I want a bike! HELP

  • hi everyone.

    I decided that I might want to ride a bike to the gym in the mornings. It is 2.7 miles each way, all flat, so I don't think it will be too tough.

    However, I have not ridden a bike in at least 10 years...it is probably more like 15.

    I am a 27 year old female and I am about 5'10"....

    I do not plan on riding this bike very fast or far (although i guess 6 miles a day will add up fast) but i know NOTHING about bikes.

    Any suggestions on where to start? i plan on buying it used at first....


    thanks for any help!

    Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can.

  • oh my god, i'm 29! I don't know why I put 29. lol. wishful thinking

    Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can.

  • i mean i dont know why i put 27...what is wrong with me today. :\

    Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can.

  • Do you have a "Play it Again Sports" near you?  They sell used sporting equipment, including bikes. They typically have very good bikes and since they are used they are discounted quite a bit from what you would pay if you bought the same name brand new. Also, bike shops almost always sell used bikes that they have taken in trade when someone bought a new bike. These used bikes may or may not be sitting on the showroom floor so call around and ask the bike shops in your area if they sell used bikes.

    I would recommend you get a light weight frame and "thick" tires since you haven't been on a bike in a while (not skinny road tires which are for speed) and get straighter handlebars that don't require you to lean forward any great distance. It's important to be sure to have the clerk measure you to make sure you and the bike you are buying actually fit each other (if he doesn't know how...go somewhere else). Its not just distance from butt to peddles to ground, but also the distance you have when you lean forward onto the handle bars that matters. If your wrists don't sit right on the handlebars they could go numb on longer rides. Proper stability and fit will also help prevent you from falling.

    Stay away from anything they sell at discount stores like Target or WalMart. Good name brands that won't break the bank: Trek, Iron Horse, and Cannondale. My husband has a Trek he loves and I have an Iron Horse I wouldn't trade for the world; and both have been excellent through multiple military moves, as well as operating smoothly in places like the hot summer asphalt in Alabama, the cold Connecticut autumn weather on bumpy roads and trails, and even while on the hilly German countryside.

    Remember to buy a good helmet. Have the salesclerk at the store fit you to the proper one. They can be pricey but its your head your protecting so you don't really want to secure it with the cheapest available model. hehe  

    In Germany bikers are required to have a light and a bell on their bike. We sort of laughed at this, but after having them put on the bike we can see the benefit. If you are riding on the road you might want to consider them. Having the light helps others (especially cars) see you, and the bell has proven invaluable many times over the years as a polite "we're coming up behind you, don't be startled" warning (especially if riding where people also walk their dogs - as they can be unpredictable around bikes sometimes and it gives their owners a heads up, which can prevent a crash).

    I don't recommend riding with a backpack as the weight can shift unexpectedly. If you need to carry things to and front work, have them add panniers to your bike. You will love them for carrying things and they won't knock your stability when riding. They come in all price tags so in this case, I say shop strictly on price unless you have something you really need to protect like a laptop.

    I would bet you are probably going to love biking and may want to take your bike on longer distances as you progress with your fitness routine so you might as well get the right bike right off the bat and avoid the possibility of outpacing your bike and needing to go out and buy a better one; that being said, do some research ahead of time so that you aren't being sold a feature you don't really want or need.


  • thanks armywife!

    i agree about the light and bell. i have been alerted to a biker while walking with a bell, and i think i would want a light just to be safe.

    the only play it again sports near me closed, but there is a bike store near my bf's house that i might try this weekend.

    what about something like this?


    are the wheels wide enough?

    Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can.

  • It all depends on what you are looking for, but I would recommend a bike with gears to shift - 10 at least, more would be better. Having gears to change *really does* matter, and I think you would like biking a whole lot more with them than without them.

    Re: the tires, just tell them at the store that you want an "all terrain" tire that has traction. If you have "chunky" tires I think you will feel more secure since they grip the road in all weather and surfaces much better, and they aren't so "cranky" about hitting unexpected rocks or potholes in the road.

    Don't sell yourself short when getting a bike - you might think all you want it for today is going 2+ miles to work, the truth is you might be throwing a banana in your pannier and jumping on that bike within a months time and be out looking for a trail to challenge! =)

  • FYI:  According to bike enthusiasts I know, all helmets adhere to a certain safety standard, so, in theory anyway, a $40 helmet will protect your dome as well as a $200 one.  This was confirmed by the clerk at the bike store I went to, and if it was not true, I do not think that they would tell me that when I was prepared to shell out more money.  The difference in price, they said, is various features like better air flow to your head, aerodynamics and rear view mirrors.  I am not an expert in this field, so you may want to do some research to confirm, but I would hate to see you spend more on a helmet for flashy features you do not need.

  • It is true that all helmets meet a minimum safety standard set by the government, but when it comes to your head the minimum isn't saying much. In 2008, 716 bicyclists were killed and 52,000 were injured in traffic accidents; with the average age of those who died being 41 years old and those injured was 31 years old. Bicyclists account for 2% of all traffic fatalities.

