Trying to get started



tlc

New Member
Aug 19, 2004
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I've have the time, the desire and a dream to ride a road bike for touring and for long distance. I'm 56, in good health (with a slight belly) and fairly strong. I'm active but need to be more active. So what's holding me back?? I'm intimidated by my lack of knowledge about bikes, the clothes (the way I might look in those extremly tight clothes), the myriad of gear and not knowing what to say when I walk into a local bike shop. Are you road bike riders a forgiving lot or is there a snobish sense as a collective? Are new-comers welcome (even at age 56)? Should I just do the research and get myself a 'decent' bike and ride alone until I figure it all out or should I look in my area (Gig Harbor, WA) for a club/group to ride with? Obviously I'm new here in this forum as well and thought I would join and ask for your guidance/input. Any words (particularly encouraging words) would be welcome. But honest opinions and thoughts are always the most helpful.
Tom
 

keydates

New Member
Mar 9, 2004
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Don't worry how you look in the clothes. There are people who look worse.

Most people here are friendly, but it is recommended to do some browsing as chances are, your question(s) have been asked (and answered) by others.
 

np36

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Jun 18, 2004
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Tom:

Find a small shop locally and talk to the folks there. Don't just buy a bike - there are too many issues around fit and size that you won't know about or think of before it's too late.

Think of it all, as it seems you are, as an investment. Hit the shop mid-afternoon on a Tuesday when you know they aren't going to be busy. Introduce youself and tell them your situation. If for no other reason, any shop owner worth his salt should give you his attention given the price of bikes and the fact that you are 56 . . . you must have some cash!
 

cityscapex5

New Member
Aug 2, 2004
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Buy the best bike you can with a proper fitting at the shop you feel most comfortable with. Identify yourself as a newbie since they will find out within a couple of minutes anyway - take the pressure off yourself and you will enjoy the process.
 

gruppo

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Aug 14, 2004
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Tom,

I would add one suggestion to what the others have said. If you have more than one bike shop in your area, visit them all. Tell them straight up that you are new and need some guidance. Very quickly you see how the attitudes vary and who is giving you the straight scoop versus the sales pitch.

Be sure to ask about warranties and service if you buy the bike from the shop. Many shops offer discounts, free service, lifetime warranties, etc. with new bikes they sell.

And finally, ask about having the bike fitted specifically to you. And ask how they do that. The differences will identify the level of professionalism in the various shops.

The question of clubs vs. solo riding is your preference. I always ride by myself because I like the freedom and independence, but if you are highly social person that likes being around others, a club can definitely shorten the learning curve. There may even be more than one club in your area, so check them all out first because they vary as much as bike shops.

Good luck.

By the way, I am 57 and still riding, so don't worry about being the only old fart out there.
 

razor_USMC

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Mar 30, 2004
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Cyclists are just like everyone else. People. There are awesome people who will teach you the ins and outs and give you the shirt off their back and there are those who feel their status/worth in life is based on how much more expensive their bike is than yours and would rather give you a mouthful of their dust than an earful of friendly advice. Cyclists have one thing in common, we love cycling. And even though you are inexperienced, it sounds like you, Tom, are one of us. If you want something, go for it, regardless of your age. There is no magic age we reach in life when people are automatically allowed to not let us go for our dreams. Learn what you can from those wonderful people in life that get just as much enjoyment out of helping teach you as you are eager to soak it up. Ride on your own, ride in groups and do what you love to do. As far as bikes go, I'd start with a good entry level bike like a Giant OCR 3 or a trek 1000. You are spending enough to get a decent ride, but you are not paying for a lighter bike with better components that at this point in the game you wont appreciate. Get fit at your LBS (local bike store). There is where you get plugged into the culture. Do what feels good for you. Best wishes and see you on the road my friend.
 

Chester1

New Member
Mar 16, 2003
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Don't let age stop you. Do some research on local clubs. I am in my 50's. I have no intention of letting younger people get up the hills faster than me, based solely on the age factor.

Anyway, cyclists are such nice people!
 

