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13 August 2013


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I recommend a test ride. Back in 1994 I tried what Consumer Reports recommended. Most of them had a sloppy feel to the ride. I chose the one that felt solid.

Also, make sure you get one with tires that hold 100 psi. That extra pressure makes a big difference. Also, knobby mountain bike tires are all the rage, but they are terrible unless you are dirt biking. Get smooth tires.

I own a Bike Friday that folds up into a suitcase or into the trunk. I love it.

The Pelican

Here's one that'll work for you.


Functional, well-made and well suited to older backs and necks.


Spokes Etc is a locally owned chain of bike stores in NoVA. They have a store in Alexandria at 1545 N. Quaker Lane. http://spokesetc.com/

They are not cheap, but they have a good stock of bikes. They carry mostly Trek and Specialized bikes. They have cruiser bikes like the one you mentioned that are less than $500 for a decent lightweight one. I like their service department, as they have done good work on tuning up my 20 year old bike.


Something like this?


John Minnerath

I remember those, they were the dream machine of the day as I recall.
For my birthday about 51 or 52 I got a big monstrous Hiawatha. The one with a tank sort of thing in the frame, full fenders, and coaster brakes. The head light used a couple D cells and those old carbon batteries always went dead when you needed it.
In the 70s I bought a high tech French made bicycle that cost a small fortune, and was weighed in ounces, the frame was probably forged by elves in middle earth.
A girl friend borrowed it and moved to Maine accidently taking it with her, never saw her or my bike again.
Now days bicycles are so complicated and specialized I'd be afraid to ask what they're for.

Peter C

I have enjoyed riding a recumbent bike the last 10 years. Do try one before passing judgment. I find that the position makes riding more pleasurable, than a regular bike. Regular bikes tend to pitch you forward, no matter the design. With a recumbent the view is more relaxed. The seat is more supportive and does not hurt at the end of the day. The one brand that I like the most is
Before you buy, do find a shop that stock recumbent bikes and go for a spin. If the bike you choose is comfortable and fun you will ride more.


I'd get the Schwinn men's gateway (sold at Target) or the Admiral (sold at bike shops).

A bit heavy, but fine for alexandria. The issue is getting your bike stolen, not worth investing that much.

Downside to the target bike is build quality is low. You'll pay 250 more for the same bike at the bike shop, but it will work. Otherwise you'll have the adjust brakes, screws, etc.

Try the bikeshare as well.

for a bit more:



Look at Rivendell bikes. My father has one and one day he'll pass it on to me. I currently ride his old Bridgestone, which was made by the fellow who eventually founded Rivendell.

I think their philosophy about cycling will fit with what looking for.



Craig's list is also a fine source for used and classic items.


Check out a Trek. Very nice ride, neither too expensive nor too clunky and very reliable.

Richard Welty

many of the better manufacturers make hybrid road bikes these days that are very nice. they generally have a more upright seating position with flat handlebars. fit is probably more important than brand, so visit your local bike shops. here are links for three prominent brands:




SAC Brat

Long ago I was a bicycle shop mechanic. Recently I cobbled together a park bike to ride with my kids. It is a old hardtail mountainbike frame with a suspension front fork, suspension seatpost, wide seat, high handlebars on angled riser stem, pedals with power straps and Schwalbe touring tires. If I ride after the kids I don't use the pedal straps side of the pedal. Very comfortable upright position and smooth ride on pavement and hardpacked dirt.


There are a lot of good hybrid and cruiser bikes available, and the Europeans have some good ideas on practical bikes. Expect maybe $300 on the low end and $1000 for nice production bikes. Fit is important because you can hurt your knees if the seat is too high or too low, and back, neck and shoulders if frame is too short or too long.

And get a helmet.

J.R. Brooks

Whatever bike you get Col. Lang you should bring along a good digital camera. Street photography can be fun. You never know what you will run into and you will soon learn that what you see once ain't there the next time your out riding around. I would recommend the Canon G15. It is light weight amd has a good / fast (f-stop) mid-zoom lens.

Richard Welty

[original comment disappeared when trying to post, retrying]
most major manufacturers make town bikes these days which work well on pavement but have upright seating positions. Fit is probably more important than brand, so visit your lcal bike shop. here are links for some brands that have "around town" models:

Richard Welty

major manufacturers these days typically have a line of "around town" bikes with more upright seating position and good componentry. fit is at least as important as brand, so be sure to visit local bike shops. here are some links to manufacturers who make such bikes:

Maureen Lang


My good friend Panaman of San Clemente owns five bikes, has been a cycling enthusiast his whole life. I've sent him an email for any recommendations/words of wisdom. Will let you know when I get reply (he's currently on vacation).

Babak Makkinejad

Please check this site and look for hybrids:


Once you receive it in the mail, you may have to partly assemble it - I suggest taking it to a bike-shop for that.

