is parallel to the ground which makes the bike appear very small, but of course the handlebars and seat seem a little higher. What kind of bikes are these? Are they special bikes or custom-made. I've never tried one of them, but one would be able to just lift ones leg less than a foot to straddle the bike before getting up on the seat.

    I have not seen this bike at any of the stores I've gone to, and I don't know if this is the bike for me, either. Does anyone know what kind of bike I'm talking about?

    Anyway, again I want a small-framed bike mainly for recreational riding although in SF there are a lot of hills which I try & avoid. So I bought & sold the bike rack that I had when my bike was stolen. Is it possible to put a bike in a compact car? Or is it necessary to buy a rack again.

    Lately, the weather has been wonderful and my desire to ride again on the right bike for me is really nagging at me. I've also discovered that the bikes I'm looking at are 1/2 the weight than my mountain bike was, which is good.

    Anyway, I have a million more questions, but I'll stop now. Mainly, I want to know more about those unusual looking bike whose frame is parallel to the floor and looks so easy to mount.

    Thanks.
    T.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the 50+ forum, Trudijane.

    It sounds like the bike you are referring to is a recumbent or "'bent" as many call them.
    There's a recumbent forum here at Bikeforums http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?37-Recumbent

    Sorry to hear about your Trek being stolen.

  3. #3
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    This is a mixte or step-through frame with a slanted top tube.



    This is a recumbent.

    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    So Tom only hires people that are nutty? Is part of the requirement to be a moderator on this site is that you have to be nuts??
    Forum Guidelines *click here*

  4. #4
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    Why not look for a nice hybrid? Wider tires than road bikes, but without the knobby tires that make road riding more difficult. They're usually a little lighter than mountain bikes as well.

  5. #5
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    Should could be talking about something like a folder with small tires and high saddle and bars. She will not get a bent for 400 bucks unless it is so hot it would burn her fingers.


  6. #6
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trudijane View Post
    Lately I've been seeing a lot of bicycles ridden by both men and women where the frame is very, very low to the ground and instead of being at an angle, it is parallel to the ground which makes the bike appear very small, but of course the handlebars and seat seem a little higher. What kind of bikes are these? Are they special bikes or custom-made. I've never tried one of them, but one would be able to just lift ones leg less than a foot to straddle the bike before getting up on the seat.

    Anyway, again I want a small-framed bike mainly for recreational riding although in SF there are a lot of hills which I try & avoid. So I bought & sold the bike rack that I had when my bike was stolen. Is it possible to put a bike in a compact car? Or is it necessary to buy a rack again.
    Sounds to me like a folding bike may be what you're describing, and it would fit nicely inside a small car. Come over to the Folding Bikes subforum and have a look around. Since you're in SF, pay a visit to Warm Planet at the 4th & King Caltrain station; you can test ride folding bikes there, although most cost more than $400.

  7. #7
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trudijane View Post
    Hi there,




    Anyway, again I want a small-framed bike mainly for recreational riding although in SF there are a lot of hills which I try & avoid. So I bought & sold the bike rack that I had when my bike was stolen. Is it possible to put a bike in a compact car? Or is it necessary to buy a rack again.

    Lately, the weather has been wonderful and my desire to ride again on the right bike for me is really nagging at me. I've also discovered that the bikes I'm looking at are 1/2 the weight than my mountain bike was, which is good.

    Thanks.
    T.
    I have a 54 cm Trek that I can easily load and unload from a hatchback Yaris, which essentially is the size of a clown car, then again, I'm 5'9" so....

  8. #8
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    They may be above your price range but at 5'1" short-there are conventional bikes out there that will fit you. They are termed WSD or "Woman Specifically Designed" bikes. A Womans body is a different dimension to a man and these bikes come in smaller sizes for the female body. And when I say small- I do mean small.

    There was a recent posting by Leob1 with a picture of his wifes new bike and follow the link to his posting

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...fe-lost-25-lbs

    I am quite short at 5'6" and I have a small frame bike. This is often loaned out to a lad in the road that is 4'9" tall and growing. As you can see from the pic-This is a small bike.

    B3..jpg

    This is a small frame as you can see from the height of the saddle- and is a Giant OCR and the size is termed "XS". In the womans sizing- they come up even smaller. Link to the Giant WSD page below.

