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  1. #1
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    Newbie biker not by choice

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm in US from last 3 years on work visa. Although, my employer has filed for visa extension but due to an expired visa in hand, I can' drive my car. So I expect to get an extension possibly in a month or two. This forced me to look out for alternatives and the idea of riding a bike clicked for my commute, dropping off my daughter to school and other chores.

    I am not a professional rider and started doing some research on the internet about bikes. So I like to take the privilege to ask you all professional and expert riders to suggest some useful tips for me to start with.

    Facts:
    I'm in Atlanta, GA. 5'10'' tall. My budget is approx. 500USD.

    Thanks for your help.

    Sam

  2. #2
    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    Craigslist will be your friend. Really, just look for something cheap that looks like it has been well stored and taken care of.

    Kids bikes are dirt cheap new or used. You could ride with her if she's too young to take herself. Anything else will get pricey fast.

    You'll want a rack (they're about 20 bucks) and some baskets or bags to put on it.

    Who knows, you may just like it.

  3. #3
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    I agree with katsrevenge that for your situation, Craigslist may be the way to go.

    For sizing of a bicycle, we also need to know what your inseam leg length is. Ebicycles has a nice bicycle size calculator that you may want to use. http://www.ebicycles.com/bicycle-tools/frame-sizer From your height only, they recommend sizes 55-59cm or 21.5-23" for a road bike. Mountain bike or hybrid bikes are sized slightly differently. Your leg length will give you a better idea of the exact size needed.

    How old/large is your daughter? Are you thinking of carrying her in a trailer, or in a seat mounted to the bike, a trail a bike that attaches to your seatpost or as a fill on stoker for a tandem bicycle.

    A road bike, a hybrid or a mountain bike without suspension might all serve you well. I haven't been all over Atlanta, but it seems that many areas, ie Alpharetta are fairly hilly. How flat the part of Atlanta that you live in will also affect your choice. In a flat area, you could get away with a 3 speed, "English" style bike. In Alpharetta, gears are your friend.

    And in general avoid shoddy bicycles like you might find at Walmart: Next, GMC Denali, Genesis, Kent, Roadmaster, Huffy, Mongoose, Hyper are some of the names to watch out for and avoid. Schwinns may be great or bad. Brands like Trek, Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, Surly, Scott are respectable brands and should hold up.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    Sam, I'm going to be very honest with you and probably get flamed for doing it. I used to live in Atlanta and unless you're in Midtown or in Decatur you don't want to be on a bike in Atlanta! Especially in the Suburbs. While Atlanta is making strides towards being more and more bike friendly it frankly isn't ready yet. First off bike lanes are few and far between even in the perimeter. Second, Atlanta drivers are some of the meanest, most impatient and most ragey drivers I have ever dealt with. I had more close calls and scary incidents of road raged drivers in my car in Atlanta with other drivers then I've had in NYC on my bike. Also drivers just aren't used to sharing the road with bikes. Many if not most see speeding around as their god given right and don't understand that bikes are anything more than a toy. Third, Georgia has extremely weak safety laws. There is no hand held phone ban in place. Also it is very difficult for the state to pull a drivers license. I know a guy who has a DUI, over a dozen moving tickets and at least four accidents yet still can drive any car he pleases. Why? Because enough time has passed between each infraction that the points haven't hit the total for any loss of driving privileges. Also the fact that judges are very lenient and will usually let you plead down to a lesser infraction. Speed laws are rarely enforced and traffic frequently moves 10 to 20 MPH over posted limits. As a driver you probably know this. Finally, The roads themselves often don't lend themselves to cycling. Many roads are built only to quickly move cars about the city. Hence the reason two-way roads with two to three lanes in each direction are so common. Pedestrian safety is a second thought; bikes are not spared a thought. Personally, I would not risk my life by biking in Atlanta. This comes from a guy who cycles NYC without a second thought.

    tl;dr Can you buy a bike for your budget? Yes! Should you? I wouldn't! Don't flame me only stating my opinion. Try posting your question here http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl.../234-Southeast

  5. #5
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sakuma47 View Post
    Hello Everyone,

