Getting back into biking with the family
I am new to this forum!
Looking for a bike for me (mom) and my 3 daughters.
When visiting SF, CA - we rented bikes last summer and I uncovered my daughters are interested and ready for real bikes (hand breaks, gears, etc) as opposed to the Walmart basic bikes we got them years ago.
We have been going on Rail Trails and recreational neighborhood rides. We just invested in a bike rack and am looking forward to biking regularly next year.
I am requesting advice on shopping for bikes!
mom (me) - I am all about the "comfort" and prefer upright position due to cervical oestoarthritis.
The Giant Cypress has caught my eye. Does this fit the bill? What are other options to consider?
12 year old - ready for an adult size - figuring I would get her whatever I ended up with for myself
10 year old twins - still growing, small and petite. Considering used bikes to hold them over for a couple years - and then get adult size models.
Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.
Here is a picture of the bike that I bought recently (Breezer Uptown EX City Bike Low Step), which I consider to be a great all-around recreation/commuting/utility bike for me (51-year-old dad), my wife, and my daughter (15). It has all the the features I think are important for an all-purpose bike: step-through frame, fenders, rack, chainguard, and 8 speeds:
If you have any bike shops near you,find out if they are good. This means that they explain things to newbies such as yourself and are willing to take time to find you the right bikes. Ideally, they should find out about the circumstances in which you ride as a family, should be familiar with the trails you use and show why any bikes they suggest fit your particular needs.
If they are impatient because you're not knowledgeable or because you're a woman (not unkown, alas), find another one.
As for bikes, especially for growing youngsters, try not to get ones they'll "grow into". If they're too big at the start, they won't enjoy riding as much as they otherwise would. One indication that the latter's the case is that they can only just touch the ground with the saddle right down and the handlebars are well above sadddle height. Such bikes also tend to be too long, leading to the riders having to stretch to reach the bars - which ain't good for young backs, let alone easy bike control.
It's not my budget, so I can't give specific answers, particularly from the UK. However, a UK brand which is universally regarded as the best value and best child-design centred has now opened a US mail order branch in Portland. they may be more than you are prepared to spend, but I can say that, from UK experience, they hold their value extraordinarily well**, so the net annual cost is less than it seems.
Their webiste is http://www.islabikes.com/us/how_to_buy.html and contains usefull info on how to size up the most suitable model.
There is a useful US published book called Bicycling with Children by Trudy Bell - www.mountaineersbooks.org for details if it's still in print.
** If you have time to do the research, check prices on Ebay and Craigslist and compare them with the cost of the models listed when new. That will give you a good idea of their quality.
Finally, can you find out if there are any other cycling families near you? A good bike shop should be able to help, either from knowing them directly, or by putting an ad in their window.
Good luck and welcome to our world.
You will get a lot more bang for the buck from a used bike. The lighter the bike and the better the components, the more likely you are to stay with cycling because it is more fun to ride a good bike than a WalMart special. Try contacting a local bike club (Just google on "bike clubs in your town" to ask for help in finding a used bike. Make sure the person helping you is a tourist cyclist not a racer. The two have vastly different ideas of what constitutes a good bike. You should be more into finding a road or touring bike rather than one intended for racers. I have found quite a few older, inexpensive good bikes in places like Goodwill but you need to be able to separate the gems from the garbage. That's not always easy for someone who is newly returned to cycling.
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