20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
peetee
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby peetee » 5 Apr 2019, 10:53am

Don't be too hung up about the need for disc brakes. IME a lot of the cable operated disc brakes have poor performance in comparison to well set-up, quality brand v-brakes or cantilevers - although you are only likely to find them on an older machine these days. Hydraulic disc brakes however are almost without exception better stoppers - on a new bike - but I would steer well clear of them on a used machine unless you really know your stuff or have £100 in reserve for a new set.
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Too many bikes on pegs and too few miles in the legs.

Paddywan
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby Paddywan » 5 Apr 2019, 11:11am

Hmm, I have further looked into rigid options, but am again stuck for choice when considering mechanical/hydraulic disc breaks. It seems that rigid MTB's are rather limited in number, and hybrids even more so, although I've only been using Halfords & Decathlon for my searches. Are there any other resellers who would be recommended (at a similar price point?)?

#Edit: Noted peteey.

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TrevA
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby TrevA » 5 Apr 2019, 11:29am

Unless you are descending really steep hills , then disc brakes are a nice to have rather than a must have. I weigh nearly as much as you ( I have been 21st, now 18), and all my bikes have calliper or vee brakes. I have no trouble stopping.

slowster
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby slowster » 5 Apr 2019, 12:06pm

You need a bike that is going to be reliable and which is easy and cheap to look after/maintain and keep roadworthy. Other than that, as long as it fits you and is reasonably comfortable, everything else is just detail. Don't get hung up on detail - most of the bikes you will be looking at will probably do. It's not the case that one bike will be fantastically better than all the others and will make a decisive difference to whether you succeed. I know you want to feel you've got the best tool for the job, but ultimately it's your attitude, determination and willpower that will be decisive. Not the bike.

That said, I would make the following comments:

1. The difference between a freewheel and a freehub/cassette is explained here (perhaps someone could post the photograph from that website, since I cannot with my borked laptop). If you look at the photograph on that website, you will see that the right hand axle bearing of the freewheel type hub must be where the threads for the freewheel are. In other words, there is a lot of axle beyond the bearing which is not supported by the bearing and will be stressed by the rider weight and any bumps in the road. The axle bearing for the freehub is further along and so less of the axle is unsupported (especially so if it's a Shimano brand freehub because of their patented design).

There is therefore a much higher likelihood of the axle breaking with a freewheel hub. Hard off road use with impacts and bumps will increase the risk further. The heavier the rider the more the risk will increase too. So in your shoes I would definitely avoid a freewheel hub.

2. Disc brakes are superior in wet and muddy conditions. But I doubt very much whether you will actively seek out riding in the sort of conditions where you would consider disc brakes essential: you are a beginner, and for now all that matters is getting out for a ride for a short distance and turning the pedals. You are not going to be seeking out technical terrain or going to a designated MTB trail centre. For now you will want to ride easy non-technical safe paths and bridleways, because that is what will give you the gentle cardio exercise you need, and it's more important that you build up stamina to allow you to do that for longer rides, than trying to ride the sort of terrain where discs make a huge difference. At all costs you want to avoid incurring an injury while riding, since that may stop you riding and undo the good work you've done.

3. For similar reasons I would dismiss front suspension. As others have said it's not that great on cheaper bikes, it's added weight, and it makes fitting a full front mudguard difficult/impossible. And again, more importantly, you should not be riding terrain that is so technical (or riding it so fast), that you need front suspension, because that also means you are taking a high risk of a fall and incurring an injury.

It's possible that in a year or so's time you might have lost a lot of weight, and developed your bike handling skills and appetite for riding hard off road to the point that you would need disc brakes and front suspension, but by that point you would probably need and want a more expensive bike anyway and you would have a better idea of what you wanted. More importantly, by that point an injury would be less likely to be the sort of showstopper that it would be now while you are so overweight, unfit and just beginning to ride.

For now you just need a bike which you can ride in reasonable comfort and which won't let you down. To begin with, you will probably need to aim for very short rides, maybe even as little as only 10 minutes. Your goal is going to be to gradually build up stamina to allow you to ride a bit further each week, until you can ride continuously for, say, an hour or more. Your speed won't matter: you just need to keep going slowly and steadily and keep turning the pedals.

Too much, too soon and too fast will likely see you with an injury or in pain, and will just set you back.