    I'm in US from last 3 years on work visa. Although, my employer has filed for visa extension but due to an expired visa in hand, I can' drive my car. So I expect to get an extension possibly in a month or two. This forced me to look out for alternatives and the idea of riding a bike clicked for my commute, dropping off my daughter to school and other chores.
    Are you sure you're not allowed to drive while waiting for your visa extension to be approved? My understanding is that you are legally in this country as long as your visa extension has been filed before your original work visa (H-1B?) expires.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    Sam, I'm going to be very honest with you and probably get flamed for doing it. I used to live in Atlanta and unless you're in Midtown or in Decatur you don't want to be on a bike in Atlanta! Especially in the Suburbs. While Atlanta is making strides towards being more and more bike friendly it frankly isn't ready yet. First off bike lanes are few and far between even in the perimeter. Second, Atlanta drivers are some of the meanest, most impatient and most ragey drivers I have ever dealt with. I had more close calls and scary incidents of road raged drivers in my car in Atlanta with other drivers then I've had in NYC on my bike. Also drivers just aren't used to sharing the road with bikes. Many if not most see speeding around as their god given right and don't understand that bikes are anything more than a toy. Third, Georgia has extremely weak safety laws. There is no hand held phone ban in place. Also it is very difficult for the state to pull a drivers license. I know a guy who has a DUI, over a dozen moving tickets and at least four accidents yet still can drive any car he pleases. Why? Because enough time has passed between each infraction that the points haven't hit the total for any loss of driving privileges. Also the fact that judges are very lenient and will usually let you plead down to a lesser infraction. Speed laws are rarely enforced and traffic frequently moves 10 to 20 MPH over posted limits. As a driver you probably know this. Finally, The roads themselves often don't lend themselves to cycling. Many roads are built only to quickly move cars about the city. Hence the reason two-way roads with two to three lanes in each direction are so common. Pedestrian safety is a second thought; bikes are not spared a thought. Personally, I would not risk my life by biking in Atlanta. This comes from a guy who cycles NYC without a second thought.

    tl;dr Can you buy a bike for your budget? Yes! Should you? I wouldn't! Don't flame me only stating my opinion. Try posting your question here http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl.../234-Southeast
    Matches my experience, living in GA (Duluth/Lawrenceville area) for three years. Foxworthy wasn't really kidding when he said (of highway driving there): "...merge is a PERSONAL CHALLENGE!"

    I remember seeing a newspaper article about a driver who'd gotten over 40 DWI's, license revoked for life, and was quoted BY THE PAPER (on the way to jail once again) as saying, "When I get out, I WILL keep driving." SMDH.................

  7. #7
    we be rollin' hybridbkrdr's Avatar
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    If you're looking for something new, $300 to $500 will only get you something like a GT Traffic 4.0, Jamis Coda Comp, Giant Escape City or a Trek 7.2 FX on sale, Marin Larkspur CS3...

    The reason I didn't list mountain bikes is for the price, usually mountain bikes come with suspension forks and at that price level, the shifters, derailleurs are usually cheaper. And some road bikes don't even start at $500.
    Feeling Good by David Burns

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone for good references.
    My daughter cannot ride so I will use a trailer for her.
    Based on suggestions, it is quite clear that I need to find a road bike on Craig list.
    And look for brands like Giant, Specialized, Trek.

    It's bizarre that in GA, DL is associated with your approved visa extension.
    But I have to live with it.
    I appreciate your concerns and agree that Atlanta is not so good with bike riders.
    But as I said, biking is the only option I got with me right now.

    Thanks again and I keep you posted with updates on my end.
    Sam

  9. #9
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    The last time I was in GA, I visited Performance Bikes.
    Looked like they have some nice stuff there and usually
    have sales.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    thats a Political Choice, within your state .. can you vote, and call/write your politicians ?..
    Whut? The guy is here on a work visa which is now expired and he's awaiting renewal. Last I checked, you need to be a citizen to vote.

  11. #11
    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    Matches my experience, living in GA (Duluth/Lawrenceville area) for three years. Foxworthy wasn't really kidding when he said (of highway driving there): "...merge is a PERSONAL CHALLENGE!"

    I remember seeing a newspaper article about a driver who'd gotten over 40 DWI's, license revoked for life, and was quoted BY THE PAPER (on the way to jail once again) as saying, "When I get out, I WILL keep driving." SMDH.................
    Ah yes, I worked at a place on the border of John's Creek and Duluth. I used to give one of the cleaning guys a ride home so He wouldn't have to cycle down 120. Granted he stuck to the sidewalk but I worried about him doing it. Had I know more about cycling then as I do now I would have bought him a reflective vest and some better lights. It's amazing to me how a person can get multiple DUI's and still not be banned from driving. Your first offence should get you a six month ban and an starter interlock for at least a decade.

