new to cycling

Discussion in 'Women's Cycling' started by CindySue48, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    I think the American Tobacco Trail is safe during daylight hours. The Durham County portion from NC 54 at Southpoint Crossing to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is all through urban areas and, for the most part, runs parallel to Fayetteville Road. I have seen several single females either jogging or biking along that section. My daughter and her fiance ride that section. It is paved, so any bike will work there. The Durham County portion south of NC 54 and the Wake County portion are granite screenings. I would not want to ride that section on a bike with tires smaller than 32 mm, but the Trek 7xxx series (700x35 mm tires) or the Specalized Expedition series (700x38 mm tires) are perfect for that portion.

    The salesman is correct that the lines between comfort and hybrid are blurred. There is a continum from mountain to comfort to hybrid to cyclecross to comfort road to road bikes. The "comfort" bikes have the same tires (generally 26x1.95") as mountain bikes, but much lighter frames and slightly higher gear ratios. Some manufacturers also classify these as "hybrids" The bikes you are calling "hybrid" generally have 700x38mm or 700x35mm tires, a chainring that typically is larger than a mountain bike, but smaller than a road bike, and a cassette that has a much wider range of gears (11 to 32 teeth) than a road bike (12 to 25 teeth). The frame is heavier than a road bike, but lighter than a mountain bike. Cyclecross bikes have 700x35 or 700x32 mm tires, gear ratios similar to hybrid bikes, but frames similar to road bikes. The comfort road bikes typically have 700x32mm or 700x28m tires with gear ratios like a road bike and a light frame but with a more upright riding position than a road bike. The road bikes typically have 700x25mm or 700x23mm tires and a more layed out riding position than the comfort road bike.

    I would look at the WSD bikes, if you can find one with an extra large frame. In general, the WSD bikes have a shorter top tube length (reach) for the standover height than a men's bike. I am 6'0" but only have a 30" inseam, so obviously, I need a bike with a shorter standover height, but a longer top tube length than you would. Try them both, and see what feels best to you. If you were like two of my daughters, who cannot find women's shirts that are long enough to reach their waist, then you probably would be better off with a men's frame. My other daughter has long legs and a short torso. She ended up with a WSD bike.

    I weighed 262 pounds in December. I have been riding for an hour a day three or four days per week, and now I am 225. When I loose 5 more pounds I will go from "obese" to "overweight". My goal weight is 180. I ride a Specalized Crossroads Elite, which is similar to the Trek 7300. I have had the bike for almost two years, but I have only been riding regularly for about five months. There is no problem with that bike standing up to my weight.
     


  2. beatupoldvet

    beatupoldvet New Member

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    Saddle height:

    Rule of thumb is to put heel of shoe (that you'll be riding in) on pedal with the pedal at its lowest position. Your leg should be slightly bent but you should be able to straighten it without raising your rear off the saddle.

    If the frame is the correct size, you should still be able to put the ball of your foot on the ground, or at least steady yourself with your big toe.

    A word of warning however - if you really get the bug, you will need to earn more work bonuses
     
  3. CindySue48

    CindySue48 New Member

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    Thanks for the explaination. It's more info than I've been able to figure out on my own. When I say "Confort bikes" talking about what they're trying to sell me, I'm talking about bikes that are basically "cruisers" but with gears (Cruiser/beach bike, like what I had as a kid) These are bikes that are for "leisure riding". I want to do a bit more than that. I am not interested in racing, but would like to get a work-out when I ride.

    I'm going to try both. I've got long legs, but I also have a long torso. Basically my pelvis is short. "low cut" pants are waisted on me. "High waist" is up to my chest! On reason I always liked men's jeans was because they're not cut as high in the pelvis.....well back in the day that is.

    Great job on the weight loss! Crossroads is definitly one I'm considering. I was going to stop by one of the bike shops today, but got there too late. I think I'm going to one closer to home tho....oh I don't know....the more I think about it the more confused I get!
     
  4. CindySue48

    CindySue48 New Member

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    Thanks....good to know. I am probably going to start off with the seat lower....so I feel more confident in putting my foot down if I need to. But I figure get fitted with the seat at the right height, then lowering it.

    Is this with the seat at the correct position? How do you tell if the seat should go higher or the frame bigger? :confused:

    Oh well....at least if it happens it's a good way to spend my money! :)
     
  5. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    Frame size depends on two things - the height of the top tube and the length of the top tube. You should be able to stand over the bike with both feet flat on the ground and have at least 1" clearance between you and the top tube. The length of the top tube determines the reach to the handle bars while you are sitting in the saddle. WSD models have a shorter reach in proportion to the standover height than do men's or unisex models.

