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      10-24-2011, 02:51 PM   #1
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About to start bicycling

Oh well... Like starting running was not enough now I would like to add bicycling as my cross training. Since I did not do much bicycling before, I'm clueless about bikes. I figured I should buy something inexpensive, but decent and not too crappy.

So, last night, I bought Diamondback Wildwood Citi Classic bike at Sports Authority. Can you guys tell me if this is should be "ok" to ride on bike trails, no off-road for now? Couple of my neighbors are doing 20-30 miles bike rides on weekends, so I'm going to join them. Don't know yet how long I will last.

And, of course, any advise and tips that you could share would be great. Thank you!





Not sure which one exactly I got, since it's been late, and I was not paying too much attention.
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      10-24-2011, 03:30 PM   #2
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It depends what your goals are and what kind of riding you want to do. That Diamond Back in the pic is a strolling around town kind of bike. It'll be comfortable, but it won't put you in a position where you can put some serious power down, get in a tuck, or be very responsive.

If you want to do group rides you must first decide if you'll do mountain biking or road biking. You'll get the most bang for your buck on craigslist used, or bikesdirect.com new. You need to know just what you want though, and neither will offer much help for fit or service. You can get a good idea on fit from the fit calculators on wrenchscience.com or competitivecyclist.com. No matter how good of a deal it is, getting the right fit is the most important consideration. I'd right a perfectly fitting $600 bike any day over a two-sizes too big or small $3000 bike. A cheap used mountain bike will likely be thrashed, but a cheap used road bike for $300 might work great and just be a little dated.

If you can swing it though, I'd recommend checking out a few bike shops. I wouldn't bother with Big 5, sports authroity, etc. You'll get service and advice. Maybe join some bike forums, too. mtbr.com for mountain bikes, roadbikereview.com for road bikes. Even better, ask your neighbors what they recommend. Maybe they have some spares you could try out, or maybe you can borrow their bikes and ride on your own. You'll learn a lot by getting some decent seat time on an assortment of bikes.

Also...try as many saddles as you can. Most newbies think bigger is better. Not so- it's all about the shape and how it fits you. Most will be a little uncomfortable until you have a few weeks of regular riding though, and then you don't even think about it any more if the fit is good. WTB and Specialized seem to be the most popular brands among my friends.

Also...consider getting a decent pair of bike shorts, baggies if you're concerned with the look. They are SOOOOOOO much more comfortable on a long ride. No undies- the seams are murder. Maybe get a little chamois butter, too, although I usually don't use that if I'm going less than 4 hours.
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      10-24-2011, 03:52 PM   #3
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Great advice from Carve. So you already bought a bike like one of the ones pictured? It's likely to be comfortable, but might be a bit less so for longer rides. Fit will be paramount, and I'd imagine that if you find you like cycling, you'll move to a proper road bike or mountain bike before too long. To be fair, I see folks with mountain bikes and hybrids at longer rally rides and centuries, so it's not like it can't be done.

Take Carve's advice about saddles. It's true, bigger is almost never better, as they frequently cause your hips to rock back and forth, instead of being stationary, like a proper saddle should. Padding is the same, too much is worse than not enough. A proper pair of bike shorts goes a long way to making things more comfortable.

The same is true for gloves, I prefer no or minimal padding and find that padding tends to be comfortable for about the first twenty miles then turns into a burden, all mushy and imprecise.

Wear a helmet, any helmet. I've broken a few in crashes and wouldn't be typing this if I hadn't been wearing one each time. Drivers are stupid. Little kids do crazy things. Man hole covers, rocks, cracks in the pavement, tree roots, drainage covers, other riders and all sorts of unexpected things happen, protect your nut.
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      10-24-2011, 06:07 PM   #4
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Here ya go...aluminum frame, carbon fork, Shimano 3x8 drivetrain with STI shifters, $399 brand new.

Here's something similar in a cyclocross bike. This is pretty much a road bike that is built tough enough to do some very light off-roading, and can take bigger tires.

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      10-24-2011, 10:59 PM   #5
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Carve and Red Bread,

Thank you so much for the info guys! As newbie as I am, it's difficult for me to make any decisions, let alone right ones. The reasons why I bought this Diamonback bike (checked after work, I got 2011 model) are 1) I did not want to spend a lot to try it out, and 2) SA had this bike on sale and in addition I had 25% coupon. After adding 3 year extended warranty ($60) my total for bike, warranty, and sales tax came out to $260. I would not even get warranty, but 3 year warranty includes 2 annual tune-ups.

