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Hybrid questions for a newbie

dvdcomparedvdcompare Posts: 45
edited May 2009 in Road beginners
Sorry if this is in the wrong forum but as I am going to be using my bike mainly on the road, I thought I would post it here.

I have just bought this bike: http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165534. Before people shoot me down for buying a bike from Halfords, it was the company my employer uses for it's Cycle2Work scheme. I got the bike yesterday afternoon.

Please could someone answer the following questions for me:

1. The pedals have plastic foot holder things (!!) to slip your foot into and then a buckle/chain to strap over your foot. I presume I have to use these. If I do, won't there be a risk of me falling off the bike when I come to a stop?!!?

2. The pedals spin round. Are they meant to do this? I mean the actual bit you put your foot on. Aren't they meant to be fixed? They seem very loose.

3. Gears. When I was younger I have had bog standard mountain bikes with 18 gears but I have never really fully understood them. So what are the ones on the left of the handle bar for and what are the ones on the right? How do you know which gear to be in? Any top tips for remembering?

3. With the bike I bought a helmet and some lubricating gel. I will only be using the bike at the weekends for the time being for exercise so I don't need lights or a lock at the moment. So what other accessories should I buy?

4. How likely is it to get punctures and how easy is it to fix them?

5. How do I know if my seat is at the right height?

6. Any recommended shoe types for cycling? Are normal trainers okay? Will be going for longish rides at the weekend.

Sorry for all the basic questions!

Thanks.

Posts

  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    1) thats a f foot strap for better pedaling, ie so one can pull up as well as down.

    2) pedals should roate or you'd never manage to keep for foot there as you turned the crank.

    3) your bike has 9 gears, with high and low at the front, they will overlap to a large exentent.

    normally left is for the front, and right is for the rear, try not to be in LF HB or HF LB too much as it stresses the drive chain a bit.

    get a bottle holder or some form of getting water.

    4) depends where you ride, i haven't yet punctured in the rough surrey lanes but i have around town, always take levers/pump/inner tubes x 2. one can then if you wish repare the tube at your leisure after.

    5) seat height depends on what you want to do, for max pedaling effiency you'd want it up fairly high, at this point i'd raise it up to what you feel is right, which may well change but try not to have it too low ie with very bent knees like a BMX or your knees may not thank you for it.

    6) trainers or any reasonbly stiff soled shoes will be okay on flat pedals.

    your idea of longish may change!


    I've missed and skimmed loads but thats probably enought to be getting on with
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    Get a lock. That's a very expensive hybrid, and rather more than you strictly need given your questions. Hybrids are great for pottering around urban areas and commuting. They are too slow for countryside doing 50 miles or whatever. I reckon £250 max is right price for them. But you have got an expensive one, with swankey complicated disc brakes so I'd try to prevent it getting nicked.

    One other tip, don't do up the pedal straps too tight: you must be able t get you foot out quickly when needed.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    1) You might fall off the first couple of times but it soon becomes second nature to withdraw the foot to the rear to get the foot out.

    2) Pedals have to rotate...

    3) You'll know of you're in the wrong gear by the fact that it's either too hard to pedal up the hill or because your legs are spinning too fast on the flat / going downhill. Like everything else on a bike, practice & experience will guide you. In general, lower gears (small front, larger rear) for uphill, middle gears for the flat, higher gears (large front smaller rears) for down hill. Ideally you'll be pedalling at around 65-90 rpm, but this will increase. See also 3b below...

    3b) Buy a cycle computer with cadence - pedalling speed. As well as showing you your abilities it'll give you a focus to see how you're doing and how far you've come. Apparently Tesco are doing a computer with cadence for about a tenner. See the Commuting - General - http://www.bikeradar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12620052 thread.

    4) Very likely, but they're easy to fix. You need a set of tyre levers from Halfords for £1.99, and a puncture repair kit which will have instructions.

