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Please, help me find two bikes to purchase for my parents! (Dad's 69, Mom's 56)

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Please, help me find two bikes to purchase for my parents! (Dad's 69, Mom's 56)

Old 05-14-15, 03:40 PM
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EmuzMan
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Please, help me find two bikes to purchase for my parents! (Dad's 69, Mom's 56)

My parents have been tossing around the idea of getting bikes for a few years. Well, now they're serious about it and to help ease the stress on them, I volunteered to do the researching/shopping for them. I really want them to enjoy riding. I've recently discovered how rewarding the riding experience can be and it makes me happy to think about them sharing the experience with each other (not to mention staying active).

Budget: $150 per bike
Main usage: Concrete paths.. a couple miles at a time. Little-to-no off-roading or extreme physical activity.
Father: 69yrs, 6'0", ~195lbs. Used to play adult-league softball until about 8 years ago. He put on some weight, had a few health issues, but thanks to some serious dedication, he got back into good shape. So he's got some will!
Mother: 56yrs, 5'8", ~185lbs. She's quite a bit younger, but hasn't been very active for the last decade or so. But knowing her, she'll really enjoy the tranquility and peacefulness of riding, especially along with my dad. A complex, 35-gear bike probably wouldn't suit her very well.

I don't want them to pay $400 for a bike that they aren't willing to take care of. They're not careless, but they're definitely not extreme bikers. I think the last time either of them rode was 5-10 years ago together on a tandem bike.

However, they are good for each other and I believe that they will keep each other active. So I don't want a crappy bike to get in the way of their will to ride.

So, with all of that said, how about some recommendations? I'm here to answer any inquiries about them. Thanks, wise ones!
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Old 05-14-15, 04:45 PM
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At $150 each it sort of limits choices.
A $100 bill is the same value as $1 bill 30 years ago . . .
Maybe a used tandem and a bit larger budget?
We are in our 80s and still regularly ride TWOgether . . .
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Old 05-14-15, 04:47 PM
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Take a look a look at the TREK 7.2 or the Specialized Sirrus. Over your budget, but well made starter bikes. Sadly, you won't get much of a bike for $150. I've worked on several WalMart bikes for folks, and you really get what you pay for at the 100-$500 price point.
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Old 05-14-15, 05:16 PM
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Well.... 150 says 'used' around here. LOL That said, I have this bike, but mine is a 7 speed. I bought it new. I didn't have time to surf and play the CL game!

Sanctuary Womens - Cruisers - Bikes | Schwinn Bicycles

I rode it every day to work and back all winter. The ONLY problem I ever had with it was that the derailleur kept shifting odd. Other than that, the bike is great. Comfortable and easy to ride on streets, rougher sidewalks and nice MUPS (and in snow, LOL).

So, get single speed cruisers. I see lots of older folks on these every year. The Sanctuary, the one I have; its pretty much like the old 50s era bikes still around. A lot of the parts look the same. Probably why the cruisers are so popular.
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Old 05-14-15, 05:49 PM
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I would use craigslist and find some good, used bikes. New bikes from the big box stores are pure crap. Sometimes you can search craigslist and search "His and hers" and find some gently used bikes like these...........

https://cleveland.craigslist.org/bik/5021526254.html

https://cleveland.craigslist.org/bik/4974439690.html

https://cleveland.craigslist.org/bik/5021843484.html

For the right price, you can clean up older bikes, replace cables, tires, tubes, etc and still be in your budget.
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Old 05-14-15, 07:45 PM
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https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/...995258502.html

How's this offer look? I don't want my parents to have to do any major tune-ups (or any at all, ideally). I'm 2000 miles away or I'd physically help out myself. I have a brother in the area that could follow instructions if necessary but really I'm looking for a few that are ready to ride.

Here's the "his and hers" search results on my local craigslist. I'd greatly appreciate some trained eyes taking a glance at the offers and possibly pointing me in the right direction.
https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/...y=his+and+hers

Thank you deeply for the help so far, guys/gals!
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Old 05-14-15, 08:27 PM
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The first link, those bikes might need some work and look dirty as hell. These look better and might need less..........