Carve, those bikes do look lot nicer, so may be in a year if I like it and still doing it, I can probably sell my bike on craigslist and buy something better.

If you guys think I made a mistake, please let me know. I'm not riding it until Sunday, so there is time to return it. Might even be able to return it after I ride it, but I would not want to return used bike. May try to visit bike shop, I found one near me.

Many thanks for bringing up bike shorts. I would not think about getting them.
What do you guys think about these ones:

http://www.amazon.com/Canari-Cycling...9515050&sr=8-2

or these

http://www.amazon.com/Pearl-iZUMi-Qu...9515050&sr=8-1

Thanks again for your input!
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      10-25-2011, 08:37 AM   #6
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Ask your neighbor what he thinks. Does his bike look more like the bikesdirect ones I posted? I'll bet it does.

If you plan to do any aggressive riding, for 1/3 more money I think either of those are no-brainers, unless you just plan on casually tooling around town. The diamond back would be fine, or maybe even better, for that.

If you don't want to spend 1/3 more, you could probably get an even better deal on Craigslist. Something like this (although it's kind of small)...
http://hartford.craigslist.org/bik/2615812540.html

Keep in mind though...a properly fitting road bike will put you in a more laid-out position. You probably won't find it as comfortable at first until your muscles get used to it, but if you're doing group fitness rides you'd have to be pretty strong to keep up on that.

Also...fit. How did you see if the Diamond Back would fit you?

Shorts...get the 2nd one. The first are liners for baggies.
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      10-25-2011, 09:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carve View Post
Ask your neighbor what he thinks. Does his bike look more like the bikesdirect ones I posted? I'll bet it does.

If you plan to do any aggressive riding, for 1/3 more money I think either of those are no-brainers, unless you just plan on casually tooling around town. The diamond back would be fine, or maybe even better, for that.

If you don't want to spend 1/3 more, you could probably get an even better deal on Craigslist. Something like this (although it's kind of small)...
http://hartford.craigslist.org/bik/2615812540.html

Keep in mind though...a properly fitting road bike will put you in a more laid-out position. You probably won't find it as comfortable at first until your muscles get used to it, but if you're doing group fitness rides you'd have to be pretty strong to keep up on that.

Also...fit. How did you see if the Diamond Back would fit you?

Shorts...get the 2nd one. The first are liners for baggies.
My neigbor has old Trek bike, so It might look like something you posted, but with straight handles. From what he told me, they do more casual (cruising) biking rides for 20-30 miles, rather than any hardcore workouts. Perhaps, Diamondback could be good fit then?

Since I know nothing about bikes, I figured I should spend little $ and see how it works out. Diamondback did not cost much, and I got it with the tune ups and warranty. Guys at SA told me which frame (large) I needed, tuned it up, checked it, and I was on my way.

As / if I get more into this, I'll upgrade to something like you mentioned.

I will still go to bike shop, probably tonight. May be they will have something used in mint condition.

BTW, I ordered Pearl iZumi shorts. Thank you very much for the advise! I also ordered this cap http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00..._ya_os_product In the next few days temperature is expected to drop below 40 in the morning, so that should be very usefull, and should fit under helmet.

Speaking of helmets, can you recommend one of two below?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Both helmets have great reviews, and are not expensive.

Water Bottles? Does it matter which one?

Found these two

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Again, thank you very much!
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      10-25-2011, 10:25 AM   #8
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If you guys are just cruising and not hauling ass, then the Diamond Back will probably be fine. If it winds up getting fast or competitive you'll probably be disappointed and lose interest.

Helmets, like seats, are all about fit. I'd go to a shop and try on several sizes and brands. For me, large Bell helmets fit best. You want it as tight as possible without being uncomfortable. It should sit even and level. Once you have it adjusted you should be able to shake it around a little without it moving much. This is so it doesn't get pushed out of place in a crash. After finding one that fits right adjust the straps so they hang between your neck and jaw and tighten it as much as you can without being uncomfortable. This prevents it from falling or ripping off in a crash.

Most better helmets now have a little piece in the back, often adjustable with a dial, that really helps to lock it in place so I'd recommend getting something with one of those.




Here's REI's advice for fitting a helmet...