    Even though the ideal situation would be to match both the reach and the standover height, the reality is that one of these will limit the other. Once you have the best frame size, then the seat height should be adjusted as beatupoldvet suggested. It is normal to have to lean to one side to reach the ground while sitting in the saddle. The saddle is too high if you are not able to reach the pedal with your heel when the pedal is all the way down, but since the pedal is higher than the ground, you will not be able to stand flatfooted while sitting in the saddle.

    If you ride for any length of time with the saddle too low, you can experience knee pain.
     
  6. Geonz

    Geonz New Member

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  7. gtd

    gtd New Member

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    Hope your search is going well. Here's my experience (my wife's, that is.)

    She bought a hybrid -- an Iron Horse Adventure. Not expensive, but a good bike. It does not have the best components (gears, etc.), but she loved the looks of it, and pride in ownership goes a long way to actually getting on the bike and riding it. It's all she needs or wants, because unlike me she is not hard on a bike.

    You see, I will ride my road bike through the yard, on a 100-mile charity ride, to work with a loaded backpack, etc. And then I'll fix all the broken stuff before the next ride.

    My wife (who also is tall, like you) rides a few miles at most at moderate speeds. She wants to have fun and get moderate exercise. She doesn't need the best of the best, she needs what she likes.

    So the most important things are these:

    1. Proper fit. The hybrid provides an upright fit, which is great for her back (replacement disc surgery) and neck ("slipped disc") problems. If you get one with front or seat suspension that might help a little, too.

    2. The hybrid has gearing designed for moderate riding, more toward comfort than speed. This means that you can climb hills without exhausting yourself. You need that low gear for slow, easy crawls up steep hills.

    3. Don't worry about hand brakes, just learn to use them. They are much better and safer, once you get accustomed to how they work.

    4. Get your bike from a good bike shop, as you know, where you'll get good professional service.

    5. Bike shorts -- if you do a little research you'll find that bike shorts are a must for long rides. You'll also find (ask at the bike shop too -- they'll tell you this) that you do not wear underwear with bike shorts. Why? Because the padding is designed to touch your skin to prevent chafing. Seams from underwear or pants, like jeans, cause the chafing. If you ever have a chafing problem there, you will not repeat your mistake! The padding is not really meant to "pad" your sitting position like a pillow, it is really meant to eliminate any friction to that area caused by your bicycling movements.

    I hope you get on that bike really soon!

    gtd
     
  8. Topsi1208

    Topsi1208 New Member

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    Hi Cindy,
    Colorado Cycling has a very good explanation of how to measure yourself to fit on a bike. It takes into consideration all seat, height, reach & everything. If you like your handlebars high, you may need to buy a Hybrid & then get a longer stem for the handlebars. Also try Women's specific designs by Trek and Windsor. The crosstubes are shorter so you aren't so stretched out on the bike. Happy cycling!
     
  9. CindySue48

    CindySue48 New Member

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    Well, I finally got my bike!

    Picked it up today, bought it at the closest bike store, about 8miles away. I got a Specialised Crossroads. It's not the women's bike, but it does seem like an excellent fit. I also checked out what they had for Trek bikes, but none in my price range were the right size. Got the helmet, lock, and water bottle too!

    I rode around in my yard for a few minutes before heading out to the street. It's amazing....but I guess you don't ever forget how to ride! lol

    Thanks to all for your help! It was nice going back to the store with some knowlege of how the bike should fit! The sales woman was much nicer and much more helpful than the guy I ran into first time in this shop.
     
  10. bikengrl

    bikengrl New Member

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    :D hi cindy,
    I sent you a host of info but it didn't go thru I'll shorten it down. get this book it will answer every question i've seen you post. "The Mountain Bike Book" by Steve Worland published by MBI Publishers. It will teach you the lingo, the bike types and parts and the clothing and many trail saftey and riding techniques, etc.
    I'm a 46 year old woman and have been cycling since 95. I do mtn and road riding i have a road bike also. I also have back and neck problems. Not like the past though, cycling all but cured it. You don't need any of the bikes mentioned. You can get an upright position on a mtn bike by stem length and handlbar spacers. The bike store will explain these. All bikes use them. Do not get a hybrid if you intend to ride rough trails. My first bike was a hybrid and the first time i rode off road it was horrible. The tires are too narrow and too slick. I bogged down and had to work twice as hard and everyone left me behind. I sold it immediatley and up graded to a real mtn. bike. You'll want a front shock. It will come with one. And for your back i recommend a suspension seat post it is wonderful. It has helped me 100% I won't ride without it. They range from 98.00 to 150.00. They are called "Thud Busters" or Rock Shox brand. The bike store will have them or can order them. You sound tall don't be tricked into getting a women's specific bike. With your reach length and height i don't think it will benefit you any. The shorts are a must, no underwear with them or they won't work. Your rear will hurt, you will experiment with seat types and positions until you get the one you like. I did. The book I mentioned will answer all this and more. Your live in an area I'd die for to ride in. go take advantage of it. There are clubs and they love new people. /cyclist are great folks. they will pass on alot of knowledge. You'll find people of all levels of riding abilities too. The bike stores will let you know about some people and group rides. I'm a bike junky now and proud of it. Go get um girl and here's my email I'd love to hear about your rides and progress.
    Connie
     