1974 SCHWINN His & Hers Green Varsity's 27"

Vintage HIS and HERS bikes for sale!!!

pair of his and hers bicycles

2 Adult Shwinn CRUISERS
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Old 05-14-15, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by EmuzMan View Post
My parents have been tossing around the idea of getting bikes for a few years. Well, now they're serious about it and to help ease the stress on them, I volunteered to do the researching/shopping for them......

Main usage: Concrete paths.. a couple miles at a time. Little-to-no off-roading or extreme physical activity.
Father: 69yrs, 6'0", ~195lbs. Mother: 56yrs, 5'8", ~185lbs.

I don't want them to pay $400 for a bike that they aren't willing to take care of. They're not careless, but they're definitely not extreme bikers. I think the last time either of them rode was 5-10 years ago together on a tandem bike.
None of this makes a lot of sense to me. Your parents are still young and active. Actually in the local cycling club... your parents would be considered youngsters. Send them to the Local Bicycle Shop to find nice bikes that appeal to them and are the proper size. There is no reason they can't spend the summer logging hundreds... or even thousands of miles.
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Old 05-14-15, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
None of this makes a lot of sense to me. Your parents are still young and active. Actually in the local cycling club... your parents would be considered youngsters. Send them to the Local Bicycle Shop to find nice bikes that appeal to them and are the proper size. There is no reason they can't spend the summer logging hundreds... or even thousands of miles.
What do you mean by "it doesn't make sense"?
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Old 05-14-15, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by EmuzMan View Post
What do you mean by "it doesn't make sense"?
Do you shop for and select their breakfast cereal... their shoes... TV's, phones? Why wouldn't they just go to the store like anyone else. You listed their age... but you didn't list your own age. I get the impression you think they would be older cyclists. You even posted they would be riding: "a couple miles at a time. Little-to-no off-roading or extreme physical activity."

Why on earth would they want to limit their fun? Why wouldn't you encourage them to go for the good times? It doesn't make sense... they aren't that old.
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Old 05-14-15, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Do you shop for and select their breakfast cereal... their shoes... TV's, phones? Why wouldn't they just go to the store like anyone else. You listed their age... but you didn't list your own age. I get the impression you think they would be older cyclists. You even posted they would be riding: "a couple miles at a time. Little-to-no off-roading or extreme physical activity."

Why on earth would they want to limit their fun? Why wouldn't you encourage them to go for the good times? It doesn't make sense... they aren't that old.
Ah, gotcha. My original post was kind of just an information-dump... with the intent to answer questions in advance that I thought might be asked if I was too vague. I think you have a good point regarding my assumption that they'd be older cyclists.

People on this forum seem to talk highly of and have faith in local bike shops. Maybe I should have just suggested that. I assumed that a bike shop would just present them with a pushy salesforce working for commission-based-pay... basically a microcosm of retail in general.

Thanks for your comments.

edit: keep in mind I'm 22 and incredibly young and naive
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Old 05-14-15, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
None of this makes a lot of sense to me. Your parents are still young and active. Actually in the local cycling club... your parents would be considered youngsters. Send them to the Local Bicycle Shop to find nice bikes that appeal to them and are the proper size. There is no reason they can't spend the summer logging hundreds... or even thousands of miles.
Agree! Fit is a lot more important than price. Also a local bike shop will be able to service them if needed.
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Old 05-14-15, 11:10 PM
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Is there any chance that they can stay within the budget ($150 per bike) at a local bike shop? Or would it not even be worth the visit unless they're willing to spend more?
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Old 05-15-15, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by EmuzMan View Post
Is there any chance that they can stay within the budget ($150 per bike) at a local bike shop? Or would it not even be worth the visit unless they're willing to spend more?
Unfortunately, ALL quality bikes cost much more than $150. As mentioned previously, at that price your best bet would be a Craigslist bike. Unfortunately you will only be able to get a good deal on the right second-hand bike if you have extensive knowledge of bikes, which you or your parents don't have. Fit is also important, as an ill-fitting bike is no fun to ride at all.

$150 bikes at a local bike shop would be department store bike level in quality.

