hello from a newbie

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by flowergirl, 23 Aug 2007.

  1. flowergirl

    flowergirl New Member

    Hello everyone! I'm new here, been looking about a bit, you all seem helpful!:biggrin:

    So I have what might be a silly question. I've given up on my old car since it last failed the MOT and I got sick of spending money on it, so I've been cycling to work, on my Mum's old bike, a couple of miles. I'm quite happy with it, it gets me there, but my birthdays coming up and I reckoned I could ask for money towards my own new bike.

    Mum's bike has three gears - the sort where theres a sort of metal can in the middle of the back wheel. I've noticed that a lot of bikes, especially new ones, have the sort with lots of cogwheels at the back. Is it better to have that sort? I'm used to the ones I've got and they seem enough - I don't think I'd know what to do with too many!!!!
  2. Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Bury, Lancashire
    Hub gears are great for commuting on. They don't get clogged up with shyte from the roads because they are sealed inside the hub (the midde bit of the wheel) and so they need very little maintenance. However if they do need servicing, you can't do it yourself very easily and will have to take it to a bike shop. If you have a cassette of sprockets on the wheel you will have to clean and lubricate it regularly to keep the gears working well.

    You will see hub gears on town bikes or 'Dutch' style bikes because they are ideal for fairly flat, town riding when you don't need lots of gears. You wont see them on mountain bikes, racing bikes or touring bikes, because, for these types of cycling, most people prefer to have a greater range of gears available - it makes going up steep hills, cycling long distances, or carrying a lot of weight up hill on the bike (tents, camping gear etc) easier!

    Your mum's bike is proably ideal for the job you are using it for at the moment. If you are thinking about doing a different type of cycling; going off road, going further, or cycling for fun at weekends, you might want to get a different type of bike with more gears available. Different types of bikes and different gear ranges suit different types of cycling and terrain (hilly, flat, rolling, off-road tracks, smooth tarmac etc). It's best to decide what it is you want to do with the bike and what type of surface you will mostly be riding on (ie, canal tow path, rough tracks, roads etc) and then get some advice/make a decision based on that.
  3. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Moderator

    welcome flower girl, you've come to the right place.

    i think what you're describing is a classic roadster. the three speed gear system is known as a sturmey archer (that's the manufacturer).

    if your commute is only short and very flat, there's nothing wrong with a roadster, particularly if as (i presume) a lady you wear a skirt while riding. If you ever visit oxford or cambridge you'll see plenty of university types riding around on them.

    however…if you decide you are cycling for the enjoyment of it (not just to get you to work) then a road bike with a derailleur gear system (lots of cogwheels (known as sprockets)) might be just what you are looking for.

    You'll find chapter and verse on those sort of bikes on here (but never be afraid to ask if you can't).
  4. OP

    flowergirl New Member

    Oh, thanks for those replies, I think I understand a bit better now. I don't think I want to do much cleaning and stuff, so the gears I have (hub gears right?) might be better. I don't mind taking it to be serviced, as long as it's not too often or costs too much. On the other hand, I'm starting to quite like cycling, so I might end up wanting to go a bit further - maybe for days out. Do hub gears always just have 3 gears then and would that stop me going further, if it wasn't very hilly?

    Oh, and yes, I'm a lady!:biggrin:
  5. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Moderator

    whereabouts do you live flowergirl? if it's as flat as a bowling green for miles around there's no real need for extra gears, unless the "hardest" gear becomes too easy and you find your legs spinning away for not much gain.

    if you find that you are getting off to push up minor hills, it may be that you would be best off getting a new bike. unless, of course, you enjoy the walking bit.
  6. Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Bury, Lancashire
    Your three speed hub gearing doesn't stop you doing anything! However, it might make going further a bit less easy and can be rather limiting as you only have three speeds. Should you with to go faster or slower you won't have the choice to to do either if you are already at the top or bottom gear. The idea is to try to keep your pedalling speed the same all the time, no matter what gear you are in or how tired you are. This means that on a flat road you would use the midlde or high/heavy gears and going up hill, or when tired, in order to keep the same pedal speed, you would need to change down into a lower/lighter gear. On a long or steep hill or if you are tired, you wont be able to turn the heaviest gear fast enough and will quickly run out of gears to change down into if you only have three gears. This isn't the end of the world, but does mean either getting off and pushing or painfully grinding up the hill in too big a gear, leaving you feeling knackered and sore. Cycling is just easier and therefore more enjoyable if you have a bike that suits the job you want it to do.

