Newbie: where 2 start?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Richard Jolly, Aug 8, 2003.

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  1. Please help, any advice would be most helpful

    My wife and I have 4 children, we would like to start cycling in some pre-organised routes. We have
    little equipment at present and would welcome advice what are the key purchases (obviously to start
    with the cycles themselves). I was thinking about a combination of new and second hand bikes, due to
    the changing sizes of the children (Girls, BTW) . What makes (of old and new) would you recommend
    for a scenario of beginner family and short country cycling?

    I would like to aim for semi-tarmaced routes and some of the forestry commision pre-done routes.

    In terms of transportation, we have a ford galaxy with a tow bar, so any advice on the permutations
    of transporting the bikes would also be invaluable.

    Any other equipment advice, that you would consider essential purchases please feel free to advise -
    shops tend to try and sell you everything!

    Obviously the scenario above would be costly, suggestions of costs (try and keep it on the lower
    side!) would be beneficial.

    Many Thanks

    Richard Jolly
     
    Tags:


  2. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "Richard Jolly" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Please help, any advice would be most helpful
    >
    > My wife and I have 4 children, we would like to start cycling in some pre-organised routes. We
    > have little equipment at present and would welcome advice what are the key purchases (obviously to
    > start with the cycles themselves). I was thinking about a combination of new and second hand
    > bikes, due to the changing sizes of the children (Girls, BTW) . What makes (of old and new) would
    > you recommend for a scenario of beginner family and short country cycling?
    >
    > I would like to aim for semi-tarmaced routes and some of the forestry commision pre-done routes.
    >
    > In terms of transportation, we have a ford galaxy with a tow bar, so any advice on the
    > permutations of transporting the bikes would also be invaluable.
    >
    > Any other equipment advice, that you would consider essential purchases please feel free to advise
    > - shops tend to try and sell you everything!
    >
    > Obviously the scenario above would be costly, suggestions of costs (try and keep it on the lower
    > side!) would be beneficial.
    >
    > Many Thanks
    >
    > Richard Jolly

    Richard,

    All you need to cycle is a bike.

    There is a massive untapped resource out there of second-hand bikes, usually locatable in the local
    press. As you have 4 daughters who are presumably in the process of growing up it would be worth
    using 2nd hand there. It would also be useful you and your wife going 2nd hand, at least initially
    just to see 1. if you get along with it and 2. what kind of riding you gravitate to. Saving the new
    bikes for when you know what you are doing and as a special treat, somewhere down the line, is a
    good thing to do. Next is clothing / protective gear. I believe, and this may be contradicted, that
    being seen is the single most useful factor in staying alive on the roads, therefore a bit of
    reflective (for when it's dark) and fluorescent (for daylight hours) is very useful. Helmet and
    gloves are not obligatory yet. I do wear them but it is down to personal choice and questionable as
    to whether or not they actually provide any personal protection......

    HTH

    Dave.
     
  3. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Richard Jolly" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > My wife and I have 4 children, we would like to start cycling in some pre-organised routes. We
    > have little equipment at present and would welcome advice what are the key purchases (obviously to
    > start with the cycles themselves). I was thinking about a combination of new and second hand
    > bikes, due to the changing sizes of the children (Girls, BTW) . What makes (of old and new) would
    > you recommend for a scenario of beginner family and short country cycling?

    Phew! The only advice I can give is that if budget permits spend at least £250 on the adult bikes,
    much below that and you get heavy, inferior specced bikes that may not encourage you to cycle. DO
    NOT buy anything with full suspension or disc brakes unless you are spending £600 upwards, they are
    not neccessary and will be very poor quality at the cheaper end. Go to what appears to be a decent
    bike shop, avoid cheap, heavy supermarket specials. Buy padded shorts. Don't assume, at least for
    males, that a big squishy saddle equates to comfort :)

    > In terms of transportation, we have a ford galaxy with a tow bar, so any advice on the
    > permutations of transporting the bikes would also be invaluable.

    http://www.roofbox.co.uk/ are a respected source. Look into the Pendle tow bar carrier.

