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  1. #1
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    brand new to biking - need bike shopping advice

    I live in Orlando, Fl and am new to biking. I'm shopping for a bike to putt around town on with my 2 year old...to the park, farmer's market and our local paved trails. No hills around this flatland, but cobblestone streets in our neighborhood. I'm 4'11" and about 100 lbs. so I need something small. I think I have narrowed it down to a comfort bike, but I have looked at so many my head is spinning. Right now the Comfort Suede DX is #1 on the list...have also looked at a Raleigh Venture, Giant Sedona and a KHS something or other...liek what I have read about the Diamondback Serene or Serene Citi but can't seem to find one in an XS to try out. Any advice??

    Also, the Suede DX has front shocks, and more speeds...the regular Suede is 7 speed without front shocks. If you think that's a good choice is it worth the extra cash for the DX?

    THANKS!! Can't wait to ride!

  2. #2
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    I would go with the plain Suede, even comes with chain guard.
    Test ride the bikes you're looking to buy to see what's comfy for you.
    You should also think about maybe getting a used bike from a local Bike Coop,
    like Bikes not Bombs in Boston or Recycle a Bicycle in New York.

  3. #3
    smitten by саша pwdeegan's Avatar
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    you won't need front shocks, but the extra speeds will help, especially with the lower gears. since you're getting back into bicycling, those low gears will be your friends---especially if you're porting your 2-year old and any additional weight (e.g., goodies from the farmer's market).

    and you're on the right track for making sure the bike is sized correctly for you (don't be cowed into getting a bigger frame just because it's in stock). if you have to wait for a bike order, it will be worth it.

    the Giant Sedona is good in that it has an impressive gear range and a little front shock (the front shock, while not being expressly useful, will smooth out big bumps a little more [like riding off of a curb]; nearly all of the regular bumps will be absorbed by the nice wide front tire). unless the lay of your land if totally flat, i'd go with more than 7-speeds.
    No slogans, just 14 facts.

  4. #4
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    Great advice from both, thanks. Buying used was my plan all along but I've been scouring the internet and local shops for several weeks and can't seem to find a decent small one that will accept a child seat. Have a close-out Suede DX on order so I can try it out...it will be in next week and there's a refurb bike shop nearby so I'm going to check there again in the meantime...and I'm checking Craig's list and classifieds daily.

    The other issue I have is my wrists...when riding my sister's mountain bike in MA this summer my wrists would start to ache after the first hour or so. That's why I figured the comfort bike might be the right choice (am I on track with this?)

    I think I'll go back to a couple of the other shops and see if they can order a Sedona and Serene in the right size so I can actually try them.

    I had no idea it would be this tough but I want to make a smart choice. Thanks again!

  5. #5
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    jozzi, Your wrists hurting may have more to do with how your sister's bike is set up than on the type of bicycle.

    Take a look at the step through (girl's bike) Trek Skye. It's a comfort bike with a nod towards mountain bikes, like the Giant. My sister recently bought one and it's excellant for use as you describe. It is able to have a rack mounted on the rear for a child's seat.

    Brad

  6. #6
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I don't have any experience with these types of bikes. However, I would suggest you pick a bike by a major manufacturer from a bike shop - not a department store or Sports Authority type of place. Second, go for the lightest bike you can. Having a light bike rather than heavy will make cycling much easier and more enjoyable. Third, go for good quality components - especially the brakes and derailleurs. Have fun!

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    update

    I've got the Giant Suede now...LBS will let me bring it back within 30 days. Rides comfortable but it feels a little big on me. Also a little hard to pedal up hills (but that's more likely because I need to get my butt in shape!) Got a flat on the cobblestone streets our second ride and had to walk it (and the boy) home...bummer! But the little dude LOVES LOVES LOVES it! Had him out for 2.5 hours yesterday and he fell asleep in the seat the last ten minutes on the way home.

    I am going to try the Trek Skye too...so thanks for the advice!

  8. #8
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Get in touch with your local Bike cooperative: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Audobo...5186354?ref=mf

    They will give you (free)tips on bike repair and provide you with local biking resources like these:

    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/community-partners/

  9. #9
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
    Get in touch with your local Bike cooperative: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Audobo...5186354?ref=mf

    They will give you (free)tips on bike repair and provide you with local biking resources like these:

    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/community-partners/
    Absolutely. Or even go into the bike shop and ask them. At the least learn how to fix a flat.

    It isn't hard. Even if you are totally inept you can do it in 10 minutes. Sooner or later that will turn a nasty 2 hour walk home into a fun last 45 minutes of your ride.

    One trick I think I can describe. Always have your tires put on so the label lines up withthe valve stem. That way when yuo get a flat once yuo get the tube off you can reinflate it and find the leak. Since the valve stem was lined up with the label you can line it back up and then inspect your tire carefully whre teh flat occured. It is a bummer to change out a tube and flat right away inhte same spot because there wa still something in the tire.

