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Need advice on buying new bike for DW
Old 05-14-2012, 08:36 AM   #1
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Need advice on buying new bike for DW

Here's the scoop. My wife is blessed with good genes - longevity in both sides of her family, has all of the right numbers (e.g., she's thin,low cholesterol, etc), her normal blood pressure is low, and so on. For the first time in years she went cycling with me yesterday...on her very old 3-speed Raleigh.
I'm physically active - run, swim, cycle, and my wife is the opposite. But after yesterday she will go cycling with me. We'll have to go slow, and she can't/won't go too far, even if she builds up her conditioning. I suspect that at most she would do a 10-mile round trip.
Any suggestions as to type/brand of bike? Should I just buy a cheapo at Sports Authority, or spend the presumed extra $$ at one of my local bike shops?
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:47 AM   #2
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If she wants a very comfortable bicycle, the Schwinn Cruiser is fabulous. I own the 7 speed ladies' classic (bought in 2000) with foot brakes. It goes anywhere...except on extreme trails of course.

Cruisers | Schwinn Bicycles
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:56 AM   #3
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P.S. Thanks, Freebird. But I should add she likely needs multiple speeds. We only have a few hills in our town, but the lowest gear on her 3-speed wasn't good enough and she had to walk the bike. Would 7-speed be versatile enough?
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:58 AM   #4
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:05 AM   #5
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FWIW, I bike quite a bit and have gone both routes (cheapo from Craigslist and stupidly expensive from a LBS) Honestly, get a good used bike from Craigslist. You can get more for your money and bikes are one thing people buy all the time and never use, so you can get a good deal. If you're in a hilly area, I would get at least a 10 speed (+/-) as a beginner biker will really appreciate having a lot of granny gears to use and if she enjoys how easy it is to just spin up a hill, she is more likely to stick with it and keep biking.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
P.S. Thanks, Freebird. But I should add she likely needs multiple speeds. We only have a few hills in our town, but the lowest gear on her 3-speed wasn't good enough and she had to walk the bike. Would 7-speed be versatile enough?
Maybe not if the hills are very steep.
The Cruiser is pure comfort on 2 wheels.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:10 AM   #7
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If it were me, I'd let her ride the old 3-speed just a few more times to see if she really wants to make a habit of it (LBYM and all that) - unless she's already said she wants a new bike. From there, I'd rather have an entry level Trek, Giant or equiv than a cheapo Sports Authority, WalMart, etc. bike. While you will pay a little more and they may try to upsell you, a bike shop will be able to help her choose a good fit much better than a big box store. Or if you know how to fit her (I suspect you do), nothing wrong with a good name brand used bike, lots of great bargains from people who rode new bikes one season or less and now the bike is a clothes rack. I'd like to sell my CF road bike and get a nice commuter instead, but not soliciting. My 2¢...
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:43 AM   #8
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Unless DW has expressed a desire for a new bike I think I agree that it might make sense to continue to use the 3-speed for a while and see whether her new found interest in cycling lasts, particularly if the area that you are riding is not too hilly. My concern would be that you pop for new wheels and a year from now you are putting up a craigslist ad for the new wheels.

If she wants a new bike, then that might be a different story particularly if you think she is committed. In that case, then I like the idea of buying a used, good quality bike instead of a new department store bike.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:46 AM   #9
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I agree with the above to wait on spending much money on a bike right now.

Does she say she wants a better bike or do you want to buy one for her as encouragement?
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:04 AM   #10
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Thanks all for your responses. I recognize - as does my wife - that the novelty may wear off quickly. But it's pretty much a slam-dunk she WON'T continue riding if it's going to be the 3-speed. She's not a snob, but she struggled too much on the few hills that we have in our area (and are unavoidable).
Yes, I do want to encourage her to keep cycling, and it'll also be a way for us to do something "athletic" together. For all intents and purposes she doesn't see me on weekend mornings (plus a couple of weeknights) because I'm running/cycling/ whatever. I'll forego one of my runs, or cycling, to do it with her, and it may help her get into better areobic shape, notwithstanding her great genes.
I think we'll spring for the extra bucks to get knowledgeable advice from a bike store vs buying a used bike that may not quite be the right fit or type for her. Thanks again to everyone. I'll send update if/when we buy a bike.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
Here's the scoop. My wife is blessed with good genes - longevity in both sides of her family, has all of the right numbers (e.g., she's thin,low cholesterol, etc), her normal blood pressure is low, and so on. For the first time in years she went cycling with me yesterday...on her very old 3-speed Raleigh.
I'm physically active - run, swim, cycle, and my wife is the opposite. But after yesterday she will go cycling with me. We'll have to go slow, and she can't/won't go too far, even if she builds up her conditioning. I suspect that at most she would do a 10-mile round trip.
Any suggestions as to type/brand of bike? Should I just buy a cheapo at Sports Authority, or spend the presumed extra $$ at one of my local bike shops?
we asked some local bikers where they bought theirs and went there.
they only sell high quality bikes and service them and the people that work there are all serious bikers and the fitting, advice, and quality were worth it to us
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:39 PM   #12
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First, you should definitely ask this question at BikeForums.com. They will also have good advice on riding with your wife.

