(Hopefully) New Biker

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Erin
Participant
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@fungicyclist–Thanks for the heads up. I was wondering where I should start distance-wise. I definitely remember the soreness…yowch.


Pseudacris
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I think how the geometry of the bike fits your body is more important than what gender the frame is marketed to. They do try to make the women’s bikes a different geometry, but we are not all proportioned the same. I am yer basic female commuter, not a long distance person (yet). I’ve had to try a few different seats to find the right one (hint: find one that matches your sit bones and worry less about seat padding). I’m also still working on finding the right handlebar posture. Upright is better for me so far: I have to be cautious of hand numbness, but everyone’s different. On some other threads here there’s mention of a sports clinic at UPMC where you can have a really specialized bike fitting, which I’m thinking about doing soon due to some mild but growing upper middle back pain.


Swalfoort
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Not the most direct route, but a good beginner skills development route (f you have access to a car), would be to drive your bike to the Millvale Riverfront Park (where you’d park for free), pick up the trail into town there, then connect through downtown by taking the pedestrian bridge near the Stadium to Point State Park, First Avenue to PNC Firstside. Then pick up the Eliza Furnace Trail, then Junction Hollow up to the area behind Hillman. Only one hill, the only traffic on First Avenue (moderate pretty much all the time) and the stretch from the Eliza Furnace Trail into Oakland. You could shorten it by cutting directly through downtown (Grant Street) as you become more comfortable riding in traffic.


edmonds59
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If you found someone who was able to spend some time with you fitting, that’s huge.

The Trek looks like a good bike for your purposes, and it has mounting points for racks and fenders so you can set it up right.

Womens frame versus mens doesn’t matter much, just depends on your personal proportions.

You should keep some clearance at the top tube, for riding around the city, you want to be able to put a foot down frequently without dinging yourself.

I’m going to be a bit snarky here, but if you go into a bike shop and they ask you what size frame you need, red flag.

Also want to re-iterate someone elses excellent point, when you start out drive and park in, say, Bloomfield or something and ride in from there for a few weeks, then a little farther out, and so on. If you try and do the whole distance at once, you are likely to become disheartened.

And these are not crazy questions, so don’t worry. Someone will surely let you know when they think the questions get crazy.


bikefind
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Hi Erin,

As a woman of approx your height (I think), I want to tell you that yes, that makes sense.

We generally have longer legs and shorter torsos than men of the same height, so if you get on a men’s bike (made for a man of your height), you have further forward to reach to get to the handlebars.

Last time I was bike shopping (initially for a road bike) I ended up buying a cross bike instead and just putting road tires on it, for this same reason – the road bikes had top tubes (from the seat to the handlebars) that were too long for me once I had the right height. (I could have bought a women’s bike, but everything I was finding at the time was either pink or had flowers painted on it. Not quite my style.)

What pseudacris said about geometry of the bike.

If I do need to figure out if a bike is a possibility for me, I measure the top tube and compare it to the length of a similar bike that I know fits me.* You can easily adjust the seat height (within a range anyway) but that horizontal distance is more fixed. (Not entirely, since you know you can change the stem, but it’s nice not to have to.)

*Not a guarantee, but a decent starting place.

I should add that I don’t walk around with a tape measurer in good bike shops. They seem to have people who can look at you and gauge pretty well what kind of size you should be looking at. I’m thinking more about used bikes, or a frame hanging at FreeRide (in that case I’d do more measurements. incl seat tube.) or if you’re talking to someone online about coming to look at a bike they’re selling, but they don’t know much about sizes. You can ask them to do measurements.

One other thought. I’m not sure if the women’s 19 fit you or not, but I think if you’re trying a particular model and one size is too small and the next is too big and the other gender is just off in some other way, that’s a good reason to try a different make/model. There are enough differences, just between brands, that it’s worth trying different bikes, keeping that perfect fit as your first priority.


HiddenVariable
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Anyone have an opinion on the Trek 7.2 FX?

i took my sister shopping for a bike over the summer and this is what she settled on. she loves it so far. when i suggested a “fitness hybrid”, this is about the bike i had in mind. i can’t compare it easily to other brands, and i’m sure there are plenty of things similar, but it’s a nice bike, and would suit your needs well, i think.


StuInMcCandless
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Swalfoort (who btw is also female, you’re getting a lot of good feminine input on this thread) had a good suggestion, using a car to get across the “mount” of Mount Royal.

There are varying schools of thought about riding along the train tracks from 62SB to 40SB. Kindasorta illegal but routinely done. Most of the time they will neither notice nor care, and IMHO it’s a helluvalot safer than dealing with street traffic.

My usual path to Oakland is to pedal into Millvale along Babcock, cross the 40th Street Bridge, straight up 40th, L onto Liberty, R onto Bloomfield Bridge, L onto Bigelow, and then one or the other fork at the Bigelow/Craig split, depending on which end of Oakland I’m headed for.

Getting *to* 40SB is a moving target right now because of all the construction. The last time I went through there, just after New Year’s, there was a really nice bike lane to take you up towards the bridge, but it disappears 100 yards short of the bridge itself. One lane is going 40, the other 60, and they don’t give a [bleep] about cyclists. *Almost* good enough, but not good enough for me.

