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I need to be able to carry bikes for at least 3-4 of us and have not found a way to do so on my car. What is the best folding bicycle for around city and some day trips riding? We are not intending to use them for touring or mountain biking, but would like to take them in the car, on busses/ BART then to ride around for a day. Many thanks. Longing for a portable bicycle
If cost is no object and you want the absolute best fold of any bike on the market, Bromptons fold the smallest and the quickest. They use slightly smaller wheels than the Dahon and cost from $1500 to $2500 each depending on options, but the folding mechanism is absolutely ingenious. I have heard that spare parts can be hard to come by, because they are made in England and use all proprietary parts: brakes, shifters, etc., that are not compatible with standard bike parts.
If you believe in buying American, Bike Friday makes very nice folding bikes and are located in Oregon. Their bikes use as many standard parts as possible, but to me the fold is not much better than a Dahon but the price is closer to Brompton. They seem best suited for long tours where one wants a folding bike to get to the starting point. I hope this helps. Daniel
Although I exercise regularly & do an indoor spin class, I missed out on cycling. My last attempt, several years ago, resulted in a crash. Although the physical injuries healed, the fear & anxiety lingers. However, I want to get over that & get back on a bike. My job is 5-6 miles away & it's a flat trip so I want to get a town/commuter bike with very few gears, since they only intimidate me & won't be needed. If I get to the point where I'm riding so much I need to upgrade, that would be great indeed. So, looking for suggestions on bikes & resources to get me to work on my own 2 wheeled power from W Berkeley into downtown Oakland. cycling commuter wanabe
I have never bicycled much before, but I have decided to attempt
to bike to work (from Albany to UC.) Can anyone recommend a
good beginner's woman's bike that can take hills and doesn't
cost an arm and a leg? I only saw kids bikes on the past
recommendations. I don't need anything fancy- and let's hope I
enjoy bicycling enough to do this!
hopeful two wheels
Anyhow, I found that the mountain bike was much too heavy and too much work to ride on the streets. A lighter bike was more practical for me, especially if you end up carrying it up stairs. I also recommend buying a basket, if you have a purse, lunch, whatever to take with you everyday. It does take awhile to get fully equipped (for weather, storage, etc.) so that you don't have to sacrifice things b/c you're not in a car. Also, I highly recommend you go to Missing Link on University (at Shattuck), if not only for advice. They're knowledgable and honest and they have a good selection. A good bike isn't cheap (I think I paid $350 for my newer one) but neither is parking on campus!
Good luck. It's fun and practical. I'm 5 months pregnant right now, so no bike for me these days, but I sure do miss it! Nina
You'll probably find a mountain bike or hybrid bike most comfortable. Hybrids are better suited for riding on pavement but seem to have a bit of an image problem compared to mountain bikes. (Think minivans compared to SUVs). If you like the very upright position of a cruiser (picture a '40s paperboy bike), some cruisers have 7 speeds. Some brands may be be more comfortable than others depending on your build and flexibility. Take several bikes for 10-minute test rides so you have a basis for comparison. This is really important: a bike that's comfortable for somebody else may not be for you.
Commuter bikes start at around $300, although this time of year you can usually find significant markdowns. ''300 bucks!?!'' you say, ''but they're only $120 at Target! Geez, didn't she read my post? I specifically said I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg!'' Here's why I'm recommending that you go one step up from the most basic bikes.
''Department-store'' brands may cost less up front, but there is a real difference in quality. They're generally heavier (which you'll feel going uphill) and transmit more road vibrations (i.e., rattle your fillings loose on the potholed streets around here). Mostly, though, they're harder to fix when things get out of adjustment. This may mean having to live with gears that won't shift smoothly (again, a real pain going uphill) and brakes that squeal annoyingly or don't stop you very well. These are easy to take care of on bike-shop-brand bikes, and most shops provide free adjustments (for a certain period of time) for the bikes they sell.
Also, if you're buying a bike at a shop, you're not stuck with a package deal. Let's say you've found a great deal on a bike, but you're leaning just a little too far forward. You usually have the option of having them install a different handlebar or stem (the part that connects the handlebar to the bike) to make the setup more comfortable. If the seat is making you unhappy, you can usually trade it in for a different one as well. (FWIW, all the gel or cutouts in the world won't make a seat comfortable if your weight is on -- ahem -- sensitive tissue; look for a seat that's wide and flat enough that your weight is on your sit bones.) The charge for these things varies.
All of the brands carried by bike shops (Trek, Specialized, GT, Bianchi, etc.) are pretty much equal in quality, so base your choice on comfort, quality of service at the shop, and whatever's on sale.
You mention that you're not sure you'll like cycling enough to make it all worthwhile. The Missing Link used to rent bikes by the week or month, and I believe that a percentage of the rental fee can be applied towards purchase. Call them to get more current information.
Last, 2 more tips specific to buying a bike in Berkeley. 1) Sale prices will keep getting better as the summer goes on, but don't wait until the middle of August or you'll be in competition with hordes of Cal students. Bike shops are mobbed around the start of the semester, and salespeople just won't have as much time to spend with you. 2) Berkeley has one of the highest bike theft rates in the nation. Unless you only store your bike in your office, budget for a good U-lock and have the shop personnel show you how to use it.
Sorry for the information overload.
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