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  1. #1
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    New member with Unconventional Bike Questions

    Hey there everyone,

    I'm new to the forum, but not new to the love of bicycling. Haven't really owned or used a bike in years, but recently I've realized how much I miss the freedom and joy. I'd like to buy a bicycle for running short errands near my home and eventually I'd like to start commuting regularly to work, which is 3 miles away from home. To tell the truth I'm pretty strapped for cash, which is one of the other reasons why I'm considering bicycling again. Saves on gas for the car and maintenance. Which brings me to my questions.

    I'm probably going to buy a bike from a pawn shop, a yard sale or the internet, where ever I can find the lowest priced bike. Is there anything that I should look for? The last time I owned and really rode a bike was when I was in 8th grade so my priorities have changed. I'll give you all a short discription of my stats. I'm 6'1", 210 lbs. (could stand to lose 10 lbs), and haven't exercised in years.

    I'm interested in a bike with an automatic shifter like the LandRider. I know this may cause alot of debate, but it is something I've always wanted. Anyone here know of anyplace I can get some information on this subject. I doubt I can get a test ride of one because they aren't very common, but maybe someone here might have tested one out. I do know that there are mechanical and computer controlled automatic shifters, but that's about it.

    I'm also interested in eventually converting it to an electrically assisted bike. I know this will also cause alot of debate, but I know I plan to use this bike for more and more of my outings and I know there will be times when I'm just too tired to pedal or don't have the stamina to make it all the way up the hill or I don't want to work up a sweat before I reach my destination. I'd rather have an electrically assisted bike that has the option of being footpowered, over having a powered scooter or moped. It is a personal choice. Again... does anyone have any information on this subject. From the research I've conducted, I think I like the motorized hub type electric assist kits. Does anyone know if there is a company that makes a motorized hub that generates electricity to feed back to the batteries when the bike is braking? I know there are eletric cars that use this concept, but I don't know if electric bikes are doing this yet. Eventually, maybe a year or so from now, if I do have an electrically assisted bike, I think I'll condsider adding solar cells to recharge the batteries.

    And finally, I plan to carry my son around on the back of the bike sometimes. Does anyone here have any recommendations for a super lightweight child bike seat that can be easily connected and removed? I don't even know if I'm calling that item by it's right name.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read a newbie's post and thanks in advance for any replies.

    Wayneburg

  2. #2
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I was in the same position as you a couple of years ago. Here's my thoughts on the subject. First, a LandRider will not be hard to find. We have a magazine of classified ads in this area; anytime somone buys a LandRider it winds up there. You must have some classifieds in your area. But to tell you the truth, it's a waste of your time and money. While you are looking at used bikes, don't overlook road bikes from the 70's and 80's. They are very cheap, and will work great if you can find a good one in good shape. You can also look in thrift shops, perhaps yard sales or estate sales. After you find it, take it to a bike shop for a tune up. Btw, I serioulsy considered adding an electric motor to my hybrid; but wound up getting a touring bicycle instead. I think it was one of the smarter decisons I've made. I rode a thousand miles last year; and hope to ride two thousand miles this year.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late
    Hi,
    I was in the same position as you a couple of years ago. Here's my thoughts on the subject. First, a LandRider will not be hard to find. We have a magazine of classified ads in this area; anytime somone buys a LandRider it winds up there. You must have some classifieds in your area. But to tell you the truth, it's a waste of your time and money. While you are looking at used bikes, don't overlook road bikes from the 70's and 80's. They are very cheap, and will work great if you can find a good one in good shape. You can also look in thrift shops, perhaps yard sales or estate sales. After you find it, take it to a bike shop for a tune up. Btw, I serioulsy considered adding an electric motor to my hybrid; but wound up getting a touring bicycle instead. I think it was one of the smarter decisons I've made. I rode a thousand miles last year; and hope to ride two thousand miles this year.
    I agree with late completely on this. Skip the Landrider. If you are strapped for cash, you can't afford the mistake.

    I would suggest that you buy Three bikes from the '70's/'80's. Choose one as your primary rider, One as your child transporter, and the other as your source of spare parts. You should be able to get good bikes at a thrift store or garage sale for about $35.00 each. If money is an issue, this will be your most practicle approach. You can buy brand new tires for these bikes for under $10.00 or you can scrounge useable tires, tubes, and other parts from abandoned bikes.

    Get the book "Anybody's Bike Book" (or was it "Anybody's BICYCLE Book"?) which was written in the 1970's with reprints/updates through the '80's. This book will show you, in very simple terms, how to repair every part of your bike by using common tools.

    Be sure to put a rear carrier on you bike. You will be AMAZED at how easily you can live with a bicycle. The reason I suggest you have one bike as a primary and the other for transporting your child is that the child seat will be troublesome to put on and take off. With bikes at $35.00 each, you can afford this luxury. $35.00 is about the price of a week's worth of gasoline and three bikes take up less parking/garage space than a car.

    Good for you, brother. You will be an icon for many of us. Keep us advised of how your life adventure progresses.
    Mike

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    More Questions

    Thanks for the replies.

    late,
    I've looked it up touring bikes. How is it different from a ten speed? I'm not very fond of the stooped over position of ten speeds. I probably should have mentioned that in my original post. I've looked into recumbents, but it's too far from the norm for me right now. Maybe one day.
    ______________

    mike,
    I think I'll start off with one bike and then take your suggestion of salvaging for parts. I've recently started looking into child trailers. They look like they can be quickly attached and dettached.
    Thanks for the book suggestion. I'll look for it.

