New to Cycling - Seeking advice

New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby Macca3 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:34 pm

Hi All,

I'm new to cycling and am looking for a little advice (actually probably a lot :) ). I am looking to ride to work from Gungahlin to Belconnen. I had been going to the gym reguarly but has become very hard after having twins. After putting on 5kgs, it's time for action again. So I am looking for something new and thought I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone and lose the weight, get fit again and save parking/petrol money. I am not keen at all to ride on the road but am happy to cruise along the bike paths.

Can anyone give me advice on maybe the sort of bike, gear and any other info would be great. To be brutally honest I have no idea! My only experience was with my 'house paint' painted BMX 20 odd years ago hehehe. So I am starting from scratch!

Thanks in advance,
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by BNA » Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:21 pm

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Re: New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby x8pg2qr » Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:21 pm

Well, you need a bike to start. It’s getting warmer and brighter, so at least you won’t have to spend too much on clothes/lights for now.

Bike is not that hard to find. Bicycle shop. If drops, then road bike. If no drops, then flat road bike, or mountain bike, or hybrid bike. Probably something inexpensive to ride around, and then the route when you are off work. Get familiar with your route before starting to commute.

Helmet & mobile phone & cash.

Otherwise, use your current t-shirts, shorts, shoes, and socks and keep extending your distance. If you have some one who can pick you up by car if you get stuck, it helps. As you gain confidence getting to and from work, and see this as a do-able thing, then add to your arsenal of gear: bottle cage, mirror, clothes, gloves, eyewear, lights, rack, panniers, clothes, pedals, second bike, clothes, gourmet saddle, clothes etc.

There’r also folding bicycles if you want some versatility in getting around, although they also come with drawbacks.

For now, look for a bike shop, Google around prices of things, and plan a possible route on Google Maps/Bikely.com.

Here’s a Google map link for those unfamiliar with the area.
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Re: New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby Macca3 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:15 pm

x8pg2qr,

Thanks heaps for your advice, it's a great start for me. Actually I was wondering a little while ago, can I buy a Mountain bike (with suspension) and put road slicks on it? That will allow me to put knobby tyres back on it if I get the bug to head bush at all. Is that something people do?

What do you mean by 'drops'? Are you talking about hills?

Once again thanks for your great and speedy advice. Cycling is something I'm really looking forward to getting into.
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Re: New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:28 pm

G'Day Macca, welcome outside.

I like the way you're thinking, weightloss and transport in one smokefree package :)

I ran an MTB with slick tyres for years , still use it for wet commutes. Probably your best return to the saddle IMHO.

"Drops" refers to the curly handlebars of a road bike, they will give more hand positions and better aerodynamics than a flatbar bike but tend to skittishness under an inexperienced rider.

Apart from a decent commute kit, I'd really recommend a few weekend test runs to find your best route and give you an idea of the time you'll need.

Shaun
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby x8pg2qr » Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:49 pm

Macca3 wrote: Actually I was wondering a little while ago, can I buy a Mountain bike (with suspension) and put road slicks on it? That will allow me to put knobby tyres back on it if I get the bug to head bush at all. Is that something people do?


Sure you can. Mountain bike with slicks is what I do. But that is because I own an old mountain bike, and it’s my beater bike (i.e. if it gets stolen, I'll be sad, but I wouldn’t cry). I never swap to the knobblies.

But be honest here: being new to this, are you likely to do it (swap between slicks and knobblies)? Do you know how to change the tyres (the rubber bits, not the whole wheel)? If you fixate on something that you are unlikely to do, then you do limit your options. You have boots on the ground, so you would know best about your needs, desires and budget, of course. Regardless of which bike you get, it’s not a disaster to get the wrong one. Or to have more than one bike. Especially if you are commuting.

Some links to mull over:
http://bicyclecommute.googlepages.com/
http://commutebybike.com/

I see many routes involving where you live, so that helps:
http://www.bikely.com/?srchkey=gungahlin&run=listpaths
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Re: New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby wombatK » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:02 pm

x8pg2qr wrote:For now, look for a bike shop, Google around prices of things, and plan a possible route on Google Maps/Bikely.com.

