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Got a free bike, now what?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Got a free bike, now what?

Old 05-01-06, 12:37 AM
  #1  
tommyx
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Got a free bike, now what?

I got a free bike (and a free helmet) from my neighbor yesterday. It's a Specialized Allez Epic. I was told it is about 15 year old. But it rides fine for me. Just a couple of questions,

1. Do I need to tune it up? I know I can do it at my local sports store (G.I. Joes). Since it's free, I'm hesitating to spend $50 or more for this.

2. I felt pain on my groin even after a couple of minutes ride. Will a seat cover solve this problem? I found the following thing on Amazom.com,

Bell Gel Relief Seat Cover
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ance&n=3375251

3. I'm also thinking to buy a small pump like the following one. But it says this is a mountain pump. I think the road bike needs a smaller adaptor, right? Should this pump work for me?

Blackburn 108197 Mountain Air Bicycle Mountain Pump
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ance&n=3375251

4. What else should I prepare/buy before a real trip? So far, I just ride in my neighborhood.

Any input is welcome!

All the best,

Tom
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Old 05-01-06, 12:45 AM
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if the helmet is 15 years old, then retire it to the museum. most likely it'll be worthless in a crash.

get the bike tuned. it was free, so don't be so cheap.

doubt a saddle cover will make things easier on your groin. if that's where your pain actually is, maybe the saddle is twisted, or pointing up. saddle pain is usually behind your sack.

buy: pump/spare tubes/tire irons/allen key set/water bottles/gloves/shoes

ride and enjoy
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Old 05-01-06, 12:47 AM
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Awesome! How does it shift? How are the brakes? If they'res anything wrong, just take it into a local bike shop (LBS) for a quick minor tune. Might cost $40, but you won't regret it.

If you feel pain, you ought to make sure that the bike FITS. Fit is probably the number one most important element in deciding if a bike is right for you. If a bike doesn't fit, then it won't work for you, regardless of components or frame material or whatever else cyclists care about. This would be something to consult the bike shop about. They'd probably be glad to give you a few pointers on how to adjust your seat height, handlebar height, etc. to make your bike fit better.

The Mountain Air is, well, a mountain pump. I bought one when I first started road cycling, but it's not suited. It only goes up to 90 psi, which is enough air pressure for almost all mountain bikes but not enough for a road bike tire. Check the recommended pressure marking that should be written on the side of your tires and get a pump that will be able to fill your tires up to that number.

I know you don't want to spend money, I hated buying bike stuff back when I was fifteen. But be willing to set aside a certain amount of money for occasional repairs, accessories, etc. You should get yourself a small bike bag to mount onto the back of your seat, maybe a few tools. Your LBS can teach you how to use these and they'll basically tell you everything you need.

Have fun riding, I still remember my first road bike and how much I loved it. I got it when I was fifteen as well.
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Old 05-01-06, 02:35 AM
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Ride it a lot, and enjoy it!
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Old 05-01-06, 02:47 AM
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ride it into the ground, learn how to do the maintennance yourself then when you have the cash buy another bike. The cycling bug will bite
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Old 05-01-06, 06:13 AM
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Personally, I would stay away from those Gel Seat Covers. You would be better off laying your money across the seat and sitting on that.
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Old 05-01-06, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by HWS
Personally, I would stay away from those Gel Seat Covers. You would be better off laying your money across the seat and sitting on that.
Please tell me when you're planning on doing this so I can ride behind you. I hear the $100 bills are the cushy-est.
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Old 05-01-06, 07:47 AM
  #8  
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About seat covers, get a pair of biking shorts with a chamois instead. (That's a crotch pad if you're not up on your cycling lingo)

I've found that's the single largest improvement in cycling comfort you can make.

I'd second the bike shop advice. Get them to give the bike a once over to make sure it's safe. That is unless your neighbor has got a notion about maintaining bikes and can look over it with you. If he hasn't ridden in a few years, he was probably never that into bikes, and the bike shop is probably a better idea.

Where are you? Maybe you could meet up with a Bike Forum member and they could give you some advice about whether the bike fits and if it's worth getting a tuneup done?

-Greg
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Old 05-01-06, 10:12 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by HWS
Personally, I would stay away from those Gel Seat Covers. You would be better off laying your money across the seat and sitting on that.