  10. #10
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    More great info - thanks! Enjoying the bike so far and riding almost daily but still not sure it's the best fit for me. Going back to the shop after this weeks holiday to talk about it. Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. #11
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    As for flats, cough up the bucks and get kevlar belted or puncture resistant tires. So you won't have to walk home with a flat.

  12. #12
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    When you have the money, get some good-quality tires. I seldom get flats, and I ride a lot of miles. Your bike shop can recommend some good ones. Go for recreational tires with flat protection, rather than the most expensive racing tires. They're built for lightness and handling more than flat protection.

    I recommend against a product like Slime. It may work, but I think it makes the tires much heavier, and might throw the balance out of whack. This is only a gut feeling. I've always stayed away from anything like that, so I have no experience to draw from.

  13. #13
    smitten by саша pwdeegan's Avatar
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    ask for Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (+1 on skipping Slime). the Marathon Plus tires are pretty much the best tire for bomb-proof city riding. check the Commuter thread if you don't believe me.

    super excellent that your kid likes the rides with you. i know it saved my sanity to be able to get outside in a healthy manner and still have my kid take a long nap (or play in a park, or both).
    No slogans, just 14 facts.

  14. #14
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    Simple way to tell if the frame is too large: Adjust the height of the seat to its lowest position (in the part of the frame where the seatpost is inserted) and see if your leg is bent at the knee when the crank arms are in line with (parallel to) that part of the frame. If your leg is completely extended and not bent at all, then the frame is too large. If it is OK, reposition the seat so that when you sit on the saddle and the crank arms are in line with the frame, your knee is just barely bent. That setting gives you the maximum return for the effort you put in pedaling the bike. I see bike riders who do not have a clue as to the proper setting for the seat. If the seat is too high, you will wag from side to side as you pedal down the road. If too low, you can not get the most our of your pedal stroke.

  15. #15
    living with metabolic r8 boneshake's Avatar
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    Just read through this thread. You're getting awesome advice, Jozzi. Glad you and the kid are having fun.
    you can value democracy and at the same time think the people are stupid and need the government to tell them what they should hear or what to think...Voters are manipulable subjects, kinda like lab rats...You can respect people and understand that they're contemptible. There's no mishap of logic there...Authoritarian governments exist for the people too.
    - Cue

  16. #16
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    New to forum + 180 dgree from Jozzi. I am 6'/300+/ semi active(retired LEO/Hunter/Hobbie Farmer) and my Doc is saying-Bike! I am rural, lots of paved roads, off road if I want. Went to Sports Authority today and in less than a minute saw I need advise from those who know. (Our rural area is a hot area for groups of city-bound riders, but they are the 20+ mile types. I want to ride around home (2-6 miles) on paved county roads with maybe a track on the side. Any clues are gold to me, Thanks

  17. #17
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubbinator View Post
    New to forum + 180 dgree from Jozzi. I am 6'/300+/ semi active(retired LEO/Hunter/Hobbie Farmer) and my Doc is saying-Bike! I am rural, lots of paved roads, off road if I want. Went to Sports Authority today and in less than a minute saw I need advise from those who know. (Our rural area is a hot area for groups of city-bound riders, but they are the 20+ mile types. I want to ride around home (2-6 miles) on paved county roads with maybe a track on the side. Any clues are gold to me, Thanks
    Get in touch with your local Bike COOP: http://bicicoop.org/
    They'll give you plenty of information that applies to your area.
    For the bike, stopby some local bike shops and ask to test ride
    some bikes that they recommend for you. Good luck!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Scrabbler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubbinator View Post
    New to forum + 180 dgree from Jozzi. I am 6'/300+/ semi active(retired LEO/Hunter/Hobbie Farmer) and my Doc is saying-Bike! I am rural, lots of paved roads, off road if I want. Went to Sports Authority today and in less than a minute saw I need advise from those who know. (Our rural area is a hot area for groups of city-bound riders, but they are the 20+ mile types. I want to ride around home (2-6 miles) on paved county roads with maybe a track on the side. Any clues are gold to me, Thanks
    Get a bike with the biggest tires, the most spokes, and an extended warranty.

  19. #19
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    you guys rock!

    Just another note to thank everyone for feedback. We've been traveling the northeast visiting family for the past month and I'm finally taking some time to catch up on email, etc. We are currently piled high in powder in PA...had planned on flying back to FL today but everything is sold out or cancelled. My husband is an airline pilot so we fly standby and it's not easy when the flights are all backed up. Will be here a few more days it seems. I am SO anxious to get home to the perfect biking weather!!! I'm done with the snow! I will definitely be in the market for better tires when we get back so thank you for the advice once again. Wouldn't be so bad walking home with a flat if I didn't have an extra 30 pounds on the back. And he positvely hates when he is on and I am off the bike... "Mama, get on, get on you bike, go fast!!" I'm in trouble with this one...

  20. #20
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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