starter bike and advice

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
Frances

starter bike and advice

Postby Frances » 29 Nov 2004, 3:32pm

I'm interested in going on some of the CTC holidays and would appreciate any advice on how best to get started.

At the moment I cycle a basic hybrid/town bike, and feel I would need to buy a tourer. However I doubt I could afford a new bike and would like advice on what I should look for in a second hand bike.

I have seen a Dawes Celeste touring bike (approximately 10 years old). Made from Reynolds 531 tubing.
It has a 21" frame with a 17" chainstay.
12 speed with Shimano sis gears,
sold with some spares (alternative handlebars, peddle clips and
saddle). good condition.
forr £100 is this agood bike and value?

CJ

Re:starter bike and advice

Postby CJ » 29 Nov 2004, 4:54pm

Your existing bike, provided it has low gears, good brakes and is well maintained, would be fine for many of the CTC tours - almost certainly better than that old 12-speed tourer you've seen advertised.

It all depends on the tour. The most important thing is to pick one that's within your ability and suits the way of riding that you're already used to.

By all means think about getting a lighter, purpose-made tourer one day, but get a bit more touring experience first, so you'll discover exactly how you want it to differ from the one already have.

Frances

Re:starter bike and advice

Postby Frances » 30 Nov 2004, 8:36am

your advice sounds good except the bike I am currently riding doesn't really fit your description. I bought it for £40 to ride 2 miles to work and around town, however I've found myself cycling around at weekends. I'm not very up on the technicalities so am unsure what gears I've got, it only has a single chain ring at the front.

It is also lacking any racks, proper mud guards and other accessories I would appreciate, so i was thinking it would be more economical to buy a second hand tourer with all these things than getting mine done up. Would you agree?

CJ

Re:starter bike and advice

Postby CJ » 1 Dec 2004, 3:26pm

Aah, right then. You certainly would benefit from something better. Trouble is: whilst cycling novices have the greatest desire to buy secondhand (to minimise outlay on a thing they don't know if they'll like yet) by definition they lack the cycling knowledge to make a good buy and there's no way I can impart all that in a brief reply.

For example: that Dawes Celeste is a darned sight more than 10 years old (I have catalogues back to 1991 and it isn't in them) and is not a name I recall. So if it was some kind of touring bike it can't have been a good one. I guess it was a semi-racing bike with dropped handlebars and mudguards but lacking the all-important low gears and powerful brakes I mentioned before.

Beware that novices, especially women, usually do not get on with dropped handlebars. Although most experienced tourists prefer them, they are not a defining feature of a touring bicycle. But they are in marketing terms. So what you probably want will have flat bars and go under the label of a hybrid or street or trekking bike (see the CTC website for explanations of these terms). But you want a better such bike than the low-grade version you have. Look for three front chainwheels, cantilever or V-brakes, cro-moly steel or Reynolds or aluminium frame and since it probably won't have them fitted already: all the bosses on the frame to which you can simply bolt mudguards and a rear carrier.

Remember what I said above though. It might be a better idea to join first and meet up with your local CTC group before you buy.

How the heart of any ride leader sinks when he hears the words: "I thought I'd better get a new bike before I came out". Mmm very nice, one mumbles – it is after all this person's pride and joy and there's nothing better calculated to offend a newcomer than to criticise his bike. He'll do that well enough for himself a few miles or a few rides later on. Only then will he realise it might have been a better idea to give it a go on the old bike, discover exactly what equipment the other riders are using and enlist their hands-on help in buying one like that.

Frances

Re:starter bike and advice

Postby Frances » 2 Dec 2004, 1:47pm

Thanks this is all the sort of stuff I needed info on.

I was aware I would make a mistake if I bought something prior to going on a holiday. However I am worried that if I went along on a local CTC ride I would be a burden .. due to my inexperience and struggle with my bike. It has 1 front chainset and 6 at the back.

Do trad touring handlebars reduce the wind resistance greatly? I am extremely aware of it using my flat handle bars.

avalanche

Re:starter bike and advice

Postby avalanche » 5 Dec 2004, 4:29pm

Hi Frances

> However I am worried that if I went
> along on a local CTC ride I would be a
> burden

I've been on a few shorter CTC rides and most of them had children on them. One had a trailer on the back with a child in it. These folk were quite slow. So there is usually someone who is also not a speedy cyclist. I'd not worry if I were you. Generally the CTC are just happy that people turn up wanting to cycle - and don't mind hanging back for the slower people. Clearly don't sign up for a hundred mile day trip cos that wouldn't be sensible (or fair to the CTC ride leaders). But the shorter 20 - 30 miles rides should be fine.

> Do trad touring handlebars reduce the
>wind resistance greatly? I am extremely
> aware of it using my flat handle bars.

This may be due to relative lack of fitness Frances. As you get stronger you'll not be so bothered by *light* wind. However no matter what type of handlebars you have, or how fit you are - going up a hill into a strong headwind will be hard work!

Both my bicycles have straight handlebars. Until you are a more confident cyclist I'd stick with the straight ones if I were you.

a

Tony

Re:starter bike and advice

Postby Tony » 7 Dec 2004, 8:46am

One of the main advantages of drop style bars is the multiple positions available for your hands, to reduce strain and alleviate pressure. One way of doing that with flat bars is to fit bar-end extensions, like forward pointing horns. They give you a choice of positions and let you get a little lower in a headwind. Having said that, there's plenty of info on setting up your saddle height etc to get your bike to suit you properly, which is surprisingly effective at reducing the workload. I agree with most postings here. Enjoy the bike you've got, see how it goes on a couple of family or similar runs, perhaps get along to York for the rally. Only one real reason for being on a bike---you enjoy it!

Frances

Re:starter bike and advice

Postby Frances » 7 Dec 2004, 12:40pm

When is the York rally? and where can I find info on it.. I thought I'd seen something on it but cann't find it anymore.

CJ

Re:starter bike and advice

Postby CJ » 7 Dec 2004, 4:05pm

Here's a link to the York Rally.

Frances

Re:starter bike and advice

Postby Frances » 9 Dec 2004, 9:45am

Thanks for all your advice.. unfortunatley the nearest ctc clubs are quite a long way from where I live .. ie Bath and Bristol .. so it may be quite difficult to get there.. are there other clubs that could be located nearer to me (bridgwater) .. but not on the website.