    5) Your leg should still be slightly bent at the knee with your toes in the toe straps and the pedal at its lowest point. The seat must be parallel to the ground.

    6) Normal trainers ok for a start, but you'll get the bug and start buying more and better stuff. Come back and ask again when you reach that point . I give it three weeks myself. :)

    7) Don't be scared of traffic - you are traffic. Don't hide in the gutter inviting other road users to squeeze past you. You have the same right as anyone else to be on the roads, so don't be intimidated. Ride a yard or so out from the kerb as a matter of course, but pay attention to pinch points, busy roads etc. Play it by ear, pay attention to what's going on.

    8) Enjoy it - that's the most important thing.
  • bice wrote:
    Get a lock. That's a very expensive hybrid, and rather more than you strictly need given your questions. Hybrids are great for pottering around urban areas and commuting. They are too slow for countryside doing 50 miles or whatever. I reckon £250 max is right price for them. But you have got an expensive one, with swankey complicated disc brakes so I'd try to prevent it getting nicked.

    One other tip, don't do up the pedal straps too tight: you must be able t get you foot out quickly when needed.

    Oh! :(:cry:

    I had been researching it for awhile and I thought that Hybrids were good for Fitness and Leisure riding which WOULD be in the countryside. I am not going to race anyone or anything. This is why I bought a higher spec one as I hope it will last me for awhile.

    As I said it is to be used for fitness and leisure. So do you think I could have got a more basic one for this purpose? If that is the case, why would people buy higher spec ones if there is no point to it?
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    There is nothing wrong with the bike, however, unless you ride off road now and again, you might as well have bought a road bike.

    It won't be as fast as a road bike, or as good as a mountain bike off road, but for a beginner riding on the weekends it will be perfect. It's a decent bike and it will last you a long time.
  • I chose a Hybrid because if I am out down country lanes etc. and decide to go down dirt tracks as well (i.e. un-tarmaced country lanes) I could.

    BTW - thanks for the other replies guys. I am reading them and taking it all in! I just reply to the negative comments as that is my way!

    I will definitely buy some kind of computer. Ideally I would like one with cadence and calorie counter. Although I have a Omron Pedometer which has calorie information in it. That may suffice. I could then just get a computer with cadence. Is that Tesco one accurate seeing as it is only £10?!
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    Just to expand on the gears thing, this is the single biggest cause of problems and a subsequent dislike of cycling that I come across with non-cyclists and newbies. Gears look complex but aren't, but trying to explain them seems to be the devil's own job. Here's my take.

    You have 9 gears on the back wheel. These range in simple terms from quite easy pedalling to quite hard pedalling. The payoff for ease is speed. If it's easy you won't be going very fast, if it's hard you'll be putting some effort in but going at a reasonable pace. So you need to learn how to match your rear cog size to your road speed. Practice, & experience. Use the right hand gear changer to move up & down through the rear gears, and in general stick to using the rear gears for small changes.

    To make it harder to learn to use your gears but to give you more options, you have two maybe three chain rings at the pedals. These don't mean you have 18 or 27 gears (9 x 2 or 9 x 3). You still have 9 core gears, but three (let' s stick with three for now) ranges. The smallest front ring is a Granny gear range. With the chain on the small front and largest rear ring you'll be able to ride up the side of a house, but on the flat you'll be going slower than a tortoise. If you stay on the small front ring but change all the way up to the highest rear gear, the chain is now at an angle beyond its optimum design and is under excess strain, so you want to avoid the extreme angles. On the small front ring, use only the 4 to 5 lowest rear gears - the larger cogs on the back.

    On the middle front ring, you have an intermediate range of gears, the lowest of which will overlap with about the middle gear of the small front ring. So if you're on the lowest front ring and find that you've gone more than halfway up the gears, you should be looking to change to the middle front ring instead of carrying on to the small front / small rear combo. Use the lowest up to about gear 4 to 5 on the small front ring.

