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novice cyclist needs advice please hold my hand on this!

(12 Posts)
EyePeam Sun 28-Jun-09 22:07:21

can anyone advise on the best sort of bike to get please? I want to get something for taking ds (2.2) around the local area, getting bits of shopping, and the odd bit of recreational cycling around the local commons and parks. What brand and type would be best?

and what else do I need to buy? any tips on best child seat, and other accessories would be welcome.

I haven't cycled regularly since I was about 11 and have only taken ds out on a bike once when on holiday a few months ago, so am a bit nervous about having him on the back as well as getting back in the saddle, coping with traffic (live in SW London). oh and I live up a hill, not steep but I suspect quite punishing - will that make a difference to type / weight of bike, or do I just push for the last 500m?!

TIA

Cosmosis Mon 29-Jun-09 12:53:13

I can't help on the child seat as have no kids yet, but bike type wise a hybrid is probably your best bet. It will have decent gears to help you on the hills and a nice uprightish position to be comfortable.

Have you got a decent independent bike shop near you to go for some advice on sizing etc?

EyePeam Mon 29-Jun-09 18:59:39

thanks Cosmosis - yes have a good local bike shop so will go and see them and check out hybrids.

bump for any other advice please?

sarah293 Mon 29-Jun-09 19:11:09

Message withdrawn

EyePeam Mon 29-Jun-09 21:47:33

brilliant, thanks for all the advice. have seen that the local council runs cycling classes so will give those a go on my own before venturing out with 2 stone of toddler on the back!

Cosmosis Tue 30-Jun-09 09:47:22

also, make sure you get yourself some padded shorts, or if you don't fancy shorts you can get liners to wear under normal trousers / shorts - it will make a huge difference to comfort!

Overmydeadbody Tue 30-Jun-09 10:04:20

Yep get a hybrid upright bike.

A good cyce shop should be able to advise. Make sure it fits you.

If you're planning on doing quite a bit of shopping in it, I'd advise getting a basket on the front as it takes a bit of practice to balance a bike with shopping hanging on handlebars!grin

I'm pretty cure child seats are pretty standard, presumably you want her behind you in a moulder plastic seat? You can get front seats too but usually for younger kids.

Check out this site and this one for more info on child seats and other accesories.

You need to practice, I found when I first started cyling thst I was very slow at getting away after stopping at ights and junctions etc., so really worked on speeding up quickly, it makes all the difference on busy roads.

Don't bother with cycling shorts unless you are considering spenind an hour or more at a time cycling. If you're just going slowly pootling around a park you don't need them.

Get comfortable cycling alone first, before getting used to cycling with a child on the back.

Good luck! Cycling is great.

Overmydeadbody Tue 30-Jun-09 10:11:30

Another tihng: investigate where all the cyc le paths are around you, and cycle lanes (you can get maps of london with these marked on, in blue I think) and take quieter roads rather than busy ones, even if it takes a bit longer, it is worth it for the reduced stress.

If you're too scared to negotiate busy roandabouts at first, there is nothing wrong with getting off your bike and crossing the road at pedestrian crossings instead, then getting back on your bike once you're across. Also, remember that bikes are allowed to cycle all the way round roundabouts on the outermost left-hand lane, so you don't have to get into the right lane if you don't have the confidence.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Tue 30-Jun-09 14:42:02

I have a Hybrid which is great.

The thing about bike seats is they do affect the balance and stability of the bike so you need to be quite confident before you have your dc on the back.

Having said that I've had my 4 year old on the back until just recently and found it no problem. He's 5 next week so we've got a trail-gator now.

Cycling clothing you probably don't need unless you are going along way. I've just spent 2 hours on my bike off-road and am really really wishing I had some padded cycling shorts thoughgrin

EyePeam Wed 01-Jul-09 15:20:49

thanks again for all the help and advice, really appreciate it.

a stupid question, but anyway - when you're out and about, can you park (and lock!) your bike just anywhere? eg just put it against a lamppost outside a shop on a high street - or is it best to park up on quieter side streets?

hope that makes sense!

sarah293 Wed 01-Jul-09 15:22:36

Message withdrawn

fridayschild Wed 01-Jul-09 15:32:47

Join the London Cycling Campaign. Their mag has good tips for safety on the roads.

If you are going to be cycling on the towpath by the Thames or around Richmond Park a lot (and you might, you can avoid traffic), get a mountain bike not a hybrid. You'll need the extra suspension.

Waitrose in Sheen do trailers for bikes, so you can take your shopping home with you. A basket increases the instability so I wouldn't plan on doing lots of shopping with a bike and a child.

Parking - ask yourself - would this bike stop someone getting by with her double buggy? If the answer is yes, find somewhere else! Actually that tends to rule out side streets.

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