  12. #12
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    Had I know more about cycling then as I do now I would have bought him a reflective vest and some better lights.
    Good ideas for the OP too. He needs lights, a couple of helmets, and two of those nylon pants straps are always good if you ride in street clothes.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sakuma47 View Post
    Thanks everyone for good references.
    My daughter cannot ride so I will use a trailer for her.
    Based on suggestions, it is quite clear that I need to find a road bike on Craig list.

    Sam
    A hybrid, with skinny slick tires would work also.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  14. #14
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Does anybody know where he could get a bicycle map of Atlanta? This would show the safest routes for the OP to take.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  15. #15
    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Does anybody know where he could get a bicycle map of Atlanta? This would show the safest routes for the OP to take.
    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Atlan...&z=11&lci=bike

  16. #16
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Well, that's google maps for bikes. It is somewhat helpful, but it only shows selected streets and trails that are good for cycling. This serves the purpose of finding a cool ride for fun and fitness, but is not so useful for actually planning a bicycle trip from Point A to Point B.

    What the OP needs is a map that shows the best possible routes in every part of the suburbs and city. In my area, a local bike club puts out such a map, which is available online and free at bike shops and libraries. I'm sure that a big city like Atlanta also has such a thing.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  17. #17
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    What the OP needs is a map that shows the best possible routes in every part of the suburbs and city. In my area, a local bike club puts out such a map, which is available online and free at bike shops and libraries. I'm sure that a big city like Atlanta also has such a thing.
    Not yet apparently, but they are working on it. And it is also possible that the OP actually lives in a suburb of Atlanta, that might not get covered.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Well, that's google maps for bikes. It is somewhat helpful, but it only shows selected streets and trails that are good for cycling. This serves the purpose of finding a cool ride for fun and fitness, but is not so useful for actually planning a bicycle trip from Point A to Point B.
    Umm actually it shows all the bike lanes at least in NYC. Have you actually used it? Cause it actually tells you the safest and most direct route how to get places and also gives you the option to take the most direct route. It actually gets you quite well from point a to b. I use it all the time for that purpose. Need to go to that coffee shop in the LES? Boom it takes me there and allows you to choose the route. Have actually ever used it? Do you even know what a Google is?

  19. #19
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    Umm actually it shows all the bike lanes at least in NYC. Have you actually used it? Cause it actually tells you the safest and most direct route how to get places and also gives you the option to take the most direct route. It actually gets you quite well from point a to b. I use it all the time for that purpose. Need to go to that coffee shop in the LES? Boom it takes me there and allows you to choose the route. Have actually ever used it? Do you even know what a Google is?
    I have used google maps. They can be very useful, like you say. Whenever possible, google seems to direct you on bike lanes and bike trails.

    I took another look at that google map of Atlanta. There are vast sections of the metro area that do not show bike trails or lanes of any kind on the google map. However, map users like the OP still need to cross those areas. When you ask for bicycle directions, Google suggests a route on the public roads. But you never know how they're going to route you when there is no bike infrastructure. Their algorithms probably refer to traffic counts in some cases--I don't really know. Maybe google computers do know the safest route from A to B, but I'm a little skeptical.

    A bike map that's compiled by actual cyclists is a very different thing. Actual cyclists know, for example, that two parallel roads--each with similar traffic counts--can present very different experiences for the map user. Google cannot understand this, and probably never will. A well researched bike map gives a lot of information that google just doesn't have access to, including the direct experience of cyclists. This is especially important in areas, like much of metro Atlanta, where there is no specific bicycle infrastructure.

    and that's why I was hoping we could come up with a real bike map for the OP.
    Last edited by Roody; 09-16-13 at 09:58 PM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    When you have a dui case filed on you you will not be able to travel or get an visa extension until you clear off all criminal records on you...

  21. #21
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    Go to Nashbar.com and get the Schwinn Sporterra Comp.

  22. #22
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by princy View Post
    When you have a dui case filed on you you will not be able to travel or get an visa extension until you clear off all criminal records on you...
    When did the OP mention a DUI?
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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