    > Any other equipment advice, that you would consider essential purchases please feel free to advise
    > - shops tend to try and sell you everything!

    A shop may try and tell you helmets are essential. They're not but if you think you'll feel happier
    wearing them then try on a good selection, the right one should be quite comfortable.

    Do carry at least one spare inner tube, a pump, puncture repair outfit, simple tools and maybe a
    small first aid kit. Do take plenty to drink and snack bars to taste, not stuff that will melt or
    fall apart in a bike bag.

    Enjoy yourselves, Pete
     
  4. Greetings

    If you are mechanically competent and can sort out a good buy from a duffer, seriously consider
    going secondhand bike route for all to start off with. If not - try to go new, possibly, as in
    theory at least, a new bike shouldn't have components breaking or wearing out as soon as you
    get the bike.

    If you are doing light off-road, gentle forest trails - you don't need full suspension bikes.
    Indeed, I'd say avoid cheap suspension bikes like the plague (less than several hundred squids
    counts as cheap in this department) as they are more trouble than they are worth.

    Consider a hybrid style of bike - one which is bigger than a standard MTB, but had chunkier tyres
    than a "road bike" That should do road work and gentle off-road trails/forest tracks type of thing.

    Kids - they can grow so quick, perhpas the less spent the better. Then, if they decide they don't
    like it, it's not vast amounts of spondooliks wasted, and if they do like it, again, it's not a lot
    of money wasted when they outgrow the bike and need to move on to something bigger/better.

    Examples - I have a now old Raleigh Pioneer Trail hybrid - bought as new 14 years ago, when my son
    was a tot and I used to cycle miles with him in a rear mounted child seat. 21 speed gears,
    semi-knobbly tyres - it suited me well for what I needed, wasn't too heavy, and thanks to having a
    competent personal bike mechanic (husband) even now it is a good bike in good nick and I still use
    it occasionally to pootle to the shops in. My main bike now is a lightweight tourer - a Bianchi San
    Remo, which I *love* and find a joy to ride on road - which is my preferred cycling. My son has a
    nice Peugeot racer with carbon forks and light wheels he uses for racing and he has a basic
    (non-suspension) mountain bike he uses to cycle to school & back. He prefers the racing bike by far.

    Other purchases - padded cycling shorts. I *never* get on my bike without wearing a pair - even if
    they are under long leggings. They will increase your comfort when cycling. Also - being visible
    when on-road especially will contribute to personal safety. Seriously consider getting some
    reflectives/fluorescents to wear (fluorescents for day, reflectives for night). The other thing is
    lights - *essential* if you happen to be out in fading light/dark. A bell is cheap and pleasant if
    you are on shared trails with pedestrians (but not always effective - peds can be remarkably *deaf*
    to cyclists). Another purchase to consider is helmets all round. Personally I am pro-helmet wearing
    but also consider it to be your decision as to whether you wear one or not. Having been bonked on
    the head whilst wearing one, I'm glad I was wearing one - husband too, when he accidentally came off
    his bike and the helmet took the scraping along the tarmac. I never cycle without one and I find it
    no hassle to wear - nor do husband and son when they cycle - we all wear them.

    Bike carriers for cars - go to www.roofbox.co.uk I prefer towbar mounted carriers compared to the
    ones that hang off the back of the car. Having driven to Italy & back, & to Germany & back with
    three bikes mounted this way, I've not had a problem - for which I am grateful!

    Hope my ramblings help a little.

    Wishing you happy pedalling

    Cheers, helen s

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    This is sent from a redundant email Mail sent to it is dumped My correct one can be gleaned from
    h$**$*$el$**e$n$**$d$**$o$*$t**$$s$**$im$mo$ns*@a$**o$l.c$$*o$*m*$ by getting rid of the
    overdependence on money and fame
    ~~~~~~~~~~
     
  5. Peter Fox

    Peter Fox Guest

    Following on from Richard Jolly's message. . .
    >Please help, any advice would be most helpful

    There are plenty of real cyclists (as opposed to cyber-cyclists here) who are keen to help you.
    While there is lots of advice available in cyberland we can't home in on what really matters for you
    and what particular thing might make it a bit of a change of lifestyle thing rather than bikes
    taking up all that space in the shed.