    More expensive helmets have features that make them more comfortable to the wearer; the netting helps the individual riding stay cooler during the ride as well as keeping the hair from getting sweaty (which makes the scalp get irritatingly itchy). If you are continually trying to stick your finger under your helmet to scratch your scalp, you end up riding one handed at times and it becomes a real safety issue. There is also the fact that the netting helps keep bugs out of your hair. Horse flys love sweaty people and they love to hit you when you are exercising. I've had a horse fly literally ride with me for miles and miles and attack me on my bike and even though he hit my helmet I knew he couldn't get tangled in my hair because of the netting, so even though he was a pain as he circled and dive-bombed me, I wasn't freaking out that he could get tangled in my hair. (I had a bee get in my helmet once before which is why I bought the helmet with the netting). Not freaking out when a bee or horsefly decides to make you its target, for me at least, is worth the cost of a helmet with a net! hehe

    Helmets typically come with a set of velcro pads and you chose which ones you want to use depending on the comfort and fit. But as with anything in life, you get what you pay for. The pads on the cheaper helmets do go flat quicker than ones on a more quality driven helmet. Both have pads, but the comfort and safety of having good padding material over the long term means that you won't be replacing your helmet as often, and that the fit will remain snug as it should over the life of your helmet.

    On more expensive helmets there is usually a wicking material on the padding covers also and this really helps the pads stay comfortable since they don't become sweat soaked as easily. More expensive helmets also typically have padding on the chin strap and a quick release buckle that can be manipulated with one hand instead of a plastic locking clip that requires two hands.

    Expensive is a relative term depending on what you want to spend. You can get a good quality helmet for a reasonable price, but in the end it will be more expensive than a cheaper model for a reason. Price does equate to quality, but there is a limit (meaning you don't need Lance Armstrongs helmet to ride to work and back  so don't let someone sell you that, but that doesn't mean you don't need the best one you can afford to buy). Remember, its your head - your brains - you are protecting so the most important thing is to make sure that your helmet has been properly fitted to your head by someone who knows what they are doing and to make sure that they explain to you how to check the fit of your own helmet because over time adjustments will need to be made to the straps and pads and you should know what to look for and how to make those adjustments.

  • therese_anne, as a person who depends HEAVILY on his bike (it's my mode of transport to and from work) I can tell you that the quality of the bike, the comfort of the seat and the comfort to the user is all key. That being said, you don't have to spend nearly as much as we'd think. I suggest getting a decent low end cruiser type. They usually have gears, a nice comfortable seat and depending on where you get it you could pay just around a 100 bucks for a really good bike. If it's your first time back on a bike I suggest looking at, and yes I know how redneck I may sound but then again I am a redneck!!, Wal-Mart.

    They have a good selection of bikes and they usually have a couple of good cruisers. Remember that if you're not riding on the street or the sidewalk, or bike path you may want to get something a bit more rugged. The Roadmaster cruiser lines are usually pretty sturdy, they have a wide seat with springs underneath and make for a comfortable ride. I actually have a Royce Union Street bike, with a cruiser seat and it's one of the best bikes I've had.

    As for add on products - Bell is a great company. I have my gloves, lock and lights all through Bell, also sold at Wal-Mart (No I'm not an employee or shareholder). They have good quality products and they're priced relatively well.

    If you have any other questions about bikes, feel free to drop me a line.

    Oh! My helmet is a Mongoose brand, another brand that I love and it's really comfortable.

  • One more thing!!!!

    At 5'10" you'll want to make sure to get a 26" wheel size bike.

  • Nightgryphon

    thanks for your input!

    yes, i really like the style of the cruiser bikes and they do seem relatively inexpensive. i would mostly be riding on the street or sidewalk for sure.

    i am definitely going to look at a bike in a department store or bike shop before i commit to anything.

    how far do you like from work?

    Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can.

  • About the same distance you would be going to the gym, the only difference is I occasionally have to hit the dirt or grass, and trust me, on a cruiser it'd be a killer, it's already a big pain when I have to on my bike and it has offroad tires.

  • hmm. good to know.

    i should probably get on a bike first and see if i remember how to ride one

    Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can.

  • Oh my goodness Nightgryphon  what a GREAT tip! I didn't even think about the seat being an issue but boy oh boy can it be! I have a special female seat that I bought that well......it has a cut out in the "right" spot so that on long bike rides that particular area doesn't go numb, which it can suprisingly easy! haha

    Therese_anne - you gave me a chuckle with your last post. Yeah, that most defintely is the most important part of riding a bike...can you still do it! teehee I would bet the answer is yes, and wonderfully! You know the old saying, it's like riding a bike, once you know you don't forget.

    Just as an "FYI" - Bike stores will often let you try out a bike for a day or two (the one we went to when living in Alabama allowed people to take a bike on a Friday and return it Monday before deciding if they wanted it). Talk to a bike store and see what they would be willing to do for you in regards to trying out a used one, and getting fitted for one as well as showing you how to shift gears and understand the operation of the bike you choose. Knowing how to work your bike improves your safety. Don't be intimidated about going inside of a bike store because you "aren't a real biker" - bike stores, especially in this economy, are very accomodating to new riders. They want you to be happy and love biking as much as they do.

    When you get your new bike, wherever and whatever you chose, post a picture of you with it and tell us how you are doing so we can all see and cheer you on! Good Luck - Have FUN!

  • hey armywife!

    i will definitely post a pic when i purchase one. My boyfriend wants a bike now too so i am thinking we might look for them together.  i am going to take my time getting it though, because I want to purchase the perfect bike!

    maybe i will get myself a bike as a reward once my first challenge is finished. (beginning of July)

    Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can.