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peabody 11-04-02 06:57 AM

Bike Selection for New Rider
I am 59 and my wife is 55 years old. We have just this year lost 140 lbs between us (most of it me) and have gotten in shape. We both work out at the gym six or seven days a week.. We do a half hour cardio to warm up and an hour of weigh training 3 days a week. On the other days we do between 1 and 1.5 hours of cardio training... After all that leadin, here's my question.

We have decided to buy ourselves bicycles for Christmas. Most of our riding will be on pavement. We live in a rural suburban area near Fredericksburg, VA where the "bike routes" follow secondary roads with no shoulder and many blind curves. Rather than taking our chances with the pick-um-up trucks and their sport of trying to hit cyclists with their mirrors, we plan to start our riding by taking the bikes to the battlefield parks within our area. There we can do 15 to 20 miles on well maintained, little traveled roads. We plan to work up to doing 30 to 40 mile trips on places like the Mt Vernon trail and the W&OD trail.

I've received advice that we should buy a comfort bike or a hybrid. Last saturday we went by our local bike shop where he let us test ride bicycles through the adjacent subdivision. We tried a Trek comfort bike and a Trek hybrid and a road bike. We much prefer the hybrid.

Does anyone have any recommendations regarding a Trek 7300? I went on the internet and did a comparison between the 7300 and the 7200. The primary difference seems to be different types of deraileur mechanisms, but those differences don't mean anything to me.

I would appreciate any comments or advice... Thanks... Jim

DnvrFox 11-04-02 07:11 AM

I am 63, my wife 65. We each have two bike, a "road bike" and a "mtn bike."

I think that if you get into 30-40 mile rides, it won't be too long before you will want to get a "road bike" assuming these are paved trails. It is like the difference between driving a sports car and a pontiac. You will get tired of being passed by road bikes.

However, either a hybrid or a mtnbike will serve your needs well for now.

As far as the specific difference between the 7200 or the 7300, I can only make the general comment that there are differences in quality of the components of various bikes, and, generally, the higher the price the better the quality of the components. I would go with the higher quality.

Stay away from the "comfort" bike. If you are going 30-40 miles, you are way out of the comfort bike range.

Have fun, and congratulations on your getting fit and the weight loss. I also work out 2-3 days per week with weights, and my wife and I do cardio of some sort daily.

Prosody 11-04-02 07:30 AM

I ride a Trek 7200. It has been ok, but you should expect to upgrade the pedals and have bar-ends put on the handlebars. The components work fine, and if you want to consider this bike your entry into cycling, for about $400 it's not bad. You probably will eventually want a road bike, though.

MichaelW 11-04-02 07:33 AM

Comfort bikes are not built for comfort or cycling. Hybrids work well enough as general purpose bikes. Cheaper models can sometimes be too heavy, but higher quality ones are OK. Manufacturers often load up bikes with heavy features like suspension forks and seat-posts. The latest style of "sport hybirds", like Jamis Coda and Specialized Sirrus are much lighter and nippier, but still have all the utility features you need for a practical bike.
For smaller riders(under 5'2"), hybrid bikes probably have wheels which are too big.

Buy your bikes from a proper bike shop, make sure you get bikes the right size. You can often upgrade components at the point of sale. The best upgrade you can make is the tyres. Most hybrid tyres are very thick, heavy and knobby. Swap them for a smoothe 28mm wide tyre with a kevlar anti-puncture belt and you can zip along roads much faster. On well prepared non-technical trails, a 32mm touring tyre works very well. Road racing bikes have very thin high-pressure tyres, which makes them a lot faster, but I find that a 28mm does for just about all my road and trail riding.

roadbuzz 11-04-02 07:49 PM

Hey, Peabody!

Just wanted to say Hi! to a neighbor, and welcome to BikeForums. You've stumbled onto a great place to get help and advice in all things cycling. I'm in NE Albemarle county, and call C'ville home, but geographically I'm closer to Barboursville.

Congrats to you and the mrs. on the weight loss and conditioning. That's quite an accomplishment :thumbup: Bikes are a great way to get in and stay in shape. Warning: You may get hooked!

If you're interested in group rides or getting together with other cyclists, Fredericksburg has a very active cycling club, The Fredericksburg Cyclists. Bike clubs are a great way to socialize with other cyclists, learn about bikes, etc., and have a good time. I don't have much first-hand experience with them, but have ridden their Cannonball Century the last three years. My impression is that they really cater to cyclists of all skill levels and interests, and seem like a class act.

After you get the bikes, if you're interested in some rides around Orange or Madison county, maybe I can recommend some routes. Lemme know.

Good Luck on your bike purchase!


uciflylow 11-04-02 08:36 PM

Hi Mr. Peabody and welcome.

I'm 39 and have ridden bikes when even younger. I lost 50 lbs and decided to get back into biking. I bought a Trek 7200 first and hated it! I still have it, the components work fine and it is well put together well. It is just not a bike for making much over 5-10 mile rides on. I think your bottom and back take a beating when setting upright.
Next I went to a 7500FX as an all around type bike. Soon I went to thinner tires, bar ends, and a true strait handle bar. I saw that what I realy wanted was a true road bike so I traded in the FX for a new Trek 2000. I did my first 30 mile spinn on it today and man what a difference! I made better time and was more comfortable on this bike.
A big difference is that my hands didn't go numb once because I had more choice of placement on drop bars. I also think the frame was less pounding than the 7500 FX frame and the carbon forks do make a difference. If you plan on making true road trips I would go with a road bike. You can always raise the bars if you are too bent over for a little more comfort. You would not beleave how much wind you catch in a more up right riding stance. You may even want to consider a touring type bike for your kind of riding. I just think a hybrid bike is great for running to the store on and around town but if you want the road, get a road bike!
This page is full of great help
The part about back pain is very true.

N_C 11-04-02 08:46 PM

Peabody, may I recomend recumbents for you and your wife.

I'm going to be 31 in a couple of weeks, my wife turns 31 this Friday. I have had my recumbent for just over a year and my wife will have hers come next spring. We both live in NW Iowa. As far as I know come next spring we will be the youngest people in our area to own and ride recumbents.

After buying and riding mine for a while I wondered why I didn't switch sooner. My wife will find the same thing for herself.

In making your decision please give recumbents a chance. Test ride a few differant models. You won't be dissappointed.

Dannihilator 11-04-02 10:03 PM

All I can say is go with what feels comfortble to you both.

peabody 11-06-02 06:12 AM

I would like to thank everyone for their recommendations. I have been on the Fredericksburg Cyclist's web site. I looked at some of their ride maps and plan to investigate further in the spring. Their activities have slowed down for the winter.

Their ride map through the Fredericksburg Battlefield park has shown us where to make our first ride... Our local bike shop offered to let us take the bikes out for a 10 to 15 mile ride this weekend.

Last night I installed my new bike carrier on my car. I bought a Reese carrier for OEM SUV carriers to put on the top of my Grand Cherokee to transport the bikes... We are investigating our choice carefully, because I tend to buy quality and keep it forever. My 93 Grand Cherokee Laredo just turned over 231,000 miles and is trucking strong.....

Thank you everyone..... Jim
(I used peabody as a screen name because he was an old mongrel dog I had for 18 years)

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