Zuwadza - on casual rides we will go for 3 or so hours, average around 25-30km/h, uh divide by 1.6 for mph, so just under 20. Don’t worry about hitting big distances, especially if you don’t have a road bike. Just start riding and if and when you get a road bike, distances will start opening up. Or not, recreational riding is great too. A guy I ride with, in his 50’s recently started single-track mountain biking, it’s not just for the kids. He is LOVING it. But one of the addictions for me is the knowledge that I ride distances that others feel are a long way by car.
Also don’t worry about high end road bikes. I do support spending money on bikes because they’re an awesome, healthy hobby, and you need to spend your money on something you enjoy. But higher end road-bikes are essentially a giant ripoff. Seriously they stamp those frames out like cookies. Also many guys spend $6K on bikes that are 5 pounds lighter than a $1K bike… but they themselves could stand to lose 5 pounds. That said, of course I too am contemplating a relatively high-end bike, main reason being I enjoy it, and it’s my hobby, circle of illogic then.
Sure it’s a lot of fun riding really fast and for long distances, but for me it’s not the same level of thrilling/rewarding as navigating a single track downhill after a long climb to the top. Maybe you’re not going as fast or as far that way, but it still feels very fast when you’re cruising through narrow trees.
That’s sad Shimarenda. Are you in the US? I’m in BC and it’s pretty cyclist friendly here. Decent number of cyclists on the roads and a good number of bike lanes.
My casual ride today was sadly cut short by a loose headset and me without any tools to tighten it. Of course I immediately went out and bought a saddle bag, multitool and a few other things for an emergency kit. It was shaping up to be such a good ride too.
I decided to buy the Trek Assist bike, the one that gives me bionic legs, basically. I took it for another test ride and went further this time and went up a long, steep hill and loved the speed at which I climbed and not feeling like I needed to lie down for a rest at the top. It still took some effort and I felt it, but it really does flatten the hills. It’s what I need to enjoy commuter biking living in a hilly area. My knees are balky with too many years on them. They just don’t like to push hard.
I also like the regenerative braking when I went back down the hill. It recharges the battery and brakes the descent, though this hill was steep enough I still had to apply the normal brakes. The bike is also light enough that I can turn off the assist and pedal it normally and it’s an easy ride on flat surfaces.
But boy when I am on level ground and turn it up to +200% and pedal in a high gear it makes me feel like Superman. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh – five to ten pedals and I am going 15-20 MPH. It puts a big smile on my face.
I am picking up the bike this Friday. I am psyched about it. I hope other cyclists I see on the road don’t turn up their noses at me because I’m getting an artificial boost. I feel like it’s what I need to enjoy being on the bike instead of leaving it in the carport and taking the car instead.
Other people can probably answer the question better than I can. Definitely bank on $100 for accessories though. Helmet, lights, and a lock are absolutely essential and then there’s stuff like patch kits, bags, tools, pumps, racks and fenders if you need them, etc. It can add up pretty fast.
For a new commute bike I’d say count on $350-$500 for a decent new commuter. Maybe $200-$300 for a used bike if you’re into that, depending on what the used market is like in your area. If I had my time back I would have just gone used. I paid $450+ for my new commuter/hybrid and kind of hate it.
If you don’t have a bike and are thinking about getting into cycling, get an old 80’s road bike tuned up by a local shop. You can pick it up off craig’s list or there are often local shops that provide old used bikes. Ride it a bit and if you enjoy it and used it you’ll have a better idea of what you want. And the old bike isn’t a waste, having an old beater bike comes in handy all the time. If you are commuting in a city with bad roads, you can pick up an old beat up mountain bike instead. While the $250-500 hybrid bikes really sound like a good idea when you are getting into it, odds are huge that in a few months you’ll wish you had something else.
And if you have a nice bike, ride the hell out of it. Bikes are made for riding.
Buy used, definitely. With the money you save, you can switch your knobbies to hybrid tires and have the best of both worlds (unless you actually intend on going full-mud offroad.) I’m partial to gloves if I’m going to be riding aggressively, every time I’ve gone down I’ve landed on my palms in one way or another. Otherwise a helmet and glasses are always good to have. I’m a big fan of cheaper mountain bikes, these days you still get so much quality with brands like Giant and Specialized, there’s just not much need to try and shave a few pounds for another $500 in a top-name bike.
