Thursday, July 21, 2011

a plea to bike store owners

This is a cry out to any female looking to buy a bike and get into cycling. I again received another email from a woman looking to enter the world of cycling. Here is her email....

Libby, I am a 70yr old woman and just returned from a 6 day bike trip in Ireland. I never rode a bike with gears before and I used a trek 7300 hybrid. I was all set to purchase a similar bike before I read your blog. I live in Malvern and would like to start biking around here but don't really know the difference between a road bike and a hybrid. I thought the road bike was heavier. Could you please tell me the difference. I tried to register on that Terry site but was unsuccessful. Any advice would be appreciated.

Bike stores would be well served to have some older women working in them and selling bikes to older women. It is very intimidating for a women age 70 to walk into a bike store and ask for bike. I am willing to bet that this woman will walk out of the store with a heavy hybrid bike that she will struggle with when attempting to ride on the roads.

A 70 yo woman can be a serious biker. She can easily buy a good road bike and take to the sport even at her age. I am at a loss to explain why a bike store would sell a heavy hybrid bike to an older person trying to get into biking.

A road bike just makes more sense for older folks. It is lighter and most likely has better components and better wheels. A good road bike offers much more versatility for the older female rider. Hill climbing is easier, coasting is better and acceleration will be more efficient.

If you are reading this blog post and are an older woman - do your homework BEFORE you buy a bike.

1. Get informed and a good place to start is the Terry Cycling website. Watch her videos about bikes and bike fit.

2. Visit several bike stores -tell them you want to bike on the roads and want to be able to climb hills.

3. Get a bike with a TRIPLE CRANK. This will make hill climbing easier.

4. Find a bike club in your area and contact them and ask for help in finding a bike and or bike store. Look for a bike club that offers rides at the C or D level as this is a good place to start. You will find others in your same boat with the same skills.

5. An interesting bike for older women is one by Specialized called the Ruby. This bike has excellent gearing for the older cyclist. The cassette is an 11/32 which means you will have a nice easy gear for climbing hills. I bike with a woman now who has this bike and she sails up the hills.

6. Learn what it means to have good hill climbing gears. A good combo for you is the Triple Crank with a a cassette around 11/28 or you can go the route of the Ruby and get a bike with the Sram Apex which allows for very easy hill climbing.

The point of this blog post is to alert you to the value of doing your homework BEFORE you buy your bike. A bike store appreciates a well versed woman in terms of biking knowledge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am new to your blog. Was directed here from an old post on Copenhagenize. "Rant on cyle chic"
commenting on styles of bikes for anyone not just older women. I agree that new riders and older riders are frequently sold hybrid bikes. "comfort bikes" How wrong is this when these riders should have the same advantages as intiated riders? It is nice to have a sturdy lighweight ride without all the gimmicks that bike designs are so full of. We don't need suspended forks or sprung seat post or suspended goosenecks. A little carbon can go a long way. See my blog for comments about rider reach and the REV 2 handlebar design for more about me.