I restarted cycling on a mountain bike that I’d had in the loft for about 15 years fitted slick tyres to it and took to the road.There is plenty to choose from but an £80 full suspension mountain bike is best avoided. It’s important that the seat height is not set too low, the general rule is that you should be able to place your heel on the pedal with your leg straight. Both feet flat on the ground from the seat is for kids learning to cycle.
Whatever you decide to buy, beg, steal or borrow, if your just starting make sure its a “triple” which is three chainrings at the front. Your going to need every gear you can get once you start tackling anything remotely hilly. My first forays had me using gears that I would never use now but I was really out of shape.
Check the spokes or have the spokes checked for you as wheels get a lot of pounding if your carrying a lot of weight. I had a pair made up for me when I bought a road bike and after a few teething problems with loosening spokes they have not given me anymore trouble. The trend is to stronger rims with fewer and fewer spokes if in doubt ask.
I’ve had all of my upgrades and a pair of wheels built up by Colin at Wheelbase , if you’ve got a wheel problem or a repair you can’t tackle yourself Colin is your man.
The main thing is take it easy at first and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Starting off on the flat you’ll be surprised what distance you can cover, you’ll soon be building up the miles.
One thing you need to be aware of at the cheaper end of the bike spectrum is that they maynot come with quick-release wheels. This can be a bit of a problem if you want to transport the bike to a location in a car as it means carrying the relevant tools to remove the wheels. Punctures also mean you have to patch the hole rather than swapping the tube over which should only take a couple of minutes.
It is important to make sure the bike is the right size for you. Your no longer a kid so your not going to grow into it anymore but your position on the bike may alter as you put more and more miles in. When I first started on a racing bike my hands were always on the tops of the bars. Now they are always on the hoods. They are hardly ever on the drops.
26 Jun 07 Just noticed this section getting a fair number of hits and it needs a bit of freshening up. It is aimed at getting the overweight back on to a bike to restart cycling. If you start off on a Mountain Bike and wonder why you are slow, it’s the tyres. The difference between them and a 700x23c racing tyre is like night and day. The rolling resistance is significantly reduced. Comfort is also reduced and you are likely to loose the suspension. You can’t have everything. I’ve gone down the lightweight racer route as if I went mountain biking and had a fall I couldn’t have afforded the time off work. When your big you seem to hit the ground a lot more heavily. You’ll find a problem with just about any aspect of cycling when you start off but all can be overcome.
If I was going to reccomend a bike for the road (presuming you want to hit the road) it would be a Trek 1000. Comes with Shimano Sora STI,s and has mudguard clearance and eyes for a rack. This will let you go out in all weathers. More a bit later.
Called in at Wheelbase yesterday to have a bottom bracket fitted to the new toy.
There was a Claud Butler San Remo in the window which seemed like a good entry level bike. £299. Equiped with Sora levers which I find fine. These are entry level levers but don’t let that put you off. These levers have never missed a shift EVER.
You don’t have to spend megabucks to get into cycling. I really like my Trek but rides out on the Iceni arn’t that much different. Your much better spending time and money into reducing your weight than buying the lightest bike on the market. Improved performance comes with no costs, it really isn’t about the bike.
Be under no illusions it’s still a hard slog, if I can do it anyone can do it. Don’t look for excuses with the equipment or the weather.
Thanks to Chris for the link to the Gear calculator below.
26 Jul 08 Two years on things are much the same as they were, the Madone is the number 1 bike for Any ride that doesn’t require mudguards. If your starting off you don’t need to spend shedloads on a bike. I still find use for a triple even today.
You can spin out on a triple rather than grind too hard a gear. For a roadbike on a double 39X27 is as low as you can go on Shimano. Compact which is a halfway point is 34X27.
For a club rider this is all they need even for the really steep stuff. For mere mortals it has to be a triple.