Just bought my first bike since the early 90's. I'm in my 30's now, and looking for a good way to get into shape. Also, I live in the city, my car's garage is over a half mile away, and I recently moved to brooklyn which seems to be pretty bike friendly.
I bought a used single speed. It is a converted mid-80's Bianchi Italian made frame with a hodgepodge of components. Seems pretty light, and I like the look.
I have been reading this forum, and now I have a bunch of questions:
- when I finally get in shape, will the gradual hills you find in the city get much easier? Or should I consider converting to a 3 speed hub? I want to keep it as simple as possible, but how functional are these single speed bikes?
- I got a bunch of flat tires the first day I had the bike (no joke, we blew 5 tubes between me riding (3) and the store pinching the tube (2)). So I spent the money on some kevlar puncture proof tires ($45 per). Should I also line the tires with Mr. Tuffy, or would that be overkill?
- wheels. My wheels are a little wobbly. Size 700c. What are some good sugestions for wheels? How much should be spending on wheels? I bought a new rear wheel, but returned it as I am still debating the 3 speed hub approach and one of the flats was an inner tube hole right by the valve so I felt bad karma from that wheel.
- crank/chain. I had the bike shop put a new chain on, as the guy who sold me the bike said the old chain was the wrong size. Now I get a strange cranking sound when I pedal (not when the bike is upside and I generate force, but when I am riding and need to generate momentum). Is this natural, and will eventually work itself out? The guys at the bike shop seem to be in denial that it is happening as it doesn't make the noise when on the stand, but it is loud and I don't hear other people's bikes making the nose. Perhaps it is the crank/chainlink that needs replacing? The current crank is an older sugino crank (5-7 years old). Would that be old enough for replacing? Perhaps it is the freewheel hub making the noise?
- any other tips/advice/suggestions? I have some sweet lights, an underseat pouch, I'm going to ride with a helmet, a bicycle street map, carrying a spare tube and pump, chain lock (wrapped around the bar right now, any other suggestions?), tips for riding and advice.
- racks, baskets, way to carry things. I'm thinking about putting on a rear basket. The bike shop had them, but they were like $50 and that's not including buying the rear bike rack to mount the basket to. How do I go about this? I have a small dog, and would love to throw his carry bag in the rear basket to get him to the dogpark without the hassle of the 20 minute walk to get to the park.
Thanks for the help. I'm a beginner, so don't be afraid to dumb it down for me. I've tried reading Sheldon Brown's website, but that's a bit too complex for me right now.