As for the shoes, forget specialist cycling clothing. You just need pedals on the bike that are supportive enough for your everyday footwear, i.e. an MTB flat style pedal. Whilst some ordinary clothes are not good for cycling in, to begin with you will be riding for such short distances that the clothes won't matter. Jeans are a particularly bad choice for cycling because they are heavy, absorb a lot of water in the rain, and the seams will rub your thighs, but I still wear jeans for a short ride to the shops. Similarly cotton t shirts are not great for exercising because they hold water and can chill the rider, but that won't matter for short distances. Moreover, they are OK in warm weather. So for now you could probably get away with some everyday clothes, like 3/4 length trousers or shorts (basic clothes, like what you buy in M&S, not lycra or specialist cycling clothing) and whatever shirts/tops and jacket you already have.

If you wear nomal everyday clothing, you won't need to make a special effort to get changed to go out on the bike (because that's just an added barrier that might make the difference between going out and not going out). Moreover, you won't feel so self-conscious in normal everyday clothes, especially if you stop for a break or call into a shop or cafe. The only exception I would suggest considering is a pair of padded cycling shorts, i.e. either liners like these or lycra cycling shorts which you can similarly wear underneath ordinary trousers/shorts, or the baggy style MTB shorts like these. To begin with you won't need these, but as you increase time on the saddle, you may find these shorts with their trunk style (as opposed to briefs) with padding helps.

Paddywan
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby Paddywan » 5 Apr 2019, 12:26pm

Okay. No disc breaks, no freewheel. It did take some persuasion but I trust that you all have my best interest at heart, as you have all put so much time into detailing the why's and how's.

However: This still leaves me with very limited options to choose from especially from decathlon, who do not seem to offer any rigid-frame hybrid/MTB which do not use a freewheel. However it does appear, as the previous comment suggested that the carerra subway 1 uses a cassette and not a freewheel. So far, it appears that this option is the only one which fits the bill, although it still maintains mechanical disc breaks. Where else would I be able to find a rigid frame that does not use a freewheel design? I'm really struggling to meet that specification.

About the shoes: I only want this to prevent an future issues with plantar fasciitis which may lead to a 2 week recovery period in order for my tendons to heal up to the point I may cycle again. So far I'm 5 days into recovery from this issue and still get extremely sharp/jarring pains at certain angles, and have only just began walking more normally & bearing weight today. A previous commenter in this thread recommended them specifically for this issue, and I think that suggestion may be wise for me.

thelawnet
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby thelawnet » 5 Apr 2019, 12:53pm

Paddywan wrote:Okay. No disc breaks, no freewheel. It did take some persuasion but I trust that you all have my best interest at heart, as you have all put so much time into detailing the why's and how's.

However: This still leaves me with very limited options to choose from especially from decathlon, who do not seem to offer any rigid-frame hybrid/MTB which do not use a freewheel. However it does appear, as the previous comment suggested that the carerra subway 1 uses a cassette and not a freewheel. So far, it appears that this option is the only one which fits the bill, although it still maintains mechanical disc breaks. Where else would I be able to find a rigid frame that does not use a freewheel design? I'm really struggling to meet that specification.


There are a very large number of suitable bikes. Most are sold for more than £300, however.

This is £475

https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-li ... e-EV339938

I would forget about Decathlon for your purchase.

You could buy something vaguely suitable on ebay e.g.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mans-Special ... 2876994045

Or hold out for something meeting your requirements more exactly. It will come up at a fair price, but most older bikes will lack discs, for example.

Paddywan
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby Paddywan » 5 Apr 2019, 1:20pm

£475 is significantly out of my price range considering the alternatives, and similarly I was rather hoping to avoid pre-owned if at all possible, I just don't feel comfortable in my ability to look over a bike and call it fit for purpose. All things considered, the subway 1 is looking to be my primary choice at this moment in time.

Brucey
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby Brucey » 5 Apr 2019, 1:33pm

I just looked on gumtree for Carrera subways in Bristol and several popped up, none very expensive.

https://www.gumtree.com/p/bicycles/carrera-subway-2-mountain-bike-/1334507695


This one is an older model Subway 2. Its gone far enough to have the tyres replaced, so it might be more knackered than it looks, but it has been for sale for a while so maybe a deal can be struck. You might be lucky and it can be ridden for a while as it is; however it is more likely that you will have to do some work on it to get it into good condition. One way of looking at this is that if you ride a new bike around for a year or so, similar work is usually required, so you are just getting a head start on learning how to maintain your bike.