Here’s a Google map link for those unfamiliar with the area.

Well it looks like you've got some pretty good shared footpath/cycleways all the way along your route, so planning a route looks pretty taken care of !

Twins were my excuse for not exercising enough for nearly 20 years, so I appreciate the challenges to your time. The bike commute is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

+1 on the recommendation of MTB with slicks - make's your work 20% to 30% lighter, particularly if you go to the trouble of getting ones good for 90 psi or more (a good LBS should be able to supply).

You might want to think a bit ahead to when your twins are a little older - having options to tow a trailer could be worth thinking about, and a MTB would be better than a road bike for that. Also, panniers and mudguards are a little easier to find and mount on a MTB frame. Suspension isn't much value you on the kind of cycleways we can see in the google map. But if you want to get something that take to the hills with, it's worth getting the slightly dearer suspension with lock-out to make life easier when cruising on smoother roads.

Of course, if you can stick with the commuting, the savings will probably easily pay for both an MTB and a roadie, and other bits of kit like a nice kiddie trailer.

Good luck with your commuting, and good luck with your twins.
WombatK

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Re: New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby Macca3 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:49 am

Hi x8pg2qr,

You have a point with the changing of tyres. If I was going to change I would have a second set of rims and I would change rims with knobbies already fitted.Thanks heaps for the links too, they are very very useful. I appreciate all your help.

Hi wombatK

wombatK wrote:You might want to think a bit ahead to when your twins are a little older - having options to tow a trailer could be worth thinking about, and a MTB would be better than a road bike for that. Also, panniers and mudguards are a little easier to find and mount on a MTB frame.


They are some things I wouldn't have thought about, great tips thankyou. I now have some great ammo to go looking for a bike. Can't wait to get out there. Thanks..............luck is the key with twins sometimes hehehe. As you would know, twice the work but double the fun. Cheers.

Thanks so much guys for your advice.

Cheers,
Macca
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Re: New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby wombatK » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:42 pm

Macca3 wrote: Thanks..............luck is the key with twins sometimes hehehe. As you would know, twice the work but double the fun

Just about everyone will stop you in the street/shopping malls and tell you how lucky you are, so it must be right :) especially if you can get things organised well enough to have some personal time for both yourself and partner. Difficult to do in the first few months, but it does get easier and you're on the right path in having some good plans for exercise time. Good luck with the bike search.

Cheers
WombatK

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Re: New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby Macca3 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:26 pm

Hi Shaun,

Thanks heaps for you explanation of "Drops", hehehe I feel like a bit of a goose............uphill, downhill pfft.

Mulger bill wrote:"Drops" refers to the curly handlebars of a road bike, they will give more hand positions and better aerodynamics than a flatbar bike but tend to skittishness under an inexperienced rider.

Apart from a decent commute kit, I'd really recommend a few weekend test runs to find your best route and give you an idea of the time you'll need.


Yeh figure I will give the bike riding a go. It's an interest that has crept up on me and looks very fun and interesting, just now need the website where I can sign up for the Tour de France :shock: . Once I get my bike, I'll start some test runs to work. Thanks heaps for your advice it is much appreciated.

I wasn't expecting such a great and fast response to my questions, it has been fantastic.

Cheers,

Macca
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Re: New to Cycling - Seeking advice

Postby jaydee » Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:24 pm

Hi Macca3,

Pedalpower offers a program for women who are interested in beginning cycling or getting back into cycling. It is called New Horizons, and if you go to the Pedalpower page you find a link there. The people who run it are volunteers - some of them have completed the course and have continued on helping out with the program (I went through the course 18 months ago but am off the bike at the moment after a tangle with a car). A new course is due to start in Sept / Oct I think. They go through everything from clothing to basic repairs / tyre changing to buying a bike. Plus do rides all over Canberra over the 10 weeks of the course - starting with around the lake and ending up with longer rides to Gungahlin, Goolabri and Yass. If you would like more info PM me and I will give you some more details.

Happy cycling
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