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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 05-29-12, 06:49 PM   #1
rrobinson
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Back after 40 years and looking for a good bike

My biking days ended when I discovered cars. Until that time, I was an avid biker. I recently turned 58 and got the biking "bug" after riding my brother in law's old hybrid bike from the 1980's. I am looking to buy a good hybrid and am considering starting with a Diamondback hybrid at our local Dick's Sporting Goods priced at $299. I tried the stores (Target, Walmart, etc.), but could tell, even after a 40 years absence, that the store bikes are not so good. I tried a local bike shop and was amazed at the selection (and the prices). As a newbie, I cannot justify spending $600-800 on a bike. The Diamondback seems to be fairly well made and the bike fits me well. I realize that more money will get me a better bike, but the Diamondback seems to fit my needs right now. Would a Diamondback Hybrid be an OK choice for a 58 year old new biker? If not, what would you suggest for a first bike?

Thanks!
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Old 05-29-12, 07:28 PM   #2
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Welcome back. I started at 58 on a Specialized Hardrock. The Diamondback will likely be ok, but check on CL for a better quality used bike as an option. Check with your local LBS for used or on sale.

The dealer support can be important.

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Old 05-29-12, 07:33 PM   #3
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It depends.

Where do you live? What kind of riding do you want to do? Do you like club rides? Do you like fried chicken?
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Old 05-29-12, 07:36 PM   #4
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Do you like fried chicken?
Do you like pie - and not chicken pot pie, and have you had your colonoscopy?
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Old 05-29-12, 07:39 PM   #5
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Your local Bike shop... what brands do they sell , what have you test ridden?
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Old 05-29-12, 07:41 PM   #6
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Well, first off, welcome to the forum. There are a lot of folks around here on there second cycling career including myself. I do have a '93 Diamondback Topanga MTB that I have made into a hybrid and I like it. That, however is from back when Diamondback was a bike shop bike and not sold at big box stores. I am sure that somebody will chime in with a suggestion about some new bikes. My suggestion is to give the used bike rack at the local bike shops a look. The used bikes most often been gone through and are in pretty decent condition. If you are any good at twiddling wrenches, you can save yourself some more money on maintenance.

Pull up a chair and join us after some of your rides.
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Old 05-29-12, 07:47 PM   #7
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My local bike shop sells Specialized and Cannondale (no used bikes). I have tried CL and am not finding much so far. I am located in Binghamton, NY. I do not know what kind of biking I will do. I am looking to improve my fitness by biking (I have lost 65 lbs. the past year through mostly walking). And, no, I do not like fried chicken.
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Old 05-29-12, 07:54 PM   #8
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A used (or new) entry level mountain bike with "slicks" - unknobby tires - can be a very versatile bike, and is an excellent starter bike.
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Old 05-29-12, 08:02 PM   #9
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Welcome to the 50+ zoo and BF in general. You have already heard the qualifiers such as the ritual colonoscopy, the required Pie affliction we all share and love, so just make sure you post pictures when you find a bicycle you like.

As other said a used bicycle from a good Local Bicycle store (LBS here) or on Craig's List could allow you to get a better quality bicycle that will make riding more enjoyable. Even if that shop you visited doesn't have any used bikes they or another LBS could be enlisted to look out for a suitable bike for your needs. Maybe a rider looking to upgrade and has a bike they would sell you in order to facilitate their N+1

Most important thing is to get a bicycle that fits you properly. An LBS can fit you and set up the bike to suit your size and riding usage. Even if you buy elsewhere they may well "sell" you a fitting in order to get your future business. Once you are riding regularly and get in bicycling fit shape you will at a minimum want some changes such as spares, upgrades to bars, wheels, etc. What type of riding do you want to do? Road/MUP, off-road, touring, commuting, give us some input and the experienced hands here can be a tremendous help to your decision making.

Congrats on that super weight loss you hae accomplished, that shows some real initiative and commitment to your health. Do stick around and let us know what you decide or need help in doing.

Bill
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Old 05-29-12, 08:12 PM   #10
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Right now, I plan on road biking for pleasure and fitness. I loved biking 40 years ago and want to get that same feeling again. I hope to retire in 4 years (maybe less) and would like biking to be a big part of my life after my working days end.
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Old 05-29-12, 08:15 PM   #11
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Too bad about the fried chicken.

Here are my generic recommendations: buy a hybrid bike, an inexpensive one. A Dicks special is fine.

Ride it lots. Decide if you like tootling around on it. If you do, rinse and repeat.

If you see the roadies zoom by and are seized by the desire to catch them, get a bike with drop bars.

