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Old 03-15-2009, 11:18 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,653 times
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Well I figured this would be a good place to ask.

I live here in Chicago and know just about all of it. I workout on a regular basis. Former college wrestler and all that. But I'm gettin bored with most the stuff I do. This summer I figure I'll pick up some new activities to workout and stay healthy. One of them be biking around. So heres my question.....

I really have no idea what a good/decent/practical bike would be for what I'm interested in. So what is? haha. I briefly brought it up to an employee at sports authority when I was picking up an eliptical for my ex gf and the guy was just ..... clueless. Can't blame him but he wasn't any help at all.

Also other than riding up and down the lake where are some good places to ride leisurely? Some good routes and what-not?

Thanks.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:12 AM
 
1,801 posts, read 4,234,049 times
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Try this link. It contains all the info you will need to know regarding biking around the city
http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/w...eEnumValue=127
There are a plethora of bike trails through the forest preserves in the suburbs as well.

As far as what type of bike you get, thats a completely personal decision. For workout/fitness/leisure riding, I would imagine you will probably want either a hybrid, or if you're more serious a full fledged road bike. All designs have their pros and cons (essentially everything is a tradeoff between weight/speed and comfort) so test ride as many models as you can and don't let the sales guy influence your decision (as they will try to sell you whatever is most expensvie or on the floor, whether its right for you or not)...go with what feels good. But dont shop at a department store; go to a specialized bike shop with a staff who is knowledgeable and will be able to fit you to a frame...this is the most important step. I cant tell you how many people I see riding bikes that are either too large/small for their body size. It may be possible they dont have your frame in stock. If thats the case, dont let them talk you into taking a floor model...have them order the correct size. But if the bike isnt fit properly, you likely wont use it (and if you do, you could exert undue stress).

Materials are something else to consider as well: carbon is the new ultra-luxury (incredibly smooth/light ride), but you will pay out the ass for it. Its so pricey most bikes just use it in the fork and seatpost, as opposed to the entire frame. The safety record of carbon has still yet to be proven as well since its such a new technology (the thing about carbon is due to its molecular makeup, if brought to the point of stess it will shatter. Compare that to steel, which when stressed will bend. So if you wreck a steel bike you can just hammer it back to shape. Not so with carbon) Unless you're incredibly serious, a 100% carbon frame is probably overkill.

Aluminum is another popular material, which you will tend to find on lower to mid priced bikes. It is lighter than steel and cro-moly, but it produces thick tubes which some people dont like the appearance of, and the ride tends to be rough (you will feel vibrations, which is why its sometimes augmented with carbon on certain components which will help dampen vibrations).

Steel is the old standard and a lot of people still sware by it. Its heavy, but its probably one of the smoothest rides you can find. The tubes are thin and sleek as well, and a lot of people like the stripped down minimalist appearance. Its also cheap! If you browse garage sales, theres a good chance you could find a nice 70's era italian frame for next to nothing, and with a some new components and a cleaning it could turn out to be a solid standby. Just remember if you leave it out in the rain it will rust.

As far as hybrids go, I like the Trek FX line (which is actually their "fitness" line. The models that fall under their "hybrid" line are more of a comfort/cruiser bike, which I'm not sure is what you're looking for). It is a step below road bike speed, but stable enough to take the abuse of city streets. It also has an upright seating position, which will be less stressful on your back and allow you to take in the scenery.
Trek Bikes | Bikes | Bike Path

But like I said, its a personal decision. If you think you might get serious about riding, you might just want to skip hybrids altogether and get a true road bike, which will put you into a more aggressive stance and have a lighter frame. The key is just testing as many models and brands as you can.

Last edited by via chicago; 03-16-2009 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:07 AM
 
1,084 posts, read 1,182,093 times
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There was a similar thread regarding bike purchase. Try searching the Chicago forum for it, as it was pretty recently, and had a lot of good info.

Riding up and down lakeshore is leisurely for the most part; however, you will succumb to traffic around Lincoln part through Navy Pier, so prepare for that. During the summer, I suggest biking around neighborhoods; maybe each weekend, grab lunch in a different place. To me, that was the beauty of Chicago in the Summer combined with beach time.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:09 AM
 
1,801 posts, read 4,234,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gichicago View Post
There was a similar thread regarding bike purchase. Try searching the Chicago forum for it, as it was pretty recently, and had a lot of good info.

Riding up and down lakeshore is leisurely for the most part; however, you will succumb to traffic around Lincoln part through Navy Pier, so prepare for that. During the summer, I suggest biking around neighborhoods; maybe each weekend, grab lunch in a different place. To me, that was the beauty of Chicago in the Summer combined with beach time.
Yea, the lakefront trail gets incredibly crowded, especially on the north side. So much so that in many places you will have to walk your bike. Not the place to try out your Lance Armstrong impression
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:19 AM
 
3,628 posts, read 6,711,153 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gichicago View Post
There was a similar thread regarding bike purchase. Try searching the Chicago forum for it, as it was pretty recently, and had a lot of good info.
it was mine. i still have no idea what i want to do, mostly because i have a VERY SMALL budget for the thing. i don't plan on using it for anything but commuting...
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:12 AM
 
6,418 posts, read 8,891,959 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supernerdgirl View Post
it was mine. i still have no idea what i want to do, mostly because i have a VERY SMALL budget for the thing. i don't plan on using it for anything but commuting...
I'm telling you, all of the talk about finding the perfect bike is well and good, but if you're just commuting on it, you can find a bike for 50 bucks, spend maybe another 30 to 50 to fix it up, and buy a big honkin u-lock for 30-40 bucks and you're on the road.

That's what I did several years ago, and I still have that bike and use it often.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Houston Texas
1,003 posts, read 1,620,022 times
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I always use www.bikely.com to find routes.

good luck!
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:23 PM
 
3,628 posts, read 6,711,153 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolinaBredChicagoan View Post
I'm telling you, all of the talk about finding the perfect bike is well and good, but if you're just commuting on it, you can find a bike for 50 bucks, spend maybe another 30 to 50 to fix it up, and buy a big honkin u-lock for 30-40 bucks and you're on the road.

That's what I did several years ago, and I still have that bike and use it often.
i'm sure you're right... i'm just putting it off since i haven't been on one since i was 9.
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:27 PM
 
6,418 posts, read 8,891,959 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supernerdgirl View Post
i'm sure you're right... i'm just putting it off since i haven't been on one since i was 9.
Ha! It'd been a while for me, too, and I was a little intimidated, to be honest, about biking in Chicago. Now I love it.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:09 PM
 
1,156 posts, read 2,408,554 times
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Yuo may also want to check out the
Chicagoland Bicycle Federation

- Chicagoland Bicycle Federation

OR there is also a group called Critical MAss that does monthly bike rides. I guess they're an eclectic bunch. I've never done a ride with them, but they're supposed to be fun. From their website:

Critical Mass is a bike ride plain and simple. The ride takes place on the Last Friday Of Every Month (in Chicago anyway). A Critical Mass is created when the group of riders comes together for those few hours to take back the streets of our city. The right of the people to assemble is guaranteed in the Constitution, and Critical Mass helps people remember that right. The Mass itself has no political agenda, though, no more than the people of any other community do. Critical Mass is open to all, and it welcomes all riders to join in a celebration of riding bicycles. Why? Because bikes are fun!

http://chicagocriticalmass.org
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