Congrats, you'll be able to have a lot of fun riding with her. My tip is to let her go first (so that she sets the pace), and resist the urge to tell her to go faster (or anything else, actually).

It sounds like a comfort bike may be the best to start with.

I'm also a fan of craigslist for bikes, but it takes a little knowledge. What I've done is, when I see an ad on craigslist, I put a link to it on the bike forum, and thus get immediate advice on whether it is a good buy. It can take a while to find the right bike, so make sure her enthusiasm won't wane. So, since this is a great opportunity, it might be worth it to get a new bike (and advice and fit) at the local bike shop.

I got mine for $65, which was an unusually good deal (it was a $2K bike in 1997):



I got this one for $90 when Jenny was visiting, and later sold it for $290:

P0001637.JPG

And be prepared for her to get better than you.

LenaBlueLakeRideWithSnow.jpg
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:10 PM   #13
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Thinking some more about it: you want to avoid her having a bad experience at the start, and abandoning the idea. So the advice and professional fit you get from a good bike shop might be worth the risk of wasting money.

If she enjoys it and wants to upgrade to a road bike, then you can take your time and find something on Craigslist.

More pictures to get her in the mood:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg lenaJennyAngelsStart.jpg (183.9 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg LenaPPHill.jpg (388.3 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg JennyLenaDraft.jpg (189.6 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg LenaPamEating.jpg (234.2 KB, 3 views)
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
First, you should definitely ask this question at BikeForums.com. They will also have good advice on riding with your wife.

Congrats, you'll be able to have a lot of fun riding with her. My tip is to let her go first (so that she sets the pace), and resist the urge to tell her to go faster (or anything else, actually).

It sounds like a comfort bike may be the best to start with.

I'm also a fan of craigslist for bikes, but it takes a little knowledge. What I've done is, when I see an ad on craigslist, I put a link to it on the bike forum, and thus get immediate advice on whether it is a good buy. It can take a while to find the right bike, so make sure her enthusiasm won't wane. So, since this is a great opportunity, it might be worth it to get a new bike (and advice and fit) at the local bike shop.

I got mine for $65, which was an unusually good deal (it was a $2K bike in 1997):

I got this one for $90 when Jenny was visiting, and later sold it for $290:

And be prepared for her to get better than you.
Beyond the "what to get" issue I would start off slow. Do shorter easier rides at first. If you make it too much of an ordeal at first the bike will end up on Craigslist with all the others
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:51 PM   #15
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Thanks, Al and MH. One thing for sure - we will definitely go slow and short to start and I will let her make the call as to going further, faster etc. I definitely want her to stick with this (if for no other reason than getting our money's worth !). I honestly felt, after seeing the look on her face yesterday, that she will continue to enjoy this.
And, bringing this to this site's relevance: she will continue to work after my planned retirement next year, So, I always intended to do my long runs and other intensive exercising mid-week, so we will have time together on weekends. I'll keep everyone updated (and hopefully talk about our cycling together, next year also).
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:41 AM   #16
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Another thing that's good about riding with your spouse, is that you can be together, and share the experience, yet not get on one another's nerves. That is, you're not talking a lot, as you would be if driving in a car.

And say things like "You look good riding that bike!"
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:09 PM   #17
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My DW is also getting back into bicycling after many years. I first recommend that you get a bike carrier and start her on some easy rails / trails in your area to avoid having her get tired on the hills. Insofar as the bike itself, I got her a Specialized Crossroads at our local bike shop. The Specialized Expedition is good as well if she likes the wider and softer 26" tire. The Crossroads is a 700C hybrid / comfort bike.
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:36 PM   #18
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I second the Specialized Crossroads comfort bike. DH and I both bought one in 2007 and absolutely love them. I don't remember the exact price but they were around $300 new. I have very long legs for my height and my knees would hit the handlebars on my cheapy bike. I could hardly ride the thing down the driveway. Went to the local bike shop and was properly fitted with the right frame size - made all the difference in the world. That and the big padded gel seat!!
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Old 05-18-2012, 04:14 PM   #19
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I would not diss places like SportsAuthority if you know what you want. Our SA has a bike-shop within the store and the folks are knowledgeable. Yours may be different.

I bought a bike at SportsAuthority and the bike is a great. The purpose was for commuting to work and for the teenagers to ride to school and friends houses. Requirements were fenders to go through puddles, all alloy so no rusting, lightweight, a bell, and gears, of course. The bike is not like my road bike, but quite respectable in terms of weight and fit.

Anyways, I got a Diamondback which is just one of those brands like Trek, Specialized, Schwinn though at the low end. While this D-back is something I would buy again, I do not see this model anymore on their web site. OTOH, they seem to have a nice web site to help one decide what kind of bike to at least look at. You might want to check it out.
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Old 05-18-2012, 04:36 PM   #20
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Your profile says New Jersey, so you're probably within range of an REI store. Their bike shops are generally excellent, with knowledgeable staff who will help you a lot.
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