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New to biking with a freebee bike I like.

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New to biking with a freebee bike I like.

Old 07-24-11, 02:21 PM
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Minor
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New to biking with a freebee bike I like.

Hey, just going to copypasta this from my intro thread...

Hey there, figured I'd make a thread here too...

I'm 29, pretty active, and have recently decided that I want to get back on a bike for various reasons (just got my son a new bike, another way to get out and enjoy the weather, gets me out from behind the wheel). Thing is, I haven't read a bike since I was a kid.

My uncle just gave me his (late 80's?) Schwinn Impact. It has a flat back tire, but beside that, he says it's ready to ride. I'd like to get it into riding condition, maybe take it in for a tune up, but I was looking around the intertubes and found this...



...which has inspired me. That's basically the same bike, just in mint condition with a couple of accessories. I want my bike like that.

Can anyone give me some info on where to start, first off, how to get it back on the road, and maybe where to go from there?

... this is mine

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Old 07-24-11, 04:29 PM
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It's like the Nike ad "Just do it!". Get the bike working, get on it and ride. Start on easy rides within your ability, and try to ride 3 times a week with two short rides weekdays, and a longer ride stretching your limit weekends. There's no reason to kill yourself, just try to broaden the range, or ride a bit faster, or go farther on hills before the burn in your thighs.

If you just keep it up, you'll improve naturally. I also like to mix up long rides at moderate speed to increase endurance, with shorter faster or hillier rides to improve power. There are lots of scientific and more general training regimens available on the internet, and you can adapt them to your tastes and local conditions. But In over 40 years of riding, I've never ridden to train. I ride for enjoyment, and the training happens as a fringe benefit (I don't compete).

You may want improve faster and can train for it, but don't make it work. If you enjoy riding you'll stay with it, if it becomes a chore you'll tire of it.
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Old 07-24-11, 05:41 PM
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Get a new rear tube, more like 2 so you'll have a spare, for $5 ea (and probably a pump). Un-flatten the rear. Get on the saddle and start turning the pedals. Repeat.
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Old 07-24-11, 07:24 PM
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If you plan to spend most of your time on the road, you'll do yourself a favor by springing for some street-tread tires instead of those knobbies. They will not only be rather squirmy on the road but they'll wear rapidly.
If you keep an eye on the Nashbar ads, they often have tires on sale for around 10 bucks apiece. The thumb-shifters are likely functional if not handy; you may be able to pick up a pair of low-end grip shifters that will make life a bit easier.
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Old 07-24-11, 08:23 PM
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You got that for free? Awesome! It's a cool bike, I'd ride it. But then I like the older stuff.

Anyway, I'd say the #1 thing you should do is make sure your saddle is adjusted high enough. So many newbies (myself included) start out riding with the saddle much too low. Keep raising it up. When it gets too high, you'll know. Then lower it back to a comfortable level. The #2 thing you should do is ride as much or as little as you want, as long as you have fun!

+1 on the tire recommendations, if you get a chance to swap them out.
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Old 07-24-11, 08:40 PM
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Doing the tires tomorrow. You guys rock!
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Old 07-24-11, 08:48 PM
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Clean and lube the chain, check your brakes. Same stuff I would do with a new car.
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Old 07-24-11, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
If you plan to spend most of your time on the road, you'll do yourself a favor by springing for some street-tread tires instead of those knobbies. They will not only be rather squirmy on the road but they'll wear rapidly.
+1 on the smooth tires, id also recommend buying a blinky light for the rear. ride defensively in traffic, most motorists dont look for cyclist. nothing will ruin your riding expierence more than getting hit by a car.
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Old 07-24-11, 11:44 PM
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Free bike? And one that fits what you want to do? Congrats and ride the **** out of it!

Just adding a few thoughts to what the more experienced folks have already mentioned:

  • Make sure the frame is a fit for you. It's not comfortable to be a big guy on a little frame or vice versa. And make sure your saddle and handlebars are adjusted correctly.
  • You've got braze-ons (threaded eyelets) for attaching racks, panniers (the bags shown in the first pic), and other stuff. And the bike looks like it has long chain stays, which is important for rear panniers so you don't kick them with your heel as you pedal. (Notice the space between the seat tube and back wheel.) If you're interested in light touring, this bike looks like a pretty good entry-level pack mule -- especially considering the price!
  • Like the guys said, get road tires if you're going to be spending your time on pavement. Consider narrower sizes to reduce rolling resistance. It'll take less effort to go faster.
  • Put together a small emergency kit for flat tires and roadside repairs: Spare tube and/or patch kit, tire levers, multi-tool, and a pump or CO2 inflator. There are plenty of bags/attachments to carry these -- I keep a small saddle bag on my road bike. 'Tis better to carry around a few extra items than to walk a bike home from 10 miles away.
  • Basic mechanical check: lube the chain, check the brakes, make sure the shifters are functioning, check for play where there are bearings (cranks, headset, etc.), check for loose fasteners on critical parts like the stem/handlebars, etc.
  • Know how you're legally supposed to ride. In most states, bikes are expected to follow most of the same traffic laws cars do.
  • If you value your melon like I value mine, I'd suggest wearing a helmet.
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