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Old 04-25-11, 06:03 PM   #1
bikingann
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Questions from a total noob

Hello everyone.

I am brand new here today and posted in the Introduction forum. I'm 45 and out of shape and determined to get in shape and drop 20 pounds. About 10 years ago, I bought a bike in a department store. I know that's probably causing groans but my nephews wanted to go riding and their mom wouldn't let them go without and adult so I grabbed an inexpensive bike and off I went.

Yesterday, I dusted it off and rode 4 miles. I did that again today too. My legs were on fire a few times and I took a couple of rests but did the 4 miles in about 50 minutes. I know that's lousy but I'll get better.

I am very short. Just about five feet tall and when I purchased the bike that I have, I could not touch my feet to the ground on a bike with 26 inch tires so I bought one with 24 inch. It feels good and I have no problems with it but it is a little heavy for me. I have to carry it up and down a very narrow set of stairs every time I use it and it's not easy.

I was thinking of buying a "real" bike. Someone suggested a Giant Escape 2w model. I have not seen the bike in "person" but there are a couple of people selling them used in my area and it's tempting. I found a website that indicates that this particular bike weighs about 27 pounds. Is that possible? That sounds awfully heavy. I have no idea what the bike I have now weighs but I don't struggle too much getting it up and down and it doesn't feel like it's that heavy. Maybe the distribution of the weight makes it seem lighter than it is?

What is the typical weight for a women's bike? I would mostly be riding on paved streets and plan to make this a daily activity. Thanks for any suggestions!

Last edited by bikingann; 04-25-11 at 06:07 PM. Reason: wrong weight for giant
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Old 04-25-11, 07:48 PM   #2
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27 lbs sounds about right for a hybrid. The escape looks like a "fitness" bike which should have a more relaxed position than a traditional road bike. Typical mid ranged hybrid should be 20-25 lbs. Typical low range road bike should be ~22 lbs. Department store bikes typically weigh 30-40 lbs so the Giant should be a bit lighter.
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Old 04-25-11, 07:55 PM   #3
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Hello & welcome...

Getting a bike that fits you is more important than I can stress. If you're inexperienced with the properties of "bike fit," it's best to deal with your local bike shop (LBS). A well-stocked shop will have a variety of sizes for you to try and can order if not in stock. They also have the knowledge and the parts to get the bike dialed in for you. Plus, you get a warranty, and (typically) the purchase includes some follow up adjustments.

One thing I'll mention now before I forget: With the exception of some semi-recumbent or "foot-down" bikes, you shouldn't be able to put your foot down on the ground while seated in the bike saddle. Being able to do so suggests the bike is incorrectly sized for you and/or your saddle is too low. Dept store bikes don't offer the range of sizes; you typically choose based on wheel size.

A hybrid gets you plenty of bike without spending a fortune. Since you're riding smooth surfaces, avoid bikes with suspension; these add to weight, complexity and initial expense. A typical, entry-level hybrid in your size will be ~25 lbs, but even a top quality, $2k+ hybrid will still weigh a full 20 lbs. Don't worry about a few extra pounds; your bike should have a wide range of gears available to you. Less expensive bikes have heavier components, notably wheels and forks.

At your smaller stature, you'll be riding a small or x-small frame. Sometimes these have issues of "toe overlap" when the front wheel touches your shoe while pedaling during slow speed turns. There are ways to deal with this, but keep in mind that some bikes are designed to have minimal toe overlap issues for shorter riders.

Best thing to do is spend some time visiting the various shops in your locale. Check out the inventory and get a feel for the level of customer service. Take test rides and ask questions. It's very easy to buy the wrong bike, so don't rush the process. Don't get tempted by the first bikes you see. Always sleep on it. Don't waste your $ buy taking the wrong bike home.
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Old 04-25-11, 08:00 PM   #4
BlazingPedals
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At five feet tall, a bike with 24" wheels might be a good fit for you. Bikes with 24" wheels are usually considered kids' bikes, so they are usually a bit heavier and have somewhat lower-level components than 'serious' adult bikes. OTOH, they're usually a bit cheaper, too. Definitely talk to someone in a bike shop, though; and don't get another bike from the dept store. Aside from the weight and lack of quality, dept store bikes typically come in "one-size-fits-none" sizing.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:44 PM   #5
bikingann
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Just an update to thank everyone for their help. I went to the local bike shop today and picked up a Giant Escape 2. I bought my first bike in this shop in the late 70s and the same family owns the place. I was leery that they'd just try to sell me something but the guy took his time, explained all of the differences between the various types of bikes, let me ride several of them around the block and I felt no pressure at all. I felt better buying a new one because it has a warranty and they suggested I stop in every couple of weeks with the bike and let them know how things are going.

I fell in love with the Escape. It feels light as a feather to pick up and rides like a dream compared to the old "department store" bike I took out a couple of weeks ago. I just got back from a 5 mile ride which is not much for the folks here probably but very taxing on these out of shape legs that are getting older. I'm looking forward to taking this baby out every day.

Again, thanks for steering me to a bike shop. Best decision I've ever made.

Last edited by bikingann; 05-10-11 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 05-10-11, 05:18 PM   #6
Nightshade
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This thread may help you deal with early riding jitters......

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...arrassed-rider

Best of luck and welcome!
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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