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Noob buying first bike in 30 years needs help

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Noob buying first bike in 30 years needs help

Old 04-07-15, 10:20 PM
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Advice needed returning to cycling with family after 30 years

Reason: Ok, my 4 year old is just beginning to ride her first little bike with training wheels, she is getting frustrated because its hard for her to pedal. I want her to enjoy bikes like i did as a kid. Owing to the arthritis in my knees I can't walk along side her so I thought I'd get a bike and ride with her. Maybe seeing mommy riding and having fun will make her want to ride too. DH was a commuter cyclists until a career change required he carry around tools he needed a car for so he is all about us biking together as a family activity.

About me: I'm 5'3", 190pounds(round is a shape right?). I have not been on a bike in 30 plus years, the last bike I had was a hand-me down 10 speed road bike with too large a frame. I have moderate arthritis in both knees so fit and comfort is an issue. I was originally just going to get a cheapy Wallyworld bike but DH who was a serious cyclist back in the day wouldn't hear of it so off to the LBS we went.

Bike Types: There are 3 LBS here and we went to all 3. The consensus is I would be best suited with a comfort type bike since I'll be mainly riding in the neighborhood or on bike/jogging trails. I would need a 13-15 inch frame and a step thru with the arthritis stiffness. The shops here only stock 1 or 2 models of those types of bikes in my small frame size.

The shops and bikes: At shop 1 I tried a Jamis Citizen 1, jamis Commuter 2, Jamis Explorer 2, and used Trek 7000(that rode good but had seen better days). This shop was very pushy and off putting but i did like the explorer and price on the used Trek,. At shop 2 I tried an Electra Townie 7D and Specialized Explorer( too large a frame and I couldnt control the bike. At shop 3 I rode a Trek Shift 1 and Trek Pure. Pretty much everything in the area in my small 13-15 frame . Shops 2 and 3 were more laid back and helpful shop one almost seemed like going to a used car lot if you know what I mean.

My dilemma I need help with:
I sorta liked the bikes at shop 1 but didn't like the pushy attitudes there so moved to the top ones from the other shops. I've narrowed it down to Trek Shift 1 or Electra Townie. The Shift 1 seemed more maneuverable but hurt my hands after just a few minutes of riding. The Townie was not as maneuverable but more comfortable to ride but i had to pedal hard going up inclines even in the lowest gear. The owner of the shop with the Shift said he could change out the handlebars with something else for an additional charge. No guarantees that would work and I could be stuck with a bike that hurt to ride. I'm not confident on a bike yet so tend to grip the handlebars super tight so that might be contributing to the discomfort. Is it likely that the ride on the Shift would get more comfortable on my hands in time or would the Townie get easier to pedal uphill? Maybe I'm over thinking things. Ok, experienced cyclists would I be better off with a comfort bike or a cruiser? If a comfort bike the modified Trek shift 1 or some other model. Anyone have experience with the other models I mentioned above?

Last edited by KritterTX; 04-08-15 at 11:30 AM. Reason: make easier to read
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Old 04-08-15, 11:59 AM
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This might be a good situation to search your local ads and try to find a used bike. I think if you start riding regularly it will become easier to help determine what bike would be best for your situation or even if you like it. I learned a lot after my first season of riding and when I purchased my second bike it was easy for me to identify certain features such as gearing that I wanted and what I didn't want on my bike. This made me happy that I didn't spend a ton the first go round
That being said the comfort style bikes seem to be pretty heavy and bulky. Things to keep in mind if you might be loading in and out of a vehicle. We rented some at the beach and I was surprised how in my opinion difficult they were to ride, and I ride pretty regularly!
I would definitely recommending that you find a bike shop that you like, especially if you have several! They have been an invaluable resource to me since I was a total newbie starting several years ago. They offer tons of advice. I even was able to take a maintenance class which was very helpful. I have even called for a ride when the weather was bad and they came and picked me up
If you are not too interested in the used bike option I might recommend Bike Friday. They have several different options available and you might find a good setup!
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Old 04-08-15, 02:05 PM
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The electra townie you mention has very long gearing. I think the lowest gear is a little too high for a beginner recreational cyclist.

The trek shift looks nice, but obviously the hand pain is problematic. Could it be related to your need for a small frame due to arthritis?
Hand pain is not unusual with flat bars after a long ride, and can be mitigated with bar ends etc. However, if you suffer pain very quickly I would be concerned about purchasing that bike.
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Old 04-08-15, 02:55 PM
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Your Local Bike shop can change parts on any bike they sell, you dont have to leave it as It comes out of the carton. my straight bar bikes got Ergon Comfort Grips.
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Old 04-19-15, 08:53 AM
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Wanted to post an update because I know I like to find out how things came out when I look at theses things. We went to a couple of bike shops in a larger city nearby and there was a huge difference in the quality of one shop. The people there gave me a spontaneous bike operations class then rode with me on my test ride to make sure I understood what I was doing. None of my local shops did that. I finally found some bike love there. I ended up getting a Raleigh venture 4 from the shop out of town. It was last years model so on sale so I got the kick stand, helmet and lights for less than a similar bike would have cost from a shop locally. I hated not buying locally but the one shop here who could have gotten the bike for me locally was going to charge me well above suggested retail (like $200 above) for the bike to do so. I did check before I bought out of town.
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Old 04-19-15, 09:07 AM
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Good for you!
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