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  1. #1
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    Now, it's Mom's turn!

    So, some of you may remember me posting about getting my 70 yr old dad a bicycle and first I'd like to give everyone an update before getting into a conversation about Mom.

    Dad is LOVING the bike. I talked to Mom the other night and she told me Dad has been doing a lot of riding, nearly almost every day when given an opportunity. He's been very excited about the bike and is enjoying his rides around the entire neighborhood, which is actually pretty large. I want to say a trip around the neighborhood will easily net a good two to three miles, which is good for him.

    I also talked to Dad and he's telling me the same thing except for, "There aren't enough gears to get through the wind." I had to tell him, "Dad, it doesn't matter if your bike has seven gears or 30 gears, wind is wind and that's the way it is. No amount of gears is going to get you through the wind."

    ...And now for Mom. She sees that Dad's out there riding, which is a surprise to everyone, given I thought the bike would never see any usage besides riding when the grandchildren were there on weekends. I'm getting an impression she really wants to ride but she's concerned about falling. All the comforting in the world can not change her extreme paranoia for anything that involves physical activity. She worries he's going to "throw his back out again" golfing, he's going to fall off the bike, trip down a curb, etc. She worries about herself just as much, yet finds time to go to the gym and do aerobics; yeah, not quite sure how that works. I'm surprised she isn't concerned about twisting a knee or breaking an ankle.

    So anyway, I'm babbling here. To get to the point, she sees Dad riding and I'm sure she wants to take part in riding with her husband of 45 years as of May 12th of this year but she needs the proverbial "push" to get her to do it. Now, it's just a matter of choosing a bicycle for her because there's no way she'll just go choose one for herself.

    Given Mom "can't" (nevermind she rode with my brother and I on the back all the time in the mid 70s) ride a bike, I'm not so sure a bike with more than a single gear would do her well, and to make matters worse, she's totally petrified of hand brakes. She saw Dad's bike had more than one gear and hand brakes and nearly had a corinary. I can't determine whether or not I should get her a bike with a coaster brake and a single speed (if they make any such thing for adults...) or go for the gusto and get her a nice women's bike with a few speeds (no front derailleur) and hand brakes.

    As for pricing, I don't want to spend over $300-$350, just like with Dad. I'm leaning towards the "Cruiser" route, given the nature of their riding. Not to mention, she can feel comfortable on one because she won't have to worry about a top tube getting in the way of her getting off the bike, which is a major concern for her.

    So, any suggestions for what I should be looking at for this paranoid woman? She's the type that will probably NOT go out and buy a bike but would use it if someone else got it for her.
    - Dan \m/

  2. #2
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    In addition to cruiser, I'd also think about crank forward (like this Electra Townie) where it allows you to sit and be able to easily put your feet down. (7 speed costs $450, don't know what a 1 speed costs)


    If she's worried about balancing, think trike (Worksman trikes start at $370).



    And, for what it's worth, lower gears (but not more gears) can help with the wind (you won't go any faster, but you might get less tired) - just like hills.
    Last edited by cplager; 04-17-13 at 11:38 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    In addition to cruiser, I'd also think about crank forward (like this Electra Townie) where it allows you to sit and be able to easily put your feet down. (7 speed costs $450, don't know what a 1 speed costs)


    If she's worried about balancing, think trike (Worksman trikes start at $370).



    And, for what it's worth, lower gears (but not more gears) can help with the wind (you won't go any faster, but you might get less tired) - just like hills.
    Funny you mention the Worksman trikes. I actually did look at them! Would they be difficult to pedal up hills or pedal at all, for that matter?

    A few years ago my wife and I were in FL and rented one of those bikes with the four seats; two in the front, two in the back. That bike was INSANELY hard to pedal and steer, despite the both of us having cranks to turn with our legs!
    - Dan \m/

  4. #4
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wooden Tiger View Post
    Funny you mention the Worksman trikes. I actually did look at them! Would they be difficult to pedal up hills or pedal at all, for that matter?

    A few years ago my wife and I were in FL and rented one of those bikes with the four seats; two in the front, two in the back. That bike was INSANELY hard to pedal and steer, despite the both of us having cranks to turn with our legs!
    It shouldn't be too bad. Going up hill, it's the total weight that matters (rider + (b|tr)ike), so the trike being heavy makes it a little harder. If there are hills, I would recommend gears.

    In the case of your mother, I would guess that if she didn't have to worry about balancing, she might not be so worried about hand brakes and shifting.
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  5. #5
    Over forty victim of Fate Cougrrcj's Avatar
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    Find an old 3-speed. I see them all the time on Craigslist. I picked up a women's 3-speed in like new condition at a yard sale for $35. The odometer has 138 miles registering on it. Probably all that bike has been ridden!
    '75 Fuji S-10S bought new, 45k+ miles and still going!
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  6. #6
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    Hi,

    Wind is wind and the biggest problem on the flat, but hills are worse.

    Personally I think regarding brakes a little information would help.
    A coaster is fine on the rear but a front brake will stop you far faster,
    and for safety a bike should have two independent brake systems.

    Its almost impossible to go over the front of a 20" shopper style bike.
    (Unless you apply the front brake hard downhill stood out of the saddle.)

    A single speed is probably no fun at all for those of advanced years.
    On the flat there is still the wind to contend with, and it would be
    no fun riding along with another geared bike with different natural
    speeds relating to the conditions.

    Gears are also needed to learn to spin, good for old knees.

