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First of all I just wanted to thank everyone for answering my many threads and questions as I am obviously very new to road bikes. In a few weeks I think I have decided to get a Trek 1500 from my LBS. He has to order my size and he said he can get it in a double or a triple size front chain ring. He recomended the double along with another LBS. It seems like everyone I have talked with suggests I try to get a bike with a double over a triple; don't know which one I should get. My next question is it possible to get to a tube without using levers, or better yet, is there a faster or easier way to get to the tube? Thanks again for any suggestions or comments.

P.S. Why should one not wear underwear with their bike shorts?
 

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Do you have any significant hills in your area or plan to ride any? Get the triple. The price difference when you buy a new bike is pretty small. But if you find that you need a triple after all, it'll be expensive to convert a double to a triple. If you don't need the low gears, you don't have to use them.

Getting a tire on without levers depends on the rim, the tire, and how strong your thumbs are. I haven't run into a road tire that I could get OFF the rim without levers. With practice it's pretty quick.

Underwear bunches and chafes. Try it and you'll find out why no one wears it.
 

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I bought a Trek 1500 as a first bike just about a year ago. I got the triple, since I was new to cycling. The issue really is one of terrain and your overall fitness level. If you live somewhere where it is truly flat and you won't be doing any real climbing, then you will be fine with the double. If, however, you have hills to deal with, then you may want a triple.

I live in the Washington DC area, which can be pretty hilly. I can count on one hand the number of times I've used the small ring. But, if I ever go out to do some riding in the Virginia mountains, I'll almost certainly need the triple. That versatility is nice. I have had no problems to speak of with the shifting, which is the usual complaint about triples. There's no shame in not riding a double, despite what you might read on this forum from time to time. For a first bike, the triple is probably the way to go.

On the tube issue, I can usually get the bead off without a tire lever, but I think it really depends on what tires you are using. I usually just take the whole tire off, though I guess you could leave one bead on the rim and slip the tube in. It just takes some practice, which you should definetely do at home, before you flat on the road. First time i tried to change a tube it took me over an hour! I'm much faster now.

As to the underwear, bike shorts are designed to minimize chafing. They are designed to be worn without anything else under them. If you try to wear underwear, not only will you be laughed at, you stand a good chance of developing some nasty blisters. Let the clothing work the way it is designed to work, It really isn't that big a deal.
 

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In addition to considering the size of the hills in your area, also consider your age and strength. The young and strong seem to be able to get up the hills without a triple. For me, neither young nor strong, and living in mountain country, I could not ride most of my routes at all without the triple. There are hills, and then there are HILLS!

Take the tire off with tire levers. Put the tire on without them.
 
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