    If you say here where you live - you never know - there just might be somebody local to you who can
    do a 'laying on of hands'.

    PS Don't be afraid to explore for yourselves. Your ideas of an afternoon out may be different
    to others.

    --
    PETER FOX Not the same since statuette business went bust

    Witham Cycling Campaign www.eminent.demon.co.uk/wcc.htm East Anglian Pub cycle rides
    www.eminent.demon.co.uk/rides
     
  6. Richard Jolly wrote:
    > Thanks for all your responses.
    >
    > I suppose I'm just trying to understand the "technologies" and what is really important and what's
    > less so.
    >
    > Update:
    >
    > My initial focus is a ? new/2nd hand bike for my wife. We had a look in an independant cycle shop
    > stocking Raleigh, Saracens, Barracuda (and my wife had Dawes many years ago - stolen!!, are they
    > still a realistic choice?)

    I've had good saracens, I know folks who have had bad. Raleigh still produce OK bikes as far as I
    know, never ridden a 'cuda.

    > Looked in a little more detail at "hybrid" cycles. A few more questions arose from features
    > discussed in shop:
    >
    > Wheel's: Mountain style or Town/street style

    On a hybrid for your earlier suggested riding, I'd say a narrowish mountain style. Rugged enough
    that you needn't be scared of potholes.

    > Tyres: Thin or Fat knobbly (latter sort appear to be generic with mountian style wheel)

    Thin ones make for easy riding, but little use off tarmac. fat knobblies are good for off road, but
    harder work on the tarmac. I have a pair of these
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/images/specialized%20xroads%20ex%20tyre.jpg on my MTB when I'm doing more
    tarmac than not. The profile and central strip are very good for tarmac, low rolling resistance, but
    the knobbles round the edge make off roading possibly.

    > Frame: Aluminium (seems dear) or Steel

    Steel can in fact be dearer than alu depending on the range. In your case it doesn't really matter,
    although the lightness of Alu will be more encouraging to keep riding than a (probably) heavier
    steel frame.

    > Suspension: Forgive my basic unjargonistic descriptions: There appears 3 types:
    >
    > 1. The Large car-like suspension on lower frame (very very dear, and guessing from earlier posts
    > to be avoided)

    Rear suspension. Only dear if it's reasonable quality and upwards. You can get rear sus bikes dirt
    cheap - but you get less than you pay for. Avoid on bikes less than £600 rrp

    > 2. Some suspension under seat

    Seat stems - the are available as aftermarket add-ons. Some people love em, others don't.

    > 3. Some suspension on 2 front forks

    Front suspension. Again, the more you spend, the better you get. Adds weight to bike, but can make a
    difference on your wrists!

    > In relation to the last (only realistic options) suspensions on seat and front, which types are
    > preferable (some models just have seat suspension, others front type only, others with both)

    see above. I'd say neither are a "must" have for your intended riding. If you see a good deal with
    reasonable front sus, then consider it a bonus. Pace, Marzocchi, Manitou, RockShox are the main
    brands I can think of. RST are a lesser brand iirc but maybe acceptable.

    > We actually saw the Raleigh P range (?replaced old pioneer range). Seemed OK?
    >
    > Any other suggestions in this hybrid area, or comments on the suppliers/models described above.
    >
    > Pro's and Con's of the features given above would be invaluable to help look at other future
    > makes, or assess 2nd hand models.
    >

    Hope that helps a bit - although I am by no means an expert :)

    --
    Dnc
     
  7. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 8 Aug 2003 14:27:20 -0700, [email protected] (Richard Jolly) wrote:

    >My wife and I have 4 children, we would like to start cycling in some pre-organised routes.

    How old are the small people?

    >We have little equipment at present and would welcome advice what are the key purchases (obviously
    >to start with the cycles themselves).

    Last year's models and lightly used second-hand are the best vaule IME, but you can't go far wrong
    with Dawes.

    >I would like to aim for semi-tarmaced routes and some of the forestry commision pre-done routes.

