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Old 07-14-09, 07:08 AM   #1
bcbutler36
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Newbie!

Let me start off by saying this is my first post! I have been reading some of the threads and have found some great information.

My wife and I (and little girl) are looking to start bicycling. Just as a family to get out and enjoy mother nature and what God has blessed us with. Right now I have a mountain bike that I bought at one of the big box stores some time back. It works and will do me just fine for now. My wife does not currently own a bike and we are going to purchase a pull-behind cart for our daughter.

We really do not know where to even start at. What kind of bike? Where to just get back in the routine of riding a bike (Its been years since either one of us has rode)? So any and all help would be great!!

Thanks in advance.

Brandon
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Old 07-14-09, 08:07 AM   #2
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Head over to your local bike shop (LBS) or two or three and look thru and test ride the bikes in your budget. Sounds like you'll be looking at hybrids or flat bar road bikes. The shop can also provide the chariot/trailer. They should also be able to provide info on group rides (if you're interested) and bike safety classes.
Don't forget to buy a new helmet for each of you.
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Old 07-14-09, 09:19 AM   #3
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bcbutler: welcome to the forums!

I've had good luck with the used bike market in my area (and I live in a pretty rural part of the country). I started out on a $5 garage-sale Huffy before moving up to a $25 craigslist Trek. My wife's bike, my daughter's tag-a-long, and my other daughter's trailer also all came from craigslist. The two kids bikes we have both came off of freecycle.

The trick I've found with craigslist is to be persistent. Check it at least once every day and you'll find something before too long.

Really though, a bike is a bike is a bike, so go with what you can find and afford. The nicer name-brand bikes *are* nicer than the department store bikes -- they shift better, they hold up better. But don't hesitate to go out on your department store bike; it still has two wheels and it'll get you around.

Regardless of where you get your bike, it can be a good idea to take it in to your local bike shop and have them check it out. It may run you $40 or so, but you'll know that the brakes work and that the wheels are on right.


Riding with the family is tons of fun. My four-year-old has surprised me with how well she rides her bike. She has training wheels, but we regularly take a spin around our "block" (about 2.5 miles). It takes almost an hour to do, but we both have a great time!

Our city's fireworks this year were shot over the city beach. The city was charging for parking, and there's only one road in and out of the beach. My wife suggested we park close by and bike in -- my wife rode her bike while I pulled both kids in the trailer. It worked great! There was no charge and we bypassed all of the traffic, in and out in about five minutes!


Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your ride!
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Old 07-14-09, 09:28 AM   #4
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Ya, budget will be your deciding factor. Include in your budget things like helmet(s), other riding apparel and some tools.

Apparel could be gloves, shorts, shoes, sunglasses.

Tools could be pump, patch kit, allen wrenches, cone wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.

Don't buy everything at once since you are new and you don't know if you will stick with the riding. I'd suggest helmet(s), pump and patch kit to start with. Try on different helmets. Go for comfort. They are about the same in terms of protection but comfort will be key. There is not much more aggravating than a poorly fitting helmet when you are struggling up a hill. You might be able to find a cheap one for the short term until you decide that you want to bike consistently. You can get cheap helmets ($40 and under) but I have never liked their fit (I have 3 I am getting rid of now). I like the $100+ helmets that go on sale for $80 or less. You may find that certain manufacturers helmets fit you better than others.

A decent floor pump will be in the $20-$60 range. If you don't use them on the bike, it can be useful for sports balls and the like. A decent frame pump (that you can take with you on the bike) will be in the $15-$35 range. The best by most peoples account are the Top Peak Morph pumps (Road and Mini, ~$30). Get a patch kit and learn how to use it. The other option to a pump is CO2 kits. Your choice as to which option you choose. Any other problems after that will likely be drivetrain related (chain, derailleurs, cables, crank, etc.). You can pick up those skills or not.

Good luck.

Last edited by masiman; 07-14-09 at 08:03 PM. Reason: I can't spell
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Old 07-14-09, 01:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masiman View Post
Apparel could be gloves, shorts, shoes, sunglasses.
You forgot jersey. There's nothing more uncomfortable than riding in a soaking wet t-shirt.
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Old 07-14-09, 01:40 PM   #6
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Go to a LBS and let her test out bikes.

See how much being fitted will cost.

Helmets, water bottles, and tools to repair a flat, a U lock (Not cable locks, they can be cut in seconds with a wire cutter) and tire gauge are the only things you need to walk out with.

I recommend the Schwinn trailers found at Toys-R-Us or Target for a reliable and inexpensive tow behind trailer. They're around $200 dollars.

For $300 you can get THIS TRAILER, which is one of the best reviewed kid trailers at a reasonable price.