    The middle front ring (if you have three) should give you a decent range across virtually all of the rear gear choices, but avoid being in the lowest or highest rear gears on the middle front ring. You'll probably find yourself using the middle front ring the most initially, at least.

    The largest front ring is the reverse of the smallest and gives you the higher road speed but more effort combination. Like before you don't want to have the chain running at an angle, this time from the large front to the large rear. The front ring's optimum range is roughly gear 3 to 4 on the rear gear all the way up to the highest gear.

    You have to think in overlapping ranges - low range, mid range, high range, not gears 1 - 27. And unlike a car where you'll normally go from 1st to top using each gear in the way, on the bike you'll dance around omitting most gears and generally cruising on a mid front ring / highish rear, or the large front / middle gear on the rear, only using the higher and lower extremes of the ranges for hills that require it.

    Don't be afraid to change gear as often as you think you need to - they're there for a reason. Use them, get used to the ranges and the overlap points of each front ring, and it'll fall into place quite quickly. Avoid having the chain stretching from the small front to small rear cogs, and likewise avoid the large front / large rear combination. If you're in these gears you've got the wrong pairing so need to find the similar ratio using a different combination of front & rear cogs.
  • Just to expand on the gears thing, this is the single biggest cause of problems and a subsequent dislike of cycling that I come across with non-cyclists and newbies. Gears look complex but aren't, but trying to explain them seems to be the devil's own job. Here's my take.

    You have 9 gears on the back wheel. These range in simple terms from quite easy pedalling to quite hard pedalling. The payoff for ease is speed. If it's easy you won't be going very fast, if it's hard you'll be putting some effort in but going at a reasonable pace. So you need to learn how to match your rear cog size to your road speed. Practice, & experience. Use the right hand gear changer to move up & down through the rear gears, and in general stick to using the rear gears for small changes.

    To make it harder to learn to use your gears but to give you more options, you have two maybe three chain rings at the pedals. These don't mean you have 18 or 27 gears (9 x 2 or 9 x 3). You still have 9 core gears, but three (let' s stick with three for now) ranges. The smallest front ring is a Granny gear range. With the chain on the small front and largest rear ring you'll be able to ride up the side of a house, but on the flat you'll be going slower than a tortoise. If you stay on the small front ring but change all the way up to the highest rear gear, the chain is now at an angle beyond its optimum design and is under excess strain, so you want to avoid the extreme angles. On the small front ring, use only the 4 to 5 lowest rear gears - the larger cogs on the back.

    On the middle front ring, you have an intermediate range of gears, the lowest of which will overlap with about the middle gear of the small front ring. So if you're on the lowest front ring and find that you've gone more than halfway up the gears, you should be looking to change to the middle front ring instead of carrying on to the small front / small rear combo. Use the lowest up to about gear 4 to 5 on the small front ring.

    The middle front ring (if you have three) should give you a decent range across virtually all of the rear gear choices, but avoid being in the lowest or highest rear gears on the middle front ring. You'll probably find yourself using the middle front ring the most initially, at least.

    The largest front ring is the reverse of the smallest and gives you the higher road speed but more effort combination. Like before you don't want to have the chain running at an angle, this time from the large front to the large rear. The front ring's optimum range is roughly gear 3 to 4 on the rear gear all the way up to the highest gear.

    You have to think in overlapping ranges - low range, mid range, high range, not gears 1 - 27. And unlike a car where you'll normally go from 1st to top using each gear in the way, on the bike you'll dance around omitting most gears and generally cruising on a mid front ring / highish rear, or the large front / middle gear on the rear, only using the higher and lower extremes of the ranges for hills that require it.