If running into trees and bushes sounds like fun, get a mountain bike.

If your back hurts, and no amount of adjusting the bike helps, get a recumbent.

Hang around here. Of my bike knowledge, about 50% comes from online forums, 40% comes from books, 10% comes from magazines (if that much), and 15% comes from friends telling me I'm no good at math.
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Old 05-29-12, 08:18 PM   #12
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Rrobinson,
Always read and follow Dudelsack to the letter actually read between his lines and get the gems he has from there

Your riding for recreation, fitness and pleasure puts you pretty much squarely in the pack here. You'll fit right in!

Bill
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Old 05-29-12, 08:21 PM   #13
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I recently started riding again after a 30+ year absence. Two things I quickly found was that knobby tires totally suck for road riding and that drop bars are much more comfortable than straight bars. It might be worth checking out Craigslist in nearby larger cities.
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Old 05-29-12, 08:33 PM   #14
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Hang around here. Of my bike knowledge, about 50% comes from online forums, 40% comes from books, 10% comes from magazines (if that much), and 15% comes from friends telling me I'm no good at math.
What books would you recommend? I ordered two from Amazon - Just Ride and Cycling Past 50. I usually get a lot from books and would appreciate any recommendations.
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Old 05-29-12, 08:44 PM   #15
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You ordered a good one in Joe Friel's "Cycling Past 50". I read mine a lot still. A good maintenance manual such as Lenard Zinn's "Zen and the Art of Road Bicycle Maintenance", Park Tool's "Big Blue Book" and some others are useful to learn how to do the things you need to underatand in order to keep your bike running smoothly. the people here will chime in with their favorites soon and you can build a helpful library with their suggestions.

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Old 05-29-12, 09:05 PM   #16
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I'm pretty much in the same boat as you; I've taken up riding again after an extended absence (edit: only 12 years instead of 40, though), mostly due to my cholesterol report from January, and the recent spike in gasoline prices. I've discovered the joy of running all the errands I used to do by car, with a bicycle, listening to the wind in the trees and hearing the birds chirp, and enjoying the green-thumbs of the amateur landscapers blooming in every neighborhood. All while lowering my cholesterol, saving at least $10 per month in gasoline, and learning to my delight that my bank will let me use the drive-thru!

I'm lucky however, since I still have the 1992 Specialized Crossroads I used to ride. (Bought new, when I was younger and richer...) It was evidently in excellent condition according to the LBS mechanic. All I really needed were new tires (Maxxis Overdrives -- 700x38C) to replace the Nimbus tires that had been sitting flat for years, and I was ready to roll. That is one thing about spending more for a good bicycle; it will last forever.

Now that I've gotten back in the saddle, I've started thinking about what I would like to do in the future, as I slowly regain my bicycling stamina. There are several bicycle trails in the area, and one day, I think I want to spend a vacation day exploring one or another of them. I've re-familiarized myself with the current Bicycle Rules of the Road for the State of Illinois, which contained some surprises for me, like the alternative method for making a left turn at an intersection on a bicycle. I really recommend reading your own State's Bicycling Rules of the Road as soon as possible. Another is, I'm not as young as I used to be (darn it!), so I'm going to need to do some changes to my bicycle, if I plan to ride it for more than local errand runs, so I'm thinking of making the plunge and buying a Trekking Handlebar to replace the risers that came with my bike. My hands are telling me that this would be a good idea even for errand runs! Getting a proper fitting, and discussing your planned use of the bike at your Local Bike Shop, will be valuable in the long run, so that your riding won't turn into a nightmare of hand, neck, and knee pain over time...

Edit: Sheesh. This turned into a blurb about me, instead of a "plus 1" of support... Sorry!

Last edited by David Bierbaum; 05-29-12 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 05-29-12, 09:53 PM   #17
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You get what you pay for, and having the support of a good bike shop can be real handy. That's my opinion. I would suggest that at the minimum you get quick release wheels front and back, (goes hand in hand with knowing how to fix a flat), and something at least a little better than twist grip shifters.
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Old 05-29-12, 11:08 PM   #18
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Buy a bike that fits your budget, and leaves you feeling good. If that's a Diamondback hybrid, go for it.
You are buying a bike, not marrying it. Ride it and enjoy it.

If you really get into biking, you may want to trade up later on, but not too quickly. Figure out where you want to ride and how you want to ride and your budget for another bike. Then get a second bike that suits what you want to do.

If you don't really dig it, you haven't mortgaged the farm and you won't have an expensive bike shaped object gathering dust in the garage.

