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  1. #1
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    Retread, Need advice on getting back into riding.

    Having not ridden for over 20 years, I am in search of a good sturdy "road or touring" bike. At least that was what they were called back in the day. After reading many of the threads on these forums I realize I need to relearn just about everything about bikes! I am 67 years old, 6' tall and have about 65-70 lbs to loose. I used to ride at least 20 miles a day, but haven't done that for years! I would love to get some good suggestions on bikes that would be comfortable and easy on the knees. I am not sure I want to invest in a new bike, once I saw the prices, until I have gotten back into riding. Maybe a used bike, but not on Craig's List as it would be hard to get any good advice from a seller there. Not sure if that is a smart move of if I should go for a cheaper new bike.
    I am open to ANY SUGGESTIONS.
    Thanks,
    Peach14

  2. #2
    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    If it were me.....

    I'd get an entry level hybrid bike from an honest to goodness bike store. First, establish a good rapport with a bike store you trust. Second, if you are like many people, your goals in cycling may change with time. If you buy a good entry level hybrid, and if you decide after riding it for a while that you want to get into track racing, ultra-distance riding, or enter the weird world of recumbent bikes, you should be able to sell the hybrid with minimal loss.

  3. #3
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I know just what you mean about having to re-learn just about everything related to bike terminology and technology. The cycling world has moved quite a bit in 20 years. Do you remember what it was that drew you into cycling in the first place? I think this is an important thing to think about, because there's a reasonable chance that this is what you seek on some level with your re-entry. I know that when I re-entered cycling the last thing I wanted was a hybrid and am so glad I didn't go that direction. What I was seeking was the thrill of being able to cut into a curve with speed on a downhill and the excitement of being able to sprint and feel the bike explode under me. I can still get all of those sensations (although the sprint never tops out at the speed it used too). Your reasons for wanting to ride again may not match mine, but they are worth thinking about. What is the picture that is in your head? Don't be afraid to go after the kind of riding experience you want.

    That said, a good bike shop is a good place to start once you have a sense of what you want to do. Many good shops can get you into an entry level bike at a reasonable price, and some sell decent used bikes on consignment. One of the sad truths about many bike shops is that when they see an "older" person they make assumptions about what they want. Not all shops do this mind you, but too many. So, be careful and don't let someone talk you into a bike that doesn't match the images in your head.

    Oh, and BTW, welcome to the 50+ Forum.
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  4. #4
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    Without a doubt a this point in your life you haven't a clue as to the reality of bike riding. You have great memories and like the idea; XX pounds and years ago. That means the least expensive and most logical place to start is inexpensive but not cheap. See if the reality matches what you think. If it does then move in. If it doesn't chalk it up to a past good memory season and move on.

    I'd sure take a look at the local bike store, or stores. Not too worried about any "relationship" because neither of you know enough at this time to have one. What you want is something inexpensive to start with the idea that when you know what you want this bike goes to another good home and you get a shop bike.

    I'd also not look down my nose at department store bikes. They are typically good value for beginners or neighborhood bikers, which right now is what you are. Remember this is a forum of bike enthusiasts who by and large are far enough into the sport to be more than a little finicky and their advice reflects that. Be sure to have the bike adjusted by the store if they have someone who is skilled enough, or take it to a shop to be adjusted so everything works correctly. Has the added advantage of seeing what their attitude toward you is going to be.

    For a few hundred dollars you can get a good start and then make a decision when you have more facts. That is what I did and it worked just fine. Plus, it had the added advantage of seeing how the shops treated folks like me. Some, wouldn't even walk across the store to say "Hi". Others immediately tried to sell me the top line bike; they knew where their profits lay. One took a look at what I was riding, asked what I thought about it and what I thought I wanted and then did a good job of selling me an upgrade. Oh yes, the old bike? I sold it at a garage sale for more than I paid for it.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  5. #5
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    I got the same itch back in 2005. Didn't know a thing about modern bikes, couldn't remember what I liked about cycling, but I wanted to give it a go. What worked for ME was buying a new entry level mountain bike, a Trek 3900, which was very inexpensive (maybe $400?). Rode that for quite a while, more than a year, and then began branching out into different kinds of bikes. I liked that what I bought was new, so it didn't need repairs (which I didn't know how to do anyway).

    As it turns out, I'm not a mountain bike fan, and I've had two more since that one. But I had a helluva lot of fun on that 3900, and learned what I really wanted to do, and the rest is history. Only other tip I would add is that you'll want to make sure your bike is white. Just sayin'
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  6. #6
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    I got the same itch back in 2005. Didn't know a thing about modern bikes, couldn't remember what I liked about cycling, but I wanted to give it a go. What worked for ME was buying a new entry level mountain bike, a Trek 3900, which was very inexpensive (maybe $400?). Rode that for quite a while, more than a year, and then began branching out into different kinds of bikes. I liked that what I bought was new, so it didn't need repairs (which I didn't know how to do anyway).