  11. CindySue48

    CindySue48 New Member

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    Thanks for all the info Connie. At this point I do want a hybrid as I'll be riding mainly on paved and dirt roads. This is a beginner's bike and I know down the road I'll have to replace it.

    I doubt if I'll ever get into mountain biking, but you never know. Right now I plan on riding in my neighborhood, which is 80% paved and 20% gravel roads. Eventually I'll be going to the local parks, but for the paved trails, not the "mountain" type trails.

    I am 52 yrs old and haven't been on a bike (until yesterday) since I was in high school! I rode the bike for the first time yesterday, as soon as I got it home. I've never used either hand brakes or shifts, so it's all new to me! I rode in my yard first, then ventured out to the neighborhood. Figured if I was going to fall, I should at least fall on grass....and in the privacy of my own yard! lol

    This bike does have the shock absorbers in the seat and it's very comfy. Currently the seat is a tad too low....but I want it that way until I get used to the bike. I want to be able to put my foot down right now. And it's only about an inch too low, so it's not too bad. It also has the narrower type tires, still nubby, but not as wide as some of them.
     
  12. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    I road 38 miles around Orange County, NC on Saturday on my 2004 Specialized Crossroads Elite. It is a very nice beginner's bike. It is not fast, but it is comfortable.
     
  13. CindySue48

    CindySue48 New Member

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    It is very comfortable. And hey, I don't need speed!!! I'm an old lady ! LOL

    I thought about this a lot....and went back and forth in what I wanted. I started looking over a year ago. I looked at many models, including those by Trek, Giant, Electra and Gary Fisher. Comfort bikes, Hybrid bikes, Urban bikes.....all very confusing. I finally decided on either this one or a Trek 7200. This one they had in my size, the Trek I would have to order. And I'm very happy with my bike. Actually....I just realized! This is my very first new bike!!!! As a kid they were always used!
     
  14. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    Cindy Sue,

    How about some pix on the new bike??

    I'm over 55 and I reckon yu're OK!! :D (as long as "Little Jackie" is not reading this)
     
  15. Little Jackie

    Little Jackie New Member

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    That's great news CindySue! I thought you had given up on the idea of buying a bike! I am 52 years old and got back into cycling 2 years ago. I also had only doen rides up to the shop occasionally since leaving school!
     
  16. drussell

    drussell New Member

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    Hi Cindy.

    I hope you've been enjoying your bike. I know this thread has been around awhile, but wanted to post to a thread that feels comfortable. Your thread came up on an Electra Townie search.

    I'm still new to this forum and can relate to what you've said since the thread began. I bought my Electra Townie 21 for my birthday, #53, this April and am using mine as a "beginner bike" to start riding and get into better shape as well.

    One reason I bought the Townie was because it looked easier to ride as well as being more comfortable. I really like it. I've been riding the greenway (multi-use) trails in my area and am improving every time I ride. The more I ride the more I love it. The trails here are great and there are new ones under construction. My average ride is between 6-10 miles right now. There is a trail that is 35 miles one way that I hope to work toward next year -- it's a rails to trails project that is paved with crushed packed granite and is also paved in some areas. I also want to ride the Katy trail next year. I think that would be great fun to ride from town to town and stay overnight in either a bed and breakfast or maybe camping out.

    I am finally getting better at shifting and braking. My bike as a kid was also used, had one speed and didn't have hand brakes so it has taken some getting used to, but I'm improving every time I go riding.

    I can relate to that as well. I'm not exactly fast enough yet to keep up with a group, so until I am, I'm also on my own. I'm sure you have some riding partners by now though. :)

    I'd like to hear how you're doing since buying your bike.

    Here's to peaceful rides . . .

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=92937473&albumID=1018546&imageID=9107026

    ~Dianna
     
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