Take note the people in this forum are passionate about bikes and are very particular about bike quality. You are basically asking them if it's alright to buy a $150 junker car that is an outdated gas guzzler with 5 MPG that is bound to fall apart sooner rather than later. Frankly, the $150 bike will get you from point A to B just fine. Neither is it a problem if you live in a pancake flat area and the ride never goes beyond 6 miles. Bicycles are a popular mode of transportation where I live in Japan and the average bike ridden is in the $150 range, new.

Now if a cheap bike can be ridden just fine, why are BikeForum users in such a huff, you may ask? The majority of riders here are only getting warmed up at mile 10. When you start to enjoy cycling you will find out that you want to go farther, faster, longer. That's when the $150 bikes show their limitations. They're just not as comfortable or easy to pedal. They're quite heavy and are fitted with lower quality-components, which makes riding up hills a much bigger challenge that it should be. A high quality bike is a joy to ride, and will push the rider to go further. With a cheap bike, the rider may realize that they need a better bike and upgrade soon enough, or decide that they're not up to biking because it's too hard.

Just last year I was shopping for a $150 bike but was pushed into buying a Trek bike by my husband. I had never ridden more than 5 km before and was seriously questioning the value of a $700 bike. Well I'm glad he convinced me because it made me love cycling and I was soon riding 40-100 km at a time. The smoothness and ease of use cannot be compared.
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Old 05-15-15, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by EmuzMan View Post
Is there any chance that they can stay within the budget ($150 per bike) at a local bike shop? Or would it not even be worth the visit unless they're willing to spend more?
Look at this bike.....26" Schwinn Laurel Women's Cruiser Bike, Green - Walmart.com

Before EVERYBODY here "piles on the rabbit".......my wife, 65 in September, enjoys her new Schwinn(not really) that we bought online, had sent to the house for free and then I assembled it. The ride is smooth and easy, comfortable, shifting is good and brakes are mushy but with good stopping power. She hadn't been on her older bike for about a year and after I got it together we rode about 3 miles. The next time we were at a state park and biked 9 miles. This past Sunday morning, got out at 0645, another 8 miles. The model below is 26" Schwinn Fairhaven Women's 7-Speed Cruiser Bike, Cream - Walmart.com and then there is Schwinn Point Beach 26" Ladies Cruiser Bike, Red and White - Walmart.com

She chose her bike because of the lower step thru frame.
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Old 05-15-15, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by EmuzMan View Post
Ah, gotcha. ........ I think you have a good point regarding my assumption that they'd be older cyclists.
Cycling is VERY popular with us "older people". Bicycles are a effort reducing device that allows people to travel much further and faster with less effort than walking. It's a great idea to steer your parents toward cycling.

Originally Posted by EmuzMan View Post
People on this forum seem to talk highly of and have faith in local bike shops. .......... I assumed that a bike shop would just present them with a pushy salesforce working for commission-based-pay... basically a microcosm of retail in general.
Yes. I wouldn't say the "pushy salesperson" never happens. But for the most part established bicycle shops have been around because of their service... not because of a Salesforce.

Originally Posted by EmuzMan View Post
edit: keep in mind I'm 22 and incredibly young and nave
At 22... my parents seemed really old too. But.... without conditions or illnesses that would limit their activity there is no reason that they can't fully participate in a lot of cycling fun.
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Old 05-15-15, 06:05 AM
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your budget figure is totally unrealistic...you want them to have a bicycle they might actually ride and not something that is going to take up space in the garage. Move your budget up to at least $500 plus gear and they might actually get a hybrid they will ride...
and yes, go to the LBS and get a new bike that fits and works as it should.
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Old 05-15-15, 06:07 AM
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Two options. Some bike shops take used bikes in trade and may be willing to sell them. Doesn't hurt to ask. Also, if the only riding they will be doing is short distance on flat ground a single speed may work. You can usually pick one of them up in your price range.
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Old 05-15-15, 06:49 AM
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Please rethink the budget amount, if that is possible. You want them to have trouble free rides and at that level its going to be iffy as to the quality and reliability that they could find in a bicycle. Some people get the bargain basement single speed bikes from WalMart, or other big box stores, and ride these for a while then lose interest in riding since they aren't fitting them correctly, or they have some problem, with the poor set-up that these places pawn off as a safe, sound, bicycle. A bit more can get you a reasonable bike at a local bicycle shop (LBS, in BF Speak,) from the used trade ins.