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bike-finder/women/

    As to carrying bikes inside cars. I occasionally have to use mt wifes VW Fox that is a small car. The bike weighs about 20 lbs and all I have to do is Take the wheels off and it will fit into the car without any problem. Only problem being that Bikes are dirty things after a ride and sometimes before- so plenty of dustsheets are required or I will be cleaning the wifes car for the next year.

    Edit---On the Giant WSD page- Look at the "Lifestyle" page and you will find the Cypress and the Sedona. Two bikes that some of this forum use regularly and are to be recommended as bikes that do not cost a fortune and work.
    Last edited by stapfam; 10-09-10 at 01:13 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Perhaps you saw something like the Biria Easy Board (http://www.biria.com/bicycles/eb/). Sun also makes a similiar model. Although they would be easy to mount/dismount, I think they would be hard to get into a trunk (no cross bar to grab onto).

    P2

  10. #10
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    The Giant Sedona and Cypress are both great bikes for women, I just helped a friend looking for bikes and it came down to these 2 from a field of about a half dozen. The Sedona has 26 x 1.95 tires and the Cypress has 700 x 35 tires which translated into Sedona medium width tires and Cypress narrower tires. I found out after she'd purchased her bike that Jamis, my personal favorite brand, has come out with a new line for 2011 - the Hudson. It has a low step through and relaxed pedalling position. Go the shopping circuit and try out the bikes - we were lucky to find a Giant dealer who had both bike models in stock. She ended up with the Giant Sedona as she found it to be the best all around rider.
    Foxye, the Floribbean

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    Welcome to the 50+ forum, Trudijane.

    It sounds like the bike you are referring to is a recumbent or "'bent" as many call them.
    There's a recumbent forum here at Bikeforums http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?37-Recumbent

    Sorry to hear about your Trek being stolen.
    Louis,
    I've looked at some of the pictures of a "recumbent" bike and I'm not sure if that's what I'm talking about. These recumbents look great; but the bikes i'm referring to look like and ordinary bicycle except that the bar is flat and low to the ground. The seat & handlebars are where they normally would be on a regular bike except they look higher relative to where the frame is. It just looks easier to mount/dismount since you just lift up your foot and you're straddling the bike. I don't know why this feature is so important to me. It could be just as easy to find a step through woman's bike with a small frame where at its lowest point you can do the same thing! As long as I feel I have control of the bike and it the bar/frame isn't too far up.

    I'll keep on researching though. I do think the folding bikes have a lower frame and has the advantage of being able to fit in my car. It may be more expensive, but I'm willing to buy it if I felt really comfortable on it.

    Trudijane

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    Professor Bob,
    So far, that's what I am looking at. The specialized hybrid for $400 was the last bike I looked at and compared to the Trek Mountain Bike (girl's bike) I had previously, it is as light as a feather. I guess ones learns by their mistakes. It was very awkward lifting my other bike up! and I didn't realize it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Should could be talking about something like a folder with small tires and high saddle and bars. She will not get a bent for 400 bucks unless it is so hot it would burn her fingers.

    This bike looks close to what I'm talking about, except the tube at the bottom isn't curved - it's flat. I would be willing to spend more then $400 if it was the right bike for me or sometimes i wonder if I should keep looking on Craigslist.
    T.

  14. #14
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trudijane View Post
    This bike looks close to what I'm talking about, except the tube at the bottom isn't curved - it's flat. I would be willing to spend more then $400 if it was the right bike for me or sometimes i wonder if I should keep looking on Craigslist.
    T.
    Then you are definitely talking about folding bikes. The one pictured is actually fairly unusual in having the curved frame; most are built with a straight bar. Peruse the Folding Bikes subforum and you will see lots of examples in various threads. Downtube and Dahon both manufacture some inexpensive and popular models. Folders are a wonderful thing!

  15. #15
    Senior Member iManda's Avatar
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    My neighbor who is also petite recently bought one of the Dahon's, maybe a Speed D7? Anyway, the advantage is not only that the handlebar height can be adjusted (which is usual for a folder), but also the angle can be adjusted for her shorter reach. They were also able to move her seat forward. She's a super happy camper.

  16. #16
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    Is this what you are talking about? http://www.jimlangley.net/ride/bikefriday.html
    (Life is too short to play crappy guitars) 2006 Raleigh Cadent 3.0, 1977 Schwinn Volare, 2010 Windsor tourist. ( I didn't fall , I attacked the floor)

  17. #17
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    Maybe a crank forward bike?

    http://ransbikes.com/Fusion10.htm

    I hear they are very comfortable
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  18. #18
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    For what it is worth, I am able to get my large road bike in the back seat of my 2000 Neon, if I take the front wheel off. I admit it is tight, and, like Stapfam says, I have to watch out for grease from the chain, gears, etc., getting on the bottom portion of the back seat, but it is doable.

