Cycling Advice

johnnytapia

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Joined
29 Feb 2012
Messages
5,677
I am thinking of getting on a bike again for the first time in over 24 years (I fell off the last time and haven't wanted to since).
I have realised that running is not great for my knees and I want to keep fit some other way.

I am based in London and can book a free one-to-one and further group sessions with Cycle Confident.

However, I have no idea where to start with buying a bike, just something easy and basic and not too pricey. Storage is a slight issue because although have a garage space is tight. I would be cycling off road in parks and not on mountains .
Perfect for the park:
 

StrangewaysHereWeCome

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29 Jan 2008
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11,457
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Sunny Salford
Factor in the cost of lights (I have a set that set me back £30 but they don't take batteries, charge them with a mini usb cable)
Get a good pump with a psi gauge and repair kit. Definitely buy a helmet, as the above poster said, it isnt worth smashing your head off concrete at any speed. Wear a Hi viz, pretty cheap or you might be able to scav one from work.
Looking at about a oner for the accessories and you will need them and you don't want shite that breaks and needs replacing. Same with a bike, you might see an affordable 150-250 Bike but chances are it'll be a heavy steel frame and you won't enjoy using it.
I bought a hybrid bike for £450. A good mae and its light and quick. Would have spent that in 6 months commuting to work via public transport.
My employer participates in the cycle to work scheme so in effect I got my bike on tick and I recommend it heartily. Dont forgwt that thw majority of car drivers are good towards cyclists but that small minority of knobheads that don't give a toss about you and think you shouldn't be on the road are lethal. Grow eyes and ears on the back of your head .
Have fun bud.
 

Fred_Quimby

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28 Feb 2017
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5,125
Location
Boston
There are a couple of things to consider, cost being the main one.

Less than £300, you get what you pay for, so if you're looking to cycle quite often, it's worth buying one for a minimum £350 and you'll get years out of it, instead of having to buy another one 18 months later.

Then you've got type of bike;

Mountain Bike: Benefits are the built in suspension, so good for riders who want a comfy ride, but not exactly meant to ride at high speeds and harder to pedal, even off road, but better at absorbing the bumps than anything else. Good for fitness if that's what you're looking for. Costs are cheaper than the others, you could probably get a decent one for around £150.

Hybrids/Comfort: A mix between the road bike and the Mountain Bike. Slimmer tyres, casual riding position, no suspension springs (some do, but pricey, pricey!) but tend to come supplied with a seat that has them to make the ride a little softer. Easier to ride in parks than a mountain bike, but a bumpier ride. Decent enough as a commuter, meant for road riding/cruising, and not as costly as a road bike,will probably set you back around £3-400.

Road bike: Much slimmer tyres, built for speed not comfort. Useless off road, typically they are racer type bikes, and the riding position is something that's not suited for everyone. (I really don't like them) Good ones are about £500 and i'd steer clear of second hand, personally. But if you're looking to be a cycling enthusiast to do competitive road cycling there's not much better for you.

So it's fitness, comfort or speed. Which are you looking to achieve? How often do you plan to ride it? Will you be doing your own maintenance or getting it serviced every 6 months (usually around £75) If you are, don't use wd-40 on the chain, get proper cycle oil. Some bikes have brake blocks, others have discs, and are naturally slighlty costlier, but then you'll pay more eventually in replacement blocks over time. Oh and the only real legal requirement is to get lights, front and rear. And of course, get a sodding helmet. Ther's no official "law", but it's not worth the risk, trust me on this.

But I do recommend doing it, you will feel healthier, fitter and your body more toned. You might want to invest in a face mask to filter the air if you plan on eventually riding on roads often; i've washed mine and the amount of fine, black silt-like stuff that came out of it horrified me. Evans Cycles are in the shit, so you might get some good deals shopping there. That's all I've got for you. :)

Edit: Oh and you've got electric bikes... minimum of a grand. Fun though.