    ______________

    Why bikes from the 70's and 80's? Where they good years in bike making?
    Also does anyone know if there is a good anti-flat tire product?

  5. #5
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    touring bikes give you a seating postion halfway between a road bike and a hybrid. They are intended to be ridden all day; and a good one will be comfy. Last fall I bought a 20 year old touring bike on an impulse, so they can be found. The Eighties was a good decade for bikes. Tubing and shifting got a little better. Later lawyers would force some changes in bike manufacturing; and not for the better. Seventies bikes have the advantage of being readily available and cheap. SOme of the bikes from the early Nineties (like the first Treks) are really sweet bikes.
    Now, one thing you can do if you find a roadbike that fits is to buy a new stem. For $40 you can get a Nitto Technomics that will bring the handlebar up 2 or 3 inches, and back towards you about an inch or more. This can make a big difference in comfort. I also like shock absorbing bar tape. My 20 year old Fuji has 2 layers of shock tape, the top layer is this pretty tan Cinelli shock tape that fits the color scheme of the bike nicely. It also adds some needed comfort.

  6. #6
    Nothing But Bianchi bianchi_rider's Avatar
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    perfect bike

    I have the perfect bike for you. its a Bianchi Brava, 61cm with full shimano 105 groupo....

  7. #7
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    Are you offering?

  8. #8
    Nothing But Bianchi bianchi_rider's Avatar
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    Sure, I am offering it CHEAP
    if interested I can send the links where I have it posted or you can email me.

  9. #9
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    Sure send me some links please or post'em

  10. #10
    Nothing But Bianchi bianchi_rider's Avatar
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    email

    my email is shadowboxerfl@aol.com
    I can send pics and specs

  11. #11
    Nothing But Bianchi bianchi_rider's Avatar
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    http://www.bicycle-classifieds.com/

    its under road bikes, # 16 today Bianchi Brava

  12. #12
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayneburg
    Thanks for the replies.
    Why bikes from the 70's and 80's? Where they good years in bike making?
    Also does anyone know if there is a good anti-flat tire product?
    Good idea to get a trailer for your child. You can use it for grocery shopping too.

    The biggest reason for suggesting bikes from the '70's and '80's is that they are readily available at affordable prices. You can get parts for free by scavanging from other discarded bikes of the era. Bikes from the '80's probably are better than '70's and you can still use parts from either '70's or '80's. By the '90's, production road bikes were a thing of the past and the new road bikes became almost elitist - components have to be bought at bike shops and can be costly. Also, the newer bikes usually require special tools to maintain.

    Remember that you can change the handlebars on road bikes if you like.
    Mike

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    bianchi_rider
    Thanks for the offer, but that price is way over my budget.

    mike,
    Any suggestions on handlebars or stems?

    Also does anyone have suggestions on anti-flat tire products?

  14. #14
    Nothing But Bianchi bianchi_rider's Avatar
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    no problem, you should check craigslist.com and post for a bike in the price range you are looking....
    about anti flat stuff, slime works good, and then there is a thing called tuffy tire liners. they are inexpensive...

  15. #15
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayneburg
    bianchi_rider
    Thanks for the offer, but that price is way over my budget.

    mike,
    Any suggestions on handlebars or stems?

    Also does anyone have suggestions on anti-flat tire products?
    Stem sizes can be tricky. Keep the stem from your original bike just in case the substitute stem doesn't work. As for recommendations, get what you like. I have a ton of bars and would sell them cheap, but the shipping costs about as much as buying a whole bike at a thrift shop. My mom had an old Schwinn Continental and I switched the drop handles on her bike to upright handlebars from an old three-speed. This is nothing new or brilliant. The Schwinn Collegiate and Schwinn Traveller were essentially upright bars on ten-speed frames.

    My 86 year old friend put ape-hanger handlebars from a 1970's Stingray on his road bike. It looked goofy, but he didn't care. He said it kept his arm pits cool. John is such a cool cat anyway, he is always experimenting with bikes. In fact, he was one of the first guys I knew to try the Landrider bikes with the auto shift, but he quickly dismissed it as junk.

    Remember that if you switch road bike handlebars to uprights, your sit position will put more vertical weight on the seat. You will want a different seat - wider and maybe with some springs.

    As for anti-flat goo, forget it. You end up carrying the extra load from the goo in the tires 100% of the time and it doesn't really prevent flats. Just patch the tubes when needed.
    Mike

  16. #16
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    I was at work and came up with some more questions

    I am a lightweight backpacker and stand by the saying that lighter is better. With that in mind...

    Can the front and back brakes be operated with one brake handle?

    Are shocks necassary on a bike that will be used on the road 99% of the time?

    Spokes or mags?

    thanks
    Wayneburg


    edit:

    one more... what are the benifits of those pedals that have a holder for the toe or foot?
    Last edited by Wayneburg; 01-26-04 at 02:16 AM.

  17. #17
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    Shocks are not necessary for road use, and add significant weight to the bike.

    Some tires such as the Specailized Armadillos are much more punture resistant.

    pedals that latch onto the bottom of the shoes allow for much more efficient pedalling, but you also have to buy special cycling shoes to use with them. A cheaper alternative is to use toe clips and straps, like the racers used before the mid 80s - they can be used with regular shoes.

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    Thanks AndrewP,

    I like the idea of those toe clips. The ones that allow you to use regular shoes. It seems you can pull up with the leg as well as push down in normal pedaling. But is it easy to take your foot out quickly? I don't want to be attached to my bike if I have to take my foot out quickly.

    ____

    Can anyone else answer those other questions?
    Thanks
    Wayneburg

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