Some other suggestions:

* The front fender should have a good mudflap.

* Blinky on helmet, blinky on your back collar, blinky on your seat post. YOU WANT TO BE YELLING AT THE TRAFFIC BEHIND YOU: “HEY YOU, YEAH YOU! I’M IN FRONT OF YOU AND GOING ONLY 12 MPH SO SLOW THE HELL DOWN!” That is to say, the lights are doing the yelling for you. Your job is to smile and wave.

* Add reflective tape to the blinky collection.

* The dimmest blinky should be blinking, the brightest on steady.

+1 on using bus bike racks. That’s Port Authority #5502 in my pic, right there. I could talk your ear off about buses, as several people on this board can attest.


cburch
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fyi, they aren’t plowing, salting or otherwise maintaining the rr access road right now. and they are barely driving on it. don’t plan on riding it without knobby tires until spring. the snow is pretty deep on it.


Tabby
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The Giant Dash is similar to the Trek 7.2 you mentioned as is the Specialized Vita (womens) and Sirus (mens, but only difference is paint color and saddle, I *think*).


cburch
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StuInMcCandless
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You will still have the 93 bus weekdays, which will get you from 40SB into Oakland. Fewer of them, but does get you up the hill on 40th & most of the rest of the way. Catch on Butler by 41st St. Only the Saturday 93 is getting cut.


Erica
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just wanted to say that this:

I think how the geometry of the bike fits your body is more important than what gender the frame is marketed to.

is the truest statement ever. My mom got me a department store bike for christmas in 09, and it was too small. as much as I raised the seat and handlebars, it was still the least comfortable and most painful (when I was done riding, my back ached) thing in the world.

Definitely make sure the bike you buy is comfortable for you to be spending extended periods of time on. The wrong bike can ruin bicycling.


fungicyclist
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For your consideration, a pair of articles on bike sizing you might want to peruse:

1. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html

B. http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_fit/choosing_a_frame_size

2. http://surlybikes.com/blog/spew/spew_bike_fit/

If pressed to suggest just one, I’d read “B”, as it’s the only one that’s “R” rated, and I’m unabashedly old school.

Seriously, give freeride “freeridepgh.org” some consideration in your bike acquisition.


Ahlir
Participant
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On the topic of of sizing and fitting, can anyone recommend an LBS that has someone on staff with genuine fitting expertise? This also means someone who will not blow you off once they decide that you’re not a “roadie” and therefore not really worth their time? Or worse, try to hard-sell you some expensive but inappropriate bike.

Do mention names of individuals who you feel might be helpful.


Erin
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I’m thinking about checking this one out:

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/2182136995.html

What should I keep in mind concerning fit?


ieverhart
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Anyone have an opinion on the Trek 7.2 FX?

I have a Trek 7.3 FX (very similar) and I LOVE it. I ride it to school every day, do errands, and did the CANDOGAP trail from D.C. in August on it. It is a big frame (25″) which is perfect for me (6’4″) and a huge improvement for me from my previous bike, where I had my seat post extended all the way out. I can’t advise you on too many specifics, but a good fit is important.

Your Craigslist bike there appears not, at first glance, to be fenders-capable–to the extent that’s an issue.


Tabby
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@Ahlir- Glen at Big Bang will put you on the trainer and make sure everything is adjusted just so. He didn’t blow me off at all, even after I came 4 separate times to test and retest the same bikes.


Greasefoot
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The craigslist bike looks like it can accept fenders and racks. The one thing I noticed is that the person selling it states it’s a 2006 model and provides a link to bikapeda. When you look at the link the bike does not match the 2006 color options . It looks more like it’s a 2005…according to bikapedia.

I think West Liberty Cycles used to have a guy who could do professional set up and they charged a set up fee. It’s kind of like getting fitted for a suit. They measure the length of your arms and legs and then put you on a trainer to set up and test the fit. Someone mentioned UPMC. They used to have a cycling clinic once a year that came with an evaluation and professional set up.


edmonds59
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It wouldn’t hurt to check out the CL bike. Since it has road bars and not flat like the Trek you looked at, that’s the big difference, and you would need to decide if you can live with that. That’s trickier to change than you might think, but possible.

It says it’s a large, so just go by your experience at the Trek store, and make sure it’s not too big.

If you don’t like it or it doesn’t feel right don’t hesitate to walk away, $350 is not a screaming deal, and they say it’s “firm”. CL is funny.


Greasefoot
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This CL add is from a bike flipper…after it sits for a week or so with no interest you will see the price come down.


Tabby
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while you may end up going with a bike from Free Ride or CL, I would ride some more bikes at the shops first to make sure you know what feels comfortable to you regarding fit and handlebars and all that.


Greasefoot
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+1 tabby


Marko82
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+2 tabby, there are bikes similar to this in price, etc. on CL all the time. It’s better to find out what you ‘want’ rather than ‘what’s for sale’.

(edit) used bikes are great if it’s the size and style that you want. I actually prefer used, just don’t buy a bike ’cause it was on sale, or available through CL or whatever.

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