    Don't be afraid to change gear as often as you think you need to - they're there for a reason. Use them, get used to the ranges and the overlap points of each front ring, and it'll fall into place quite quickly. Avoid having the chain stretching from the small front to small rear cogs, and likewise avoid the large front / large rear combination. If you're in these gears you've got the wrong pairing so need to find the similar ratio using a different combination of front & rear cogs.
    :o

    Thanks! I will read that at home tonight to take it all in!
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    Sorry if you thought I was being negative, but some of your questions are a bit basic for that kind of outlay. But the lock and pedal strap tips were meant to be constructive. Anyway, have fun
  • bice wrote:
    Sorry if you thought I was being negative, but some of your questions are a bit basic for that kind of outlay. But the lock and pedal strap tips were meant to be constructive. Anyway, have fun

    No worries at all. Yes they are basic and I suppose I could have worked them out myself through trial and error but thought I would ask now!
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    dvdcompare wrote:
    <chop>
    :o

    Thanks! I will read that at home tonight to take it all in!

    This is where your computer with cadence will help, by allowing you to match road & pedalling speed to be in the right the right gear ratio without having the chain pulled across at a silly angle. For where you are now < 70 rpm is probably to slow, > 100 would be too high.
  • dvdcompare wrote:
    <chop>
    :o

    Thanks! I will read that at home tonight to take it all in!

    This is where your computer with cadence will help, by allowing you to match road & pedalling speed to be in the right the right gear ratio without having the chain pulled across at a silly angle. For where you are now < 70 rpm is probably to slow, > 100 would be too high.

    So when I am cycling with the computer, I should adjust the gears and my pedalling speed to get between 80 - 90?
  • guillianoguilliano Posts: 5,495
    Halfords bashing is easy so I'll give it a shot here....

    When you collected your bike all the questions you've just asked should have been covered by the trained cycle professional that handed it over. Gears should always be explained, or at least the customer should be asked if they are familiar with that style. The fact that you felt the need to ask these questions is an immediate cause for complaint to the manager of the branch or their head office. I would also take the bike to a good bike shop to be checked over (PDI'd) before riding it if that is the level of service you have recieved so far. Unfortunately this will cost a small sum, but when your safety on the bike is at stake it's a small price to pay.

    As has been said above a lock is a must I'm afraid. I would also recommend some Pinhead skewers to replace the quick release ones if you are going to use the bike to commute as wheels are a very nickable thing if not secured properly. These are similar to quick release skewers but need a key (supplied with the set) to undo. If you are worried about punctures also get some tyre liners or some slime inner tubes.

    Enjoy the bike. It's a good'un, and for the kind of riding you have mentioned is a worthy investment.
  • pictitpictit Posts: 603
    edited April 2009
    The bike will be fine for 50 mile rides.I had a Giant Hybrid,heavier and less 'sporty' than your bike,and even put a seat-post rack on to carry a DSLR camera and other stuff and found it no 'worse' than using my Specialized Sequoia bike on rides of this distance.Slower and a bit more effort going uphill but not uncomfortable.Just go out and enjoy it,as I am sure you will :D
  • guilliano wrote:
    Halfords bashing is easy so I'll give it a shot here....

    When you collected your bike all the questions you've just asked should have been covered by the trained cycle professional that handed it over. Gears should always be explained, or at least the customer should be asked if they are familiar with that style. The fact that you felt the need to ask these questions is an immediate cause for complaint to the manager of the branch or their head office. I would also take the bike to a good bike shop to be checked over (PDI'd) before riding it if that is the level of service you have recieved so far. Unfortunately this will cost a small sum, but when your safety on the bike is at stake it's a small price to pay.

    As has been said above a lock is a must I'm afraid. I would also recommend some Pinhead skewers to replace the quick release ones if you are going to use the bike to commute as wheels are a very nickable thing if not secured properly. These are similar to quick release skewers but need a key (supplied with the set) to undo. If you are worried about punctures also get some tyre liners or some slime inner tubes.

    Enjoy the bike. It's a good'un, and for the kind of riding you have mentioned is a worthy investment.

    To be fair I suppose I could have asked these questions. I just thought they were too basic so was a bit embarrassed. The bike appears to be stable - nothing is wobbling about!
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    dvdcompare wrote:
    So when I am cycling with the computer, I should adjust the gears and my pedalling speed to get between 80 - 90?

