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Any bike-savvy mumsnetters - I need your help puh-leeease!

(26 Posts)
HeroineChick Tue 28-Jan-14 11:14:28

In October I took a job at a business park on the outskirts of my city; it takes me about 20-25 minutes to cycle there. I ride this bike to and from work each day and gawd, it's hard work!

My point is, I am in no way unfit, I do plenty of cardio / squats / lunges etc and have good general body strength. So the question I ask myself each day, after five months of cycling there and back, should it still be such a joke? It's such a terrible slog on this bike; even on level surfaces it feels like a massive effort to pedal and don't ask about going uphill (there are two fairly whacking ones to contend with every day and even coming downhill is painfully slow). Every single cyclist whizzes past me - it's shameful.

So - I am looking please for recommendations as to any bikes that may make the journey a little easier. I know a poor workman blames his tools etc but I really, really am not that unfit. Money is not abundant at the moment and I have no wish to waste it, so any tips as to the best bike would be gratefully received...

Please help grin

gindrinker Tue 28-Jan-14 11:34:11

More expensive bikes are lighter, less weight to drag up the hills, they also have better components which fit together and work smoother.
Does it fit you properly? If its too small or too big the engery your putting in gets lost.

Does your company do the cycle to work scheme? Pay for a bike out your salary for a year with out paying tax (saves about 20%)

Go to a proper bike shop and have a look at their hybrids. Leisure lakes or evans of even better your local bike shop.

HeroineChick Tue 28-Jan-14 11:57:22

Thanks so much for your reply! I am thinking it probably doesn't fit me properly. I raised the saddle quite high which helped, but I am about 5'9" so possibly on the tall side. Hmm. I can easily go to a local bike shop but just need some knowledge of what I need so I don't get fleeced as I have zero idea (what do you mean, you guessed that? hmm)

HeroineChick Tue 28-Jan-14 11:58:15

Also, will check about the cycle to work scheme. If they don't have one, they blardy well should - the parking there is abysmal!

OldBeanbagz Tue 28-Jan-14 11:58:48

How much do you use the gears? I know there's only 6 of them but you need to use them if you've got a couple of big uphills.

It does look like a massively heavy bike to me so that probably doesn't help plus most bikes have 18+ gears on them.

Check the brakes aren't rubbing on the rims too as riding downhill shouldn't be slow!

You need to look into the Cyle to Work scheme as gindrinker suggested plus check out Evans and similar for ex demo bikes or last years models. My DH has bought a few bikes on eBay (there are some great bargains) but he knows what he's looking for.

AnnieLobeseder Tue 28-Jan-14 12:04:45

Hmmm, for the price I'd bet it's heavy and has poor components. Plus only 6 gears is going to mean you're doing a lot of extra work. The wheels are big, which is about the only plus your bike has going for it, I'm afraid.

I've had excellent customer service from Evans, and they do a price match, so if you can find the the choose bike cheaper anywhere on 'tinterweb, they will match that price.

Your bike is a hybrid, which I've found good for commuting. It's just not a very good hybrid. I have one of these which I love almost as much as my children, and it makes my 4.5 mile commute a breeze.

I used to be a triathlete so I cycle pretty fast, but on my old (cheap and heavy) mountain bike I struggled and like you, everyone overtook me. Now I'm the one doing the overtaking, ha!

HeroineChick Tue 28-Jan-14 12:24:07

I do use the gears, for all the good it does me <hollow laughter>. Yours looks lovely Annie, and I notice it's a men's bike which I have been wondering about given my height...

I will ask about the Cycle to Work scheme asap, I think, and then ask a local shop about good hybrids. I seriously wouldn't wish my bike on anyone so I think I'll give it away!

Thanks again everyone.

AnnieLobeseder Tue 28-Jan-14 12:29:24

I'm tiny but I prefer the cross bar of a men's bike.

gindrinker Tue 28-Jan-14 12:51:41

I'd just go and have a chat with the guys in the bike shop.
Tell them your budget and requirements and let them find something suitable.
I'm 5'8" and ride a medium women's road bike. Your height won't be a problem for men's or women's.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-Jan-14 13:01:46

It weighs 17kg.

