Should I start cycling?

Discussion in 'Women's Cycling' started by newtocycling, Jul 25, 2004.

  1. newtocycling

    newtocycling New Member

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    I'm thinking about starting and would appreciate any advice you ladies could offer. I've never done cycling before, unless you count biking to class when I was in college. I'm considering it now because I need a sport so I can get back in shape, one that's flexible enough for me to do any time of the day without worrying about someone else's schedule. Cycling seems to fit the bill.

    Assuming the answer is yes, can you recommend the minimum equipment that I'd need? (I'm a starving grad student.) I'm just planning to bike around the neighborhood, although if I get good and in better shape I might try to tackle longer routes. Is there anything I need to know before I start?

    Thanks!!!
     
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  2. keydates

    keydates New Member

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    A mountain bike or hybrid will probably do.
     
  3. Azulene

    Azulene New Member

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    I would recommend a good used road bike. I ride with a womens group it seems like the girls who start on Mt bike end up on road bikes in a few months. The Mt and comfort bikes are to heavy and slow. :)
     
  4. pam_in_sc

    pam_in_sc New Member

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    I just got back into cycling, and I'm 49 and overweight. I did do touring in college, so I once knew something. I tried running first, liking the simplicity of minimal equipment, but my hip quickly started to hurt. Cycling is much easier on the joints, and for me at least is a good balance of cardiovascular conditioning and building muscle. And it's exciting.

    What kind of bike to buy depends first on the terrain where you live. I live in the foothills of the Appalachians, and I wouldn't ride a bike here with less than 10 speeds. If you live someplace flatter and you just want to ride to the store there are cruisers with 5 speeds or none.

    If you want many speeds (many new bikes have 24 or more) then the next choice is a mountain bike or a road bike. A lot of people ride mountain bikes without ever going off the road, because buying a cheap mountain bike is how you get many speeds and a fairly upright sitting position. I just bought my kids mountain bikes for that reason, and because they are really easy to understand--you turn the handgrip and the gear shifts and a number shows you what gear you are in.

    The downside of a mountain bike is not only that it is heavy but also that if you are going to ride more than 5 miles or so it is a disadvantage to sit upright because all your weight lands on your rear (and the shocks of the road hit your back harder). The bent over position of a road bike isn't only to reduce wind resistance but also to take part of your weight on your hands.

    If you want to do fairly serious exercise on a bike--an hour or more--and don't want to ride on trails then I would go for a road bike.

    The best way to buy cheaply is to buy used. At a yard sale you could probably get a discount store bike very cheap, but they cost under $150 new and the quality is pretty poor. It might be a way to get started and then see if you want a better bike. If you want to jump in more seriously find your local bike club and see if they have a place where people advertise used bikes.
     
  5. Bikechick

    Bikechick New Member

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    I started cycling three years ago to be able to join my bike-devoted husband on rides. He got me a neat touring bike. After a while I got more and more into cycling, wanted to go faster and harder. So I put drop bars on the bike (which wasn't that easy with the levers...). As the geometry turned bad, I then bought a real road bike. That made such a difference! The only thing was that I needed to get used to the stretched position. But looking at it now, I would have bought a road bike from the start. I also got a full suspension mountain bike, but because of the weight I only use it for off-road tracks.

    Whatever bike you get, watch out for proper geometry and size. Have fun! :D
     
  6. trekchic

    trekchic New Member

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    Cycling, for me, was the answer I was looking for! I can ride alone or with a group. I can ride long distances or short sprints.....whatever I feel like doing that day. I LOVE riding! I rode a friend's bike for a couple of weeks to see if it was for me. Of course, I fell in love with it right off the bat and decided to go to my bike shop to see what's available.........sticker shock! I was thinking about $500.......but for the kind of bike I wanted, I had to spend $1100! But, I got a bike that will take me thru many years of riding, touring and maybe even racing if I get daring enough! (I am 38 and new to cycling!)

    My advice? Borrow a hybrid or mt bike and a road bike on 2 separate occasions. See which one you like best. THEN go lookin for the kind of bike you want. Gives you time to save up some $, too!
     
  7. bjhkmf

    bjhkmf New Member

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    I'm 46 and have just gotten back into cycling, after my doctor told me to lose the weight last January. So I begged friends and family for cycling gifts for my birthday and fixed up my Rockhopper that had been languishing on the back porch. After a tune up, a new bottom bracket, a new saddle, a cycle computer that monitors cadence, and new tires, I was ready to hit the road--er, trail. The Katy Trail in Missouri is wonderful--no cars, great scenery--a good place to ride. Between the riding and working out a bit on my Gazelle, I've lost 55 pounds. I have about another 40 or so to go.

    But the neat thing about cycling is that it reduces stress, it's healthy, it's freedom, it's the best thing out there--rain or shine. As much as I love my Rockhopper, I never have enjoyed the heaviness of a mountain bike, so I started saving for a road bike. I took my time picking one out--test rode everything from entry level to the $1500 level and narrowed it down to a Trek 1000C with a changed-out Serfas saddle. I decided to finish my weight loss and improve my riding skills on an entry level bike and then decide what I want in an upgraded bike.

    I much prefer the road bike. My back and buns don't get sore and it seems more "free." But whatever bike you choose to start with--or that is available to start with--just get out there and START. You'll know what you want in a bike pretty quickly. (And find a good LBS--one that you're not afraid to ask the employees a ton of questions :rolleyes: )

    Good luck!
     
  8. Capt. Jack

    Capt. Jack New Member

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    Yes, of course you should start cycling. :) Try to figure out if you're going to end up being more of a road cyclist (into speed and distance) or a mountain biker (into riding technical stuff like going over rocks and logs) and buy that kind of bike. When I first got really into cycling a couple years ago I bought a hybrid bike. That was a huge mistake. Hybrid bikes aren't designed well for either road nor mountain... and leave you needing a new bike (either road or mountain) once you really get into cycling. I bought a hybrid bike for $405, sold it used for $200 less than a year later, and bought a $2200 full-suspension mountain bike instead. Now my front fork costs more than my whole hybrid bike originally cost! Moral of the story: Cycling comes up on you fast! Get ready!
     
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