I cannot recommend anything under the old names - they are all now Chinese junk.

I cannot recommend Trek; too expensive for the qulaity that it supplies.


It's whatever is most comfortable for you. Bicycle culture is very diverse.



Re: the bike on the picture - my favourite bike is very similar to the one on the picture. It's from Hercules, single speed, and by now must be more than thirty years old. I'm quite fond of it. For one it's agile, and then, once you have gotten it to speed, it runs forever, like it wants to roll.

I can relate to the desire to not want something clunky. Handling, geometry, centre of gravity and balance of such 'classic' bikes is pretty much unsurpassed by new bikes IMO. The old ones handle more naturally to me. Driving one of those new ones always ... feels wrong. I prefer the old ones. Hard to come by nowadays in quality, though.

My fav bike was a gift from a colleague. I noted it standing in front of the company building and I remarked that I was looking for something like that. The owner heard that, and gave it to me because the bottom bracket was broken - and he had lost the key anyway. So I broke the lock, had the bike repaired and am happily riding it ever since.

By the time I got it it had stood there for two years in wind and weather I was told. No rust. Everything but the chain was made of aluminium or stainless steel.

In contrast, as for the materials and workmanship - I bought a bike last year, something faster, and after the winter I had screws and chain that had rusted, and the disc brakes scream bloody murder whenever I use them - resulting in me using the old bike instead. The balance is ok, but not as good as with my fav one. A poor buy.

So here's my advice: Don't order on line unless you have ridden the bike before. If it feels 'wrong', don't buy it.

I don't know about your preferences, but If I had to buy now I'd try to keep it simple - internal gear hub (low maintenance), three to eight gears (enough for most urban biking), V brakes (simple and effective), carrier (practical) and light (essential). I'd try to keep weight low. Curiously, such simple bikes tend to be more expensive.



Check out Spokes Etc. in Alexandria (1545 N. Quaker Ln). They carry excellent cruiser bikes that fit your need. Mostly Trek and Specialized brands. Expect to pay about $500. Their customer service and support is very good.


These are a little on the expensive side but if you want a bike that is "Euro inspired" (not sure what this means probably that they are not road or mountain bikes) check out Public Bikes from SF.


Happy ridding!

The Twisted Genius

My first thought was to find a local bike shop to keep whatever you get tuned up. There's a Big Wheel Bikes at 2 Prince Street. They offer rentals which might be a good idea to see what you like. They seem to aim at a wide variety of customers rather than just elitist road bikers. Can't hurt to check it out. Good luck.

I still have an old low end Huffy 10 speed that I bought in 81. Took it to England in a 10th Group portable SCIF. Had a collision with a pheasant on the way back from Wells next the Sea and ended up in the nettles. In Germany I added lightweight fenders to keep road spray away. My sons and I went everywhere. Smooth tires are the way to go.

scott s.

Keep in mind that today, other than some boutique hand build frames, virtually all bike production is sourced from Taiwan or China mainland. In some cases (molded carbon composite) mainland China is about the only game (except for some of the top end for example the top of the line Trek Madone or Cervelo R5). An exception might be Giant which is a Taiwan firm that does most of their own production AFAIK in house and also contracts some OEM production. I think much of the cost is going to relate to the quality of components used, so the "brand name" on the down tube itself doesn't tell you much. You'll probably pay a bit more at a bike shop, but in a place like DC where there are so many I would visit a few and get opinions and then test a few to see what works best for you. On a city / hybrid bike you probably aren't going to obsess about fit, but a bike shop should include enough of a fitting to make sure you are comfortable on the bike.


I recommend you visit 2-3 respectable bicycle stores and explain your needs, wants, and age. A clear picture should emerge of what would be in your best interest. The store might even let you try the bicycle out before buying so you can make a better decision concerning paved, gravel, or dirt roads. Also, I recommend that you find local bike trails to start and avoid the roads. Miami has several beautiful one along the coast and several adventurous one along The Everglades that are very popular.


The Schwinn I had in the '70's was very similar, but a 5-speed, and I miss it dearly. I figure I rode it at least 10,000 miles (school commuting, regular weekend bike-hikes, & several long trips). It was eventually eaten by a Bougainvilla bush in CA.

Had a modern hybrid (Diamondback?), but it was stolen off my porch last fall, flat tires & all. The one thing I'd warn you about is that I find the straight-across handlebars to be VERY uncomfortable on a long ride. They're great for off-road biking, where you need the control to jump stumps & such; but for long, flat cruising, you wind up in one position all the time.

Traditional 10-speed ("down") handlebars give you some options, all of which are aerodynamic but uncomfortable.

The old handlebars - as pictured above - twist back toward your center of gravity; you can sit upright (non-aerodynamic, but comfy), or lean over & put your hands in the middle of the bars for a change of pace (& less wind resistance).

Also, look for an old-style seat.

And get a helmet, but NOT the silly pants.

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