The good weather is just arriving. You have 6 months to figure this out.
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Old 05-30-12, 12:01 AM   #19
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I would prefer the LBS to a chain store as the supplier as they can offer good advice to the newcomer. Type- style and price of bike will not matter on your first bike as it will not be your last. All the first bike is there for is to get you riding and to tell you what your second bike will be.

But it will not stop at the bike- Helmet- pump- repair kit are the minimum I would suggest but just get riding initially

Good luck.
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Old 05-30-12, 12:54 AM   #20
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I don't think I could trust someone that didn't like fried chicken. But I can be an idiot so it doesn't matter.

Welcome back, and get a nice quality bike you can be proud to own, it makes you want to ride often.

Also you want a bike that if you slowly rode by ten pretty ladies, at least one would say Hayy nice bike.
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Old 05-30-12, 01:01 AM   #21
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My first bike cost $80- was secondhand- was just a bike type object but it got me cycling. Gears were wrong for our hills and my mates kept taking me up them. Only had 10 gears and they were higher than the road bikes I have now. But it got me cycling and taught me a lot. First of all the type of riding I was going to do and I needed an MTB. The size was not bad on the first bike but I knew the size had to be correct. And that all important gearing --I had to get that right.

That was 22 years ago and I gradually progressed up in quality and now have a shedload of bikes.

But that first bike--Just get one and use it.
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Old 05-30-12, 04:44 AM   #22
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This is probably a crazy choice for a bike, but I have been reading about single speed bikes and I am kind of obsessed with the Schwinn Madison. I like the idea of a single speed bike (takes me back to my first bikes) and the Madison really appeals to me. Please let me know if that would be a really dumb choice for a bike after all of the years since I rode??
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Old 05-30-12, 05:13 AM   #23
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Lots of good advice. Think I'm gonna see if the LBS is open if I get out of work at a decent time. I'm also making another round of returning to biking. But, I like the leisure of getting around. I've heard the tone of horror from a few friends who think I'm absolutely nuts because people get killed riding bikes. The only people who aren't horrified are my family and this group. My mother simply said it's something I grew up doing. Well, yeah. It was my mode of transportation as a teenager and 20 miles across the state line was a piece of cake. Even the rolling hills of upstate New York weren't a problem. I finally told my mother how I got back to the hospital outside Watkins Glen, NY after I rode a bike from the hospital back to my apartment, to shower and change my clothes during the weekend of the Grateful Dead Summer Jam Concert back in 1973. That was the day I crossed from being a naive adult to now I've seen everything, including the nudist camp in the middle of the highway.

No my dear friends, thank you for being concerned but I'm a little more smarter then being given credit. Life is too short. Just be supportive. I do have a little experience if I add up all the off & on years of biking. My biggest safety concern is that I live in an area where crime rate is rising rapidly. OK, maybe I need for buy some mace to keep in my bike bag but that thought still makes me shutter. I am remembering to fill my water bottle and that made a difference.

Bikes are better today than they were 20-30 years ago. I know that having a bike fitted is the best way to go, especially since I know for me, the frame can be overwhelming. I'm stuggling with that right now but it's not as bad as it was on my last bike. I also know that I when I do get my next bike (if I do and I'm tending to go that way), that I need to know what I want to do with it. I had a Schwinn touring bike, back in the middle 80's. It was great and did very well on the road. However, when we moved to the country and I had to share the road with traffic, it was horrible whenever I had to go onto the shoulder. Memories of a bike frame snapping in half and catapulting me over the handle bar as a teenager came back to memory quickly. At that point, we gave up more serious biking.
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Old 05-30-12, 05:43 AM   #24
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This is probably a crazy choice for a bike, but I have been reading about single speed bikes and I am kind of obsessed with the Schwinn Madison. I like the idea of a single speed bike (takes me back to my first bikes) and the Madison really appeals to me. Please let me know if that would be a really dumb choice for a bike after all of the years since I rode??
Do you have hills?
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Old 05-30-12, 05:53 AM   #25
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This is probably a crazy choice for a bike, but I have been reading about single speed bikes and I am kind of obsessed with the Schwinn Madison. I like the idea of a single speed bike (takes me back to my first bikes) and the Madison really appeals to me. Please let me know if that would be a really dumb choice for a bike after all of the years since I rode??
Single speed-OK. Fixed gear-not no but heck no.

If you live where it's flat, SS bikes have the advantage of being simple. However, beginners should get in the habit of pedaling with a high cadence, which you're not likely to do with a SS bike.

As for books, qcpmsame gave you a good list. My first cycling book was Cycling for the Complete Idiot, and I still review parts of it from time to time.
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