I am new here and this is my first post. I am 33, overweight, unfit and suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. I am now on better medication and find that my joints are more mobile now than they have been for the past 12 years. However, weight has piled on due to lack of exercise during that time. I once enjoyed riding and would like to do it again. I am starting by getting on a recumbent style stationary bike. I have no muscles and need to start out slowly. My aim is to use the stationary bike for the next couple of months but then to get a Townie. I feel that it will give me a goal to look forward to.
The Townie bikes allow you to put your feet down when you stop which was always a concern for me and is especially now due to weak knees. Oh, my arthritis is everywhere but has mostly been in my knees and ankles, and is more recently in my hands.
Anyway, I have decided that I like the Townie bikes but don't know which one.
The 3 speed offers a foot break which I use to use years ago and felt more comfortable with than hand breaks, and now I have arthritis in my hands, so I am greatly considering it for that reason.
Then there is a 8 speed with or without balloon tyres. Am I correct in assuming that this would make riding easier considering my weak knees and wasted muscles? The balloon 8 model has Shimano Nexave Roller Brakes...can I ask what they are? Are they hand or foot controlled and are they easier on the hands than V-brakes?
Yes, I will definitely have to take some Townies on a test ride soon. I have not checked if the LBS has them yet. I know that they are sold in Melbourne though, about an hour away. Maybe it sounds weird, but I am trying to hold off the test ride for a bit longer. I want to use the excercise bike more first and feel just a bit fitter. Partly, this is to minimize feeling embarrassed if I was to test ride and tire out too quickly and partly because it would tempt me to purchase sooner rather than later. I want to increase my fitness more before I buy to be sure that I don't just buy the bike and then decide that it's too much effort and quit. If I can increase my fitness first then I feel like I am proving to myself that I am going to use the bike and not waste my money. I'm aiming for May or June (Mother's Day or birthday).
The area immediately surrounding me, where I would be riding initially, is mostly flat. However, if I was to ride for longer distances eventually, we have a beautiful nature park nearby that is hilly. That would be more of a 10km ride, still a long way off for me. If I was aiming to ride to that hilly area one day, would I be better off getting the 8 speed straight up? I see a number of people seem to get the 21 speed. Should I consider that? I don't think that I would use all of the gears, but would get comfortable with a few and use them only.
For a slow, comfortable ride, would I be better off with the balloon tyres or doesn't it matter?
If it's the one I'm thinking of, that balloner model comes with the Schwalbe Fat Frank tyres, which are supposed to be very cool from a durability and comfort perspective. Also, the color is really sharp. I own a 3 speed, love it, but I would go with the 8 speed, by the way.
Yes, they have those tyres you mentioned. The ladies Townies with balloon tyres look like they would really stand out. I showed my mother the on-line pictures and she told me that the balloon models looked 'geeky'.....but geeky is me through and through. lol
There are 3 Townies with the balloon tyres, the 3 speed one is very bright in color...orange. Then the 8 speed one is green and the 9 speed one is blue.
O.k....I think I have one vote down for the 8 speed balloon model.
Do you ride a lot? Did you find yourself wishing for more gears?
Considering we don't know anything about the area you would be riding in, or just how out of shape you are... I think the 8-speed is a much safer bet. You're much more likely to wind up with a gear ratio that you're happy about.
As far as brakes... v-brakes require very little hand strength to operate, and I think would be easier for you to use than the roller brake, though either should be manageable.
Thanks Jeff, The more that I think about it, the more gears I am considering. I am now considering either the 8 speed or 21 speed. It is fairly flat around here but can get windy....also consider that I am very very out of shape.