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Thread: Biking Newbies

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    Biking Newbies

    Hello,

    My wife and I would like to start biking for entertainment and health reasons. We know NOTHING about biking and were hoping you could help. We have searched around the web some but with little success. We'd like to do bike trails and probably some city street riding. Questions:

    - What type of bike would be best for the above mentioned activities
    - What brand/model would you recommend we purchase (we are looking for low to mid range, a starter bike that will not break the bank)
    - Once we've decided on a model, how do we choose the right size
    - We have a small dog that we would like to take with us. My wife envisions some sort of basket to hold the dog, not sure if this is even possible. Can this be done? If so, what equipment do we need and where do we get it?
    - Any other recommendations/suggestions to get started?

    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Every year that goes by that question gets more difficult to answer because the bicycle manufacturers keep producing new variations on the bicycle theme.

    My advice is to find a well stocked local bike shop and take some time to look around at what they have. Skinny tires and low handlebars are more efficient, fatter tires and higher handlebars are more comfortable. You'll find lots of shades of gray between the two extremes and the bike manufacturers are finding ways to slice the balogna a little thinner every year. As a general rule, new riders choose comfort over efficiency and experienced riders are progressively more willing to trade away some comfort in the interest of going farther and faster.

    The trick is being able to predict where on that gray scale that you are going to want to be, not today necessarily, but three months from now.

  3. #3
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    I would look in to hybrid bikes or mountain bikes. Depending on if you are going to ride more on road or of road. When going to LBS don't get suckered in to buying an expensive bike with high end parts. For what you will be doing you won't notice the differece between dura ace (high end) and tiagra (low end) components.
    As for the rest I agree with grouch, go to a bunch of LBS test ride some bikes and see which one fits you best.

  4. #4
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    - What type of bike would be best for the above mentioned activities?

    If your riding type never deviates from what you say today, then a Mountain bike is probably your best bet. The problem is that it is hard to tell what/where you like to ride until you start riding a lot.
    - What brand/model would you recommend we purchase (we are looking for low to mid range, a starter bike that will not break the bank)

    Look for bikes that at least have an Alivio derailleur. There are different levels of components and the Alivio will safely get you into a good component level.

    - Once we've decided on a model, how do we choose the right size

    Your LBS will measure you.
    - We have a small dog that we would like to take with us. My wife envisions some sort of basket to hold the dog, not sure if this is even possible. Can this be done? If so, what equipment do we need and where do we get it?

    Oh boy. No comment.

    - Any other recommendations/suggestions to get started?

    Do your own leg work. It is ok to ask questions but research and visiting many local bike shops will get you edjimictated.Thanks for your help

  5. #5
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    You can get either a basket that attaches to the handle bars, or you can get a rack that mounts over the rear wheel, to which you can attach a basket. You can fit a larger basket on the rear than on the front.

    And yeah, definitely go visit a good bike shop, and NOT a department or hardware store.

  6. #6
    Toyota Racing Dev. PWRDbyTRD's Avatar
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    I was thinking just dangling the dog on his leash from the handlebars, near the front spokes....
    Linkage...My 2004 Kona Hoss Dee-Lux My Mindless Banter
    Disclaimer: I'm 425lb...I put unnormal loads on my bike. This should help you in answering any of my questions.

  7. #7
    Senior Moment Litespeed's Avatar
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    I have seen people carry their small dogs in a front basket with them, but I don't know how really safe it would be. There is always the added balance to think about, especially if the dog wants to move around, and getting the dog use to riding in the basket might be a trick to over come also. I would just enjoy the bikes first and wait until you feel really comfortable on the bikes and then if you still want to take the dog along, find a park where there is little traffic (people, bikes etc) and try it there to see how the dog reacts. Don't mind the STUPID comments from other people.

  8. #8
    Senior Member midgie's Avatar
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    Depending on what you mean by trails, If recreational riding on crushed stone, chipped or paved trails I would go with a sport comfort or a hybrid. The mountain bike, you will be in a more aggressive position(leaned over) As for the dog in a basket, it works, messes with you steering depending on the weight of the dog. Much easier in a basket in the back or even a trailer. We had a customer whos dog would sit in a child seat on the back of the bike


    sport comfort
    http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkMode...0080&spid=9348

    hybrid
    http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=9351


    mountain
    http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=9345


    burley trailer with hard plastic bottom so dogs claws don't punture

    http://burley.com/products/trailers/...aspx?p=Cub&i=2
    We're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny ****ing Kaye.~Clark Griswold

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    Find yourself a good local bike shop (LBS). They will help you pick the right bike in the right size with good accessories.
    Pick one that deals with commuter and touring cyclists as well a racers, these shops usually know more about setting up luggage systems.
    Most of the big brands (Trek/Specialized/Giant etc) do similar products. Once you have a good bike shop, see what brands they do.
    Bikes come in fast sporty styles, rugged off-road styles and a bunch of inbetweeny style which are good for a range of intermediate riding. The inbetweeny styles are better for general purpose riding, these include hybrids, flat-bar road bikes, hard-tail(front suspension) MTBs.
    Dont underspend. At entry level, a small increase in price usually brings a big increase in quality. Budget for accessories such as helmets, repair kit, luggage rack and fenders, whatever you need. It is easier to negotiate for accessories than money off a new bike.
    A lot of riders here enjoy using bikes like the Specialized Sirrus which is ideal for a range of conditions.
    Baskets are a good way of carrying small dogs. Wicker baskets are light, strong and provide quite a bit of protection.
    http://sportsbay.com/qurewiba.html
    http://www.skymall.com/webapp/skysto...2&iscrssl=true

    and
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/hembrow/bicycle.html

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