    I'm a bit curious as to why you don't or can't get your leg over a regular bike's seat? Is it a physical problem? Or, you just feel uncomfortable.

    My wife (73 in November) rides a "mixte" hybrid - lower top tube - which she steps through instead o putting her leg over the seat, as I do.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trudijane View Post
    This bike looks close to what I'm talking about, except the tube at the bottom isn't curved - it's flat. I would be willing to spend more then $400 if it was the right bike for me or sometimes i wonder if I should keep looking on Craigslist.
    T.
    Trudi, if you're a beginner and not very familiar with modern bikes and their foibles, I'd suggest sticking with real bike shops rather than big box stores or Craigslist. The big boxes are notorious for substandard bikes, regardless of brand, and Craigslist is a buyer-beware free-for-all. There's also an outdoors chain, REI, that has good quality bikes at a reasonable price, good service departments, lessons on bike riding and maintainance, and a guarantee that they will honor. Sooner or later you'll need some service or support ...

  20. #20
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    Terry makes bikes for women, especially those who are not tall. The company is owned and run by women. Check their bikes out.

    http://www.terrybicycles.com/?kc=GAB...FQoBbAodrWa5Ew
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  21. #21
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    Maybe a folding bike

    Quote Originally Posted by stringbreaker View Post
    Is this what you are talking about? http://www.jimlangley.net/ride/bikefriday.html
    Yes, basically, except I've seen the bar to be more "horizontal" with no slant not that it's that important and the handlebars are not curved nor would I want them to be. Maybe I am talking about "folding bikes" so I'll peruse that discussion! I would not mind paying more if I was happy with my bike.
    Trudijane

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    Ransbikes

    Quote Originally Posted by CHAS View Post
    Maybe a crank forward bike?

    http://ransbikes.com/Fusion10.htm

    I hear they are very comfortable
    No, but I've seen these as well around and really love the way they look. Are these bikes made specifically for women? How do I find out where to find a dealer to try all of these different models out???
    Trudijane

  23. #23
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Other than Brompton I think the Bike Friday is the creme de la creme. My friend and his wife tour on a BF and they go all over the place on that thing and the suitcase it packs into also doubles as a trailer very cool. they are pricey but from what I understand they can do almost all that a regular size bike can do. Plus there is that really coolness factor.
    (Life is too short to play crappy guitars) 2006 Raleigh Cadent 3.0, 1977 Schwinn Volare, 2010 Windsor tourist. ( I didn't fall , I attacked the floor)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    For what it is worth, I am able to get my large road bike in the back seat of my 2000 Neon, if I take the front wheel off. I admit it is tight, and, like Stapfam says, I have to watch out for grease from the chain, gears, etc., getting on the bottom portion of the back seat, but it is doable.

    I'm a bit curious as to why you don't or can't get your leg over a regular bike's seat? Is it a physical problem? Or, you just feel uncomfortable.

    My wife (73 in November) rides a "mixte" hybrid - lower top tube - which she steps through instead o putting her leg over the seat, as I do.
    Well, I have short legs but it's not a physical problem. It just feels a lot more comfortable being able to mount the bike at first w/o having to lift my leg too high, so like your wife, I'd prefer a lower top tube which I can step through, the lower the better.
    Trudijane

  25. #25
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    Mixte Hybrid?

    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    For what it is worth, I am able to get my large road bike in the back seat of my 2000 Neon, if I take the front wheel off. I admit it is tight, and, like Stapfam says, I have to watch out for grease from the chain, gears, etc., getting on the bottom portion of the back seat, but it is doable.

    I'm a bit curious as to why you don't or can't get your leg over a regular bike's seat? Is it a physical problem? Or, you just feel uncomfortable.

    My wife (73 in November) rides a "mixte" hybrid - lower top tube - which she steps through instead o putting her leg over the seat, as I do.
    Well, I have short legs but it's not a physical problem. It just feels a lot more comfortable being able to mount the bike at first w/o having to lift my leg too high, so like your wife, I'd prefer a lower top tube which I can step through, the lower the better.
    Trudijane

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