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Calling for help from cyclists.
17

TheMagnificentStanley · 05/04/2018 23:13

I used to love cycling. Cycled everywhere and was only physical excercise I enjoyed. However hasn't done it for many many years, lots of reasons but mainly change in lifestyle and moving from city to county 15 years ago so didn't fit into my everyday life (commute went from 5 to 40 miles).I am now very unfit (struggle climbing when out walking) I'm 50 this year and toying with idea of trying to get back into cycling as a way of getting a bit fitter. I'd need a decent bike and was toying with idea of a ebike but shop advise I just need a decent bike with decent gears. Sounds reasonable but what to buy. A Giant has been suggested, which sounds great, but it's £999.00... Just worried about doe sing so much and don't think I know enough to be able to identify what I need to buy second hand. Any advice or tips from cyclists out there?

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BakedBeans47 · 05/04/2018 23:17

I am in my mid 40s and very very overweight (over 20st) so I have gone down the e-bike route. Ruinously expensive but to feel I can keep up with others like a normal person has made it worth it!

My previous bike was a Giant Liv Rove 2 hybrid which I think I paid £550 for brand new and ended up selling barely used on gumtree for £250! It was an amazing bike so the person who bought it got a bargain. I’d def have a look on gumtree. :)

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MrsTylerJoseph · 05/04/2018 23:19

I have a Giant Liv Alive, got a previous years model for about £250. I like the bike and I say that as someone with a 1k Specalized road bike.

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MrsTylerJoseph · 05/04/2018 23:21

It needs to feel comfy and be the right size, so get down a shop and sit on some. Evans will let you test ride. Giant have their own shops as well. Good independent shops are generally very good.

The lighter the bike the easier to handle/pedal it will be. If you’re somewhere a bit hilly a good range of gears is a must.

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SheepyFun · 05/04/2018 23:41

Another one with a Giant Liv of some description (it was about £300 new 5 years ago). I would think that at this point you need a good enough bike - not rubbish (probably not much under the £300 mark; the cheapest official RRP for a Giant Liv at the moment is £349) but I wouldn't spend £1000 on a bike at the moment, despite being able to afford it and cycling thousands of miles each year. I do live somewhere flat though, so don't need the bike to be really light!

I second trying the bike out - I've bought two bikes new as an adult and both shops (both independents) were happy for me to try them on the road. With the more recent bike, the shop owner changed the handlebars and headset (and put on schwarble marathon tyres) for a very modest fee; I have a short reach for my height, and the new handlebars made my riding position a lot more comfortable. Even at lowish prices, you may be able to get the bike set up for you, and that will make a real difference to how comfortable it is to ride.

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TheMagnificentStanley · 07/04/2018 02:31

Thank you. That's helpful. It's a giant liv invite that's been suggested. It is very hilly where I live, and rural, so opportunities to use canal paths and a bit of off road are appreciated/ necessary as the whole country road riding is more frightening than cycling in the city. I think I need to look on gumtree and do the tryout thing. If it worked out the cost would be worth it but as it would mean some serious sacrifices to achieve think I need to be a tad more certain first. Thank you.

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MrsTylerJoseph · 07/04/2018 09:37

Are you sure you want a drop handlebar bike? I have one and to be honest much prefer my hybrid. Far comfier for longer rides imho.

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TooTrueToBeGood · 07/04/2018 09:50

You can get a perfectly good bike for a lot, lot less than £1000. Seems madness spending so much given that you're just getting back into it and it is presumably not an insignificant amount of money for you. Also bear in mind that you will likely have to budget for various accessories: possibly some appropriate clothing, helmet, lights, pump, lock, puncture repair and small toolkit to name the obvious ones. Accessories can quickly add up to an extra couple of hundred quid+.

Just a thought, but have you checked if your employer is in a bike to work scheme? Lets you pay the bike off over 12 months direct from salary and you save tax and NI as it's salary sacrifice.

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TheMagnificentStanley · 07/04/2018 19:26

Thanks for thoughts. Think I will be looking into second hand and into the bikes for work scheme. Really helpful tips, your right toogoodtobetrue, it would be madness to spend that much.
Regards the drop bars, I always used to prefer them, so was basing on previous preference I suppose. Thought if I got a dual brake system could have option of positions and that might be helpful (back problems after child birth and there for good now). But I might try both again.

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BikeRunSki · 07/04/2018 20:06

I’d recommend women specific design bikes - all the big names do them, such as the Giant Liv series mentioned above. All the “big names” do them Specialized (Dolce), Trek (WSD) etc. Even if you are not a tiny girly women, a women specific bike is a lot more than “pink and shrink” - the proportions, brake lever positioning, saddle, centre of gravity etc are all affected.

The best way to find a bike that feels comfortable though is to go and sit on a few! You don’t need to spend £1000, but probably do need to think about spending £500-600. Go to somewhere with a large range in stock, knowledgable staff (ime I would not recommend Evans, although they do have a lot in stock) and sit on some. If they let you ride them round the car park even better!

If you are in/near Yorkshire , All Terrain Cycles at Wetherby and Saltaire are excellent.

Don’t forget decent women’s shorts abs gloves too. You really do get what you pay for with cycling shorts. If you don’t want to go down the
Lycra route, look at mountain biking shorts- longer and baggier.

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BikeRunSki · 07/04/2018 20:09

Dropped bars give you 3 hand positions - tops, hoods and drops. You should be able to reach the brake levers quickly from all three on a well fitted bikes, although I can see the confidence boost in having “chicken brakes”. These are commonly fitted to cyclocross bikes, but a cyclocross bike will probably be too stiff for you to use on road if you have a bad back.

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TheMagnificentStanley · 07/04/2018 21:03

Really helpful advice. Thank you all. Hoping to go and view a 2nd hand liv tomorrow... I'm 5.3 and small frame so your advice regards a women's specific design is really helpful as think I will need something comfortable to help me get back into this...

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MrsTylerJoseph · 07/04/2018 21:17

I have lower back issues and find the drop bar bike makes it worse no matter what hand position. A more upright style of riding on a hybrid has helped.

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MrsTylerJoseph · 07/04/2018 21:18

I’m 5ft3” as well and am either a XS or a S on Liv bikes. I can fit either size on most models but some felt better in an XS and some felt better in a S.

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ivykaty44 · 08/04/2018 09:44

I have drop handlebars, rarely use the drops and sit with my hands on the hoods.

Nothing to stop you changing the handlebars if you don’t like them

I would strongly suggest you opt for a road bike and not a hybrid as you will find the hills much harder on a hybrid which may then put you off cycling them

I would also suggest googling breeze and seeing if there is one near you for getting out with others and building your confidence- then see if there are any local clubs you can join

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NotAnotherJaffaCake · 08/04/2018 09:52

Consider joining the Cyclist Touring club or CTC, they have good member discounts and loads of organised rides. I’d also probably avoid drop handlebars, there are loads of far more comfortable options - butterfly bars for example. There are loads of great second hand options around too.

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BikeRunSki · 08/04/2018 11:01

CTC, now called Cycling UK to better reflect their remit.

Breeze free, guided rides for women of all abillities]]. I couldn’t remember their name! Thanks JaffaCake!

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TheMagnificentStanley · 08/04/2018 11:14

Thanks for the ideas/links regards groups. There is a fairly local Breeze group that looks interesting. Helpful to hear about others experiences with drop bars too. Lots of really helpful responses so thank you all again. So glad I posted.

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