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I'm interested in biking for fitness. I walk 4-5 miles daily, averaging 14:30 mins a mile. I'm interested in biking perhaps 2-3x a week, not interested in racing or group rides just something to do other than my daily brisk walk. I'd be riding on bike paths during the week-days avoiding the crowds on the week-ends.
My questions:
Recommendations for a bike?
Should I be concern about pedals/shoes, handlebars and a seat? If so, recommendations.

accessories? helmet, cycle-computer. I have a garmin watch and heart rate monitor.

What would be an optimum Distance and average speed per day?

Personal background.
Age: 61, Height: 5'6" (short legs with trouser inseam of 29"), Weight: 170 (goal is to get to 150)

Thank for your input.

RP
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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Given your intended (casual) use to supplement walking, I'd recommend a hybrid. A somewhat less expensive initial cost (over a drop bar road bike) and (generally) easier to fit. But I would still recommend test riding a couple of drop bar bikes, then decide what suites you best.

Either way, I would recommend seeking out a reputable LBS for sizing/ fit assistance, because even casual riding requires a well fitting bike.

Re: pedals/shoes, handlebars and a seat, the OE bars and seat should be adequate for your uses, at least initially. Shoes should at least have a relatively still sole. Pedals (again, initially) can be platforms. If so desired, you can go to clipless at a later date.

Re: accessories, helmet, cycle-computer - all helmets meet the same safety standards, with differences (in price) being dictated by venting, retention systems.. so try a few on for comfort and pick from there.

I'm 'old school', so use a bike computer, but your Garmin and HRM should meet your needs. I would suggest reading up on cadence, because the last thing you want to do is cause yourself knee injuries. And keeping cadence up will make you a better cyclist, able to go further, longer, with less effort.

For accessories, I'd suggest a saddle bag with at least the 'essentials' for flat repair, and learn how to make those repairs.

Optimum distance and average speed depends on many factors. Mainly, a person's overall fitness, but also terrain. My advice is to start with 'a few' miles maintaining 'a moderate effort' for a few rides and go from there, staying in tune with how you feel.

If you need a guideline, incrementing up about 10% weekly is acceptable, but (again), it depends on the individual.
 

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Given your intended (casual) use to supplement walking, I'd recommend a hybrid. A somewhat less expensive initial cost (over a drop bar road bike) and (generally) easier to fit. But I would still recommend test riding a couple of drop bar bikes, then decide what suites you best.

Either way, I would recommend seeking out a reputable LBS for sizing/ fit assistance, because even casual riding requires a well fitting bike.

Re: pedals/shoes, handlebars and a seat, the OE bars and seat should be adequate for your uses, at least initially. Shoes should at least have a relatively still sole. Pedals (again, initially) can be platforms. If so desired, you can go to clipless at a later date.

Re: accessories, helmet, cycle-computer - all helmets meet the same safety standards, with differences (in price) being dictated by venting, retention systems.. so try a few on for comfort and pick from there.

I'm 'old school', so use a bike computer, but your Garmin and HRM should meet your needs. I would suggest reading up on cadence, because the last thing you want to do is cause yourself knee injuries. And keeping cadence up will make you a better cyclist, able to go further, longer, with less effort.

For accessories, I'd suggest a saddle bag with at least the 'essentials' for flat repair, and learn how to make those repairs.

Optimum distance and average speed depends on many factors. Mainly, a person's overall fitness, but also terrain. My advice is to start with 'a few' miles maintaining 'a moderate effort' for a few rides and go from there, staying in tune with how you feel.

If you need a guideline, incrementing up about 10% weekly is acceptable, but (again), it depends on the individual.
I agree with this 100% and I will only add that you might want to check out endurance drop bar bikes and gravel/adventure bikes when you are checking out hybrids. As PJ indicated, any of those could be an ideal fit for you, but get thee to a reputable bike shop to get some assistance with making a decision.
 