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/arti...le+helmet.html

Last edited by carve; 10-25-2011 at 10:31 AM.
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      10-25-2011, 10:41 AM   #9
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I use both Polar and Camelbak bottles, but actually prefer a mix, the more rigid Polar insulated body with the Camelbak lids. So get one of each and see which you prefer. I use 25oz bottles, but if you're mainly doing shorter distances, the 20oz bottles can work fine.

Helmets are all about fit, I strongly suggest you use your local bike shop to find what works best for your head. All helmets meet the same safety standard, the higher priced models are usually lighter and have more cooling and/or winter liners.

Pearl Izumi makes good clothing for all levels of cycling, they're a good start for your clothing needs.
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      10-26-2011, 09:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carve View Post
If you guys are just cruising and not hauling ass, then the Diamond Back will probably be fine. If it winds up getting fast or competitive you'll probably be disappointed and lose interest.

Helmets, like seats, are all about fit. I'd go to a shop and try on several sizes and brands. For me, large Bell helmets fit best. You want it as tight as possible without being uncomfortable. It should sit even and level. Once you have it adjusted you should be able to shake it around a little without it moving much. This is so it doesn't get pushed out of place in a crash. After finding one that fits right adjust the straps so they hang between your neck and jaw and tighten it as much as you can without being uncomfortable. This prevents it from falling or ripping off in a crash.

Most better helmets now have a little piece in the back, often adjustable with a dial, that really helps to lock it in place so I'd recommend getting something with one of those.

Here's REI's advice for fitting a helmet...

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/arti...le+helmet.html
Thank you for the link! I read about helmets, and ended up ordering Giro in universal size from Amazon. It looks like more advanced / pro versions are sized, but lower end helmets are mostly universal size. I should get my helmet tomorrow, so if it does not fit, I'll still be able to get replacement locally before my first ride.

There is specialized bike shop just few miles from me, and they are open until 8 pm tomorrow, so I will try to go there after work. If they have helmet better than what I ordered, I will get it, and return one from Amazon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Bread View Post
I use both Polar and Camelbak bottles, but actually prefer a mix, the more rigid Polar insulated body with the Camelbak lids. So get one of each and see which you prefer. I use 25oz bottles, but if you're mainly doing shorter distances, the 20oz bottles can work fine.

Helmets are all about fit, I strongly suggest you use your local bike shop to find what works best for your head. All helmets meet the same safety standard, the higher priced models are usually lighter and have more cooling and/or winter liners.

Pearl Izumi makes good clothing for all levels of cycling, they're a good start for your clothing needs.
My Pearl Izumis should arrive tomorrow. Ordered Polar 24oz bottle as well. Figured bigger is probably better. Might add another bottle (smaller) later.

*****

Thanks again guys for help and advises!
I got bike, and other stuff (helmet, water bottle, shorts) should be delivered tomorrow. So, that should be everything I need. Let me know if I'm forgeting something.
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      10-26-2011, 02:26 PM   #11
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Here is the same bike I use. A little expensive. It's a Cannondale Rush 6. Mine is a tan color though with white lettering. I stick to trails, and try to stay off the roads. Nothing quite like standing up and pushing so hard into the pedals and slipping through mud and gunk on a hillside It is one hell of a workout!
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      10-26-2011, 03:15 PM   #12
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Universal size? That doesn't sound like a good idea. That'd be almost as bad as ordering a universal size shoe. It's probably either for kids, or it's really big and comes with a lot of padding to fill the gap. That'll move around a lot in a crash.

You should be able to shake your head around and have the helmet barely move, if at all.

Also- like shoes, it's not just about size, it's about shape. Everyone has a different shaped head, and every company uses different shape molds...often several different molds depending on the helmet. The Bell Influx and Varient fit me perfect in a large. The large Bell x-ray is terribly tight and uncomfortable in a large. Most Giro bike helmets are either uncomfortable or too big, but their Fuse ski helmet is perfect. I've learned the hard way not to buy a helmet I haven't tried on.

You can get pretty nice bike helmets, in sizes, for under $50. I ride a $5k bike, but this $50 helmet served me well for years...

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/201...p=215%20BELIN0

jensonusa is another great place to buy stuff online.




Here's my mean machine. Just did a nice night-ride last night...





