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I rode a bike!

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So, yesterday, I borrowed a bike from my GF's family, and went for a (fairly short - 2 mile) bike ride.  I have not ridden a bike since 1995 when I got my drivers license.  They're right about remembering how to balance is like "riding a bike" and you don't forget...but what that saying forgets is that, if you only rode a fixed gear kids bike with coaster breaks -- 25 years later when you ride a bike again, you have no idea what you're doing. LOL

I was bit shaky/wobbly and found stearing to be a bit more difficult than I remembered.  Luckily we mostly just went straight... and I kinda figured out the shifting part, but for some reason I keep thinking backwards about upshifting and downshift. I drove a stick for years and get how gears work...but in the moment on the bike, I was confused the whole time.  Also, the seat was killer on my butt.  I'm still sore today whenever I sit down.

But, now, I've decided I need to get a bike.  I want to be able to ride around my neighborhood with my girls PLUS, my girlfriend has a nice bike (that she hadn't ridden in 5 years) and we had fun yesterday and would like to do that again.

So, recommend me a bike.  I REALLY don't need anything high end as I don't think I'll be using it all the time and if, somehow, I get really into it, I could buy a better one some day in the future.  It seems that most entry level bikes are in the $250-$450 range though, which seems a little steep for my budget (since I also need to buy a helmet, probably a better cushioned wide seat, and maybe a bike rack for my car) but I think I could swing it if I budget/save for a few weeks.

I tried to do some research online but am really confused about the pros/cons of 26" vs 29" or 700c... and while I totally don't mind the shifting thing, it seems like I probably don't need like 21 gears... I don't like the "road" style with the curvy handle bars, and I like the look of a mountain bike more that others...but honestly, I'll mostly be riding on surface streets...albeit pothole laden-bumpy streets.  So... thoughts?

Here's a few at walmart that I saw:



of the 3, the last one is probably what I'm looking for - what with the built in light and storage rack on the back.


26" 29ers and 700c are just wheel sizes. In general the 26 and 29 wheels are designated for mountain bikes and sometimes hybrids. 700c for road, commuters, and hybrids. They don't really matter for sizing bikes for adults unless you're really tall but the frame size will have a greater impact. These bikes seem pretty generic in sizing so I don't think you have to worry about that.

It looks like the key differences (besides the little extras) among the bikes are tires, suspension, and weight(?).

The mountain bikes are gonna have fatter wheels. They are more cushion for bumpy terrain but are going to he heavier. They both also have front wheel suspension. This also adds weight and flex to the ride.

I'm not sure what tires the commuter bike has but it seems like they might be 700x38. This will be a narrower ride than the knobby mountain bike tires but still pretty wide. Would be fine on gravel. I would have expected this to be a lighter bike but  I read real quickly that it is about 40lbs fully assembled which in hindsight makes sense with the fenders and back rack.

In comparison, the 26" is supposed to be 31 lbs. I would guess the 29 would be over 40 lbs based off that.

Last thing I want to note is that all 3 of these have disc brakes. They stop very well. But I've never worked with them and would be uncomfortable doing any adjustments or maintenance myself.

I went through this a few years ago and posted on here.  If you search you'll find details.  I think my bike is a commuter.  Pro-tip, always make sure your pedals are screwed in.  I went on a few mile ride probably 6 months after getting mine and the one pedal straight up fell off and I hurt myself when my foot went further down than I expected.  And I didn't have the tools to fix it and had to call my wife to come get me.

One piece of advise I can give you about disk brakes... good caliper (pads on rims) brakes are much better than cheap mechanical disk brakes (cable disk brakes). The "good" disk brakes are hydraulic and are very expensive.

I bought a "cheap" (on sale $850, regular $1150) cyclocross bike with mechanical disk brakes, they suck and are impossible to get adjusted right.

Thanks for the input guys.
It's sound like disc breaks are not-great idea, especially on a lower end bike.  Great feedback.  I'll continue in my search (besides, 2 of the 3 bikes I posted links for are now sold out...go figure)


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