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Bike choice conundrum (long story)

Old 08-21-13, 09:04 PM
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WilliamK1974
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Bike choice conundrum (long story)

This all started when I decided to try and get my girlfriend interested in bicycling with me. Thing is, she has not had a bike in many years.

My city has a bike rental program, so we started with her riding a rental bike and me riding my road bike on our river-walk. Once she got used to the controls, she seemed to handle the actual riding ok. Trouble is, even with my late 80s 12-spd, I was able to dust her a few times without even trying. This does not make for much of a fun ride together.

As far as getting her own bike goes, we went to look at the selection at the LBS where I got my MTB a few years ago. They had a hybrid/comfort bike by Del Sol that seemed somewhat promising, as well as those bikes that have a chair in place of the saddle. Not my cup of tea, but not my decision either. I let her do all the talking like a good BF and the Del Sol seemed to be the one she was most interested in, though she elected not to buy that day. Seems like it would have been less than $500.

We went to Walmart for something, and she gets all interested in a fuschia beach cruiser in the store. I told her that she might not like it as much as she thinks and would likely outgrow it fast here in the hilly South, but I am not sure the message got through or not.

All this has me thinking that whatever bike she gets, maybe I should think about getting something similar so I do not end up dusting her with my drop-bar bike. That has lead me down the path of considering a city bike, and even better, a Dutch city bike. I visited a shop that sells those about an hour from home last week. They had a just-sold Gazelle Toer Populaire, and the owner let me ride a Pilen Lyx. I like the aesthetic of those bikes, and their functionality with upright posture and ability to carry weight in addition to the rider. But $1400+ for a Gazelle or $1500 for a Pilen just is not realistic for me at this time.

I took my GF with me to that shop, and she was too scared to even try one of the bikes, and did not believe that spending that much on a first bike was wise. Probably a good point. I was just trying to show her a different set of choices than the ones we had seen at my local shop.

As far as the Dutch thing goes, there is a brand called Dutchie that seems to offer the Dutch opafiets experience for $699+shipping equipped with an 8spd SA internal. But I have never heard of them and do not know their provenance.

So, I thought about trying to import a used Gazelle or similar opafiets to the US from the NL. Not a worn-out used bike, but one that may have a patina while still having been maintained to a nice standard. Trouble is that a bike which was purchased new and used in the NL might be a single-speed, which is not practical for riding here in the hills of Tennessee. It also might cost more to ship it here than the purchase price.

Of course, the whole notion of riding a Dutch city bike here might be very impractical. But I think the reason my GF has not made her purchase yet is because the Del Sol just does not jump out and grab her. I can understand why. They and their Trek equivalent just seem kind of drab and soul-less. In my case, those Dutch bikes look different, not like all the other bikes I see out there. While a Gazelle might be kind of heavy, the Del Sol also has some weight-adding equipment that seems unnecessary.

Anyhow, any thoughts or advice on this matter would be appreciated.
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Old 08-21-13, 09:51 PM
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Trek makes a bike that might work for you. It's pretty euro cool and there is a thread on the bike in BF: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...utility/cocoa/

Also check out bikes direct, https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/city_bikes.htm

Also https://www.linusbike.com/models/
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Old 08-22-13, 09:18 AM
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Trek Cocoa is like an Oma, step thru , nice bike.. 3 speed IGH.. Trek dealer backup.

just a smaller 15" 0r 19" sizes.. Real NL builders build them for tall Mamas, Papas ride them too ..

Benefit , easy on / off /... particularly with the Kinderseat on the back.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-22-13 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 08-22-13, 09:31 AM
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whatever bike she gets, maybe I should think about getting something similar so I do not end up dusting her with my drop-bar bike.
It's quite likely that you will be able to dust her even if she's on a Cervelo and you are on a beach cruiser. Also, if you do dust her regularly, she's likely to lose interest in cycling.

Let her go first. Do not pass her. Do not say "Can we go a little faster?" Do say, "You look great on that bike."
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Old 08-22-13, 11:01 AM
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I can't find it, but I seem to remember a pro on a cheap bike racing an amateur on a high end racing bike. The Pro won. The bike certainly plays a part, but a lot of it is the rider.
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Old 08-22-13, 12:05 PM
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There is also this option: https://chicargobike.blogspot.com/201...take-2_05.html
Turning an older MTB into a Dutch-style bike by swapping out some parts. I have an old Huffy Jackyl that could possibly be pressed into service here. The downside being that the reason I upgraded and quit riding the Huffy was because I grew just enough after buying it that the frame ended up a little too small. Otherwise, it was a pretty durable bike. Collecting dust right now, but still technically ridable.