    In which case I would go for non-suspension mountain bikes like the Dawes Kokomo, Saratoga or
    Chilliwack. For the adults maybe consider front sus, but this is very much a nice-to-have and cheap
    front sus is not usually terribly good.

    Fit non-gnarly tyres like the Panaracer Pasela. Tyre upgrades are usually free on new bikes.

    >In terms of transportation, we have a ford galaxy with a tow bar, so any advice on the permutations
    >of transporting the bikes would also be invaluable.

    Two adults plus four children equals Pendle six-bike trailer :)

    >Any other equipment advice, that you would consider essential purchases please feel free to advise
    >- shops tend to try and sell you everything!

    Pumps, spare tubes, puncture kits, tyre levers, a set of Allen keys, a chain tool and some spare
    links, and a copy of something like Haynes bicycle sbook for light reading. Practice changing tyres
    in the back garden before heading out - it's better to learn when the pressure is off ;-)

    Water bottles and cages are important, and at least one computer to help with map reading and such.
    One or two bells for the shared-use tracks, and a mirror might be an idea to keep an eye on the
    crocodile.

    >Obviously the scenario above would be costly, suggestions of costs (try and keep it on the lower
    >side!) would be beneficial.

    Kokomo is 175 English pounds, there is also a 24" version. http://www.edinburghbicycle.com also do a
    range of very competitively priced high quality machines.

    And every issue of the CTC magazine has a load of classified ads for second-hand bikes. Better to
    buy second-hand kids bikes from cyclists rather than people who buy bikes at Halfords - personal
    opinion based entirely on prejudice ;-) We spent more on childrens' bikes than most poeple we know,
    and they have fewer "toys" (e.g. suspension) - they are also lighter and more robust.

    Before buying a helmet read http://www.cyclehelmets.org - it's fine to wear one as long as you are
    absolutely convinced it won't stop you dying if you crash.

    Please keep up posted!

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com New!
    Improved!! Now with added extra Demon!
     
  8. Nc

    Nc Guest

    "Richard Jolly" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Thanks for all your responses.
    >
    > I suppose I'm just trying to understand the "technologies" and what is really important and what's
    > less so.
    >
    > Update:
    >
    > My initial focus is a ? new/2nd hand bike for my wife. We had a look in an independant cycle shop
    > stocking Raleigh, Saracens, Barracuda (and my wife had Dawes many years ago - stolen!!, are they
    > still a realistic choice?)

    Dawes are still pretty good.

    After fitting for size, I'd look at all-up weight (some things are very heavy) and price.

    > Looked in a little more detail at "hybrid" cycles. A few more questions arose from features
    > discussed in shop:
    >
    > Wheel's: Mountain style or Town/street style

    Not much in it really. For smaller people (say under 5'2", there is a good reason to go for the
    slightly smaller MTB wheel diameter.

    > Tyres: Thin or Fat knobbly (latter sort appear to be generic with mountian style wheel)

    Fat & knobbly = good off road, slow on-road. Very knobbly sometimes have odd behaviour cornering
    on tarmac.

    Thin & smooth = fast on road.

    I'd look for something around 32mm wide with a modest tread depth given what you said earlier.

    > Frame: Aluminium (seems dear) or Steel

    Not a lot to choose at the price you mention. Just check that all-up weight.

    > Suspension: Forgive my basic unjargonistic descriptions: There appears 3 types:
    >
    > 1. The Large car-like suspension on lower frame (very very dear, and guessing from earlier posts
    > to be avoided)

    Correct, avoid at low prices. Can be superb on "proper" off road machines costing £600 upwards.

    > 2. Some suspension under seat
    Some love it, some loath it. If you ride very upright (near vertical back) it may help with road
    lumps and bumps. Or a saddle with springs in it might do just as well.

    > 3. Some suspension on 2 front forks
    Mixed blessing. Adds weight and complexity. On some cheap bikes I've seen it doesn't seem to do much
    for shock absorbing either. But, if your weight lines up with its range and not too heavy it does
    remove some road vibrarion.

    Personally, I'd skip it and get a lighter bike unless planning to ride exclusively off-road.

    > We actually saw the Raleigh P range (?replaced old pioneer range). Seemed OK?

