Looking to purchase a bike. New to the sport, but would like biking to be a serious hobby. I suspect I'll primarily ride on paved roads and flat, well-maintained dirt roads/trails near my house.
If it matters, I'm 5' 9", have a 36" inseam and a short torso. I'm a woman and at my ideal body weight.
I have a few questions:
- Should I be looking at road bikes? Hybrids? Something else?
- What is the purpose of women's bikes? Why can't I just ride a man's bike?
- Any particular brands you would recommend and why? (I don't want to have to buy another bike in a year for better performance, but I expect I'll primarily be a serious recreational biker. Might consider half triathlons down the road for fun.)
- New or used? Is there a difference? If used, where are good places to find these?
- What is a crank? I see a lot of discussion about crank size on bike sites, but I have no idea what this even is.
- Do you worry about the brand of brakes? Any you'd recommend if you do? How about other bike parts?
- Besides just biking, how have you improved your biking skills? Magazines? Chat rooms? Biking clubs? Friends? Classes? Basically how can I quickly become a better cyclist and more knowledgeable?
- Seats? Recommendations on how to get a comfy ride?
- Anything else I should consider in picking a good bike?
I think that's it for now.
Thanks for any pointers!