All my saved money are quarters in my piggy bank

Tom
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Old 05-01-06, 10:14 AM
  #10  
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Where are you? Maybe you could meet up with a Bike Forum member and they could give you some advice about whether the bike fits and if it's worth getting a tuneup done?

-Greg[/QUOTE]

I'm in Portland, Oregon. Hope to see some of you guys soon.

Tom
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Old 05-01-06, 10:18 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by the beef
The Mountain Air is, well, a mountain pump. I bought one when I first started road cycling, but it's not suited. It only goes up to 90 psi, which is enough air pressure for almost all mountain bikes but not enough for a road bike tire. Check the recommended pressure marking that should be written on the side of your tires and get a pump that will be able to fill your tires up to that number.
Thanks for the advice. I almost placed an order from Amazon.com before I post this. Now I'll be looking for somthing else. Thanks again.

Tom
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Old 05-01-06, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by mrkott3r
ride it into the ground, learn how to do the maintennance yourself then when you have the cash buy another bike. The cycling bug will bite
Why buy another bike later? Do you mean this model is not good enough? I saw there is a sign on the body of the bike saying "Carbon Fiber" and I thought this should be pretty good. Am I right?

Tom
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Old 05-01-06, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tommyx
I saw there is a sign on the body of the bike saying "Carbon Fiber" and I thought this should be pretty good. Am I right? Tom
it's 15 year old CF.

how well does a top shelf computer from 15 years ago compare to todays computers?
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Old 05-01-06, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by tommyx
Why buy another bike later? Do you mean this model is not good enough? I saw there is a sign on the body of the bike saying "Carbon Fiber" and I thought this should be pretty good. Am I right?

Tom
Your new bike's fine, Tom. Lots of people around here have Bicycle Acquisition Syndrome, and feel the need for a new/another bike every six month or so. Some of us are riding the same bikes we bought 25 years ago.

Hook up with a BF member in Portland or take the bike into the local bike shop for a tuneup. After that, you can work on the bike yourself, especially if you know someone who knows his/her way around a bike.

Cheers.
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Old 05-01-06, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by tommyx
I'm in Portland, Oregon. Hope to see some of you guys soon.
Tom,

It's great that you now have a bike worthy of riding and that you want to get into it. That said, unless you know what you are doing or are willing to spend the money at a local bike shop, chances are real good that your bike is far from ideal for your body. In other words, it likely isn't fitted properly for you. Which is probably causing the pain you feel.

Now, if the frame is the right size, getting it to fit should be fairly simple. If it isn't, well, you might want to consider selling it.

If you are interested, I would be happy to meet with you and check out your basic situation. Might save you some $, time and headache. I work in downtown Portland and live in Sherwood, so arranging an early morning, lunchtime or late afternoon meeting should be fairly easy.

55/Rad
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Old 05-01-06, 10:36 AM
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The Specialized Allez is a great bike - upper middle end. You could make a modern classic just by installing a new component group but that should wait until you've become a REAL(tm) bicyclist. To tell you the truth, if it was the steel Allez you probably have something that qualifies as a modern classic.

There are two kinds of groin pain - the sore butt and the SCREAMING PAIN or NUMB NUTS nuts kind.

The first kind will slowly go away with miles. The second is caused by the saddle not fitting properly because of SHAPE or WIDTH (usually the first) or because the bike doesn't fit you properly and you're sliding too far foward on the saddle.

A tuneup by a bike shop is a good idea if you're not mechanically inclined and even if you are you should find a shop that will let you watch the process so that you know what it entails. A tuneup isn't hard but there's a large number of things you need to learn about.

Helmets - it pays for a new rider to wear a helmet because for the first 5 years you have the greatest chance of crashing (mostly in single vehicle "oh *****" accidents). But you HAVE to remember that a helmet will offer you almost no protection in an accident and you need to be studied in your riding, not taking excessive chances and not pretending that a helmet makes you invulnerable. You should also learn to fall by riding around on a grass field and falling over several times to develop a technique for falling so that you know what to expect.

