Another Newbie, has questions

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by j_r_myers, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. j_r_myers

    j_r_myers New Member

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    I am definitely new to road cycling. I have been involved in martial arts the past 12 years, which is where I got all my exercise. Unfortunately I've had to leave it due to back problems. In an effort to stay in shape I am trying cycling. I have an old Schwinn 10 speed bike I am starting out with. I don't want to spend a lot of $$ at this point in time. Why should I if I'm just checking it out and not sure how my back will handle it. Here are my questions:
    Is a $20 helmet just as good as a $50?
    I've been told I need clips for my pedals (so I can pull and push), is there a pair I can just attach to my current pedals?
    Is there a place where I can get a $20 pair of riding shorts? (looking for url's here)
    Besides a helmet, are there any other equipment essentials I need? The idea here is to get the basics without spending a lot of $$.

    Thanks everyone!
     
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  2. dwj444

    dwj444 New Member

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    Good luck getting into cycling . . . it's a great sport.

    Helmets are all certified to provide a certain level of protection -- the major difference between a fifty dollar helmet and a one hundred dollar helmet is styling and ventilation. I wouldn't get something for twenty dollars if I were you (think about how valuable your mellon really is to you and then drop the extra thirty dollars); it may not be worth what you pay for it.

    I don't know of any URL's for cheap cycling shorts, although I'm sure there are some out there. I think I paid closer to forty or fifty for my last pair.

    You can get rat-traps to attach to your current pedals in all likelihood. Rat-traps are just straps that you attach to your pedals that hold your feet in firm contact with the pedal (allowing you to push on the downstroke and pull on the upstroke). You could replace your current pedals with clipless pedals (but then you would need to get cleated cycling shoes, which is an added expense you might just as well avoid).

    Cycling is as cheap or as expensive a hobby as you want to make it. Take your time and get into it at your own pace, figuring out what your back can take. If you really start riding regularly and for any distance, you will appreciate the cushioning and comfort of a decent pair of cycling gloves (they provide padding in the palms to relieve stress on pressure points and prevent chafing and blisters from your bars, brake-hoods, etc.).

    Good luck!
     
  3. tyler_derden

    tyler_derden New Member

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    I'm sorry to hear you have to give up on martial arts. I have studied and practiced martial arts for many years and find that bike riding is generally pretty uncomfortable, especially for back, neck, and hands. I have a couple bikes including a short wheelbase recumbent with below seat steering and that is the only type of bike I can recommend if you're having back problems. The low steering allows me to ride with my hands at my side- no effort whatsoever goes into keeping my hands on the steering, and none of my weight is on my hands, so they don't get numb like they do in about 1/2 hour on my road bike. My particular bike has a hard seat with a foam pad. On long rides I get a bit butt-numb, and occasionally get some numbness in my toes, but that is cured easily by walking around for a minute or two, which also allows some of my sweat to evaporate. I believe the recumbents with mesh type seats are far better in that regard.

    A pair of gloves is a good thing to have when riding. Their main purpose is to protect your hands in the event of a crash. I have some full fingered gloves for MTB riding and some 1/2 finger gloves for road riding, but I mostly use the full fingered gloves now (I have scraped fingers up in crashes).

    The main difference between a $20 helmet and a $50 one is the in the way the fitting is done- i.e. the strap hardware. A $50 helmet will generally have hardware that allows you to fit the thing to your head a little better. I can't say if that translates to improved protection, but it improves comfort a little, and bikes are generally so uncomfortable that any way that you can get comfort is a justifiable expense.

    Toe clips are OK, but you'll find that you really won't pull much when you have them. They mainly keep your foot centered properly on the pedals. There are add-on toe clips that fit most platform pedals. You just use the reflector mounting holes on the pedals to mount them. It will take some practice to get in and out of toe clips at stop lights, but you'll get used to them. Later, if you switch to clipless pedals, you'll wonder why you ever bothered with toe clips.

    Make sure you have a water bottle and cage to mount on the bike. You need to drink a lot when you ride.

    bikepartsusa.com has all sorts of little doodads for biking if you're in the US.

    TD
     
  4. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    The more expensive helmets are also usually lighter. I like the Giro myself but have seen some good looking Bell helmets pretty reasonable. I have never seen a good pair of shorts for $20.00 but you may save some cash by just getting padded cycling underwear which can be worn inside regular shorts or unpadded lycra. Sometime you can pick up a pair of shoes cheap. I just sold a new pair of womens shoes on ebay for $20.00 because they did not fit my wife. They were $100 shoes. Just be sure of your size before buying. Be patient and shop around, listen and learn. Six months or so you will be giving advice.
     
  5. tacomee

    tacomee New Member

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    You should be able to go to bike shop and get toe straps, a helment and shorts for $100, maybe a little over. I don't mind cheaper helments, but good shorts are really worth the money.

    Hopefully your bike isn't in too bad of shape-- you need to oil the chain and maybe change the cables, tubes, tires, break pads. Most bike maintance stuff isn't very tough or exspensive.
     
  6. tacomee

    tacomee New Member

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    You should be able to go to bike shop and get toe straps, a helment and shorts for $100, maybe a little over. I don't mind cheaper helments, but good shorts are really worth the money.

    Hopefully your bike isn't in too bad of shape-- you need to oil the chain and maybe change the cables, tubes, tires, break pads. Most bike maintance stuff isn't very tough or exspensive.
     
  7. BanditManDan

    BanditManDan New Member

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    Checkout this for shorts.

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/12...s-Lycra/Price-Point-Classic-6-Panel-Short.htm

    Perhaps no the best shorts in the world but it's cheap and gets you started. Hey, we all started somewhere.

    A $20 helmet is just as safe as a $50 helmet. The difference is comfort. If your going to be sweating in that thing for 30 to 60 minutes at a time you'll appreciate the comfort of that $50 helmet.

    As for pedals, you can buy toe clips or power grips to use with most existing pedals. Checkout this site:

    https://www.nashbar.com/results.cfm...ry=1077&storetype=&estoreid=&init=y&pagename=

    Cycling doesn't have to cost a fortune but it ends up that way for most of us.

    Dan.
     
  8. j_r_myers

    j_r_myers New Member

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    Thank you everyone for replying, I really appreciate it. I've only been out a handfull of times so far but my back hasn't bothered me yet. I'm really enjoying getting a good sweat, something I haven't been able to do in a long time due to my back. I'll check out that sites! Thanks!
     
  9. p38lightning

    p38lightning New Member

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    I'm big on using weight training (lifting?) gloves for cycling. Paded leather palms, knit or elastic backs, cut off fingers, just like cycling gloves all for about $7 to $10 a pair! About half the price of cycling gloves.
    I also like Fruit of the Loom all cotton no pocket Tee shirts which are available in bright yellows, oranges, and other high visibility colors for about $3.75 at your local Wallmart. It's good to be seen when you're out there with cars!
     
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