New member & beginner here. Please be patient with me. At the age of 44, I'd like to get back to biking. I only did very little recreational biking as a teenager and know very little about bikes and biking in general. But I've learned some basics recently.
My questions are these -
1) I'd like to get a hybrid bike (for the upright position b/c I'd like enjoy the scenery a little bit while biking) and I understand hybrids are not built for long distance rides. Maybe 5-10 miles for me. There are so many choices. Can somebody suggest 2-3 to me for consideration? My price range is about $350 - $400 (I know it is not a lot for a good bike.) I like lighter bikes if possible.
2) I don't have a garage but only a tool shed. Would that be okay to keep the bike in there for the winter (I live in NJ and it does snow in winter time.)
3) Does anybody know a good bike shop in central jersey? Since I am a newbie, I figure I should stick with a LBS.
4) If I want to go with used bikes, would the LBS my best bets. (I browsed through craigslists but it seems very time consuming going that route.)
5) Last one, I promise, any good trails to ride bikes over the weekend in central jersey?
Welcome, just get you started, I read you and I comprehend.. www.jamisbikes.com also www.bianchiusa.com OK, these are my favs. also check Trek , Specialized, Fuji, any and every name. Jamis is an easy site, a virtual tutorial on bikes, check all the catagories; Road, comfort, hybrid.cross training.. all these, other genres too. Bianchi .. look at the 2009 models, the 2010s are out but only the racers so far, the 09s are still for sale all over. CK the sites for imfo. the brand your local boke shop (LBS) will have one of these brands. Trek & Giant have complex sites but good bikes.
Ill recommend a few. 350-400 is tight, $500 opens more options! But here goes:
Specialized Sirrus. I have one, its comfy and PERFECT for 5-10 miles, or longer.
Trek 7100 might actually make your current budget. Has a suspension fork and a more upright position, My girlfriend has one and 10 miles is very comfy for her.
Trek FX7.2 might get in your range or a little higher. Similar to the Sirrus, kind of a flat handled road bike with more of mountain gearing, to get up hills easier.
Jamis Coda. $550ish, steel frame good components for price. A bit more than you want to spend, but they look nice.
There are many many others. I am most familiar with trek and specialized, my fav dealer sells those. I would look for 8 or 9 speed bikes, more parts available. Go to a bike shop or two or three. Try what they have in stock. Find a bike that fits your needs and wants. 5-10 miles is comfortable on most hybrids, so you just have to find what you like. Even color sometimes plays a part in selection
My story is similar to yours and I bought a Giant Sedona a year ago. Nice bike for the price, somewhere around $325- $350 if I remember correctly. My experiences have been with Northern New Jersey shops and am not familiar with any Central Jersey shops. The Giant website should be able to direct you to a local dealer.
You will find plenty of hybrids in the sub $500 range. Ride as many as you can and buy the one that is most comfortable to you. IMHO, in that price range, there isn't much quality difference and I am sure you will find a bike that you will like and that will serve you well.