IIRC this bike has the following features

- a suspension seat post (which can wear so that it just causes the saddle to wobble about; best replaced with a rigid one)
- an adjustable stem (OK provided the bolts -esp the wedge bolt underneath- are kept tight)
- a three-pawl freehub (quite strong)
- SRAM 2x7 gears
- Tektro cable disc brakes

On a bike at this price disc brakes offer no great advantage, but (IME) these disc brakes are no great detriment either. Provided the discs themselves are straight and unworn, new cables and new brake pads should see them working well again even if they are below par when tested.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

slowster
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby slowster » 5 Apr 2019, 1:45pm

Paddywan wrote:About the shoes: I only want this to prevent an future issues with plantar fasciitis which may lead to a 2 week recovery period in order for my tendons to heal up to the point I may cycle again. So far I'm 5 days into recovery from this issue and still get extremely sharp/jarring pains at certain angles, and have only just began walking more normally & bearing weight today. A previous commenter in this thread recommended them specifically for this issue, and I think that suggestion may be wise for me.

I cannot say for certain what's best. My instinct would be to avoid using clipless style pedals and use flat MTB pedals, as I and others have already suggested. You could use those with 'proper' cycling shoes to get the benefit of the stiffer sole most cycling shoes have (and with casual style cycling shoes you can usually use them without fitting the metal cleat required for clipless pedals - the cleat fixing points are usually covered by a rubber blanking plate or similar which you just leave in place instead of removing it to fit the metal cleat). However, I would have thought that you should be able to get adequate stiffness and support from many ordinary types of shoes. For example I use both Keen walking sandals and lightweight walking boots to cycle (as well as cleated cycling shoes with clipless pedals). What I would avoid are trainers with soft spongy soles.

However, I am not a doctor or podiatrist, and there are probably others on this forum who have more experience and expertise when it comes to something like plantar fasciitis. I would suggest therefore that at some point (when you've decided on a bike maybe), you post a new thread on this forum requesting advice specifically on the issue of plantar fasciitis and footwear.

Paddywan
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby Paddywan » 5 Apr 2019, 1:49pm

slowster wrote:
Paddywan wrote:About the shoes: I only want this to prevent an future issues with plantar fasciitis which may lead to a 2 week recovery period in order for my tendons to heal up to the point I may cycle again. So far I'm 5 days into recovery from this issue and still get extremely sharp/jarring pains at certain angles, and have only just began walking more normally & bearing weight today. A previous commenter in this thread recommended them specifically for this issue, and I think that suggestion may be wise for me.

I cannot say for certain what's best. My instinct would be to avoid using clipless style pedals and use flat MTB pedals, as I and others have already suggested. You could use those with 'proper' cycling shoes to get the benefit of the stiffer sole most cycling shoes have (and with casual style cycling shoes you can usually use them without fitting the metal cleat required for clipless pedals - the cleat fixing points are usually covered by a rubber blanking plate or similar which you just leave in place instead of removing it to fit the metal cleat). However, I would have thought that you should be able to get adequate stiffness and support from many ordinary types of shoes. For example I use both Keen walking sandals and lightweight walking boots to cycle (as well as cleated cycling shoes with clipless pedals). What I would avoid are trainers with soft spongy soles.

However, I am not a doctor or podiatrist, and there are probably others on this forum who have more experience and expertise when it comes to something like plantar fasciitis. I would suggest therefore that at some point (when you've decided on a bike maybe), you post a new thread on this forum requesting advice specifically on the issue of plantar fasciitis and footwear.


Noted. This was my intention, to buy the shoes but stick with standard pedals. After more research on this, it appears "MTB shoes" have the cleat recessed into the sole, which is what I suppose i'd be looking for to use with standard pedals. Thank you for your input.

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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby Vorpal » 5 Apr 2019, 1:51pm

Paddywan, your budget sets some pretty difficult criteria.

If you are buying new, the selection in your price range will be pretty limited, and you are unliekly to be able to fulfill all of the recommendations above. IMO, Decathlon probably offers the best quality new in your price range, but there are plenty of compromises to get a new bike in your price range.

If you are buying used, there is much more variety available, and you will get better value for your money, but you either have to pick from what is currently available, or wait for just the right bike. You may be better off getting a bike and getting started, which means not being too picky about the the type of brakes, or even the type of bike.