Also, you could check for a bicycle co-op in their area, that has rebuilt, re-lived, bicycles, that volunteers have made rideable and safe. Best of luck on finding them a pair if bicycles, I agree with getting them to a shop, and involving them in the process. They are probably quite capable of doing the leg work and getting some nice, safe, reasonably priced bikes. and, they will most likely enjoy this part, too. Bikes aren't some secret society with deep, dark strange rituals for their use, and upkeep, as long as they learn the secret hand shake.

Here is an idea, direct them here and get them to join in our forum, so that they can learn as they go, and enjoy the knowledge and fellowship that the place has to offer. They would be most welcome to join in with us.

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Old 05-15-15, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by obed7 View Post
your budget figure is totally unrealistic...you want them to have a bicycle they might actually ride and not something that is going to take up space in the garage. Move your budget up to at least $500 plus gear and they might actually get a hybrid they will ride...
and yes, go to the LBS and get a new bike that fits and works as it should.
I disagree with the preface to your reply.

13 years ago we purchased $100.00 Magna, 26X1-3/8, 7 speed, hybrid bikes from Target. Those days found us RVing and doing 10 to 20 mile rides around the parks we visited. My wife's needs changed after our 2007 car crash where we were stopped at a traffic light and were rear-ended by a 60+mph small SUV that wound up parked IN our trunk. Wife suffered a severe subdural hematoma plus other complications that continue today. The fact that she could get on a 26X2.125, 7 speed 35+/-lb bike and ride it with ease and comfort for 9 miles could indicate a $150.00 budget is not so unrealistic.

The cheapo Magna of mine has well over 5,000 miles on it, some of which have been on "A" rides of 40+ miles in length at 20+mph average speeds.
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Old 05-15-15, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
I disagree with the preface to your reply.

13 years ago we purchased $100.00 Magna, 26X1-3/8, 7 speed, hybrid bikes from Target. Those days found us RVing and doing 10 to 20 mile rides around the parks we visited. My wife's needs changed after our 2007 car crash where we were stopped at a traffic light and were rear-ended by a 60+mph small SUV that wound up parked IN our trunk. Wife suffered a severe subdural hematoma plus other complications that continue today. The fact that she could get on a 26X2.125, 7 speed 35+/-lb bike and ride it with ease and comfort for 9 miles could indicate a $150.00 budget is not so unrealistic.

The cheapo Magna of mine has well over 5,000 miles on it, some of which have been on "A" rides of 40+ miles in length at 20+mph average speeds.

Sorry to hear about the accident, and congratulations on your personal drive, but you must realize the numbers do not support your experience as the norm, you and your wife are exceptions to the rule and your personal experience is not what most people experience.
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Old 05-15-15, 08:57 AM
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You might check around your area for Electra bikes. They might be useful as starter bikes for your parents.
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Old 05-15-15, 09:15 AM
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I work on a lot of cheap bikes, they are very hard to adjust so they work. Harder to get to work well. They also tend to be heavy. Go to a bike shop, even if you get the cheapest bike they have, they will better off. They will also be able to try different styles of bikes. And maybe test ride them. But you'll have to adjust your budget to get a better quality bike, one that they will want to ride.
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Old 05-16-15, 06:08 PM
  #24  
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Lots of good comments above. As we all know here on the forum, the first bike will tell you what the next one will be. That being said, you want the first bike comfortable enough to make them want another.

The Schwinn his'n'hers on CL looked to me like a good start if they fit.
2 Adult Shwinn CRUISERS

My dad is 85 and just re-started riding a year ago on a 40 yr old bike that spent the last 30 years in the shed. He loves it.
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Old 05-21-15, 12:26 AM
  #25  
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Keep a look out on craigslist for some Electra Townies. Super comfortable to ride, they sit upright so they won't be bent over, are flat foot designed so they can set their feet down at lights easily. It's what I would recommend to my parents.



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