[quote TromboneAl]It's quite likely that you will be able to dust her even if she's on a Cervelo and you are on a beach cruiser. Also, if you do dust her regularly, she's likely to lose interest in cycling.

Let her go first. Do not pass her. Do not say "Can we go a little faster?" Do say, "You look great on that bike."[/quote]

Yeah, I do not want to cause her to lose interest. I kept trying to get her to ride in front of me, but she would say that she was afraid it would slow me down. I told her not to worry, that I was trying to help her, but she still would not do it. One of the times when I dusted her took place on a river-walk bridge. She was riding the rental bike with 8spd internal. There is an incline to get up to it that is not the steepest, but you sure notice it. I keep my bike in the lower gears most of the time, and this incline requires a shift to the lowest gear. Well, I got almost half a mile ahead before I realized she was not behind me anymore. I stopped and waited. She rolls up a short time later looking worn out and breathless. She complained about how she could not understand why the bike was so hard to ride up a hill, and I asked her by chance if she had shifted to low gear. She had not and did not know that she was supposed to. She had tried to ride that hill in 5th gear, which was just too high. I explained that problems like that were why I wanted her to ride in front, and that I could have helped her. Incidents like that are not helping with this situation either.

The upside to the bikesdirect site is that so many of their bikes seem to come in nice colors. Ordering a bike by mail still seems to be an iffy idea to me, but I guess no different than trying to get a Dutch bike across the ocean.

I may take her to the Trek store in town and see what they have. I have never actually been in there.
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Old 08-22-13, 10:12 PM
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Also have a look at Public https://publicbikes.com/ and Biria https://www.biria.com/ Public is having a sale If there is an REI near you, they have some interesting ones.
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Old 08-23-13, 05:21 AM
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Hi,

My "slow" bike is a cheap steel 20" folder fitted with fenders a rear rack and rear basket.
Its my basic utility bike I ride around day to day as much as I ride the road bike.

Gearing is 33 to 66 gear inches and the riding position more relaxed than the road bike.
Its simply not as fast as my road bike, and you have to spin to go much above 15 mph,
which is good training. Its ideal for riding slower but not having to hold back a lot.

And simply better to ride around town on than my road bike, though I routinely do
about 15 miles most days I ride it for training, as well as just using it to get about.

rgds, sreten.

This sort of thing :

https://www.amazon.com/Folding-Bicycl...s=folding+bike

Fit a deep basket to the rear rack, makes it ten times more useful.

Last edited by sreten; 08-23-13 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 08-27-13, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Let her go first. Do not pass her. Do not say "Can we go a little faster?" Do say, "You look great on that bike."
Spoken like a man who has obviously read "the handbook".
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Old 08-27-13, 11:29 AM
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As well as the AYH, their Bike Tour trip leader's position was to always ride sweep..
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Old 08-27-13, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

My "slow" bike is a cheap steel 20" folder fitted with fenders a rear rack and rear basket.
Its my basic utility bike I ride around day to day as much as I ride the road bike.

Gearing is 33 to 66 gear inches and the riding position more relaxed than the road bike.
Its simply not as fast as my road bike, and you have to spin to go much above 15 mph,
which is good training. Its ideal for riding slower but not having to hold back a lot.

And simply better to ride around town on than my road bike, though I routinely do
about 15 miles most days I ride it for training, as well as just using it to get about.

rgds, sreten.

This sort of thing :

https://www.amazon.com/Folding-Bicycl...s=folding+bike

Fit a deep basket to the rear rack, makes it ten times more useful.
Wish I could, even just to satisfy curiosity, but I am a Clyde and might exceed the weight limit. Maybe not by much, but 250lbs is a pretty chintzy limit if you ask me. But I do not have any other folding bike experience.
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Old 09-03-13, 07:36 AM
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If you do not want to dust her, just mount a rack and panniers on your bike. Don't get a Dutch bike unless you want a Dutch bike. Wanting to slow yourself down can be done with a rack, panniers and adding weightlifting plates inside the panniers. Of course you will still likely be faster than her, as she seems dog slow from your depiction.

