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Old 08-04-13, 01:07 AM   #1
jey1234
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Interested in getting into cycling

Hi guys, it's my first post here! I'm 18 years old (male), 135 lbs, 5'5" with long legs and a short torso. I was rowing competitively the last two years for my college but I was always at a serious disadvantage because of my height. During that period I had many people suggest that I pick up cycling instead because apparently my body type suits some type of cycling (I forget which one). I never paid it much attention since my only experience with cycling is on the stationary bike when cross training and riding around the park as a kid on the mountain bike my parents bought me from Costco.

Anyway, I hurt my lower back and ankle recently and haven't been able to row or run. I am seeing a physical therapist and in the meantime I was bored with not doing any activity so I took my old bike out and started riding it around my neighborhood. It's been about two weeks now and I ride about 16 km a day (45 minutes) for fun at a moderate speed and I'm really enjoying it. I never knew cycling could be so much fun. I'm still uncomfortable with riding alongside traffic but it's getting better. I know almost nothing about changing gears or proper posture while riding. But I'm really enjoying it, almost as much as rowing. I'm starting university soon and I was thinking maybe I could get a better bike and commute to school (downtown) everyday. It's about a 30 km round trip.

So I have a couple questions:
  1. I can afford to spend about $400 on a bike. Can I get a decent used one for that much money? And if so should I get a mountain bike or a road bike? I have no experience with the latter but the path to my university has a couple hills.
  2. I understand that different types of cycling (hills, sprints, etc...) are better suited for different body types. Given my weight and size, which would be the ideal one if I wanted to start training competitively? I think I want to take a break from rowing for a while.

All responses and comments would be much appreciated
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Old 08-04-13, 07:01 AM   #2
rebel1916
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If you will be cycling on the road get a road bike. Sporty road bikes won't be great for carrying your junk to school, junk hauling roadbikes won't be great for training competitively. But if I were you I would get a race oriented bike, and haul my junk in a backpack. I have no knowledge of your local market, so IDK what you can get for $400, but if your buying used, stay away from singlespeeds and anything so old it has downtube shifters.
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Old 08-04-13, 07:27 AM   #3
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I agree with the suggestion of the road bike, maybe more of a touring type bike, if you will have the need to carry a lot of stuff on your commute. Its kind of tough to give you a good answer. A great commuting bike is not usually a great race bike, some compromises can be made. I would want a bike that can take fenders, as well as a rack for commuting. As for your budget, if you really look around, you can probably find something, but it may be tough, since you will have to wait for a great deal, as well as hope that its in your size. Also, when you buy a bike, you will need a pump, helmet, saddle bag, etc, so you also need to have some money for accessories.

At 135 lbs, you would have an advantage in climbing. Climbing is all about strength to weight ratio, and you will lighter than most people, and your bike frame will be smaller and lighter. I'm overweight now, but even at my ideal weight, I'll still be about 180 at 6'2. If I was climbing against somebody 45 lbs lighter than me, they would have a huge advantage, if we were both had similar training.

Last edited by Tel0004; 08-04-13 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 08-04-13, 10:13 AM   #4
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If an all purpose bike is what you want I'd get a decent used mtn bike...check around at the local shops, maybe put up a sign if they have a bulletin board, ask the shop manager/owner if he/she has any used bikes...maybe one that some loser brought in for repairs a year or longer ago and never picked up...great deals can be had.
Throw some road tires on it and you have a great all purpose bike for most conditions that will be a bit more bomb proof than a pure road bike.
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Old 08-04-13, 10:22 AM   #5
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Here's the strategy I'd use:

Read up on bike fit and run some online calculators to narrow down the size bike you want.

Visit Craigslist every morning, and if you find something that looks good, post a link to it here and ask for advice. For older bikes, the Classic and Vintage forum might be best. Like this. Or this.

It would be best if you have a friend who knows bikes to go with you.

Take a helmet when you go for a test drive, since falling is more likely when riding a strange new bike.

You might buy a bike, use it to refine what it is you want, then sell it and buy another.

Good luck, have fun!
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Old 08-05-13, 05:39 PM   #6
jey1234
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Thanks for the replies. I went to a local bike store that I always pass by. Unfortunately, they don't sell any used bikes. The guy who works there, a friendly person, showed me some of the bikes and the cheapest one he carries is $500 (a hybrid). According to him most stores here don't carry used bikes anymore because of sites like craigslist.

He saw my bike and pretty much told me that it's crap in a polite way . He suggested, as Kai Winters did, that I buy a pair of road-type (very smooth) tires. It costs 18$ for the tire (each) and $8 service charge for each one for a total of $52. He promises that there will be a huge difference. I don't know anything about bikes so I thought I will get a second opinion beforehand.

I looked on craigslist and I saw a couple good looking bikes from $130 to $350:
  1. http://montreal.en.craigslist.ca/bik/3981563821.html
  2. http://montreal.en.craigslist.ca/bik/3978727462.html
  3. http://montreal.en.craigslist.ca/bid/3958989848.html
  4. http://montreal.en.craigslist.ca/bik/3951720515.html

This is my bike,


Is the 50$ upgrade worth it or would I be better off buying something like #2 above? And can the tires these bikes come with be used to commute during winter? It snows quite a lot here. Thanks.
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Last edited by jey1234; 08-23-13 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 08-05-13, 07:35 PM   #7
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If your bike works OK and you are just getting into biking, I would just stick with the bike you have. Get out and ride a lot and have fun and get in shape and save up some money. By the time you have saved up then probably you will have a better idea what kind of biking you want to get into.

Definitely some slick tires will be much nicer when you are riding on pavement. But forget the service charge. It is really easy to change tires yourself. That is something you need to know anyway.

In the winter where I am I use studded tires because of the ice.

Also for commuting it is generally good to have a cheap bike that you can afford to lose. Get a decent lock so at least the bike will last for a while. Leaving a good bike out on the street for a long time on a regular schedule in the same vicinity... gives folks a chance to make plans! Use the bike you have for commuting and then save your $$$ up for a racing bike of whatever variety.

Last edited by Jim Kukula; 08-05-13 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 08-23-13, 04:49 PM   #8
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Just wanted to provide a quick update. I finally bought the slick tires yesterday. I installed them myself as it wasn't too challenging. You were right Jim I tried them out this morning and the difference was noticeable. I wouldn't say I was going much faster but the ride was definitely more comfortable and fun. The guy at the bike shop recommended that I don't spend money on this bike as it's too small for me (24") and that I should rather just buy a 26" bike. But I think I am going to save my money and buy a better bike next summer. For now, I am doing about 100 km a week and I want to increase that gradually and also try to include more hill work.

Thanks to everyone for their help!

Last edited by jey1234; 08-23-13 at 05:10 PM.
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