If you fall over without knowing what to expect you're likely to be stunned by the feeling in midair and not protect yourself properly simply because it's a new and strange feeling (before the impact - pain has always been a familiar feeling to me - I grew up with two brothers.)
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Old 05-01-06, 10:40 AM
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As they say: Hai voluto la bicicletta....adesso pedala!
Yes you should bring it in at a shop and have them take a look, G.I. Joes or a bike shop, there are many around Portland, ask them many other questions and get a second opinion too. For sure have them check your helmets, you can get a new one cheap if that is too old, there is even a program for free helmets in Portland! Or very cheap from Legacy Hospitals. If the seat is not comfortable and hurts you can start with something a bit softer and wider, first get the bike shorts.
For local info check bikeportland.org
Ciao
Paolo

P.S.: 55/Rad You are such a great ambassador! Well done.
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Old 05-01-06, 02:34 PM
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15 year old tires & tubes? Get some one to look at em. My suggestion is to have your LBS go over the bike and do a tune up. Last time I had this done it was $40 and included truing wheels. Good luck.
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Old 05-01-06, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad
Tom,

It's great that you now have a bike worthy of riding and that you want to get into it. That said, unless you know what you are doing or are willing to spend the money at a local bike shop, chances are real good that your bike is far from ideal for your body. In other words, it likely isn't fitted properly for you. Which is probably causing the pain you feel.

Now, if the frame is the right size, getting it to fit should be fairly simple. If it isn't, well, you might want to consider selling it.

If you are interested, I would be happy to meet with you and check out your basic situation. Might save you some $, time and headache. I work in downtown Portland and live in Sherwood, so arranging an early morning, lunchtime or late afternoon meeting should be fairly easy.

55/Rad
55/Rad,

Thank you so much for the kind reply. I really want to meet you someday in the near future. Actually I live in Hillsboro. In order to meet you in downtown Portland, I might need to find a way to attach the bike to my car. Once I figure that out, I'll PM you and let's schedule a time. Thanks again for the help!

All the best,

Tom
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Old 05-01-06, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tommyx
55/Rad,

Thank you so much for the kind reply. I really want to meet you someday in the near future. Actually I live in Hillsboro. In order to meet you in downtown Portland, I might need to find a way to attach the bike to my car. Once I figure that out, I'll PM you and let's schedule a time. Thanks again for the help!
Tom - I'll be in Beaverton - Walker near the 26 - for my sons Lacrosse game on Saturday morning from about 9:30 to 11. We could meet then if it helps.

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Old 05-01-06, 05:13 PM
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Yeah you should go get it tuned. Get a new chain if it's all rusted and new drive train. It's worth the money.
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Old 05-01-06, 05:37 PM
  #22  
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How old are you? You sound young from your posts, and it's nice too see some other young riders. I'm 16 and I just got into road cycling last year. Just like you, I was a TOTAL newb and didn't know a single thing. Luckily, I became a regular on this forum. In a span of a few months, I've learned more than I ever thought I would need to know. lol.

My advice.
Read and post frequently on these forums, get that bike checked up and fixed, and keep riding.
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Old 05-01-06, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad
Tom,

It's great that you now have a bike worthy of riding and that you want to get into it. That said, unless you know what you are doing or are willing to spend the money at a local bike shop, chances are real good that your bike is far from ideal for your body. In other words, it likely isn't fitted properly for you. Which is probably causing the pain you feel.

Now, if the frame is the right size, getting it to fit should be fairly simple. If it isn't, well, you might want to consider selling it.

If you are interested, I would be happy to meet with you and check out your basic situation. Might save you some $, time and headache. I work in downtown Portland and live in Sherwood, so arranging an early morning, lunchtime or late afternoon meeting should be fairly easy.

55/Rad
tommyx,
55/Rad is a highly-respected BF member who is always generous with his comments, time and cycling knowledge. You will find no finer offer of assistance from such a reliable source. Make every effort to hook up with him soon -- I guarantee you will not regret it!

Last edited by Old School; 05-01-06 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 05-01-06, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Old School
tommyx,
55/Rad is a highly-respected BF member who is always generous with his comments, time and cycling knowledge. You will find no finer offer of assistance from such a reliable source. Make every effort to hook up with him soon -- I guarantee you will not regret it!
And make sure to ask him where to get your bike frame painted.
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Old 05-01-06, 09:31 PM
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I bought that same seat cover last year, when i got my bike. They sell them at wal-mart. If you're getting the numb nuts, it won't help you. If you're getting the sore ass instead, this will give you the numb nuts instead of the sore ass.

This past weekend i went to the LBS and bought a new seat (Cloud 9, with its own springs) for around $25. I haven't had the chance to test it yet as I live in Illinois (it's been raining here since late Friday night), but i'm hoping to be able to feel my nuts after the ride tomorrow.
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