My cyclocross bike weighs 10kg and my Mtb is less than that. Even my crazily heavy trike only weighs about 20kg and I notice the difference between that and my cyclocross bike which I commute on.

Get yourself a nice hybrid. Specialzed Vitas are nice, a friend has one and rode to Paris on it. Decathalon do decent cheaper bikes. Also if you have an edinburgh bike shop near you (they're not just in edinburgh) they do their own brand of bikes which are a decent spec and again less money.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-Jan-14 13:02:53


VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-Jan-14 13:03:18

The Revolutions are their own brand.

HeroineChick Tue 28-Jan-14 15:28:33

Brilliant VivaLeBeaver, thank you - I'll check them out!

HeroineChick Tue 28-Jan-14 15:33:55

From that site this part sings to my soul: "7005-series aluminium frame. This frame helps make the bike light enough to ride uphill without too much effort. Even if you're only moderately fit. Yet it's built strong and true so it comes with a lifetime warranty." << YES PLEASE grin

HeroineChick Tue 28-Jan-14 15:34:27

Ahem. grin

VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-Jan-14 19:16:14

That one does look nice. Good prices at the minute as well.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-Jan-14 19:18:24

And one thing get yourself a good track pump. If I am finding it hard going and connect the tyres up to my pump I'm amazed from the gauge to find they're down to like 40psi from 80psi even though the tyres don't feel that squishy at all.

Pump up and it's like a different bike the next day. If you're commuting you really need to be checking tyre pressure at least every other week if not weekly.

lljkk Tue 28-Jan-14 19:32:13

Oh gawd, you're amazing to do a commute like that for a long spell on such horrible BSO (the Argos thing). A £100 new bike will have cheap heavy components that wear badly after just 50-100 miles; it's like riding thru sludge.

The bike in your Edinburgh link is still 15.5 kg; I wouldn't touch it, sorry.
I'd be looking for something 2nd hand on Ebay if money very tight.

LentilHearted Tue 28-Jan-14 19:52:28

20 - 25 minutes, how many miles is that? I ride an 80's racer to work, 10 miles, takes about 25 mins, never ridden a hybrid, that bike looks awkward, maybe try a different bike, I doubt it's your fitness, I blame the bike ;)

VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-Jan-14 19:57:17

this one's 12kg

Pipkinhartley Wed 29-Jan-14 13:17:53

Agree lljkk that ebay always worth looking at but I've noticed prices/ bids starting to creep up now that spring (allegedly) on the way and sportive calendar gets busy March onwards.
Halfords are worth a look, Carrera subway is not bad entry level hybrid and £199 at the moment (half price for current model) and 12.5kg.
When I started to cycle regularly I started with a Boardman from them, they were always helpful, and I still rate the range, the carbons are pretty hard to beat with the spec you get - but that's if you are really enjoying cycling and want to get into it further. And if you do, I'd suggest you go for a road bike.
BTW lentilhearted, 10 miles in 25 mins on a commute?! I'm impressed, please share your training plan!

HeroineChick Thu 30-Jan-14 22:03:21

It's about 3.5 miles I think blush

"Riding through sludge" - EXACTLY! I asked at work about the cycle to work scheme; they said they aren't signed up yet but will discuss it at the weekly development meeting, woot! Here's hoping. Thanks again!

BikeRunSki Thu 30-Jan-14 22:05:58

I second everything that Viva has said.

NomNomNom Thu 30-Jan-14 22:08:30

I have that bike! Did you get it in a box and assemble it yourself? I found mine was much easier to use once I got it looked at by a bikeshop. They adjusted the brakes, and IME they can be a bit funny with this bike. Also make sure the tyres are pumped up as that makes a difference too.

HeroineChick Thu 30-Jan-14 22:13:08

DH put it together but I have had it looked at by a bikeshop since; I might take it one more time to see if there is any voodoo that can be done in the meantime (desperately hoping my employer signs up for that scheme, hehe!)

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