Hi everyone. I'm new around here as a poster, but have been enjoying the forums as a lurker for a few days. Great site....
I joined because I want to get back into cycling. I learned as a child in Scotland, and used my bike more or less constantly. This was in the early eighties, in rural Scotland. There are lots of hills there and I had strong legs. Now, twenty years later, I have strongish legs, as well as more built-in ballast than I'd like. I have a two mile commute - nothing too taxing by y'all's standards, but it's what I have...
I have owned two bikes in my life: a Dawes Kingpin from about 1982, which was a big, heavy, small-wheeled whale of a bike. It wasn't ideal; all my friends had drop-handle racing bikes or Raleigh Grifters or Choppers. Of course, I wanted one too but my father wasn't having any of it - it was a practical bike or nothing. I have to say that it might have been a good choice since it was ideal for delivering papers as well as being basically indestructable.
As a later teen and student, I had a cheap (Halfords) "racing" bike, with bar-mounted shifters for a ten-speed gear system. I spent many hours trying to calibrate and mark the shift positions, which was pointless since they changed more or less at will. when I moved to the US about a decade ago, that one was left behind. I heard from my family that it turned into a pile of rust. I feel bad about that....
Anyway, the house I and my wife now own has a bike in the garage. I've known it was there for some time but haven't - till now - gotten round to pulling it out. I want something for the above commute, and perhaps for some road biking and easy trail biking. I'm prepared to spend for a decent beginner's option, but would like to reclaim the garage bike if I can. I would really appreciate any help and advice, since I know nothing about the sort of high-end stuff that people here use. Also, I'll post pics tomorrow, when my wife brings the camera back. The point of all this is to try to be healthier, but my general unfit condition means that a fairly gentle introduction will be necessary.
So, with all that in mind, is this a good choice? Or would a commuter bike or a road bike or a hybrid be better? Or something completely different? There are two bike stores (independent, not chain) in my hometown and both seem to have excellent reputations.
The bike is a Specialized Hard Rock Sport. It seems to be in good shape overall. There is a little rust on the lower tube (the one that runs from the pedals to the forks). On the tubing, there is a sticker that says "cro-mo tubing" and a large number 19. There appears to be a 24 speed gear system controlled by a "Gripshift" on each end of the handle bars. The right hand controls a 1 - 8 shifter; the left a 1 - 3. I guess the latter is for the front changer and the former the rear. There is a front suspension fork, with "SR Suntour" written on it, and a serial number: 99C090622. The rear gear shifter (derailleur?) has "SRAM 30" written on it and is made, at least the outer layer is, of plastic. The insides of the wheels have "Y-2000" stickers, and the tires have stickers saying "Nimbus EX 26x1.50". The brakes themselves, the saddle and the pedals don't seem to have any marks so I guess they are generic. Both tires are, unsurprisingly, completely flat.
Upending the bike and spinning the wheels seems to suggest that the back wheel is relatively true, whereas the front seems to move laterally a little. The brakes stop them easily, and the brakepads(?) are close to the rims, but look parallel and have a smooth action. Of course, they'll have to work harder to stop the bike once I'm on it.
Overall, it seems to be in decent shape. I cleaned it and oiled the parts I thought should be oiled. I called the bike stores, and both will service it for a reasonable amount. But is it a good option for me? I'm some time away from any hard cycling, but would hope to log a decent distance each week, once I get a little fitter. I'm six feet exactly and a bit north of 200lbs - not that much, though :-)
Any thoughts? If you use technical terms, could you explain them as you go along?
Many thanks for any help anyone can give. I'm looking forward to getting back into the saddle, and appreciate all the help I can get!