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Newbie Here - Some Questions

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Newbie Here - Some Questions

Old 09-28-15, 09:18 PM
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Newbie Here - Some Questions

Hi, all.

I recently was 'forced' (I say this light-heartedly) into purchasing a bike. I herniated a Lumbar disk and lost about 40% strength in my left calf due to the sciatic nerve being pinched. I was an avid long distance runner for the last 8 years and since the injury had to find something else to keep me in shape. I've always liked mechanical things (I have an old Mustang 5.0 that always breaks - it's a Ford after all), so I respect the mechanics and build of a bicycle. It was somewhat of a natural thing to get into.

Soooo... While my wife and I both had older Trek 7100's, I knew that this wasn't a bike that was going to let me somewhat crank away. It was too 'squishy' and while I didn't want a road bike, I needed something that was a bit more dedicated to some type of fitness. After looking at and riding Raleigh, Specialized, and Trek, I decided on a 7.2FX in what I call - grabber blue. I wanted something with a bit of a wider tire that was flexible as far as replacements go, mount bosses for fenders, etc., more upright position, blahblah... I road bike just didn't seem 'natural' because I was just getting into things and didn't want to pop $1200 for a higher end bike not knowing if it would even be something I wanted to so, plus I want to be able to ride the bike paths here which are of varying composition - concrete, asphalt, chip-and-seal, crushed rock and hard packed dirt - didn't think a road bike was the best choice for that. All three local bike shops were great, but I decided on a Trek dealer that had been around longer than I have. I like supporting local businesses and they were very knowledgeable.

I've had the bike two and a half weeks and have put about 130 miles on it. It was an absolute blast. However, since I'm such a newbie at this - a few items that I'd like some help on. I don't know many cyclists around here...

- I ran year around, and I want to bike year around. I'm in Iowa. I have lightweight cold weather gear that I ran in down to 10 degrees or so, nice gloves, baklava, etc., but what the heck do I need for the bike? Fenders? Different tires? There WILL be some patches of ice on the bike paths here.

- I have a seat pack, bull bars (I really like those), lock, headlight and taillight, water bottle holder, patch kit, tube, helmet, tire levers, multitool, small hand pump, and a duper-dooooper-dinger thing to keep little kids from dying in front of me. What else?

- I don't want to ride on the road. People try to kill you. This is a concealed carry state, but I'm assuming it's hard to shoot while pedaling. Since there's 100's of miles of paths around here - mostly paved, I'm good with that. What is the next logical choice in a bike? I spent $450 for this one. It's obviously pretty entry level. I don't mind spending ~$1000 or so if needed, but is it just a 'feel good' thing that I would have all of the stuff to brag about but not use, or is there legitimate gains by spending that kind of money on a 'fitness bike'.

- I'm taking training like running was. I'm putting my long rides on the weekend, with shorter rides during the week. I plan on working up to 60 miles for the long ride so that I can ride a stage or two of RAGBRAI (if you're going to go - go big) just to say I did it then back off to ~30. Any special training advice? I'm trying to keep my cadence up at around 50-60RPM and for the distance running one gear lower than feels 'right' to keep my knees intact. Not sure if that's what I should do or not, but that's how I stepped up on running longer distances when I first got into it. Any advice to help me through this? It was a big kick in the you-know-what to be knocked on my butt and not be able to run for who knows how long. If I can't do that, then I want to work towards something else - you guys know way more about this than I do...

Thanks in advance.

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Old 09-28-15, 09:31 PM
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Just a couple things to think about.

Spending more money on a bike typically gets you a much lighter frame and smoother operating and more durable components. So one has a tendency to enjoying the ride more and will ride more. I wouldn't swap bikes unless you want to spend $1200 plus for a light alloy or carbon frame.

I think one of the sub forums discuss commuting in all weather and may give you a better idea. There are folks that ride well below zero. Typically derailers are a problem as they get gunked up with ice and debris, so most run IHGs, ones that are good for low temps. If you ride on ice, you may want a studded tire. Fenders depend on how dirty you like to get, most have them.

Last edited by ColdCase; 09-29-15 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 09-28-15, 10:25 PM
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Winter riding is just going to be a matter of getting the proper cold gear(layers), possible studded tires, and fenders. As far as your bike, getting a different bike will most likely just be the same frame with nicer/better components. Its not til you get the carbon models you start getting the lighter frames most often. Personally I'd recommend upgrading what you have. You more than likely have a 3x8 drivetrain, i'd recommend a 2x10 road geared drivetrain, especially if you plan on doing ragbrai. Upgrading that as well as your wheelset and tires will greatly improve the bike over just getting a different one since you've already invent $500 already.
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