View Full Version : Cycling
18th Feb 05, 4:11 PM
In a bid to get fit, do some more exploring, and generally improve my ability to get around the world under my own steam, I'm considering investing in a road bike. I was wondering if any of you did much cycling, and perhaps had some thoughts on where I should start. My knowledge is sadly rather limited; I had a few bikes when I was younger, and supposedly one never forgets, so at least I have few qualms of climbing on the thing. That said, I'd appreciate any assistance that could be offered in the way of explaining the nomenclature, and what I'll need to know to get started. Hopefully this can become one of those ever-useful "exploiting collective knowledge" threads, with some good stories and informative links. :)
18th Feb 05, 5:10 PM
18th Feb 05, 5:34 PM
I've never owned a thin-wheeled road bike, but from what I hear they're more expensive, meant for long-distance rides only, can't navigate uneven terrain, and must therefore be used on an actual road. From my experience as a driver, road bikers are friggin annoying for that reason (so I guess I'm biased against them). A mountain bike would probably serve you just as well, would be less expensive, sturdier and more versatile - you can ride them on streets, sidewalks, down stairs, through creeks, woods, fields, anywhere.
If you do decide to buy an off-road bike, get something light with shocks on the front wheel, and respectable-looking brakes for whenever you're on the verge of crashing into a ravine. Quick-detach components (wheels, saddle, steering) are rather convenient, but if you live in an area notorious for bike thefts, such as any major city's downtown, you might also want to invest in a good lock/cable combo that can secure all QD components simultaneously.
On safety - I don't wear any gear, so I have suffered scrapes and cuts to the knees and especially the elbows in the past. If you don't have confidence in your riding ability, get some elbow/knee pads. Helmets are also an option, but I don't remember ever taking any hits to the head myself (hmm). Definetly get a full helmet if you plan on doing any off-roading though.
Finally, even if you don't know what you're looking for, remember that price is usually a decent idicator of the bike's quality - the $1000 Raleigh behind the glass window is probably a hell of a lot better than the $100 Generico on the bottom rack.
I hope that helps. gl, hf
18th Feb 05, 5:36 PM
Well, just a couple of general tips:
At least an alluminium frame, if you cant afford titanium or something more exotic, the lighter the bike the better. You will still get exercise and if you have to carry it the lighter weight will pay off. Shimano gears are good quality and more or less common. The more speeds on the bike the better, as the lighter it will get on the uphill.
Start with short trips and go up from on there, if you overtax your body too quick you will be stuck in bed with muscle pains from the resulting inflamation.
Thats it really.
18th Feb 05, 8:02 PM
I've got a pretty nifty old (bought new about five years ago) bike you can buy off me if you want. Still stuck in my garage in Twickenham. Might not be back in London for a few weeks, but you can come have a look if you want...
18th Feb 05, 8:32 PM
I have a severed tearduct and radstadt scar across my left eyelid from going biking one fine spring day, without having checked the brakes. Turns out they'd rusted a bit, and I couldn't navigate a turn, went off the bike when I hit a ditch full of freshly-mowed sumac saplings (think punji sticks) and then went tumbling down a thirty foot ravine slope.
My father has a broken collarbone from driving over a loose stone on a bicycle.
Unsafe contrivaces, bicycles.
18th Feb 05, 9:28 PM
I should be dead. Several times over. I used to mountain bike fanatically, with a friend of mine who either had no regard for his or others lives, or thought he was invincible. Keeping up with him was the stupidest thing I've ever done.
With that in mind, the two big things I recommend:
1) ALWAYS. WEAR. A. HELMET. It's not optional. My worst spills have been when I've been coasting along at low speeds, slowly lulling into a sense of contentment, then BAM, squirrel in the front tire and oncoming car. GG. I've actually found that the worse the terrain, the less likely I am to fall because my whole being is concentrated on staying upright. On the road, you get this sense that everything is smooth, you can see cars, they can see you, no big deal.... then something unexpected happens and down you go.
