I am going to recommend getting a road style bike. Youíve all seen people riding them, low riding profile, and the large diameter wheels. With this style bike you will get the most speed out of it and the most distance of comfortable riding. With a road bike you can get the best aerodynamic position for the windy days. Once you get the hang of the bike you can push your bike to a good speed without having to expend much effort. No bike is better going up a hill then a road bike.
The disadvantage of a road is that is not very forgiving. You have to learn how to ride it correctly, unless you rode a road bike as a kid you are have an entirely different feel riding this bike. You can easily slipping out on a road bike taking a hard fast turn if you are riding with slick tires. Hitting pot holes, divots, train tracks, and all other road imperfections can send your bike out of control if it catches you off guard.
The second bike I recommend is a mountain bike. You probably already own one, and the riding style of a mountain bike is similar to most bikes. You can pull good speeds with a mountain bike, and ride of a good distance comfortable. You can increase your speed by putting road tires on the bike as well. Riding a mountain bike you arenít concerned with pot holes, wet patches, and gravel the way you are with a road bike. Lets face it, you arenít restricted you just paved roads with a mountain bike. There is no more versatile vehicle in existence then a mountain bike. The only limitation for a mountain bike is deep pools of water; otherwise you can pretty much take a mountain bike anywhere any land vehicle can travel on.
The major limitation of the mountain bike is its weight. Since itís the most durable and versatile, it is the heaviest. Mountain bikes are built like tanks. Going up a hill on a mountain bike is pretty much impossible for anyone who isnít a regular cyclist. I remember my 110lbs sister telling me she always had to walk her bike over the over pass when she was in college. That should give you an idea of how climbing is extremely different on a mountain bike.
Once you have chosen a bicycling style you now need to take into consideration the fit. Having a bike the fits properly is imperative. It will maximize your training and riding abilities.
This is how you will determine your bicycle size.
1. Measure your inseam in centimeters. (Do this barefooted.)
2. Multiple you inseam by .65. This will give you your road bike frame size.
3. If you are looking to ride a mountain bike. Take your road bike frame size, subtract 10 centimeters, and convert to inches.
This is the most important step when buying a bike. The next you will have to consider you stem length. The stem length will determine how far you will reach for your handle bars. This is really done by feel. I like having mines close, while my friend who is shorter then me and has a shorter reach likes his out farther.
At this point you have picked out the type of bike you want and got the size you need. Start by buying used, and expect to pay around 100 to 160 for a used bike, donít forget to test ride the bike. If you are riding a road bike, you are likely going to find a bike that is older with down tube shifters. These are gear shifters that are on the bike frame instead of on the handle bars. This will take some getting used to.
When looking at a bike. Check the frame for cracks. Thatís the most important part. The mechanics of the gears can always be fixed. If the guy you are buying for is cool, you could even get him to take you to the bike shop with the bike to get it inspected.
Once you buy a bike, you are probably going to have to get it tuned up. The bike mechanics will help smooth out the shifts, true up your rims, calibrate your breaks and everything. This could run up to 100 dollars and more depending if you need replacement parts. If you have to get replacement parts, make sure you discuss what your riding goals are since there are different options for your riding goals.
You bought a bike, tuned it up, nowÖÖ
RIDE! Donít forget a helmet. Seriously. The most epic crashes I've been in, are from riding. Also, helmets are one time use. If you crash once, and take impact to the head, you need a new helmet.
About stationary bikes:
If you want to go stationary, I would recommend buying a real bike and putting it on a bike trainer. This way you will have both a stationary and a riding bike in one. The other option is the Indoor cycling, spinning style bikes you see in spin classes. Fitness bikes, that kind you see in the cardio section of the gym arenít that great.
Last edited by Cyclist; 06-11-2008 at 02:48 AM.