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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Bike for a beginner

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    I am thinking of getting a bike, but having not cycled since I was on a girl's bike 25 years ago, I don't know where to start, other than my local cycle shop, which is about as friendly as a pack of piranhas if you're a female beginner. So can anyone advise me, prior to going to the bike shop, so I don't sound like a complete dunce?

    I'm not planning on cycling anywhere other than around my local park, for fitness, so maybe 20-40 miles per week absolute maximum, no off-road, no commuting.

    My guess would be a very basic road bike would be the way to go. Also, I'm 5'7" with regular legs and torso, but really short arms - any recommendations of make/model? And finally - can I get something for $500 or less?

    I'd appreciate any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    San Jose, CA

    Welcome to Team Estrogen! And welcome back to the world of cycling.

    OK, so what kind of bike should you look at? Hmmm, the possibilities are endless!

    Since you say you want to ride relatively short distances around your local park, and don't plan to go off road, you might take a look at Hybrids or comfort bikes. They have a more upright seating position than a typical road bike, and they usually have wider tires than the road bike, which can come in handy if you want to venture off a paved trail.

    If I were you, I'd try a road bike, a hybrid, a comfort bike, and maybe even a mountain bike for the heck of it. It's your $$, enjoy the shopping and buy the bike that you feel the most comfortable on!

    I'm sorry that your local bike shop is not very welcoming. I'm fortunate to live in an area where there's lots of nice bike shops. The one I frequent is called Chain Reaction, and they have several articles on bike shopping that you mind find interesting.

    http://www.chainreaction.com/hybrids.htm -- an article about Hybrids.
    http://www.chainreaction.com/buyroad.htm -- an article about shopping for Road bikes.

    They're a Trek dealer, so that's mostly what you'll see on their web site. The info is applicable for other bike brands, and there's several bike brands that will offer a good product for a reasonable price.

    Like clothes, different bicycle brands fit differently. The most important part is to get a bike that fits you properly.

    Hope this helps! Happy shopping!!

    -- Melissa

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Memphis, TN
    You might not be able to find a new road bike for $500. I think you may wind spending some more money(600-750US), if you want a "drop bar" road bike.
    As as far advice, most bikes at the price range will probably have Shimano Sora components. The best thing you could do is to face the piranhas(you are shark, aren't you?) and do some test rides. Different makes of bikes will have different riding qualities. I would also try shopping more than bike shop, if it's not much of a bother.
    You may want to look at Hybrids/Flat bar bikes. They would be more in your price range, and are bit more versatile. I know you said you were only to going to ride at the park on the road, but a hybrid can handle some mild off road stuff with aplomb, where a road bike would not be happy.
    Let us know what you find out.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Hi Helen,

    My suggestion would be to try an entry-level hardtail mountain bike. Trek and Gary Fisher models start at about $320. Mountain bikes are generally easier to ride and more comfortable than road bikes. And you sort of have to worry less about them. For example, you can get a flat on a road bike just by riding over a 1" rock. It's true that road bikes are more comfortable over long distances, but 20-40 miles of road riding on a mtb is very doable. Usually the longest I'd do was about 50 miles. Beyond that, I'd consider a road bike, a mtb with slick tires, or a hybrid.

    If you have your heart set on a road bike, I highly recommend the Trek 1000, which is $710. One of the guys I ride with got it a few months ago and he's very happy. It's a very good entry-level road bike. In your case I suggest you consider the Trek 1000 WSD (Women's Specific Design), since you mentioned that you have short arms. But by all means, try both. Usually women's specific bikes have a shorter top tube, which makes it easier for people with short arms or short torsos to comfortably reach the handlebars.

    At 5'7", you would probably fit well on a size 51 cm, but the only way to know for sure is to get your inseam measured. They should do this at the bike shop by getting you to stand barefoot against a wall, with your feet about 6" apart. Then you'll hold a binder or hardcover book between your thighs and push it up as high as it will go -- simulating your position on the bike seat. The salesperson will then measure the distance from the top of the binder straight down to the floor (usually in centimeters, since road bike sizes are in cm) and that's your inseam. Then you take that number and multiply by .667 and that's a good approximation of your bike size. So for example if your inseam is 77cm, then 77cm * .667 = 51.4 cm. Your bike size is about 51cm.

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps. No matter what bike you decide to get, it's important that it fits well so that you can enjoy it to its full potential.




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