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      10-26-2011, 05:37 PM   #13
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Here is the same bike I use. A little expensive. It's a Cannondale Rush 6. Mine is a tan color though with white lettering. I stick to trails, and try to stay off the roads. Nothing quite like standing up and pushing so hard into the pedals and slipping through mud and gunk on a hillside It is one hell of a workout!
That does sounds like a nice workout! And that looks like a nice bike.

Quote:
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Universal size? That doesn't sound like a good idea. That'd be almost as bad as ordering a universal size shoe. It's probably either for kids, or it's really big and comes with a lot of padding to fill the gap. That'll move around a lot in a crash.

You should be able to shake your head around and have the helmet barely move, if at all.

Also- like shoes, it's not just about size, it's about shape. Everyone has a different shaped head, and every company uses different shape molds...often several different molds depending on the helmet. The Bell Influx and Varient fit me perfect in a large. The large Bell x-ray is terribly tight and uncomfortable in a large. Most Giro bike helmets are either uncomfortable or too big, but their Fuse ski helmet is perfect. I've learned the hard way not to buy a helmet I haven't tried on.

You can get pretty nice bike helmets, in sizes, for under $50. I ride a $5k bike, but this $50 helmet served me well for years...

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/201...p=215%20BELIN0

jensonusa is another great place to buy stuff online.




Here's my mean machine. Just did a nice night-ride last night...





That makes sense: universal size does not sound like a good idea... Well, visit bike shop or SA tomorrow for a fitting. I measured my head, and it's borderline SM/MD, so I guess I need SM size helmet.

BTW, the pictures of your bike did not show up. I tried going to links, but got message I need to register to proceed.
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      10-28-2011, 12:01 AM   #14
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Well, got the biking gear today.
Universal helmet actually fits pretty well and snugly after minor adjustments.

The package had some blue pads (4 pieces). Am I supposed to do anything with them?
Instructions booklet does not mention anything about them.

Pearl iZumi cap is awesome!

25oz bottle is little bigger than expected, but no biggie.
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      10-28-2011, 09:22 AM   #15
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There are different thickness pads for the inside of the helmet. Put in the right thickness to get the best fit.
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      10-28-2011, 10:12 PM   #16
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There are different thickness pads for the inside of the helmet. Put in the right thickness to get the best fit.
Just to clarify... Do I put them where ever I feel like they should be put? Or there are optimal spots for them?
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      10-28-2011, 11:25 PM   #17
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They should be cut to fit for particular areas.
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      10-29-2011, 01:39 AM   #18
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bikesdirect.com +1 for some entry level stuff.

i'd say invest in something that's at the very least comfortable for long rides... don't be afraid to test ride bikes at a local store. later on you can get a more expensive one if you find biking appealing
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      10-30-2011, 01:00 PM   #19
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It is very worth it to goto a good bike shop and get measured for a bike. Don't skimp out on stuff like that if you are going to be attempting to jump on a bike and go 30-40 miles.
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      11-04-2011, 08:46 PM   #20
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They should be cut to fit for particular areas.
I guess once I start wearing the helmet, I'll not better where to attach them.

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bikesdirect.com +1 for some entry level stuff.

i'd say invest in something that's at the very least comfortable for long rides... don't be afraid to test ride bikes at a local store. later on you can get a more expensive one if you find biking appealing
I did go to bike store, told them I bought Diamondback from SA, and they told me that probably was good choice (and comfortable) to try it out, and see how I like biking. Especially since anything they had at the store was at least twice the price I paid for this bike.

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It is very worth it to goto a good bike shop and get measured for a bike. Don't skimp out on stuff like that if you are going to be attempting to jump on a bike and go 30-40 miles.
This Diamondback bike seems like good one to try it out. If I do like biking, I'll be buying better bike. Right now the price was major factor in choosing this bike, and for the price it's great.
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      11-07-2011, 10:02 AM   #21
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It's a shame that it's been two weeks since I bought the bike, with with freak snow storm and power outages have not had a chance to ride it yet.

Got all my gear (thanks to all advises), but have not used it yet. Shame on me.
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      11-07-2011, 12:45 PM   #22
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You can ride in the snow, you just have to have good clothes. Keeping your feet warm is the tricky part. I probably wouldn't suggest it for a newbie though, it's just something that has to be done if you're getting base miles and hate trainers, like me.

I'm signed up for a mixed gravel/pavement century in early March, so finding base miles will require riding in all conditions. Of course it's 74 here at the moment, so it's not like I ride in a lot of snow.
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