    As it turns out, I'm not a mountain bike fan, and I've had two more since that one. But I had a helluva lot of fun on that 3900, and learned what I really wanted to do, and the rest is history. Only other tip I would add is that you'll want to make sure your bike is white. Just sayin'
    A hybrid bike might be a good starting bike. It's easy to ride, and usually not too expensive.

    I got back into bike riding the same way as D.G., with a mountain bike. The new shifters and brakes make the new bikes easy to ride. I liked riding over rough roads and having the bike soak up all the bumps. And mountain bikes have really low gears, so I could shift down to an extremely easy gear to go up hills. If you do decide on a mountain bike and will ride it on the road, have them put narrower, higher pressure tires on, instead of the knobby off-road tires.

    A hybrid bike has a similar riding position to a mountain bike, but normally is just ridden on roads. It doesn't have to handle riding over rocks or off curbs, so it can be lighter and often faster than a mountain bike on the roads.

    A road bike is a lot easier to ride than the ones 30 years ago, with comfortable hand positions and easy shifting. A road bike is often the best for a rider that wants to ride multiple times a week and work up to longer distance, multiple hour rides.

    You could visit a few bike shops and see which ones work well with older riders. Try out the different kinds of bikes, mountain, hybrid, or road. Take a few test rides, you'll be amazed.




    Mountain bikes have shock absorbers on the front to soak up bumps, and fat tires. The shifters, located on the handlebars, are very easy to use.




    Hybrids are similar, but don't need to be as sturdy or heavy, since they stay on roads:




    Road bikes have the shifters included with the brakes (see the small lever under the brake lever) and click shift to make the shifting very easy.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 04-23-12 at 04:41 PM.

  7. #7
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    Hi ya Peach, I began riding two years ago at age 71. Good move deciding to get out. Good advice here on selecting a bike. Right off the bat, the kind of bike that could carry you in le Tour can be safely dismissed. The mountain bike that some may wish to ride on the Continental Divide in Colorado can likely be dismissed also as being too specialized. In between seems a more likely range of utility.

    These middle category bikes are sometimes called comfort or commuter types. You would see many of them on a local bike path or on the way to the train station ridden by commuters. They have a more upright position than race bikes, are usually lighter than mountain bikes but still have somewhat fatter tires than the race bike. The illustrations above cover these distinctions well.

    The best thing you can do is visit several bike shops to look the selection over. You at that time are looking over the bike shop itself and judging their advice and level of service. All bike shops will carry good quality bikes that will provide years or thousands of miles of service.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Got back into riding 1.5 years ago. I got my old Cannondale road bike down and started riding. First day was about 2 miles and I felt horrible. I gradually increased the ride distance over time. Last Fall I did a century. So, my advice to riding is going at it in steps. Slow ones. Now, as to a bike that is kind of up to you and what you want. Maybe a mountain bike with road tires? That way you can sell it easily as you progress and if you wish you can change the tires and go mountain biking when the weather doesn't allow road biking. A hybrid might have a limited market for resale but then again what do I know. Then, when you are ready for a road bike you could simply keep the mountain bike to ride trails with

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  9. #9
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Got back into riding 1.5 years ago. I got my old Cannondale road bike down and started riding. First day was about 2 miles and I felt horrible. I gradually increased the ride distance over time. Last Fall I did a century. So, my advice to riding is going at it in steps. Slow ones. Now, as to a bike that is kind of up to you and what you want. Maybe a mountain bike with road tires? That way you can sell it easily as you progress and if you wish you can change the tires and go mountain biking when the weather doesn't allow road biking. A hybrid might have a limited market for resale but then again what do I know. Then, when you are ready for a road bike you could also keep the mountain bike to ride trails with

    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...S/exercise.png

    2012 Specialized Tarmac Elite Rival Mid Compact
    2007 Cannondale Caffeine 29er Lefty. Crank Bros pedals, wireless cateye. Specialized body geometric seat(uh, saddle)