As a very keen cyclist I couldn't have put it better. Get your employer to participate in the bike to work scheme and you get it tax free and get to pay it off monthly at no extra cost.
 

Mëtal Bikër

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Joined
3 Jul 2009
Messages
15,673
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Engländ
As a very keen cyclist I couldn't have put it better. Get your employer to participate in the bike to work scheme and you get it tax free and get to pay it off monthly at no extra cost.
I've heard there are some cycle to work schemes you have to be wary of. The one my work does is that even though you pay the bike off, the company still "owns" it until you pay them for it. Or it may just be my employer being dicks.
 

idahoblues

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Joined
27 Mar 2009
Messages
12,833
There are a couple of things to consider, cost being the main one.

Less than £300, you get what you pay for, so if you're looking to cycle quite often, it's worth buying one for a minimum £350 and you'll get years out of it, instead of having to buy another one 18 months later.

Then you've got type of bike;

Mountain Bike: Benefits are the built in suspension, so good for riders who want a comfy ride, but not exactly meant to ride at high speeds and harder to pedal, even off road, but better at absorbing the bumps than anything else. Good for fitness if that's what you're looking for. Costs are cheaper than the others, you could probably get a decent one for around £150.

Hybrids/Comfort: A mix between the road bike and the Mountain Bike. Slimmer tyres, casual riding position, no suspension springs (some do, but pricey, pricey!) but tend to come supplied with a seat that has them to make the ride a little softer. Easier to ride in parks than a mountain bike, but a bumpier ride. Decent enough as a commuter, meant for road riding/cruising, and not as costly as a road bike,will probably set you back around £3-400.

Road bike: Much slimmer tyres, built for speed not comfort. Useless off road, typically they are racer type bikes, and the riding position is something that's not suited for everyone. (I really don't like them) Good ones are about £500 and i'd steer clear of second hand, personally. But if you're looking to be a cycling enthusiast to do competitive road cycling there's not much better for you.

So it's fitness, comfort or speed. Which are you looking to achieve? How often do you plan to ride it? Will you be doing your own maintenance or getting it serviced every 6 months (usually around £75) If you are, don't use wd-40 on the chain, get proper cycle oil. Some bikes have brake blocks, others have discs, and are naturally slighlty costlier, but then you'll pay more eventually in replacement blocks over time. Oh and the only real legal requirement is to get lights, front and rear. And of course, get a sodding helmet. Ther's no official "law", but it's not worth the risk, trust me on this.

But I do recommend doing it, you will feel healthier, fitter and your body more toned. You might want to invest in a face mask to filter the air if you plan on eventually riding on roads often; i've washed mine and the amount of fine, black silt-like stuff that came out of it horrified me. Evans Cycles are in the shit, so you might get some good deals shopping there. That's all I've got for you. :)

Edit: Oh and you've got electric bikes... minimum of a grand. Fun though.
maybe they're just taking the piss over here with bike prices but your numbers seem very low. I know lots of people who've spent over $5k on their mountain bikes
 
Last edited:

Mëtal Bikër

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maybe they're just taking the piss over here with bike prices but your numbers seem very low. I know lots of people who've spent over $10k on their mountain bikes
It's more the excessive costs, carbon fibre frames, space age suspension that absorbs the bumps better, etc. They're made to a much, much higher quality, but i'd never pay more that £500 for any bike, personally, unless it was electric, which defeats the purpose for fitness and I see more as assisting those with injured or weak knees/legs.

Standard mountain bikes range from about £120 to £250 ($156-650). There are high end mountain bikes, ranging about £5,000, of course, but I find them outrageously priced (a bit like those who buy a £25,000 watch over one worth £250). Commuter bikes are roughly between £200 to £500 ($260-650). Mine cost £300 ($390) and have had it for 8 years. Practically saved my life when I was hit by a car and the frame absorbed the impact. Use it every week.