2) Brakes. Make sure they're clean. Make sure that if you remove a tire, you reconnect them. Make sure they're well tuned, so that they aren't too loose or too tight - in either case, you may either over or under compensate, resulting in problems that #1 may help you with.
Other than that, I concur with Zeph and Tronno. If you're just going about a city, you might not even need the front shock. Although it is nice to have on cobblestones or something similiar.
18th Feb 05, 10:01 PM
Well, there is that. But don't they make a wierd-ass cheek-cupping type of seat nowadays?
Either way, avoid the form-fitting pants.
19th Feb 05, 4:20 AM
I did some hardcore biking last summer. 4 months of riding at least 45 minutes almost every day. Never had harder, sexier thighs in my life ever.
I have a now 8 years old Giant Mountainbike, Outpost line.
I also suggest that you get a Mountainbike, as they're very versatile. If you want to ride it on paved roads a lot, you might consider investing in a pair of hybrid tires (with a smooth line down the center), or the skinnies (no studs or nobs, similar to motorbikes).
Downsides of a Mountainbike is the fact that the gears aren't really made for high-speeds. I never use anything but the biggest front plate when I do my biking, and often top out when going down hill, whishing i had bigger hind plates.
However you can always get bigger plates, and they're probably not even hard to install, but I didn't look into it yet, and can't say how expensive that is.
And yes, Helmets are a good idea, as are protective gloves. I was accelerating with my Bike, when a little bump caused a bag I was holding to jam the front wheel. I did not touch my face for 30 minutes in fear my skin would come off. The little stones beneath my skin in my hands pissed me off for months to come before they finally popped out.
19th Feb 05, 4:26 AM
Biking rocks... My experience is amateurish as hell so no real tips from me :)
19th Feb 05, 5:41 AM
I think I posted once here before about the time I was biking with newly installed mud guards and had one almighty crash. The problem (which I discovered as I was cycling home) was that they weren't fitted probably, and were brushing against the front wheel with every revolution of the tyre. The faint but repetitive noise emanating from beneath me was beginning to get annoying, and instead of getting off to have a look I decided that a few quick jabs with my right foot ought to sort out the problem.
Unfortunately, I gave it one kick a bit too hard and jammed the thing against the tyre. In the split second I realised I'd done this I thought in that time-standing-still type moment "bugger". Speeding down a hill only made it worse, as the front wheel halted instantly, sending me straight over the handlebars. Luckily, I landed relatively smoothly, suffering only severe grazing to my hands and legs (but not my face - no, not the face, anything but the face...).
Then, to cap it off, whilst I was laying prostrate on the ground, in a similar time-standing-still moment I thought "Where'd my bike go?", only for it to come crashing down on top of me. While I'd gone flying, it'd managed to do a mid air 360 and fallen on my exact position...
19th Feb 05, 7:24 AM
I have the 2003 version of this bike (http://www.marin.co.uk/marin-2005/bikedetail.php?ModNo=2555), which is a nice compromise between a fragile road bike and a bulky mountain bike (although you can always buy another set of wheels + cassette + tyres and swap them when need be).
I rarely cycle off-road (maintained dirt/gravel tracks are about as rough it as gets), so I didn't need a mountain bike this time. The upright/comfy riding position on the city/hybrid bikes is nice too; they are great for gentle exercise/commuting etc.
19th Feb 05, 8:22 AM
A rough approximation, consider a modern bike weights maybe around 13Kg, And that's about 1/5 to the riders' ; A man on bare foot can move at a speed of 22Km (easily), with a bike one can go 80Km down hills. One must have a big strength of the body to compensate the difference between the 2 speed limits to have an equally safe measure..
19th Feb 05, 8:26 AM
*Retro shares his limited knowledge of the subject*
I'd suggest a good starting point is simply thinking of biking in terms of "walking" rather than "running". Different athletes have different needs - a runner will kill themselves if they try a marathon in walking shoes, for example.