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4-5 miles daily, at that pace, is a pretty good indicator that you're relatively fit. Try a few styles of bikes. The big advantage that a drop bar bike (road, touring, or cyclocross) gives you is a choice of hand positions over the course of a long ride. If you're riding is going to be 10-15 miles on a MUP, this isn't that big a deal. But be careful----the more you ride, the urge to ride longer and/or more often may well bite. :wink: At our age (I'm 62) we all start out with the same, "it's just for fun and fitness" mindset, and then a funny thing happens---we find that we really LIKE being out there and keep going a little bit farther, until before we know it, we're riding 150-200 miles a week and thinking, "you know, if a couple of months, this local club has this 100 mile ride scheduled, and maybe I'll do it just this once to say that I've done one". You have been warned. :D

Some companies now market their better hybrids as "flat bar road bikes". They tend to be a bit lighter in weight, and some of them can come with very good component groups. It's really up to you how much you spend.

You don't really need a bike computer---in addition to your watch and HRM, you can also download a cell phone app like Strava that can use GPS to track time/distance/elevation. Endomondo is another one that's available.
 

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Devoid of all flim-flam
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In no particular order:

Listen to what everyone says here. Go to high-end bicycle stores. Stare at the merchandise. Lift the machines off the floor, particularly the all-out racing bicycles. Does their feather weight increase your pulse? If your reaction is meh, go for a hybrid.

Let the various stores lay on the hype. Determine a budget. Spend a bit more than you think you ought to. Don't get freaked out by the idea of fastening your feet onto the pedals.

Yeah!
 

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I'm interested in biking for fitness. I walk 4-5 miles daily, averaging 14:30 mins a mile. I'm interested in biking perhaps 2-3x a week, not interested in racing or group rides just something to do other than my daily brisk walk. I'd be riding on bike paths during the week-days avoiding the crowds on the week-ends.
My questions:
Recommendations for a bike?
Get a hybrid. Trek calls them "fitness" bikes. You do not need suspension. If you want multiple hand positions, ask for the shop to install short bar ends.

Should I be concern about pedals/shoes, handlebars and a seat? If so, recommendations. For starters, just use flat pedals and a sneaker/running shoe. After a while, if you find the flexible sole of a sneaker uncomfortable, then buy a pair of cycling shoes such as the Shimano XM7 or SH-MT44. These shoes can be used without a clipless style pedal until you're ready to try clipless pedals. You could outfit the bike with Shimano's PD-A530 pedal right when you buy the bike as it accommodates non-cleated shoes on one side, and clipless shoes on the other side. You'll save some money that way and the pedals will be ready when you are. I wouldn't recommend toeclips and straps as they have not evolved to fit sneakers and other sport shoes well.

As for handlebars, those Trek bikes mentioned above come with a nice, relatively flat handlebar. The bar ends I suggested (I recommend nothing longer than about 110mm as the rest of the length usually goes unused) will provide alternative hand positions and go well with a flat bar. If you find the handlebars too wide, know that they can be cut down by any competent bike shop. I've cut mine several times until their width felt right for me. Saddles are very personal. Lower cost bikes typically have more padding which is good for beginners. I recommend you stick with the model that comes with the bike until you discover it's uncomfortable; only then should you try something else. And know that saddle adjustment can make a poor fitting saddle very comfortable; ask your bike shop to help you with saddle adjustment.

accessories? helmet, cycle-computer. Helmet, and cycling shorts, definitely. You don't wear underwear with the shorts; know that in advance. I already mentioned shoes. Add a waterbottle and cage. Get a frame pump, spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, and multi-tool, and fit it all in a saddle bag that will hold everything and whatever else you might carry such as a wallet, keys and cellphone. Bring all the stuff with you to make sure the bag can hold it all. Even though you might not have the skills to change a flat/patch a tube/wrench on your bike, at least you'll be prepared to ask assistance from another cyclist should you need help.