JohnO

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Jul 5, 2003
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My take, as a middle aged born again cyclist:

If you have a comfortable income, budget $800-1200 for a decent bike to get started with. Anything less, you start making compromises, anything more is personal jewelry. But it's pretty neat jewelry... Visit whatever bike shops are near you, get them to fit you properly. That's critical - even a small adjustment makes the difference between a long ride and numb hands. Pay the extra and get the bike locally, it will be the best investment you will make. I'd suggest you stick with the name brands - Trek, Cannondale, Giant, maybe a Klein. There are good deals on LeMond bikes right now, due to some ill conceived comments by Greg LeMond regarding Lance. But his bikes are terrific, very smooth riding.

Other gear you want to get - a speedometer, and a heart rate monitor. I'd suggest the Polar 150, it's fairly inexpensive, and tells you what you want to know. If it drops to zero, don't worry - either the wireless connection is getting interference, or it's too late to do anything about it.

Saddles - ride whatever the bike has on it for a month. If your butt is still killing you, welcome to the saddle search. It took me four saddles before I found one that I could ride for more than two hours. If you start getting an uncomfortable feeling right around the prostate, look for a seat with a cutout in the middle.

Clothes - if the idea of riding in tight lycra shorts makes you uncomfortable, get the baggy MTB shorts. When you whip your gut into shape, go for the lycra. Who cares what the men think - the first time a gal tosses you an apprecitave glance, it'll tickle you pink. On top of that, the lycra shorts are really comfortable on long rides, though I do draw the line at the crotch cream.

Snobs - they're out there, most of them young and insecure, that's why they're snobs. If they have to pump themself by looking down at other people, they're probably a little short in the self esteem department. You'll run into two types of cyclists, those with an attitude, and those that think that anyone riding any type of bicycle is doing something good. Stick with the latter, they're a lot more fun.

One other thing - if you apply yourself, you're going to see something that very few people over the age of 40 ever see - physical improvement. I got back into road bikes three years ago, had been riding MTB's for three years before that. Now, at age 48, I can do things I couldn't do at age 46, like pull that nasty hill near my house without stopping, or hold an 18mph average over rolling hills for 20 miles.
 

tlc

New Member
Aug 19, 2004
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Razor, thank you for your words and encouragement. Since your posting and all the generous thoughts from others, I have over come what ever strangle hold my ego had on me and have moved forward. I made a new friend at a LBS, Dave the owner, and have purchased myself a new 2005 Trek 1000. It's an entry level ride, for sure, but that's why they build entry level bikes. I've purchased neccessary accessories and look forward to getting my new ride next weekend. Thanks again and I'll see you on the road.

Tom

razor_USMC said:
Cyclists are just like everyone else. People. There are awesome people who will teach you the ins and outs and give you the shirt off their back and there are those who feel their status/worth in life is based on how much more expensive their bike is than yours and would rather give you a mouthful of their dust than an earful of friendly advice. Cyclists have one thing in common, we love cycling. And even though you are inexperienced, it sounds like you, Tom, are one of us. If you want something, go for it, regardless of your age. There is no magic age we reach in life when people are automatically allowed to not let us go for our dreams. Learn what you can from those wonderful people in life that get just as much enjoyment out of helping teach you as you are eager to soak it up. Ride on your own, ride in groups and do what you love to do. As far as bikes go, I'd start with a good entry level bike like a Giant OCR 3 or a trek 1000. You are spending enough to get a decent ride, but you are not paying for a lighter bike with better components that at this point in the game you wont appreciate. Get fit at your LBS (local bike store). There is where you get plugged into the culture. Do what feels good for you. Best wishes and see you on the road my friend.
 

JTEK

New Member
Jul 26, 2004
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Thanks JohnO for all the info, you answered a few of my own questions :)
 

np36

New Member
Jun 18, 2004
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JohnO said:
Who cares what the men think - the first time a gal tosses you an apprecitave glance, it'll tickle you pink. On top of that, the lycra shorts are really comfortable on long rides, though I do draw the line at the crotch cream.

John has some great points but if you have trouble with your saddle - the bike our your personal one - you really should try the "crotch cream." It solves all! The first few times you feel pretty strange, but like anything else you'll get used to it, and two hours into a ride you'll be so happy that any strange feelings you have the next day will be put to rest with the thought about how you felt two hours into the ride.

Cheers
 

RubberSideDown

New Member
Nov 17, 2003
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Good job man! Congrats on your new ride. Ride on! And remember, always keep the rubber side down.

RubberSideDown
 

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