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.