    In short, yes.

    re locks - use one if you plan to leave it unattended, but don't carry a big heavy lock about if you aren't going to be away from the bike. That's just pointless.
  • As it appears Halfords may not have done a brilliant job, what else should have I received with the bike? I just got a manual.

    As for: bike computer, puncture repair kit, spare inner tubes, pump (I think that's it!), any recommendations from www.wiggle.co.uk? Have just ordered some Lycra shorts from them so would prefer to use them than Halfords. Apart from the lock (which I don't need at the moment as it will always be either with me or inside my flat), am I missing anything for the summer months?

    Thanks for everyone's continuing helpful and friendly advice.
  • dvdcomparedvdcompare Posts: 45
    edited April 2009
    dvdcompare wrote:
    As it appears Halfords may not have done a brilliant job, what else should have I received with the bike? I just got a manual.

    As for: bike computer, puncture repair kit, spare inner tubes, pump (I think that's it!), any recommendations from www.wiggle.co.uk? Have just ordered some Lycra shorts from them so would prefer to use them than Halfords. Apart from the lock (which I don't need at the moment as it will always be either with me or inside my flat), am I missing anything for the summer months?

    Thanks for everyone's continuing helpful and friendly advice.

    Just bumping this.

    Firstly, should I have received anything else with my bike apart from the manual?

    Could people recommend some decent products for the following categories from Wiggle please:

    Puncture Repair Kit (is it worth buying some prevention as well - like some tyre liners?)
    Spare Inner Tubes - which ones do I need for my bike? I notice they sell Self Healing ones - worth it?
    A pump - will any pump do?
    Bike Computer - will forget about calories so am interested in cadence - don't want to spend loads

    Anything else I need for summer?

    And, as you can probably tell from my RIDICULOUS questions, is it worth me buying some beginner's book? One that shows you how to take a tyre off, repair a puncture etc? If so, you guessed it, recommendation?! :D (Sorry!)
  • rally200rally200 Posts: 646
    Don't bother with a book - they tend to be either over-simplistic or far too detailed - have a look at the Park tools web site or google "sheldon brown"
  • dvdcompare wrote:
    dvdcompare wrote:
    As it appears Halfords may not have done a brilliant job, what else should have I received with the bike? I just got a manual.

    As for: bike computer, puncture repair kit, spare inner tubes, pump (I think that's it!), any recommendations from www.wiggle.co.uk? Have just ordered some Lycra shorts from them so would prefer to use them than Halfords. Apart from the lock (which I don't need at the moment as it will always be either with me or inside my flat), am I missing anything for the summer months?

    Thanks for everyone's continuing helpful and friendly advice.

    Just bumping this.

    Firstly, should I have received anything else with my bike apart from the manual?

    Could people recommend some decent products for the following categories from Wiggle please:

    Puncture Repair Kit (is it worth buying some prevention as well - like some tyre liners?)
    Spare Inner Tubes - which ones do I need for my bike? I notice they sell Self Healing ones - worth it?
    A pump - will any pump do?
    Bike Computer - will forget about calories so am interested in cadence - don't want to spend loads

    Anything else I need for summer?

    And, as you can probably tell from my RIDICULOUS questions, is it worth me buying some beginner's book? One that shows you how to take a tyre off, repair a puncture etc? If so, you guessed it, recommendation?! :D (Sorry!)

    Would the following little lot be okay for me?

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Park_ ... 620887595/
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Slime ... 360038257/
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Lezyn ... 360034757/ OR http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.200-5179.aspx

    Or would this pack be better:

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/LifeL ... 360031528/

    Plus:

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Catey ... 360029333/

    OR

    http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.100-6555.aspx

    All of the above is to fit this bike: http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165534

    What size/type inner tubes would I need?