Yeah, I’ve thought about getting into biking, but I really don’t want to drive somewhere to bike, and I do not “get” city biking. Being on the side of the road when cars come flying by 5 feet away just creeps me out.
Haha, 5 feet away. That’s rich. Sometimes it feels more like 5 inches. Honestly the stuff that helps me feel more comfortable cycling in the city:
Have confidence in my own cycling abilities. I don’t think I’m the best cyclists in the world or anything, but I’ve been cycling since I was a kid so I generally know how to handle a bike. This gets taken for granted by people who have been cycling their whole lives, I think.
Plan your routes! Experiment and find good routes with bike lanes or less traffic or fewer hills, etc. It’s not always obvious which route is best for cyclists and as you get more comfortable you might be willing to deal with some traffic for a quicker or more convenient commute.
There’s a ton more, but I think those are the big ones. I like to bike “aggressively defensive” and try my best not to let myself get marginalized into unsafe situations.
I’m cringing over here Mark, especially with your new cyborg bike! Please be careful on the sidewalks, they’re not always as safe as they seem even with no pedestrians; the interactions between cyclists on sidewalks and cars in intersections are a large source of collisions. Also it’s illegal in some places.
While I basically agree that the difference between a $2K bike & a $6K bike is practically negligible, I’m not convinced that it’s unnoticeable to the people who ride them (at least those who ride them seriously).
My road bike, which is pretty nice & does everything I want it to do, cost me about $1K with accessories. What it has are drop bars, cantilever brakes, toe clips, manual shifters, and steel fenders. What it doesn’t have are extra resting positions on the drop bars, disk brakes for wet conditions (although I’ve actually found the cantilever brakes work fine in Seattle where the rain is light anyway) or internal gear hubs, pedals for biking cleats, automatic shifters (although I again prefer my “lower end” option), and carbon fenders.
The point being I can see where my money wasn’t going. And since I’m not touring across the country or riding through heavy rainfall, I don’t have any use for the higher end parts.
The other two advantages to higher end components are lighter weight & better durability. Durability speaks for itself, but I think you’re being a little bit dismissive of lightweight parts. Sure, 5 lbs may be a small percentage of a person’s bodyweight, but you can usually feel the difference in weight (especially going up big hills) on a bike for the same reason you can really feel the difference between a 1 lbs roller skate and a 2 lbs skate: your body is only used to carrying its own weight. It doesn’t matter that the parts of your body doing the lifting vastly outweigh the object; it’s the fact that those muscles are used to a certain weight load.
Granted, I say this as someone who used to ride a bike so heavy that my present steel frame, fenders included, feels medium weight to me. Past a certain point, it certainly doesn’t matter as much.
I mostly ride on the street but there are some very busy streets where the sidewalk seems safer. The cyborg bike won’t make much of a difference. I affect a leisurely pace. To borrow from Howling Wolf, I’m built for comfort, not for speed.
I hate the sidewalks because every intersection becomes a junk destroying exercise going up and down the curbs. Even though there is a ramp on most, it gets old feeling your teeth rattle every 50 yards as you go down one curb and up another.
Yeah it is noticeable, lighter will make a small difference in your arrival time. I guess I’m saying that for the majority of riders it’s just not really worth it. But we do it anyway. Road cycling is a rabbit hole of crazy claims, I remember seeing a product that promised to save you “at least 0.25 watts”. I think it was high-end handlebar tape.
In terms of durability you do spend more for better, but the highest-end road bike components (e.g. Dura-ace) are considered by many to go a step beyond ‘maximum durability’ in favour of even more weight reduction. So Ultegra or even 105 are considered the best all-round.
Regarding equipment, I’d also add to get a nice colored shirt to wear, doesn’t have to be an ugly race jersey, but red or blue synthetic shirts are easier for drivers to see than black, and more comfortable than cotton on hot days.
A rear facing red LED is essential if riding with traffic. I have this one, paid around $20. It has a slow blink for dusk or dawn riding (don’t want to hypnotize a sleepy or drunk driver with a strobe light) but it has a strobe mode for visibility during the daytime. I kind of wish I got one with a built-in lithium instead of AAA though (I use nimh rechargeables).
I also hate the sidewalks, they tend to slow you down and are impractical, sort of like trying to drive using local roads only. That said if it’s a busy road with lots of trucks I may choose the sidewalk.