    You can bikes with many gears in a hub - but these hubs are very expensive which will be reflected in the cost of a bike with one in the rear wheel. I don't know enough about town bikes to give you any more info than that. You could try Pashley Cycles.
  7. Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Bury, Lancashire
    Some info here - you can get 14 speed hubs:

    Some info on Sturmey Archer hubs:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-archer.html If you scroll right down the page to 'Gearing' you will see that they are not considered to be good for hilly areas as the gears are high.

    Is about English 3 Speeds - what your mum's bike probably is or was based on if it's a newer bike.

    BTW flowergirl, Sheldon Brown's site (US) is a great place for info and advice on all things cycling, bike maintenance, saddles, how to get comfy on the bike, good cycling technique and how to use gears, get up hills etc.
  8. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    Hi flowergirl! Blonde and Alecs have pretty much covered it all. I have sprockets (derailleur) on my summer bike, which is light and a bit sporty (although I'm not!) and a hub gear (7 speeds) on my winter bike, which is more like me - sturdy, heavy and doesn't require much servicing.

    Er... I might have put that better...

    Anyway, the key thing is to work out how much you are going to use the bike and how hilly it will be. It might be a good idea to see over the next few days how much you change gear, and whether you struggle on any part of your ride. If you only really use one or two gears and are comfortable with them, you might not need many more - a lot of people only have one! But if you are constantly changing up and down, or find yourself puffing and straining to get uphill, then it might be worth looking for something with a wider range of gears...

    And I'd second the plug for Sheldon Brown, the man seems to know it all!
  9. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Moderator

    i believe patrick has that covered (unintentionally i think) :biggrin:
  10. OP

    flowergirl New Member

    Wow, thanks everyone, that's a lot of homework to do!!!! I guess I never knew how much there was to know!

    My commute is mainly quite flat, but there is one hill that I puff up a bit. Although I've noticed that even over a couple of months, I'm getting up it easier - this really is a good way to keep fit! And the countryside round here (Leicestershire) is hilly in some places, flattish in others... I suppose I do most of my cycling in the middle gear and just use the lower one when I get to the hill.

    Blimey User, I hope you aren't talking about some disastrous blind date type situation!:biggrin: I get the feeling there's a lot of in-jokes I'll have to find out about!!
  11. MisterMeg

    MisterMeg New Member

    Hello flowergirl, they are a friendly lot here aren't they? I found bonj especially to be most helpful.

    I'm getting my new bike tomorrow, so hopefully I'll catch the cycling bug that the rest of them seem to have. I might even check out the rest of this site.
  12. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Don't worry. Most of what goes on will be familiar to anyone who can remember back to their primary school playground.

    Oh and another thing. . . just as back then, be very wary of old men offering you sweets or other treats - irrespective of how 'learned' they might appear.
  13. ...or offering words of caution eh tim? :biggrin:
    Hello flowergirl.
    No weeds on here, petal.
  14. Scoosh

    Scoosh Velocouchiste Moderator

    hey flowergirl,
    Had to join the forum to give you this link:


    There is so much info on this site for all us new/returning bikers, take your time to browse the whole thing ... then all your questions will be answered - yes, even about life the universe and everything ! :biggrin:

    Be advised though - this cycling thing can really get to you !

    What, me ?? - I reckon I'm still young !
  15. OP

    flowergirl New Member

    Wow, thanks again everyone!!xx( I think I'll look at a few bikes on the web maybe and see what's out there. But I think I'd be better buying one local, coz then I can see it for real and maybe try it for size - is that right?

    And I'll watch out for the old men with sweets!!!:biggrin:
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