Honestly, it's hard job to buy a new bike in your price range and meet what folks on here will say are pretty basic quality & specification requirements. That's because bikes at that price point are mostly bought, ridden 4 or 5 times, then stuck in back of the garage where they stay until it becomes obvious that they won't be used again.

Most of the new bikes I would recommend to a new/returning cyclist start at about twice as much as you want to spend. Which comes back to why I recommended looking for a bike hub or similar, and why simonhill recommended https://thebristolbikeproject.org/our-s ... uy-a-bike/

A used bike will get you better value for money. A used bike refurbished by a decent organisation should be in a state to get you cycling. Go visit some places and find something that you can be happy with.
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slowster
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby slowster » 5 Apr 2019, 2:07pm

Paddywan wrote:After more research on this, it appears "MTB shoes" have the cleat recessed into the sole, which is what I suppose i'd be looking for to use with standard pedals.

Beware. There are essentially two types of MTB shoe:

The race type is similar to a road cycling shoe, but has lugs on the bottom of the (very stiff) sole, e.g. like this one. It is those lugs that stop the cleat coming into contact with the ground. This type of shoe is really only suitable for use with the cleats and clipless pedals. The stiff lugged sole will not provide adequate grip on a flat pedal, and the shoes are only intended for walking short distances because of the sole stiffness.

The 'casual' type has an essentially flat/walking type sole, with the cleat hidden by a blanking cover which you can choose whether or not to remove, e.g. like this one. This type can be used with both clipless pedals and flat pedals. The soles are designed to be stiff enough for cycling but also allow you to walk in them as well.

slowster
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby slowster » 5 Apr 2019, 2:14pm

I would agree with the comments about buying from a bike hub or similar.

If you buy used from Gumtree or similar it's buyer beware, and there is a greater risk that you will make a mistake, e.g. fail to spot a major flaw in the bike or buy it and realise afterwards that the size is not right. Somewhere like a bike hub will have more choice, and they will probably help you pick something that fits you and best fits your needs.

Paddywan
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby Paddywan » 5 Apr 2019, 2:53pm

The only issue with buying from the bike hub scheme I have is that I have no way of researching what exactly I am getting, their site does not list any bikes from what I can see: https://www.lifecycleuk.org.uk/buy-a-bike
https://www.lifecycleuk.org.uk/bike-recycling

I will be heading down tomorrow morning to check out their selection, however it leaves me hesitant as I have little/no way of knowing exactly how their sales operate, and if there will be any spec sheet for me to analyse exactly what components/frame/tyres will be used. Regardless, it is indeed a good suggestion and I will pay them a few visits before I come to any final decision. I guess I will find out tomorrow.

thelawnet
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Re: 20st. mid-20's Beginner "cyclist" looking for advice on where to start

Postby thelawnet » 5 Apr 2019, 2:59pm

slowster wrote:
Paddywan wrote:After more research on this, it appears "MTB shoes" have the cleat recessed into the sole, which is what I suppose i'd be looking for to use with standard pedals.

Beware. There are essentially two types of MTB shoe:

The race type is similar to a road cycling shoe, but has lugs on the bottom of the (very stiff) sole, e.g. like this one. It is those lugs that stop the cleat coming into contact with the ground. This type of shoe is really only suitable for use with the cleats and clipless pedals. The stiff lugged sole will not provide adequate grip on a flat pedal, and the shoes are only intended for walking short distances because of the sole stiffness.

The 'casual' type has an essentially flat/walking type sole, with the cleat hidden by a blanking cover which you can choose whether or not to remove, e.g. like this one. This type can be used with both clipless pedals and flat pedals. The soles are designed to be stiff enough for cycling but also allow you to walk in them as well.


No, there are three types

The third type has no cleats at all. They are specifically designed to maximize grip on flat pedals when cycling off road (potentially some extreme downhill stuff)

Five Ten, owned by Adidas since 2011, made climbing shoes and then used the same rubber for mtb shoes for flat pedals

Most of their designs can ONLY be used with flat pedals.

https://www.mbr.co.uk/buyers_guide/five ... oes-369750

The Shimano GR shoes are also cleatless.

I suspect the OP has different priorities than grip so he might be as well with a cheaper (non-cycling-specific) shoe
Last edited by thelawnet on 5 Apr 2019, 3:15pm, edited 1 time in total.