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nathank 07-24-03 06:42 AM

buying bike for my dad
ok, just wanted to ask for some opinions here.

my dad is 59 and pretty athletic/sporty, but he's been having some knee problems recently. his big sport is volleyball and he goes to nationals (indoor and outdoor) every year. he has been to the doctor and is now trying some supplements (glucosamine + something i don't know) and MIGHT consider some surgery if it doesn't improve in a few months. but i have suggested he start biking for 2 reasons:
1) biking is good for the knees and will maybe help strengthen his knees without causing any damage (like jumping in volleyball does) -- maybe it could help negate the need for surgery.
2) since he can't play volleyball or run much right now, it seems like it would be a good low-impact way to stay in shape and keep fit.

ok, so now he needs a bike. the question is what to buy? he will probably get something used and basic for $100-250 (he's kind of thrifty)...

i think he'll be mostly doing "rec" riding on the country roads by where he lives, although i suppose it's possible he could get into it and maybe ride a century or something. so mostly paved roads, EXCEPT the driveway to his house is about 1/4 mile gravel, so the bike has to be able to handle that... there are moderate hills around, but nothing too huge, so gearings not really an issue.

1) old road bike:
+ IF he ever got "serious" would be most appropriate
- maybe not the best on his back?
- not the best for the gravel driveway - could use wider tires though
+ probably the best value for the money with older road bikes usually being high quality/condition

2) hybrid
+ comfortable position
+ decent for gravel driveway
- IF he got really into it, he might have to upgrade

3) MTB
+ good on gravel
- i think he'll be riding mostly on the road
- since he probably won't be riding many trails, maybe not much sense

so opinions?

MichaelW 07-24-03 08:15 AM

Used touring bike

spazegun2213 07-24-03 09:15 AM

looks like a hybrid is right for this case, and if it takes off he can get a road bike.

thanks my 2 cents!

bg4533 07-24-03 11:40 AM

Sounds like he will have a few things against him, like age and his knees to begin with. If he has not had much experience riding before I would go with the hybrid, I think the the extra "pain" of getting used to a road bike wont encourage him to ride much.

DnvrFox 07-24-03 12:08 PM


Originally posted by bg4533
Sounds like he will have a few things against him, like age

I think the the extra "pain" of getting used to a road bike wont encourage him to ride much.

Why is his age against him? I started riding seriously when I was 58, and my "age" didn't bother me a bit. Come on now, get with the program, please.

What "pain" in getting used to a road bike?

Please explain. I didn't have any "pain."

His dad is a big boy, and should be able to ride anything he darn well pleases.

bg4533 07-24-03 12:27 PM

I apoligize for the comment if you thought it was offensive.
Of course he can ride anything he wants, but if he knew what that was than nathank would probably not be asking for opinions.

I am fairly young, so I am not speaking from experience but from what I see as people age they start to have back problems, joint problems and become less resilient. Of course this does not happen to everyone and the age when it does differs greatly. However, if nathank's father is having knee problems that he is taking glucosamine for he is likely experiencing some of these other problems (even if relatively minor) already. The "pain" of a road bike I was reffering to was the initially unnatural position of a rode bike and often somewhat of an uncomfortable ride, especially compared to hybrids.


DnvrFox 07-24-03 12:33 PM

There are a lot of misconceptions about those of us who are a bit more mature - especially amongst the younger folks. And, true, there are many older folks who let there bodies deteriorate.

I take Glucosamine - EVERYONE should take Glucosamine. It is well researched method of building instead of letting things deteriorate.

Osteoporosis and deterioration START IN THE 20'S. That's right - at age 20+, you are going downhill.

I (age 63) and my wife (age 65) lift weights 3 times per week, speed walk or do treadmill 5-6 times per week, and I generally ride my bike 20-50 miles per day. It doesn't have to happen as you probably think it does.

Thanks for the nice reply.

And, a properly fit road bike will not have pain. It might have some discomfort as your sit bones get tuned in, etc. but not pain.

SteveE 07-24-03 12:37 PM

How about a used 'cross bike? 700 x 30c tires would handle the gravel and it would do pretty well on the road, too. If he wanted to do a century, he could just throw on some skinny tires.

JasBike 07-24-03 12:39 PM

i'd get a comfortbally sized MTB with slicks on it... seems a lot of people around here like that, but i'm just saying what i'd go with.

SteveE 07-24-03 12:41 PM


Ain't that the truth! Two guys in my club completed the Everest Challenge this year in the 64+ age category. These guys are more than 10 years older than I and can kick my butt on the hills and I'd like to think that I am not that slow on the hills myself.

Steve "Who thinks he must be gravitationally-challenged" E.

pinerider 07-25-03 06:07 AM

I'm still 10 years away from your Dad's age, but... I'd go with a MTB for starters. They are easier to start on, easier to ride on gravel and generally more comforatable for casual rides. I think the object of the exercise is to get him riding and to my mind the MTB is the easiest way to get there.
I've been a "serious rider" for the past year or so, had a $90 Police auction Norco MTB for my occasional riding about 5 years previous to that. When I tried a road bike last year for the first time in about 10 years I found it took quite an effort to get aclimatized to it. If I was just starting out, I might have been tempted to park it.
My knees have "issues" from hockey, biking is great for them!

ComPH 07-25-03 12:34 PM

I am in my 50's and so is my wife. I just started to get her into bicycling. She can ride, but is certainly afraid of falling to the point that I am absolutely sure that she would never try again if she got injured. As far as I am concerned, the most important thing is, that her fear of falling is smaller than her desire to ride. Because of it, I got her a new, inexpensive MTB. She likes it, because it doesn't have a hign top tube, seat can be lowered so she doesn't have fear of faling and it looks nice, even though it is not expensive. There indeed is IMHO a big difference when a kid is learning how to ride versus middle aged adult. The kid is made of rubber, doesn't know enough to be scared and the peer pressure is for him/her to ride. None of these forces work for you in case of most of us non-kids. I know that she will gain the proper skills in time, and she can then decide if she wants yet another bike, but for now it feels safe, is easy to ride because of the gearing and you can ride it almost anywhere. The advantages of the other bikes at the moment is higher speed on the road - hardly a consideration for a beginner. I hope this is relevant.

mindbogger 07-25-03 07:55 PM

I think a hybrid would be suited for this situation. Just buy some tires for the hybrid that have a lot of grip and you should be fine.

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