I Just Got Back From REI.... Derailleurs Aren't That Scary After All....


Active Member
Oct 4, 2010
[COLOR= #0000ff]Hey, Y'all![/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]For those of you that have been kindly helping me navigate my way through learning about bike buying, a big THANK YOU is due. I just got back from REI, and being a woman of my word, I took a deep breath and rode both internal gear hub bikes and derailleur bikes. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]As several of you had assured me, the gear-shifting was no big deal at all! I found that it came pretty naturally to me, and that was exciting since I had been afraid I would blow it and run into something or strip gears or whatever. (Can you strip gears on a bike???) I really couldn't tell a lot of difference between the two types of gears when I was shifting. Only once on one of the bikes was there a kind of hesitation and "clunk" when I shifted on a derailleur, like I had remembered from when I was a kid, and being so new to biking now I don't know if that was caused by something I did wrong or what. But it didn't matter, because I had hated that bike almost from the moment I sat on it. EVERYTHING hurt on that bike: ankles, knees, hands, wrists, and back. I mean, I had expected the sit bones to hurt on bikes I wasn't used to -- and they did on that one -- but I wasn't expecting a bike to almost instantly make me feel like I had the flu, lol. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/mad.gif So I just gave up the trial ride on that one very quickly, and didn't worry about what the clunky shifting was.[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]I had more trouble, actually with the braking levers, which I'm not used to. On a couple of the bikes, they actually seemed hard to reach with my fingertips, but I'm assuming that can be adjusted. Rembering to use them instead of pedaling backward to stop took a time or two to master, LOL. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]The other minor trouble was in actually mounting the bikes. Maybe my cruiser saddle is really too low, I don't know, but it is a LOT easier to get on than the bikes I rode today. Of course, part of that is Operator Error in not knowing the proper way to mount a bike, more than likely, since I'm not used to a high cross bar to straddle. So there was a little embarrassment there, stumbling around as I got on the bikes, but I managed to survive.[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Of the bikes I rode, there was one I would have probably bought on the spot if I had actually planned to buy today, if it it had been prettier, lol, and if I had been sure it had everything y'all think a bike should have. It was the MARIN SAN ANSELMO with a 19" frame. That bike cuddled up around me and said, "Let's go have fun." /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif Even the saddle was amazingly comfortable for me -- and the one I've been using for 3 months still hurts more than that one did! Nothing hurt on that bike, and I had no problems shifting or anything; I just wanted to ride. The only problem is, Dear Hubby really really wants me to get a bike with internal gear hub equipment, and the San Anselmo has a derailleur. So I'm almost back to square one. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]I gather from some things y'all have suggested that I can figure out the 'geometry' on the San Anselmo and use it to maybe find other bikes with the same... geometry? Formation? I'm still working on the thought process on that one. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]The clerk who helped me was a young woman. She seemed fairly knowledgeable and was good at listening as I explained what I wanted and was trying to achieve. But she was very petite -- as in SHORT -- and so we differ there. She said, after I rode the bikes she suggested, that I probably would have trouble finding a woman-specific-design bike because they were made with the idea that most women are short -- and I'm nearly 5' 8". When the San Anselmo fit me so well, she kind of smiled and said that she had had me try it because one of her friends is my height, and the Marin bikes fit HER well, too. Then she pointed out the San Anselmo's 19-inch size, and said that most women's bikes only go up to 17" -- which is a disappointment for me, because they tend to be prettier, lol. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]So what I really learned today was that I CAN handle derailleurs and gear shifting, that I need a bike with a 19-inch frame, and that Marin bikes seem to fit me. And my search will go on. But I did want to let you know I survived the terrors of new gearings, lol, and thought of each of you as I peddled around the REI parking lot.[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]As usual, suggestions for other bikes to try are more than welcome.[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Thanks, y'all! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Sierra[/COLOR]