You don't have to be one of these scarred nuts you see in the SUV ads in order to have a good time on them. Since you're looking for a bike as a form of road transport, choose comfort over features, but ensure the thing has good brakes and at least mid-class shifting gear over everything else - and buy a little repair kit. Oh, and do NOT wear dark colours.
Something I often do when considering new situations is swallow my male pride and walk into a specialty store and proclaim I'm a newbie. The first question I often ask is "What questions should I be asking?". The hard part, of course, is not to feel either grateful or guilty enough to get suckered into buying something the storeowner is featuring until you can check prices or selection elsewhere.
19th Feb 05, 8:56 AM
Been riding since i was 5. Thats 22 years ive never been without a bike.
Ive only been hit by one 20 ton lorry doing 70mph.
My helmet was smashed into three parts, that would have been my skull had i not been wearing it.
1) Get a decent bike, if your getting a second hand one make sure you go over the whole thing checking for wear/damage.
2) Get a cycle helmit.
3) Get some lights.
4) Dont ride on Duel Carrageways! (even though its legal)
5) Make yourself bright. Dont wear black at night! Wear a high vis jacket or bright coloured clothes.
6)Get a big pad lock and chain.
1) Get a pair of skin tight speedos to cycle in.
2) Ride with no hands past policemen.
3) Say anything like 'Lets go fast' when going down a big hill. I did and fell off smashing my mates C64 joystick and removing all the skin from my elbow.
4) Open your mouth when cycling through a swam of nats.
19th Feb 05, 9:00 AM
A few thoughts on the responses so far. I'm pretty light, so I don't want a heavy bike. I'll be cycling on roads, and probably up and down a lot of hills (London mostly isn't too hilly, but Bristol and the surrounding area assuredly are). The bike Zilla mentioned sounds very much like the kind of thing I'm interested in. What makes should I be looking at?
19th Feb 05, 9:02 AM
If you'll be doing it regularly, a prostate/testicle-friendly sadle is an investment worth looking into.
19th Feb 05, 10:35 AM
Raleigh, Giant, Marin, Cannondale, Specialized, and Dawes are some makes off the top of my head...
What you buy is mainly down to budget and aesthetic preference. All that the above companies do is design and make frames & forks; they get nearly everything else from specialised manufactures of wheels, tyres, gears, chains etc., and offer various frame + component packages in the form of bikes (which are often shipped partially assembled; the bike shop does most of the assembly).
Once you've decided on a bike/make that like the look of (colour, frame geometry etc.), then it's simply a matter of deciding how much you want to spend on better components. The next bike up from mine (link (http://www.marin.co.uk/marin-2005/bikedetail.php?ModNo=2556)) has the same frame, but better components (including a suspension fork at the front).
19th Feb 05, 3:55 PM
I used to do a lot of town riding but i'd still pick a mountain bike over a racer, i have a barracuda at the minute, lightweight ally, frame front suspension and ally wheels. Its good enough but i'm looking to get a custom built one soon :D
Best bet is as retro says, pop into the local bike shop and have a chat, hopefully they'll be able to reccomend a bike to suit your needs :D
19th Feb 05, 4:08 PM
To add to Zilla's list of makers, I got a friend who likes his Olpran bike quite a lot.
19th Feb 05, 7:11 PM
Also, the make isnt that important, some lesser known manufacturers have good alluminium frames which are cheapish, which allows you to get better componentes if you do decide to build a custom thing with a bike shop.
19th Feb 05, 7:56 PM
I've heard about it being somewhat un-common for people to own a bike to just get around, rather than for sports in foreign countries...
In Holland, where I live it's kind of strange if you don't own a bike, unless you own a car :o
Well, it's good for excercise I guess, just don't expect a muscular tummy by just cycling a bit.
19th Feb 05, 8:36 PM
I think my bike is pretty similar to the one in Vaar's link. It's in good nick (probably needs a bit of sprucing up as has been in garage for a few years). You can have it for £50, unless it really isn't as good as I remember it...