Road bikes are where it gets just as ridiculous. £600, £1200, £4400 ($5700) £12,000!!
 

idahoblues

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Joined
27 Mar 2009
Messages
12,833
It's more the excessive costs, carbon fibre frames, space age suspension that absorbs the bumps better, etc. They're made to a much, much higher quality, but i'd never pay more that £500 for any bike, personally, unless it was electric, which defeats the purpose for fitness and I see more as assisting those with injured or weak knees/legs.

Standard mountain bikes range from about £120 to £250 ($156-650). There are high end mountain bikes, ranging about £5,000, of course, but I find them outrageously priced (a bit like those who buy a £25,000 watch over one worth £250). Commuter bikes are roughly between £200 to £500 ($260-650). Mine cost £300 ($390) and have had it for 8 years. Practically saved my life when I was hit by a car and the frame absorbed the impact. Use it every week.

Road bikes are where it gets just as ridiculous. £600, £1200, £4400 ($5700) £12,000!!
I agree with you about price, after I thought about it I only know one person who spent almost $15k on his bike. I've never stopped riding a bike since I was first able as a kid but would never pay that kind of money. I don't do any serious mtn biking any more and never race so for $350- $400 I can get all the enjoyment I need. I'd rather have a selection of bikes than one really crazy one. This year buying the wife and I folding bikes for any city trips we do, a lot of the cities have full blown city wide bike paths, great way to get around town
 

Mëtal Bikër

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3 Jul 2009
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I agree with you about price, after I thought about it I only know one person who spent almost $15k on his bike. I've never stopped riding a bike since I was first able as a kid but would never pay that kind of money. I don't do any serious mtn biking any more and never race so for $350- $400 I can get all the enjoyment I need. I'd rather have a selection of bikes than one really crazy one. This year buying the wife and I folding bikes for any city trips we do, a lot of the cities have full blown city wide bike paths, great way to get around town
One thing Manchester, and the UK really, lacks is a decent cycling infrastructure. The council just tacks on pathways on currently existing roads and it's just not meant for it. We've got a cycleway called the Fallowfield Loop, which was great, even takes you right to the Etihad and by the canals... now it's a target for thieves. The council were meant to be closing off one of the road routs into the city centre and making it bus/cycle only. Not seen anything become of that idea.

Mate of mine has a folding bike, treats it like a bmx though. Useful little things, especially if part of your journey involves public transport. Takes up about as much room as a large travel case. They're about £300 here as well.
 

idahoblues

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Joined
27 Mar 2009
Messages
12,833
One thing Manchester, and the UK really, lacks is a decent cycling infrastructure. The council just tacks on pathways on currently existing roads and it's just not meant for it. We've got a cycleway called the Fallowfield Loop, which was great, even takes you right to the Etihad and by the canals... now it's a target for thieves. The council were meant to be closing off one of the road routs into the city centre and making it bus/cycle only. Not seen anything become of that idea.

Mate of mine has a folding bike, treats it like a bmx though. Useful little things, especially if part of your journey involves public transport. Takes up about as much room as a large travel case. They're about £300 here as well.
it would be tough finding the room in most old English cities and towns, hard enough for cars. Shame though, a bit of fore thought could alleviate traffic problems in the future, keep people exercising too. A lot of towns here also doing super cheap or even free bike rentals/borrow
 

Mëtal Bikër

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Joined
3 Jul 2009
Messages
15,673
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Engländ
it would be tough finding the room in most old English cities and towns, hard enough for cars. Shame though, a bit of fore thought could alleviate traffic problems in the future, keep people exercising too. A lot of towns here also doing super cheap or even free bike rentals/borrow
We could borrow ideas from the Danes and the Dutch as their towns layouts are similar to our own. Would costs lots of money though and the council is skint. With the world turning to electric cars, it should be time to rethink other aspects of how people get from place to place and start being inclusive of other modes of transport.
 

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