    No idea.

    > Any other suggestions in this hybrid area, or comments on the suppliers/models described above.

    In addition to those listed above, Specialized and Trek offer some models at your price range.
    Ridgeback seem to be very good value for money.

    regards,

    Nigel
     
  9. "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On 8 Aug 2003 14:27:20 -0700, [email protected] (Richard Jolly) wrote:
    >
    > >My wife and I have 4 children, we would like to start cycling in some pre-organised routes.
    >
    > How old are the small people?
    >
    > >We have little equipment at present and would welcome advice what are the key purchases
    > >(obviously to start with the cycles themselves).
    >
    > Last year's models and lightly used second-hand are the best vaule IME, but you can't go far wrong
    > with Dawes.
    >
    > >I would like to aim for semi-tarmaced routes and some of the forestry commision pre-done routes.
    >
    > In which case I would go for non-suspension mountain bikes like the Dawes Kokomo, Saratoga or
    > Chilliwack. For the adults maybe consider front sus, but this is very much a nice-to-have and
    > cheap front sus is not usually terribly good.
    >
    > Fit non-gnarly tyres like the Panaracer Pasela. Tyre upgrades are usually free on new bikes.
    >
    > >In terms of transportation, we have a ford galaxy with a tow bar, so any advice on the
    > >permutations of transporting the bikes would also be invaluable.
    >
    > Two adults plus four children equals Pendle six-bike trailer :)
    >
    > >Any other equipment advice, that you would consider essential purchases please feel free to
    > >advise - shops tend to try and sell you everything!
    >
    > Pumps, spare tubes, puncture kits, tyre levers, a set of Allen keys, a chain tool and some spare
    > links, and a copy of something like Haynes bicycle sbook for light reading. Practice changing
    > tyres in the back garden before heading out - it's better to learn when the pressure is off ;-)
    >
    > Water bottles and cages are important, and at least one computer to help with map reading and
    > such. One or two bells for the shared-use tracks, and a mirror might be an idea to keep an eye on
    > the crocodile.
    >
    > >Obviously the scenario above would be costly, suggestions of costs (try and keep it on the lower
    > >side!) would be beneficial.
    >
    > Kokomo is 175 English pounds, there is also a 24" version. http://www.edinburghbicycle.com also do
    > a range of very competitively priced high quality machines.
    >
    > And every issue of the CTC magazine has a load of classified ads for second-hand bikes. Better to
    > buy second-hand kids bikes from cyclists rather than people who buy bikes at Halfords - personal
    > opinion based entirely on prejudice ;-) We spent more on childrens' bikes than most poeple we
    > know, and they have fewer "toys" (e.g. suspension) - they are also lighter and more robust.
    >
    > Before buying a helmet read http://www.cyclehelmets.org - it's fine to wear one as long as you are
    > absolutely convinced it won't stop you dying if you crash.
    >
    > Please keep up posted!
    >
    > Guy
    > ===
    > ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com New!
    > Improved!! Now with added extra Demon!

    Dear all very helpful contributors

    Thank you. We feel much much more informed, all your advise on the bike details and helping us guide
    our thinking has been very helpful. Also the details on the vital additional equipment I'm sure will
    make our first foray into the trails most enjoyable.

    Between your advice, some good web sites and a very good independent cycle shop (still 20 miles away
    from our home) we've made our decision on purchasing.

    I think for transportation its only really the pendle 6 bike trailer we can use, which while
    expensive, will be secure and it doesn't matter what (within reason) future car we get (so long as
    we have a towbar).

    Most of the kids we're aiming to pick up 2nd hand mountain bikes - they'll keep growing out of them.
    But, it did highlight on that issue, that if the kids have a certain ruggedness in their bikes, the
    new bike for my wife had to lean more towards the more rugged side of the hybrid bike range.

    We had a close look at the Dawes Chilliwack. But on sheer comfort and a surprising lightness
    compared to any of the other hybrid trail bikes we plummed for the Marin Coast Trail. We got a very
    good deal on it and look forward to years of happy trail cycling.

    With Kind Regards

    Richard Jolly
     
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