  10. #10
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    Well to begin with, remember the term "ten speed", it used to mean that a bike had ten possible gear ranges. It really doesn't mean that anymore. Today when someone talks about the number of speeds a bike has, they usually mean the number of gogs on the back wheel. A cheap x-mart bike will have 7. Abike shop bike will hav 8,9,10 or, 11 cogs in the back. And two or three in the front. Look for a bike with 8 or 9, they will have gear ratios that are closer together, so when you shift you won't experience a big jump in effort.
    The term "hybrid" has a wide range of bicycles to near mountian bike, to almost a road bike. From sitting upright, to a road bike with flat bars instead of drops. So shop around, look at lots of bikes, and shops(please go to a bike shop).
    Frames come in different sizes, no matter what the wheel size and bike type, get a frame that fits. The 27 inch wheel is rare on a new bike, most will have 700c.
    Remember toe clips and straps on your pedals? They have been replaced(for most of us) with clipless pedals. They are like a tiny ski binding built into the pedal, with a cleat on the shoe that engages the pedal. But that probably down the road aways if you decide to try them.
    But again most of all is the bike fit. A bike that fits will be comforable to ride, and so you'll want to ride it, and you haven't wasted your money. One that doesn't fit, you won't enjoy riding it, so you won't.
    Riding is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, don't worry about how fast you go, or how far, just Enjoy the Ride.
    Good luck, and lets us know what bike you get(then we'll tell you about the n+1 requirement).

  11. #11
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peach14 View Post
    Having not ridden for over 20 years, I am in search of a good sturdy "road or touring" bike. At least that was what they were called back in the day. After reading many of the threads on these forums I realize I need to relearn just about everything about bikes! I am 67 years old, 6' tall and have about 65-70 lbs to loose. I used to ride at least 20 miles a day, but haven't done that for years! I would love to get some good suggestions on bikes that would be comfortable and easy on the knees. I am not sure I want to invest in a new bike, once I saw the prices, until I have gotten back into riding. Maybe a used bike, but not on Craig's List as it would be hard to get any good advice from a seller there. Not sure if that is a smart move of if I should go for a cheaper new bike.
    I am open to ANY SUGGESTIONS.
    Thanks,
    Peach14
    There are some general pieces of advice that have served me well once I discovered this forum and got back into cycling myself about 4 years ago.


    1.You first bike will tell you what you need in your next bike. In other words in most cases you will not pick the perfect bike until you get back into cycling and see what you like and need.

    2. Try before you buy. ignore this advice at your own peril. What makes a LBS worth its weight is that you can ride a great number of bikes, try different saddles, and get your future bike serviced.

    3. Once you zero in on what you want get a bike you will want to ride. You can ride anything but if you look at most of the garage sales in your area you will notice a trend in that people that try to start with a cheap bike normally end up letting it sit in a garage after only a few weeks.

    4. Expect it to take quite a while before you can ride 20 miles on a bike saddle and not have a sore bottom. (Times very between riders)
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  12. #12
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    I think this may be my first post in this forum, but your situation is very similar to what mine was a few months ago. I started riding again at age 59, after 14 years off the bike, and 70+ pounds heavier than when I used to ride a road bike. I'm now down about 45 of those pounds, working on losing the remaining 30 that I gained over the years, and I'll tell you that the bike I'd be interested in now is very different from the one I needed 6 months ago.

    We have a bunch of things that happen to us (or at least to some of us) as we get older: we get fatter, which makes being hunched over in an aggressive riding position really uncomfortable - for me, it actually interfered with breathing. We develop orthopedic issues - arthritis, stenosis, poorly resolved injuries, etc. These may impact the positions we'll be comfortable with. And then, if you're male, there are the issues around what happens when you're taking a pounding in the perineum. (I dunno about you, but I'm not done with that stuff, and don't want to risk anything that could interfere with its remaining function...) And finally, if you've been a couch potato for many years, there's the issue of core strength (or the lack of it.)

    Some of these conditions start to improve as you lose weight and get into better shape. Others of them you might just be stuck with. What I needed six months ago was a very upright ride and a sprung saddle. I used an old rigid frame mountain bike that I had, and extended the quill, changed out the bars, and used a seat with springs - all to give me an upright ride without pounding the heck out of my nether regions.

    Now, I like a different bike. I can get down lower, and fully upright is annoying. And I'm stronger, so I worry more about chafing from a wide, springy seat than I worry about not being able to absorb the bumps in my legs and middle. But I still have issues with arthritis and stenosis in my neck, so a very aggressive riding position is still out for me. Now, a compromise works better.

    What this might argue for is getting something second-hand pretty cheap, and customizing it to get you through that first six months. An older mountain bike (without all the suspension stuff), or a decent quality older hybrid could be just the thing. Even an older road bike that you can put riser bars and a different stem on would do the trick.

    In six months, after you've lost some of the extra weight and gotten in better shape, you will see what kind of ride you want, and you can get what you need then. I think its always a work in progress, especially at our age - our needs and requirements change pretty quickly. Besides, tinkering with bikes is fun!
    L'asino di Buridano...

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