I know when riding with my friends who are quite slow, even slower than me(and I am slow), I get bored and impatient easily.
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Old 09-05-13, 05:36 AM
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Bike choice conundrum (long story)

Has she tried any of Electras cruisers or Townies? Also Sun Bicycles are pretty eye catching to ladies. I took my wife to a bike shop this weekend and she wouldn't shut up about a Sun Bicycle cruiser she saw. Also, she was beyond interested in a recumbent trike of all things. My friends wife rode a Townie and never looked back they now have 6 yes 6 Townies! I own an Electra Cruiser and its the most comfortable ride ever.
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Old 09-07-13, 09:16 AM
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Hi,

I came across this for $320 and this thread came to mind.



Very strong double top tube steel frame, 3 speed Shimano IGH.
Nice and fat tyres, don't run them too hard. Should be slower ....

Walmart though .... probably need some spannering.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 09-07-13, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
This all started when I decided to try and get my girlfriend interested in bicycling with me. Thing is, she has not had a bike in many years.

We went to Walmart for something, and she gets all interested in a fuschia beach cruiser in the store. I told her that she might not like it as much as she thinks and would likely outgrow it fast here in the hilly South, but I am not sure the message got through or not.
1. I pretty much agree with your thought process.
2. It doesn't sound to me like your GF is there yet.
3. Let the lady have the bike she wants. Try to think of the fuschia beach cruiser as "just a starter bike". As such, it's main purpose is to have a little fun and to help her figure out what she wants her next bike to be.
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Old 09-07-13, 11:49 AM
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My wife and I have struggled similarly to ride together. I have made a couple good moves along the way.

1. Tandem. Tandems are the great equalizer. My wife loves our tandem and I much prefer it on the road. Check one out.

2. Single speed. I am a recent single speed convert for mountain biking and asked my wife to give it a try. She took to it like a fish to water. I have come to believe that, at least in mountain biking, gears are regularly employed to the disadvantage of even the most experienced riders. I am a little faster on a SS and my wife is MUCH faster and happier.
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Old 09-08-13, 12:54 PM
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Another point of view: the roles are reversed in my situation. My husband prefers to go slow (10mph) and just sight see. I've been very frustrated at times but just this last week, I've realized that when we ride together, I need to keep my bike in it's lowest gears. I do my workout rides alone. I have girlfriends who just "don't get" the whole love of riding. I hate to say it but your girlfriend may never really get into it. But, having said that, don't push her. Just go out and have fun. I agree with the poster who said let her get the bike she wants, even if it's from Walmart. If she really falls in love with riding, then she can get a better bike. Also agree with the comment of your not getting a Dutch-style unless that's what you want. Keep riding the bike you have...the more she learns and sees the benefit of your road bike, the more likely she is to want one.
I rode with a woman a couple weeks ago who knew NOTHING about shifting. We rode about 5 miles with me telling her when to down and up shift. She was shocked what a difference it made once she got the hang of it!
Have fun and hopefully she'll come around soon!
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Old 09-16-13, 02:11 PM
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We gave it another try this weekend, with me on my road tire-equipped Haro and she on a bike from the bikeshare/rental kiosks. Turned it into a picnic lunch ride, and that part of it was fun.

But she is not as athletic as I, and it started to show as we rode further down the MUP and came to a turn-around point. She later stated that maybe eating before or during a ride was a bad idea.

The gears were also a problem on this ride, as she still does not seem to be getting them. She said that even going up hill in low gear seemed harder because her legs would spin out of control and make her feel more tired. I said that part of this was controlling and moderating pedaling speed, and tried to compare riding a bike to driving a car with a stick, but am not sure the message got through.

But her biggest complaint is that she does not see how this can be considered an activity for couples since she feels so alone on the bike. I insisted that she ride in front of me, which was not her favorite thing, and she said she could hear me shifting and braking, which said to her I was deliberately slowing down to keep from riding too fast, and she felt like she was slowing me down.

Perhaps it is time to consider a tandem, as long as I can find one that will fit within my really limited budget.
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Old 09-16-13, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
Perhaps it is time to consider a tandem, as long as I can find one that will fit within my really limited budget.
Try one before you buy one.
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Old 09-16-13, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
Perhaps it is time to consider a tandem, as long as I can find one that will fit within my really limited budget.
Don't assume that people don't have to put some work into being able to ride a tandem. It seems it can take a bit of effort for the stoker to learn to give up control to and trust the captain.

While a tandem is some-what of an "equalizer", they don't work very well with "dead weight" in the back (except for easy/flat rides).
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