Fit is key. If you can't get comfortable regular riding won't happen. Butts always hurt, that takes a few weeks to get acclimated to a bike.
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Old 07-15-09, 07:13 AM   #7
bcbutler36
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Thanks for all your help. We found a Giant Mountain Bike on Craig's List for $40!! Has a little bit of surface rust, but everything seems to be in great shape! Its something to start with! Now, see if I can get a good deal on a kid trailer.
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Old 07-15-09, 07:30 AM   #8
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At 8, forget the trailer/cart and get a trailercycle. She may be too tall to sit in a trailer comfortably.

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Old 07-15-09, 07:47 AM   #9
bcbutler36
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Yea, we already decided that when she gets closer to 5, that we are going to get her one. Right now, she's only 3
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Old 07-16-09, 09:15 PM   #10
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Good site for getting started

Herer's an excellent site for anybody getting started. Not just about the bike, but lots of good information on clothing, gear, where to ride, from recreational to touring.

http://www.biketoledo.net
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Old 07-20-09, 09:08 PM   #11
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See my thread. I am in the same boat with our 2 year old

Thanks :D

The trailer is the Schwinn Spirit, we picked it up at our local big box store for 150 and the little guy loves it. we got the bikes from a friend that had them cluttering his garage for very little. we actually dropped them off at the local bike shop to get the brakes and cables swapped out. (total or $100 each for parts and labor) but it is worth having them give it a once over since we are hauling valuable cargo. our first real ride I ate the rear brakes trying to keep the trailer at a reasonable speed on the down hills.

be sure you are in decent shape its alot of work to get that trailer moving but once you get it going you hardly notice it unless climbing a very steep hill....

we have had our bikes for about 2 weeks and could not be happier. they are big box store bikes but have been well taken care of and other than sitting for 5 years had no issues with them... the gear cables had stretched and the brake pads were a little dry rotted. expect to swap the cables and brakes almost immediately. my rear cable had stretched far enough to be pretty much unusable in the first 2 days. then after a couple of good down hill rides at our local green ways the rear brakes were flaking off like deodorant.

just some expenses to concider based on my experiances.

our totals were:

mens bike $40
ladies bike $40
trailer $150
helmets about $50 for mine and hers on sale at local sporting goods store
(little man should not need a helmet in the trailer, the roll cage means he cannot touch the ground)

mens bike parts and labor for all cables and brakes to be replaced $100
ladies bike parts and labor for all cables and brakes to be replaced $100

Gatorade $$$$

Amount of fun we are having = priceless....

we love having picnics at the park with the trailer... there is lots of room in the back for storage.
it folds down to basically the size of the box 2' x 2' x 6 "

its a great little trailer for the money.

also it converts to a stroller if you want to go walk with it. (all parts included)
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Old 08-15-09, 05:26 PM   #12
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I'm fresh in the saddle after a ten year hiatus. I went to the local department store, bought a bike, helmet, lock, a few tools. total walk away price $145. rode 30K today, fantastic. it's not about the gear.
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Old 08-15-09, 09:20 PM   #13
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Lots of good advice here already, and I don't want to contradict any of it--but let me just add a couple of comments.
Most of my bikes (except the high-dollar Midlife Crisis Unit) have been bought used, and if I were looking for another one, I'd try that first. Unless you're a little knowledgeable, though, you can get burned. It's not hard to learn to give a bike the once-over (they're pretty simple), so being a novice isn't a reason NOT to buy used, but it's worth googling for a list of things to check.
A lot of people regard a hybrid as a compromise that doesn't do anything well, but I don't agree. They'll do EVERYTHING better than a single purpose bike will do all but ONE thing, and I recommend them for people who "just want to ride." If your wife's interests narrow after awhile, she can do a lot with a hybrid just by changing tires. I got back into cycling on a mountain bike after a long post-college layoff, and did many 50-75 mile rides on a cheap Bridgestone with road tires before I could afford a real road bike. Now I have an Atlantis, which is sort of hybridy, and I use it for everything from gravel roads to centuries with just a tire and wheel swap.
In any case, buy from a bike shop. I checked with a friend who owns one here in Reno, and the bike he recommends for situations like yours runs around $400-$450. He could do it cheaper, but he doesn't like the quality of bikes that cost much less. A good shop should have something in that range, and it should be fine for the kind of riding you described. If you get mega-serious later on, you can put fenders on it and have a rain bike.
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Old 08-16-09, 08:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
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.....A lot of people regard a hybrid as a compromise that doesn't do anything well, but I don't agree. They'll do EVERYTHING better than a single purpose bike will do all but ONE thing, and I recommend them for people who "just want to ride."....
I agree with what you said except for this part. Other bikes do more than just one thing better than a hybrid. For example, a touring bike will climb better, carry racks better and let you go faster than a hybrid.

Whether it is a hybrid, road bike, mountain bike, recumbent, unicycle or whatever, it does not matter as long as the rider is comfortable and likes the bike.
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