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Suggestions for the new rider, buying your first bike

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Suggestions for the new rider, buying your first bike

Old 11-24-16, 01:01 PM
night mission
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Suggestions for the new rider, buying your first bike

Just thought I'd add my 2 cents on this issue. I still see as myself as a new rider, abet, not fresh off the boat, new. A lot of very good advice, which I won't really add anything new to but will distill my experiences in approaching riding as a newbie and how I came to my decisions and what I would do differently. First I'm a "senior" by most accounts to riding. For those who really ride (hard), anyone over 50 is considered old, and at 58, I can't pretend to be 40 something anymore. Having said that, I'm not AARP material yet and still work to pay the bills. Not young, don't see myself as old, but when pushed, definitely know I'm not 20 (or 30) anymore. I came to riding for a couple reasons. One, running was hurting too much in too many places. Never much of an athlete, word from friends and colleges that ride was that riding was easier on the joints that seem to hurt most as you age. Second, I was asked by close friends to consider coming out to ride with them on group weekend rides. Third, the area I leave is very conducive to riding, very even dent by the large number of group rides I would see on cool weather days during the riding season.

At the point I decided to restart riding, I had two bikes at my disposal. A Trek off rode ride exactly like one I bought my son several years ago when he was young (and not driving), and a second road bike I bought in 1984(?) that I thought (than) I would seriously ride but instead put in my parents garage and eventually in my own basement. Due to the age a condition of the Trek, (only a couple years old, no corrosion) I used it first to test my condition and stamina while also gauging my interest to proceed. As anyone reading on this forum will find out, a heavy bike with wide tires is going to be a slower ride and (I think important) if you have any meaningful hills, it will humble you. I will admit on rides no longer than about 9 miles, having to come out of the saddle climbing the last hills near my home at the end of my rides. No shame there, and I would strongly advise if you take up riding (at any age) not to let stopping due to fatigue put you off riding. Wait, move on, and if you need to do it again, get off, walk the bike up the hill if necessary and get back on when you feel ready to tackle the next segment.
I felt the effort I was expending to go so short a distance, while good for conditioning, was not going to work riding the better routes with my friends that ride. Most of them where talking about 20+ mile rides, which when you come in huffing and puffing off a 9 miler, just seemed out of reach. So out came the old road bike.
"The best bike for the money", said Consumer Reports in 1984. So I bought a Lotus Challenger SX and 30+ years later, got serious about riding it. I won't bore you with the details on the restoration, Needless to say, time affects all, not just the flesh. That said, the bike was, and is ridable, and vastly improved over the Trek for what I was intending to do.

So this brings me to the part that led to purchasing a new (for me) bike.
Some reading this, looking to get into riding for the first time (either ever, or like me, after a long hiatus) will need a bike, some bike to get started. As many here will suggest, unless money is no object, spend wisely, start modestly, and assume (if you take to riding as I assume you hope) you will move up after determining your true needs and interest in riding. At my age, I have no burning interest to push myself really hard, but thats me and (depending on age and relative fitness) you might aspire to move as fast as possible and or cover the most ground as possible. If you wish to ride with others, you will have to determine if there pace is ultimately too slow, too fast, or just right (tolerable) to you.
New vs used. I've pretty much tipped my hat. I would suggest a good used bike at a fair price rather than either the same money on a new (cheaper) bike or spending too much on a (new or used) bike that might wind up sitting in your basement. Used at a bike shop or used via other means. If free is possible, by all means look out for that. Friends and family might have a worthily bike sitting in their basement. Express your interest and ask around. Not suggesting it will definitely work, but why not at least ask. Recycled, whether a Coke can or a bike, is good for all , the environment, your wallet, someones basement. An old saying I think applies in this case (paraphrased for the situation), "Men and ships (bikes), rot in port (basements)". Save a bike from the scrap heap and help yourself.
LBS vs anywhere else. If buying new (despite my suggestions ), without a doubt, buy from your local bike shop (LBS). Yes you can buy online, maybe even one you test rode in a local shop, but you won't properly establish a relationship with the people you ultimately will work with to service your new bike if you cut them out of the sale to save a few bucks. Brick and mortar discounters and big box sporting good stores are also poor chooses, mainly because of the quality, (certainly in the discount shops) and again, no real viable service option.
If buying used, certainly look at bike shops, for all the same reasons mentioned above. The reality is though that you might not find the right bike at a LBS, I think its fair to look at all the reasonable local and online options. I found my bike via Craig's list, the wild west of online shopping. As suggested elsewhere, be careful who you deal with, where you meet and, if the deal seems too good, there's is probably a reason. Find out as much as you can about the sellers relationship to the bike, how long they had it, why they are selling, etc. The reality is you can never totally sure you are not part of a dishonest not matter how up front and clean looking the seller is. It goes without saying, a private sale will be cash and carry, no returns, no warranty. Look close at the bike, and if you are not sure how to judge a used bike, see if you can get someone to help you. Many (new) bike purchases were not well planned, or the owner had an unrealistic interest or possibly never had an interest (gift) in riding. As such, good deals can be found on used bike with little or even no meaningful wear.
My current ride was a year old Bianchi carbon fiber bike with very low mileage. The price was very good, which as I stated above, raised my suspicions. But I asked for details on where it was bought and did further research on the bike before I met the owner, and in the end, concluded it was all on the up and up. One thing you could do (I didn't) is ask the owner for the serial number before seeing the bike and check both a local police registry and (depending on the manufacturer) there website. Not all owner's register there bikes, but it could save you embarrassment later on.
No matter what you do, don't buy a bike that is the wrong size, no matter how good the deal. Here you need to use the resources avalible and in the end, test ride some bikes. Look where you can for test rides and ask questions with what ever resources you feel comfortable using. Good luck.
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Old 11-24-16, 01:18 PM
Garfield Cat
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I'm exhausted
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Old 11-24-16, 01:27 PM
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you may have some good points here but I'm not sure how many are going to read it.
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Old 11-24-16, 01:28 PM
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My 2 cents for a New rider.

Buy a used bike that you think is close to the correct size.

Then ride and ride and learn what the Second Bike should be.
Fred "The Real Fred"

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