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Somebody must be able to help me with choosing a bike... PLEEEEEEESE!

(26 Posts)
Kewcumber Tue 19-Jul-11 23:19:17

I just learnt to ride a bike blush so now need to buy one to practice so DS and I can go out together with the wind rushing through our hair and the pollution choking our lungs

Total novice and I've looked at so many bikes and listened to so many opinions that my head hurts...

I need:

Easy bike for a beginner for pootling around locally;
I'm told single speed bike is a bad idea unless I don't plan to get up any hills but have never changed gear on a bike so am thinking that 3-7 speed would be enough and not so scary;
Told that enclosed gears are easier than the gears that look like extra little wheels on the back wheel confused;
I'm tall (5'9") so need a larger ladies bike;
Like the look of these but don't have £300+ to spare;
Happy to go for second hand

But the killer is my budget - ideally would like to pay £100 (ha ha ha) but would stretch up to £200 if necessary. I thought that sounded like a lot of money but it appears to be the bargain basement bucket of the bike world. sad

Any advise from wise cycling MN'ers?

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 10:42:21

Think I posted this too late and all the cyclists were in bed...!

ragged Wed 20-Jul-11 10:59:35

One for sale in Yorkshire, pick up only.

Changing gears can be easier on some bikes than others.
Do you live in London? It would be ideal if you could go around a lot of shops and see what different bikes are like.
I suggest a Hybrid, upright position, get a quality make like Giant which do have some more affordable price but decent quality models.
I wonder if you'd do well to get a 2nd-hand hybrid on Ebay advertised as in good-excellent condition, budgeting up to 100 quid, and expecting to spend another 100 quid on it to sort out any potential problems/modifications.
Get a good lock!

NotQuiteCockney Wed 20-Jul-11 11:03:13

At that budget, you'd be best off buying used.

Unfortunately, a lot of used bikes out there are stolen - worth asking around and seeing where you can buy used bikes? (I know a local shop to us that sells not-stolen refurbished used bikes.)

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 11:30:46

Yes I've been warned about bikes on Ebay being stolen - was told to make sure to get a landline number and pick up at the house. Would pay a bit more second hand to get a used one from a shop - guess I'll just have to ring around the bike shops then.

Its just that I'm not very bike-y (having got to 46 and never even sat one one) and am rapidly losing the will to live!

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 11:31:15

ys am in south west London - Yorkshire a bit of a strecth!

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 11:34:14

whats your view on gears/speeds?

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 11:39:24

Is this cheap for a reason? Is it a rubbish bike?

midnightexpress Wed 20-Jul-11 11:44:31

I'm just about to buy a bike too (in fact, if I could just get this work done instead of fannying about on MN I would be able to go to the bike shop...). I'd suggest going to a good bike shop and talking to them, Ours were really helpful - they will build one to fit you - ie with a frame size that suits your height/shape (long/short legs/body etc). I want one for similar purpose to you (ie not 'serious' biking, but more pootling with the DC) and was recommended a Giant women's bike with a fixed fork. It has 21 gears (which I guess means 7x3 does it? Dunno). Enclosed gears start to get expensive I think, as do fancy forks. The one I was looking at is about £300 though, so might be worth waiting for the end of the 'season' (I presume the end of summer?), as they will discount them to make room for next year's models.

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 11:48:59

or this one is local but I'm a bit nervous able gears! Will they bite?!

midnightexpress Wed 20-Jul-11 11:49:47

Could you perhaps hire one with gears for a few days first to see how they work? Honestly, they are easy and make hills soooo much easier!

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 11:49:47

problme is I really really don't have the kind of cash that bike shops around here charge (not working at the moment)

midnightexpress Wed 20-Jul-11 11:50:39

Yes, I feel your pain. Perhaps it might be worth cheekily getting 'fitted' so that you can see what size of frame you need/want and then buying elsewhere?

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 11:53:10

presumably I can ride around on the flat for a while practicing?

midnightexpress Wed 20-Jul-11 11:54:40

Yes. grin

mummynoseynora Wed 20-Jul-11 11:58:55

halfords has a sale on - might be worth looking there?

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 12:00:30

yes I had a look in the sale but nothing grabbed me - but then the gears scared me away. Now that midnight has convinced me that I will cope with them perhaps I'll look again...

icannotfly Wed 20-Jul-11 19:11:47

New bikes at £200 are landfill!

- only sells legal used bikes.
At £350 you can get a beautiful new machine, Specialized Vita.@ Brixton cycles you will get 12 months free servicing!!!
I just learnt recently that saving in bike world is usually saving on quality - meaning you will have to exchange/repair more often - meaning it will be more expensive in total bill.

ragged Wed 20-Jul-11 19:25:21

That bikesoup website is so cool.

MrsCuldesac Wed 20-Jul-11 20:02:03

Kewcumber - I was in the same situation a couple of years ago. The advice I got was too complicated - all about 21-speeds and disc brakes, hybrids, frames and other technical stuff. Luckily I went along to Birdie Bikes at Hampton (get on the R68 all the way and walk to Hampton Station, or bus to Richmond then get the train). While my OH talked technical with the sales staff, a friendly woman asked me what I really wanted. I said "Step-through because I hate cocking my leg over; comfy wide saddle, easy to ride". She said: "How many gears?" "Three . . ?" I hesitated. "Look behind you - I think it might suit you," she said. And so I fell in love with Sydney, made by Giant - very light (aluminium) three gears on a twist grip, flip-out side stand so it stands up when you want to leave it somewhere; handy luggage rack at the back. Built-in dynamo lights. It's so light and easy to ride, I hardly have to pedal. Brilliant for the parks round here and also very cute. I'm tall, too - it's a doddle to adjust the saddle. I used to take DD to school on it - she'd sit, I'd push, then ride it home myself.

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 20:05:28

Sounds perfect MrsCuldesac but did it cost you a million pounds? (Good tip about the Hampton bike shop but can I drive the car if I ask nicely?)

ilovemydogandMrObama Wed 20-Jul-11 20:09:54

Police auctions are quite good.

upahill Wed 20-Jul-11 20:14:30

A lot of councils do basic cycle rides for adults to get their confidence.
Also British cycling are doing a scheme called Breeze to get women who would normally lack confidence or feel intimadated to go riding a chance to ride in a small group. It is a nation wide scheme and you put your post code into the box to come up with rides in your area.

Kewcumber Wed 20-Jul-11 20:40:40

I know about th ecouncil scheme upahill - did one a couple of weeks ago hence now needing a bike as they taught me to ride! grin but they only have funding for the basic courses not the road awareness type stuff they used to run. Thay apparently made a proposal to the council to run the adult road type course with higher fees to cover the additional costs but they won;t even do that!

Will take a look at the Sky one thanks

MrsCuldesac Thu 21-Jul-11 08:16:48

Apologies Kewcumber - thought you were without wheels completely! Bike cost under £200 - best of luck in your search.

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