    Whilst some would say put the seat low etc for confidence, IMO
    its very bad advice for old knees, and one good reason for the
    crankforward type if the seat must be set low.

    On a normal bike a low seat is a bad idea all round.

    Better though to learn the correct mounting / dismounting style
    of starting / stopping which doesn't involve reaching the ground
    from the saddle, is easier on the knees and generally much safer.

    rgds, sreten.
    Last edited by sreten; 04-17-13 at 04:53 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Check out some of the low step through bikes from

    http://biria.com/

    I am on an island full of older people and there are a lot of these around. You can get them in several levels of complexity.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    It shouldn't be too bad. Going up hill, it's the total weight that matters (rider + (b|tr)ike), so the trike being heavy makes it a little harder. If there are hills, I would recommend gears.

    In the case of your mother, I would guess that if she didn't have to worry about balancing, she might not be so worried about hand brakes and shifting.
    Yes, I believe that pretty much sums it up; a matter of balance.

    Quote Originally Posted by sreten View Post
    Hi,

    Wind is wind and the biggest problem on the flat, but hills are worse.

    Personally I think regarding brakes a little information would help.
    A coaster is fine on the rear but a front brake will stop you far faster,
    and for safety a bike should have two independent brake systems.

    Its almost impossible to go over the front of a 20" shopper style bike.
    (Unless you apply the front brake hard downhill stood out of the saddle.)

    A single speed is probably no fun at all for those of advanced years.
    On the flat there is still the wind to contend with, and it would be
    no fun riding along with another geared bike with different natural
    speeds relating to the conditions.

    Gears are also needed to learn to spin, good for old knees.

    Whilst some would say put the seat low etc for confidence, IMO
    its very bad advice for old knees, and one good reason for the
    crankforward type if the seat must be set low.

    On a normal bike a low seat is a bad idea all round.

    Better though to learn the correct mounting / dismounting style
    of starting / stopping which doesn't involve reaching the ground
    from the saddle, is easier on the knees and generally much safer.

    rgds, sreten.
    Yeah, lowering a seat is a bad idea. I learned that lesson as a kid! I never knew a thing about how high a seat needed to be but mine was ALWAYS too low, and man, it was sore to sit. Then again, I don't think I spent a whole lot of time in the saddle, anyways...

    Quote Originally Posted by Clawed View Post
    Check out some of the low step through bikes from

    http://biria.com/

    I am on an island full of older people and there are a lot of these around. You can get them in several levels of complexity.
    Will do! Thanks for the lead!
    - Dan \m/

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnosis View Post
    Greetings Wooden Tiger,

    I’d definitely purchase a bike with multiple speeds even if your mom doesn’t initially see herself switching gears, as a multispeed bike will allow her (with your assistance) to initially select whatever gearing works best for her on the flat ground she intends to ride on. Afterward, she’ll never have to switch gears however; they’ll still be available if she wishes to try using different gearing sometime later when she’s more familiar with the bike. Curiosity will likely eventually have her investigating the gearing and when she sees how useful it can be when ascending a hill, there’s a good chance she’ll be thankful it has multiple speed gearing.

    As far as hand brakes go, I would express to your mom that hand brakes are more readily available to slow the bike than a coaster brake, as hand brakes can be applied at any moment whereas the coaster brake requires bringing the crank arm around to an appropriate position before the coaster brake can be applied via the crank arm. I think we’ve all, at some point in our lives, had a moment with a coaster brake type bike where something unexpected cut in front of us and we didn’t have the time to bring the crank arm around to the appropriate position hence, we were left with very little (if any) braking force via the acute angle that we were applying braking force on the crank arm. So hand brakes eliminate that safety shortcoming.

    P.S. I’m glad to hear your dad is enjoying his new bike however, you might ask your dad to confide with you about getting your mom a bike, as he may be enjoying his new bike all the more knowing he gets a little quiet (blissfully nag-free) time while bicycling.
    ALL good points, ESPECIALLY about confiding with Dad before getting her a bike! You're right, he may be enjoying his rides alone! If you knew my mom, you certainly would if you were him!

    I've discussed the brakes with Mom about how hand brakes actually work better and are easier to modulate, but we're talking about a woman who can't walk and chew gum at the same time. I'd hate to say it but she's quite...clumsy. The last time they visited us my wife let her carry the desserts (a few cupcakes, cheesecake, etc.) KNOWING she's always either spilling something or dropping something. My mom walked across the street and didn't trip down the curb so my wife figured it was smooth sailing...and then it happened. She dropped the entire box on its lid as she was getting into the car. Luck was on everyone's side and the desserts were not completely destroyed, only a little...flat.
    - Dan \m/

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Forget the delta trikes unless they are going to be putting very slowly. I remember an article long ago in a "Senior" publication about them tipping over too much. The Electra bikes are very nice, and you can get her a step through model.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    Forget the delta trikes unless they are going to be putting very slowly. I remember an article long ago in a "Senior" publication about them tipping over too much. The Electra bikes are very nice, and you can get her a step through model.
    A step-through model may just be the best bet for her...
    - Dan \m/

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Mom could do better and would not have to worry about brakes and gears at all . . .
    A tandem could be the answer!
    Dad does all shifting/braking/balancing for her!
    We are ages 80 and 78 and still tanden TWOgether.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Mom could do better and would not have to worry about brakes and gears at all . . .
    A tandem could be the answer!
    Dad does all shifting/braking/balancing for her!
    We are ages 80 and 78 and still tanden TWOgether.
    I thought about that but that would just result in BOTH of them winding up on the ground...
    - Dan \m/

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