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Old 06-24-06, 02:10 AM   #1
GoldenMaia
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Very new newbie

Recently my husband and I moved--and now we are very close to miles and miles of bike trails in a very bike friendly city. My husband loves biking and he has me interested in joining him so we can spend out evenings out of the house instead of staring at the TV. However, I haven't had a bike since that 10-speed over 20 years ago. I am so embarassed going into bike shops. I don't look like the type of person who should be on one of those little seats.

Anyway, my question is--I'm 4'10, overweight and I want to bike around trails that may or may not be 'off road' types. Should I just shop on line to save my pride (or at Target ha!) and--what's a starting point for my search? I feel rather overwhelmed.
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Old 06-24-06, 04:28 AM   #2
DiRt DeViL
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First of all, you have taken the first step and that is to make a question here regarding what bike to get.

You didn't mentioned what kind of trails are available, dirt or paved. Depending on that will be the bikes that will be recommended. You mentioned that you're 4'10" and overweight, based on that I would recommend a mountain bike or a hybrid, why you may ask? Because the frame is more resistant and have suspension forks to make the ride a bit softer. You should fit nicelly on a XS (13") frame.

Determine the budget for the bike(s) and visit a shop, don't be affraid to make lots of questions and whatever you do avoid department store bikes. I work on a shop that sells the Trek and Cannondale family of products and based on your comments I would recomment a Trek/Gary Fisher Hybrid, Navigator or a mountain bike.

Navigator
http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/subc...?c=4&s=18&f=27

Hybrid
http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/subc...?c=4&s=16&f=25

Mountainbike
http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/subc...?c=2&s=11&f=19

Dual Sport
http://www.fisherbikes.com/bikes/ser...ries=dualsport

City Path
http://www.fisherbikes.com/bikes/ser...eries=citypath

Mountainbike
http://www.fisherbikes.com/bikes/bik...bike=Marlin_GS

Don't be nervous and go to a shop, take a look, tell the sales person what you want to do and let him show you what they have, then pick the right one for you.
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Old 06-24-06, 05:08 AM   #3
MichaelW
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You need to find a good bike shop that caters for non athletic riders. Its your money and they want it so they should treat you properly.

The overweight aspect does not really impinge on bike selection, all bikes are going to be strong enough. You do need one which is small enough to ride comfortably, a good shop will help you select and fit a bike. They should also check the assembly of the bike, fit any accessories and upgrades you select and provide after sales service such as a tuneup after a few weeks use.

Avoid discount $99 junk bikes. Go for a respected brand and start with a budget of at least $200. At the entry level end, a little more money buys a lot more bike. You will have to budget for a few extras inc helmet, gloves, puncture kit, waterbottle etc. You can use these accessories for negotiation rather than cash discount.
As for the style of bike, small riders are better served by small wheels, in your case stick to 26" MTB size wheels. MTB or "comfort" style bikes are fine for riding trails.
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Old 06-24-06, 06:31 AM   #4
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+1 on the shop. Depending on your budget, your husband may want to look at the used market. Craigslist is active in most large cities (www.craigslist.com).

Since you have so many valid questions and concerns I would avoid the discounters and internet sales.

Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a fun filled activity for you. In a few years you may find yourself deciding you want a different kind of bike as you come to understand your riding needs. You all may even decide that you want to try a tandem.

Good Luck!
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Old 06-24-06, 09:44 AM   #5
GoldenMaia
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re: Trail Types

Thank you for the feedback re: my question on bikes. I imagine the trail types that I will tackle when I first get my bike will be much different from what I ride a year from now. We are in Santa Rosa and very close to Howarth park which has mostly paved trails but the two other parks nearby have various types/levels of dirt trails that I'd like to brave when I'm more comfortable/confident.

Currently I have a budget of $500-$700 for a bike. Funds for my helmet/gloves/whatever are not counted into that price. The bikes that I have looked at so far (just 'looked' at the store mind you.....) are the Marin Pioneer Trail (more mountain bike) and the Cannondale Adventure 400 (not sure if this will be good for 'off road' type stuff). Of course I looked at these bikes a few weeks ago when I was compairing them to the $150 specials at X-mart and I have since upped my budget a bit. I'd just like to get a better feel for what I'm looking for so I can ask some questions about performance when I go in instead of being suckered in by a name/style.
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Old 06-24-06, 10:36 AM   #6
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That is an excellent price range for a bike. You may even be able to do something for 300-500 as your first bike with the idea that if you like it you can upgrade in a year or two or three and have a much better idea of what you want.

I have had a number of helmets over the years and always gave them cursory looks before buying. I finally spent some bucks and got a super comfortable, super stable helmet. It doesn't slide around and it fits great everywhere. Try on all the helmets and get one that fits your budget but, above all that is comfortable.
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