You interested or not ion?
21st Feb 05, 3:56 AM
I haven't biked for 2 years (I stopped delivering newspapers, and then my bike rusted to pieces in my garage...) but I can give some tips:
1. If you're 100% certain that you'll only be riding on good-quality roads, buy a road bike. Otherwise, buy a mountain bike.
2. Get front shock(s), at least. Not only will they make for a much more pleasant riding experience, but if you hit a sudden bump, you're less likely to lose control of the handlebars.
3. You must, must, MUST get a helmet, and you must, must, MUST use it EVERY time you ride. Make sure it's a good quality brand! (A boy I knew a long while back bought a generic helmet, went off his bike, and the helmet split on impact with the road. He lived, but his face was a mess.)
4. Elbow/knee pads are optional. However, if you enjoy stunts like "let's see how far I can ride without holding the handlebars", you'll definitely need 'em.
5. Try to stay away from busy roads. A bicycle is a motor vehicle, but there are many idiots who seem to think that the road is only for machines with internal combustion engines. I was rammed once (no fault of my own)... not an experience I'd like to repeat.
6. Try not to ride at night; but if you do have to, make sure your bike has lights (front and rear), and wear bright/reflective clothing.
7. Baggy pants get caught in bicycle chains.
Biking won't turn you into Hercules, but it does give a decent workout, and it's a lot of fun. And that's the most important thing.
21st Feb 05, 5:51 AM
If you're 100% certain that you'll only be riding on good-quality roads, buy a road bike. Otherwise, buy a mountain bike. Right. Even if you plan to ride mostly in urban terrain, a MTB is much better suited to cope with the occasional bump. While riding a mountainbike IS more straining than riding a racer (after all, the tires are broader and the wheels usually smaller) but you don´t have to do a full brake everytime you encounter a twig on the street. Also, a MTB will be equipped usually with much better brakes.
Which brings us to the light&splash guard department. Personally, I would have died rather than use fixed lights and splash guards. But I didn´t wear a helmet either, so I am probably not your role model. As a rule of thumb, you can get detachable lamps and splash guards, but batteries tend to get empty just when you really need to be seen and detachable splash guards - while reducing dirt soiling your clothes - never keep you completely tidy, so you probably have to change anyway. On the other hand, if you equip your bike with all this stuff, its probably so heavy you could have bought a chrom/moly-frame anyway.
21st Feb 05, 7:52 AM
You would have to do additional training to get the whole body fit, such as lower back and abdomen muscles. The lower back just suffers, even though its muscles are used, and the abdomen muscles are not much used at all.
(I just reassumed my old body-building program...:D)
21st Feb 05, 8:35 AM
Not that i bike much these days, i used to ride BMX though (on dirt tracks)
And i have to agree with starfisher, you are less likely to go down when you are forced to focus on manouvring the bike.
I dont know whats up with the helmets, sure its safer(i guess), but imo it would take away the whole experience of cruising around on a bike in the fresh air. (but then again , it will be suicide if you dont where a helmet while doing MTB tracks or bmx for that matter ;))
And dont buy a MTB for driving on roads, you will drive a roadbike (thin tires) with much less effort.
Oh, and a tip, keep your gears low, dont try to make your legs "stronger" but let them make more revolutions.
21st Feb 05, 9:47 AM
carry a small air pump with you
avoid sharp objects on the road;
I was riding along, saw a board in the road, and thought, it'll be fun to run over that! I did and my rear tire blew out
pay attention to your surroundings;
my cousin was riding my bike, and he ran into a parked car. busted out the tail light
watch where you're going
21st Feb 05, 1:38 PM
Vaarok this doesn't happen to be you does it?
22nd Feb 05, 7:21 AM
Cycling's perhaps one of the best sports around. The scenery changes, you get fit and the ladies love it (or so I've been told).
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