    As for water bottle/cage - any one?
  • rally200rally200 Posts: 646
    quote]

    Would the following little lot be okay for me?

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Park_ ... 620887595/ - a £1 kit from Wilkinsons is fine

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Slime ... 360038257/ -
    tried this sort of thing -didn't work

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Lezyn ... edium/5360 - I have the lezyne pressure drive (for narrower, higher pressure tyres) it's excellent - the traditional flexible hose makes life much easier than the direct press on types of mini-pump - you migth be better off with the pressure drive - air drive is more for mtb or fat (>30mm) hybrid tyres

    as for inner tubes - you need presta valve 700c - they come in width ranges - get the smallest suitable for your 28mm tyres - that'll make it less likely to get pinched when fitting.

    any water bottle will do
  • dvdcomparedvdcompare Posts: 45
    rally200 wrote:
    as for inner tubes - you need presta valve 700c - they come in width ranges - get the smallest suitable for your 28mm tyres - that'll make it less likely to get pinched when fitting.

    When you say the "smallest suitable", how do I know which is the most suitable?
  • dvdcomparedvdcompare Posts: 45
    Thanks.

    Can't seem to find any inner tubes on Wiggle that match the ones I need?

    If someone could recommend me a pump, that will be it then!

    I will buy the computer from Tescos and a cheapo puncture repair kit and levers from Wilkinsons!
  • rally200rally200 Posts: 646
    Tubes - this would do you

    " Michelin AirStop Butyl Tube - 700c
    700 x 25-32c Presta (40mm) " Halfords probably have them wiggle don't seem to have many middling sizes

    700 is the wheel size 25-32c is the width i.e. fits tyres from 25mm to 32mm wide (your tyres are 28mm) . Presta is the type of valve - that is the ones that are narrower than casr type valves - 40mm is the length of the valve - is you have very deep rims a 52mm or 60mm valve will be safest (measure the ones you've got)

    recommend this pump for emergencies on the road:
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Lezyne_Pressure_Drive_Mini_Pump_Small/5360034752/

    a track pump(with guages for ease of use at home -

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=4949

    and some tyre levers
  • dvdcomparedvdcompare Posts: 45
    rally200 wrote:
    Tubes - this would do you

    " Michelin AirStop Butyl Tube - 700c
    700 x 25-32c Presta (40mm) " Halfords probably have them wiggle don't seem to have many middling sizes

    700 is the wheel size 25-32c is the width i.e. fits tyres from 25mm to 32mm wide (your tyres are 28mm) . Presta is the type of valve - that is the ones that are narrower than casr type valves - 40mm is the length of the valve - is you have very deep rims a 52mm or 60mm valve will be safest (measure the ones you've got)

    recommend this pump for emergencies on the road:
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Lezyne_Pressure_Drive_Mini_Pump_Small/5360034752/

    a track pump(with guages for ease of use at home -

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=4949

    and some tyre levers

    Thank you. Sorry - regarding the valve. When you say measure the one I have got, do you mean measure the valve or the thickness of the tyres? Would this one from Halfords be okay? http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165545.

    What is 700? Why do some say for "wheel sizes 26"/28" but then for mine says "700"?

    One final question. How do you measure the frame size of the bike? According to this: http://www.boardmanbikes.com/hybrid/hybrid_team.html, the Medium bike should have a Seat Tube size of 49cm. Where do you measure this from to where? If it is the actual bit of the frame from the pedal crank to the top of the frame, it is only 45cm which means I have been sold the Small one. To be honest, this is okay for me as my feet can still only touch the floor on my toes! But just wanted to check whether this is another Halfords mistake?
  • rally200rally200 Posts: 646
    Wheel size 700 means 700mm diameter (i.e. road bike, or hybrid).

    26"/28" means 26 inch (i.e a mountain bike wheel) to 28 inch - why one is quoted metric & the other imperial I don't know


    frame sizing gets complicated as not all manufacturers measure in the same way- can a boardman owner help here ?
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