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Secondhand recommendations please! For a complete novice fairweather cyclist

(13 Posts)
GnarlyOldGoatDude Wed 05-Apr-17 12:34:59

I feel like a complete fraud on here, but would love some advice please! We are finally getting round to buying bikes for the kids, but we aren't a cycling family at all. DH and I should also get bikes so we can ride with them (and turn into a wholesome cycling family who go off on picnics and stuffgrin) but I really don't want to spend a fortune on mine in particular, as I can see it just getting rusty in the garage.

I haven't ridden a bike for about 30 years! Are there any good makes I could look for a secondhand bargain? Would be pottering around on roads and paths mainly I think, bit of grass. Would be good if it was light, but I don't even really know how to use gears etc blush, and fancy features would be wasted on me.

Apologies for any offence caused to people who actually know about bikes! Thanks in advance smile

witchmountain Wed 05-Apr-17 21:19:40

Nobody will be offended! It's not all people racing around in Lycra on here, although I'm sure they wouldn't be offended either!

You might find you like it better than you think. I got a bike a few years ago with the intention of just cycling to the nearest tube station to speed up my commute. I now do the whole commute by bike and almost all my other local journeys too. I didn't expect to get any joy from it but I do!

I don't know a huge amount but the first questions I'd ask would be:

How hilly is it round your way?
When you say paths and a bit of grass, do you mean tarmac paths and mown grass, like you might get in a park, or rougher tracks and long grass, like you might get in a field?
Will you want to carry a lot of stuff? Can you eleaborate on the picnic fantasy? wink
Do you have any idea of budget in mind?
What's the reason for wanting it to be light?
Where are you on the spectrum of super fit to completely sedentary?
How old are the kids? Did you want advice on their bikes too?

I do think you'll get a better bike by buying secondhand. If you can say roughly where you are someone might be able to recommend a good second hand shop.

GnarlyOldGoatDude Wed 05-Apr-17 22:14:50

Thank you for such a friendly and helpful answer! flowers

Mostly Tarmac and parks I think. I don't like hills! Would be carrying picnic in backpack, nothing more. Kids are 4-7. Would have the youngest in a bike seat I think, on DH bike. DH has already bought a mountain bike (?Saracen) for the oldest for his birthday.

I think I assumed light would be good because it would be easier to pedal? Or something? grin

I'm almost, but not quite, sedentary...about 5'4 and normal weight. I don't do any formal exercise at all but I'm pretty strong and wouldn't take much to get fitter. Basically I'm lazy.

Budget for me- less than £150 I think for a secondhand bike. I'm just reluctant to spend even that really in case it's a waste.

Lots of £10-30 bikes keep popping up on fb and gumtree and I'm tempted, but I don't know what I'm looking for.

Thanks so much!

GnarlyOldGoatDude Wed 05-Apr-17 22:15:08

Oh and am down south

witchmountain Thu 06-Apr-17 23:00:53

The weight won't matter that much unless you're going to lift it over things, as you're not racing or trying to whizz up hills.

Any chance you could borrow a bike from a friend, or hire one, just to see if you hate it as much you think you might?!

I have no idea what you'd get for £10-30 - you might get lucky with someone who just wants to clear some space, but that also probably means something that hasn't been ridden or maintained in a while. You could just go for it because it won't be the end of the world if you hate it, but you are also more likely to put yourself off if you end up on something uncomfortable and not running smoothly.

My personal preference is for something with quite an upright riding position, what you might see advertised as Dutch style, because it's more comfortable than being hunched forward over handlebars, which is quite unnecessary if you're just pootling about. I prefer fatter tyres because it makes for a more comfortable ride. I also prefer a fully covered chain because it makes for almost zero maintenance. Make sure it has mudguards.

Others may disagree but I think you'd be fine with even three gears. I didn't really know how to use them properly until I started riding again as an adult. Basically, turning the gears one way will make pedalling easier, but each turn of your pedals will carry you less far - imagine being on an exercise bike and the pedals go round really easily. You use that kind of gear for going up a hill, so can keep pedalling without dying - you will slow down but you'll be able to keep your legs going. Turning the gears the other way will make pedalling harder - you will feel more resistance but each turn of the pedals will carry you farther. this is useful once you get going on the flat or if you're going down hill because your momentum will make the extra resistance easier to deal with so you can use the gear to propel yourself along faster. Having more gears normally means you get a slightly wider spectrum of easy pedalling to harder pedalling (the "range" of the gears) but mainly it just means you've got more steps to chose on that spectrum.

I'm not going to be much help on brands because my choices have been quite niche in the past but if I was looking for something in your situation I'd try and get a Gazelle.

Hopefully some others will be along soon - this isn't a board that moves that fast!

BarchesterFlowers Fri 07-Apr-17 05:18:53

Look for a used bike coop, this is one near me. They will sell you the best fit they have/be honest if they don't have the right thing.

witchmountain Fri 07-Apr-17 06:44:17

<Waves to Barchester> Are you over the pneumonia?

Bike coop is a good idea.

BarchesterFlowers Fri 07-Apr-17 07:32:55

Hello Witch, thank you, I am feeling much better .... but my cough has returned a few days after finishing my last antibiotics so I think I might be going back to the doctors. Bummer as I need to get fit!

That coop is fab - DH has donated parts and a couple of frames, really nice people.

Am sure they must exist elsewhere.

GnarlyOldGoatDude Fri 07-Apr-17 07:43:55

Thank you for the great advice, I will certainly look for a bike co-op down here. Good to know I don't particularly need a light one too- I have absolutely no intention of lifting it over things!! grin

GnarlyOldGoatDude Fri 07-Apr-17 07:50:45

And yes you're right - I don't want to get such a cheapie bike that it actually puts me off!

witchmountain Sat 08-Apr-17 17:42:40

Barchester how annoying. Sometimes it takes a few rounds. Though I think you've been stuck with this for ages.

Good luck Gnarly. Hoping we'll see you back on here as an enthusiastic cyclist smile

Spudlet Sat 08-Apr-17 17:47:22

I used to ride a Dutch style bike that I'm pretty sure was older than me, and it did me proud! It had a rack on the back and a basket on the front. I loved it. This was living in Italy though, so I couldn't get it home sad

Something like that is ideal for pootling, imo!

GnarlyOldGoatDude Sat 08-Apr-17 18:06:37

Love "pootling", a much underused word grin

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