I’m rather new to the area, and my wife hasn’t ridden a bike in many years. I wanted to get an entry level bike for her, that she could use for getting her confidence up riding on trails around the parks / city, and then later on take her biking off road with me.
Can anyone recommend exactly what sort of bike I should be looking for?
If anyone could recommend a good shop in Pittsburgh to go look for bikes for her, your assistance would be greatly appreciated there too!
Each brand/style of bike will fit and be sized slightly differently. You might want to take her to someplace like Golden Triangle Bike Rental just off of First Avenue near downtown (on the Eliza Furnace Trail) and have her try a couple before you commit to a purchase.
We have lots of great bike shops in Pittsburgh. When you go in, you should expect them to talk to your wife about what kind of ridign she expects to do, getting her on the right size bike, and doing a bit of finetuning to get the bike comfortable for her. That means more than just pulling a rack off a display and saying, “this is about your size, what do you think of this one….”
As for WHERE to buy the bike, well, I think you’ll find that people have really great things to say about many of the bike shops in town. If you walk into one and you don’t feel comfortable with the sales staff, find another shop. The staff is there to help you. Selling you the wrong bike is not good for either of you, in the long run.
I second swalfoort’s comments about trying out triangle rental bikes first, especially if she hasnt ridden for a long time. They have a few different styles of bikes to try; plus a few hours of riding the trails will allow her to get her sea legs under her so to speak. It should help her feel more confident when she goes to test ride bikes at the shops too.
as can be expected, you’ve already gotten plenty of great advice from folks here. i would add two things, i think.
one is to shop around. i haven’t experienced a hard sell from shops around pittsburgh so the experience should be (and is supposed to be) pleasant. places i return to include: thick bikes, iron city bikes, biketek, dirty harry’s, trek of pittsburgh, and others; i’m just scraping the top of it. i suspect you’ll have a good experience just about anywhere. go in, tell them the kind of riding you expect to be done, tell them you don’t want to spend a ton of money because you don’t know how well the bike will be used, and go for a few rides. everyone will treat you well, because if they don’t, there are a dozen other places you can go. this isn’t like car shopping.
the other bit of advice is to get a bike pittsburgh membership. and this isn’t just a shameless plug (though it is a plug, and i don’t feel any shame)! just have a look at the membership discounts, and notice that it’s worth it. i mean, if you find a bike at biketek that you like, you can pay for your membership and then some.
and thirdly (i know, i said two, whatever): come back and ask questions when you have them, or search the message board to see what others have asked. it’s a great resource, and people are all only too happy to help.