Totally new to cycling

djwc Posts: 39
edited July 2013 in Road beginners
So, aged 26 I have finally learned to ride a bike - just never had one as a child!

I've definitely caught the bug even though I've only been riding about 4 times.

I now want my own bike, with a view to getting in to road cycling eventually. I'm a fairly fit guy, who plays quite a lot of sport. My girlfriend and her family have advised against my getting a road bike straight away as it will be too quick, and I'll still probably be a bit wobbly on it!

Should I get a good second hand hybrid, or a mountain bike? Or should I get a cheapo one for the time being, and save up some money for a road bike in the future?

Thoughts welcome!!!!


  • woodywmb
    woodywmb Posts: 669
    Give it six months before you choose a bike. Keep an open mind. Get into a regular cycling routine. Read and re-read posts on the subject. You then decide. Not your girlfriend, not her family, not even us. Enjoy. This is the best bit.
  • djm501
    djm501 Posts: 378
    Yeah, my advice is if you want a road bike get a road bike. You make it fast, the bike doesn't move if you don't pedal generally speaking ;-) Mountain bikes and hybrids don't stay upright any more easily.
    If you really are having trouble with balance get some stabilisers ;)

    If I was you I'd get a cheap second hand one and try your luck - as said, when you're a bit more experienced you will know what you like and get the appropriate bike.
    Loads of us have got decent hybrids and gone on to buy a second road-bike a few months later when we really know what we like. Try to avoid expensive lessons like this :)
  • Following on from DJM501's post I totally agree with buying a road bike first. I only got into cycling at the start of the year and bought a decent Hybrid instead of a road bike. Didn't take me long to realise that I had made a mistake.

    So 6 months down the line have now bought myself a road bike, which really is what I should have done at the beginning!!. Buy what you really want and can afford, if you love the bike you choose you will want to get out on it.

    Also be prepared for your bank account to drain down quickly, cycling is a great sport, but can soon become very expensive as i have found out :D
  • awginger
    awginger Posts: 23
    Also be prepared for your bank account to drain down quickly, cycling is a great sport, but can soon become very expensive as i have found out :D

  • fatsmoker
    fatsmoker Posts: 585
    awginger wrote:
    Also be prepared for your bank account to drain down quickly, cycling is a great sport, but can soon become very expensive as i have found out :D


    Now you'll put him off. :lol:

    You can do it fairly cheaply if you know where to look and build up your stock of shoes, socks, shorts and tops slowly. Just get essentials to start with - rain gear!! This weather can't last much longer, can it?
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Out of interest - how are you learning to ride a bike, without having one? Are you hiring one? Borrowing one? And if so, what kind of bike are you learning on?

    I disagree with the point about mountain bikes not staying upright more easily - when I switched from MTB to a road bike I found the road bike very, very wobbly, especially on corners and especially when its windy. That said, it really didn't take long at all to get used to it (and that comes from a pretty nervous cyclist). If you think road biking is going to be for you, then I wouldn't get a MTB as a start with a view to changing, i'd say just bite the bullet and go for a road bike, you'll soon get it used to it. As others have said, the bike goes as fast as you pedal it...

    And it doesn't HAVE to be an expensive sport - the problem is that you get hooked and then can't help youself, you can't avoid the temptation to spend more money, but you can get by without spending a lot if you haven't got it to spend, so whatever you do, don't give up on cycling because you think you can't afford it!!

    If you manage to wait 6months before buying your own bike you've got more will power than me!! Once I decided I wanted to get out cycling there is no way I'd have been able to wait to get myself a bike - far too exciting!!

    Enjoy yourself, be careful and I fully hope you get hooked!! :)
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • djwc
    djwc Posts: 39
    I'm borrowing my GF's dad's MTB at the moment and have been cycling around the local park which has a tarmac path about a mile long all the way round the outside.

    Had a couple of almost crashes with pedestrians who weren't watching where they were going - one literally ran straight in front of the bike! I learned the use of the bell at that point.

    I know that I need to get more comfortable on the bike in terms of being able to hold the handlebars with one had in order to be able to signal on the road. My worry is that by getting a road bike straight away I'll have to get straight out on the road as there aren't that many paths for me to cycle on around me.

    Keep looking on ebay and all sorts of cycling sites - I WANT A BIKE, haha!
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Just get out as much as you possibly can then on the MTB you're borrowing - confidence on the bike will only come by riding!! If I were you I'd keep borrowing the MTB until you're comfortable (assuming the lender is happy with that arrangement...?) And then when you're confident riding, if you want a road bike, go straight for that. For me, switching from a MTB to a road bike meant building confidence on the road bike anyway - it wasn't a straight forward switch from one to the other. I found hand signals and looking over your shoulder much harder on a road bike at first - I tended to wobble around a bit, but it soons gets easier.

    When you're confident enough, take the MTB out on the road - but go early morning or late evening when its quiet and stick to roads you know well. You can then get used to negotiating junctions, checking over your shoulder, hand signals and cars passing you whlist the roads are quiet.

    I know what you mean about pedestrians - I cycle a lot on trails on my MTB and they are a pain. I use the bell and slow down when passing them, but the number of people walking in twos or more, you ring the bell and rather than all moving to one side, they split down the middle, leaving you to weave between them. Had one woman who turned and looked at me and then for some reason, side-stepped right into my path as I passed her! I swerved but caught her on the arm with my handlebars. To be fair she couldn't have been more apologetic, and we were both ok, but I can't begin to guess what she was thinking. I'm sure she must have woken with a nice bruise the next morning... And then there's dog walkers... :evil:

    I'm with you - if it were me, i'd be desperate to get a bike of my own. :)
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • Mindermast
    Mindermast Posts: 124
    A road bike is as stable as any other bike (direction-wise). What you really need - apart from a bike - is experience in traffic. If you like, get a cheap bike, of the sort, that doesn't fall apart when you sit on it, and ride it.

    A couple of things you can practise on a parking lot, in a forest or wherever there is no traffic:

    Go as slow as you can without a foot on the ground
    Ride in a circle as small as possible
    Brake as hard as you can - start with low speed and observe, how the front wheel starts blocking and the back wheel starts slipping. Try to avoid this by dosing the brakes.
    Ride straight while looking around you - you will naturally follow your look at first
    Stop and try to keep your balance without putting a foot on the ground - easier, when you stand on the pedals instead of sitting, try with and without braking.
    Ride one-handed
    Take one foot off the pedal, try to pedal with the other foot alone - almost impossible but good excercise for balance and coordination

    Some of these excercises might seem silly, but they will improve your bike-handling a lot. As a result, you will be much more comfortable on any bike in most situations. I suppose, while literally running, you can easily get around corners, evade people and the like. This is, because you can "handle" your body. Now it is time to learn handling a bike. Actually, not many people do this, but it is really worth the trouble.
  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,496
    i definitely find the mountain bike more stable than the road bike - riding no-handed is a lot less easy on the roadie for example but maybe that's just because I'm used to mountain bike geometry. Martyn Ashton can backflip them and ride them down virtual cliff faces on the front wheel so I guess they're not too shaky.
    Either way, a road bike certainly isn't unstable enough to make it a consideration in what bike to ride.

    As for being an expensive hobby, in the last year I have commuted almost daily by bike - saving around £1000 in petrol or £1600 in tube fares. I certainly haven't spent that much on cycling - even including the purchase of a new (to me) road bike in April. Plus I've got fitter without spending any time or money on gym memberships & the like.