Lightweight Bike for Commuting, Shopping, Camping

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by vja4Him, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. vja4Him

    vja4Him New Member

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    I've decided to abort my plan of installing an electric motor on my Townie, and save up for a better bicycle. I've come to realize that I can get around just fine with only pedal power ... !!! I've increased my average speed from only 6mph to about 10mph in about five months of casual riding to work, running errands and shopping.

    With all my health problems, I'm making very good progress. I never thought I'd be able to do this much on my bicycle! Since I quit drinking coffee, my stamina has increased considerably, and haven't had any chest pains for several weeks now. I feel like the weight is slowing me down though, and so I'd like to go lighter, if possible, much lighter.

    After reading through thousands of posts on many bicycle forums, and finding out what so many people are doing with their bicycles, I am absolutely amazed ... !!! And encouraged with hope that I can make the best of going green all the way, and enjoy riding much more ... !!!

    I need a good quality, strong bicycle, that is light, smooth-riding with little resistance, but yet will still be able to carry front and rear racks with panniers (both rear and front) for when I go shopping, or camping. Most of my riding will be commuting to work, and then picking up a few groceries after work, which will mean that I can get by with carrying fewer groceries each trip. I'd like to travel as light as possible, for a much quicker and smoother ride .... I'm hoping that I can get my average speed up to 15mph or more with a better bicycle.

    One problem I have is my back, and so I need to be able to sit up pretty much straight. If I lean down, my back hurts too much. I'd like to be able to stand up and pedal too. I've tried standing up pedaling on my Townie, but it just doesn't work!

    I won't be doing any long distance touring, mostly riding to work (maximum 20 miles round trip), running errands and shopping several times a week for myself and my two boys. I plan on camping several times a year at our local campgrounds, Caswell Memorial State Park, which is about 40 miles round trip.

    My long-term goal is to someday be able to handle the ride up to Yosemite from Modesto, which is about 115 miles each way, with a hotel at about half way, 66 miles from our home!

    I'm not sure just how much I will have to spend on a new bicycle until I get my tax return. I'm hoping that I can spend at least $1,000.00 for just the bike, and add racks/panniers later. I'd like to spend more though. I want to have a bike that has many possibilities for attaching racks and panniers, water bottles, etc.
     
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  2. ride4him

    ride4him New Member

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    I know you said you dont like to lean over but you will never find a "upright" bike that will allow you to maintain 15 mph and stand up to pedal. May I suggest you test ride some of these if they are available in your area.

    Jamis Satellite - nice semi upright geometry and made out of steel

    Specialized "Globe" Vienna Deluxe - upright geometry and comes with racks and fenders

    Specialized Sequoia - very nice semi up right geometry and light weight ( just what your looking for
     
  3. vja4Him

    vja4Him New Member

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    Is there some kind of special handlebar I could get that would allow me to sit up at least a little more? Or a stem extension?

    The Specialized Sequoia sure looks iike a good choice. I've added that to my list of possibilities ...
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Why can't you stand & pedal with your Townie?

    FWIW. Before you buy a new bike, I think that you should try putting a BMX handlebar on your bike -- BMX bars are available in alloy or steel.

    A BMX bar will allow you to have a decidely more upright riding position.

    Check DANSCOMP.COM (they specialize in BMX "stuff"), your LBS, or eBay.

    If the BMX bars aren't 'high' enough, then track down a set of Stingray/"monkey" bar ...

    NB. You may need to replace the stem on whatever bike you choose to put the BMX/Stingray bars on -- steel handlebars usually have a 25.4 center section.
     
  5. ride4him

    ride4him New Member

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    Yes you can get a "riser" for your stem and even get an adjustable stem. I have a buddy who has carpal tunnel and was unsure of getting a "road" bike but after getting a higher stem and having a real fit secession from a bike store he loves it. He has a Specialized Roubaix, his second choice was the Sequoia.
     
  6. vja4Him

    vja4Him New Member

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    I can stand and pedal on my Townie, but it's a bit awkward. I can stand and pedal on my mountain bike with no problems.

    I did find handlebars that are high enough for my mountain bike. I could have gotten handlebars that were even higher! But decided to go with the ones I have, which have been working just fine.

    Are there a special kind of handlebars that are a little higher, that would work well with a racing/road bike? Maybe like you said with a stem replacement, that would raise the bars at least a couple inches.

    Once I start shedding more pounds, and getting into better shape, hopefully I can handle leaning a bit .... And if I don't need to carry a backpack anymore, that should also help quite a bit.
     
  7. vja4Him

    vja4Him New Member

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    I checked out the Specialized Roubaix. Looks like a very nice bike! A bit out of my price range though ....
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    As ride4him noted, you can put FLAT bars on a road bike (or, buy a Flat Bar bike ... check Bianchi's SAN JOSE, etc.).

    There are High Rise stems which were/are commonly used on MTBs ... about 90mm net extension with about a 2" net rise -- REI used to sell one ... Nashabar, too.

    As far as being awkward to stand on your Townie vs. your MTB, compare the handlebar position of the two bikes relative to the BB ... I think the Townie's BB is closer to the bars ... which means you might want a slightly longer stem for the Townie BUT that subsequently changes the relative position of the saddle to the handlebars, etc. SO a sufficiently longer stem may not be a satisfactory resolution.
     
  9. ndbiker

    ndbiker New Member

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    Try a Bianchi Volpe, replace the stock bars with Albatross bars. You will need to change to bar end shifters. You will need a wider saddle (try a Brooks B-17). This bike would make a great light touring/commuter/errand bike. It would give you an upright ride but the bars allow you to sit foward somewhat for power or slightly better aerodynamics. You should be able to come close to your $1000 figure. http://perrybessas.com/vf-archives/mirror/?p=46
     
  10. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    You might not be interested in this option at all, but if you are having back problems, what about a recumbent? There are touring versions of recumbents that allow you to attach all kinds of panniers and racks. Of course, you won't be able to stand up and pedal:D.
     
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