Buy a floor pump for home use. Bicycle mounted pumps are not meant for regular inflation of tires; a floor pump is MUCH easier to use.

Cycle computer: They DO help motivate people so I would say get one if watching the numbers inspires you to greater achievements. Wireless computers look cleaner on the bike but wired computers are fine as well.

What would be an optimum Distance and average speed per day?
Ride for the same amount of time as you walk, at the same heart rate, and you'll achieve the same benefits. Ignore speed; you're interested in fitness, not racing. Problem is, you'll soon find it very easy to ride longer and farther on a bike than walking and you'll be seeking out higher goals. Sounds like you're spending roughly 1-1.25hours walking. Substituting that time with cycling should be plenty-until you catch the cycling bug...

Your trouser inseam is shorter than the dimension typically used to size bicycles. Given the information you provided, I would confidently say you'd fit a 17" frame. If your cycling inseam were 29", then I'd say get a 15" frame. Use this linked video to measure yourself for a bicycle frame (the first minute of the video only). For a hybrid style bike, you should try frames that are 1/2 to 2/3 of the inseam measurement following the video instructions.
 

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What would be an optimum Distance and average speed per day?
As much and as fast as you feel like riding. As long as you do some it doesn't really matter, so do as much as you enjoy and have time for. If you get into it, your idea of "fit" may change.

You will want shorts, jersey, gloves, jacket. At the minimum. If you ride much you'll end up with more clothes. Also a floor pump, frame pump, and some minimal tools (enough to fix a flat and take care of minor adjustments). Sometimes bike shops will give a discount on clothes and accessories bought with the bike.

I'd suggest a drop bar bike rather than a hybrid as they're more comfortable if you spend much time riding.

Pedals and a seat make a bike much more comfortable. A shop can help you find ones that work for you.

61 is not old.
 

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"You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to PJ352 again."

I'm 95% with PJ including the test riding of drop bar bikes, helmet comfort, and paying attention to how you feel after a ride (and the next day) ...but.

I think that if the bike fits, a 10% increase might be conservative. And since racing isn't to goal, and being active is, ride more, find someplace worth visiting that's 45-60 minutes away, visit that place, ride home. If it takes 55-75 on the ride home, the OP isn't out anything. Time and intensity can easily be varied by someone starting the activity, presuming they pay attention to their body and back way off if the soreness is something other than muscles adapting.
 

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Good advice given already.

Generally speaking and once you have ridding for a week or so, if you ride a bike for 15 minutes at an easy pace (say, 12-14 mph), you will be exerting yourself about as much as 15 minutes of walking briskly. You will just go more distance in the time. Faster than that, and you will spend more energy than walking per minute.

But honestly, don't worry about it. If you want to get faster, drop weight, there are ways to do that more efficiently. But I think it makes more sense to just enjoy the ride, and use the bike to go further and thus see different things on your rides versus walks. Start with 30 minutes on the bike, and slowly increase your time as you get used to riding. Once you are riding an hour without problems, then think about changing things up. But until then, ride and have fun with it!
 

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In my experience, road cycling is the most fun form of cardio exercise available to humans. I've tried jogging, running, treadmills at the gym, etc... and I hated all of it. The only issue I have with cycling is the constant danger of riding in a "bike-unfriendly" area. I have to choose my routes and ride times wisely or I will end up dead or in the ER. I've been riding for 3 years now and have only had one major wreck that resulted in a broken left clavicle. My ER bill alone was 3 times as much as I spent on my bike and cycling gear. Like I said.. it's a great hobby, but there is always some risk involved.
 

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Cycling is such a fun way to get your cardio on! I did the same last year: walking 4-5 miles, but I also tried running and amid a running store fitting me into good shoes, the impact pain was awful, so I found cycling to be fun and not hurt. If you can ride with a group, don't be embarrassed about gear, they will help you immensely in technique and getting rolling more. Once you figure out your basic needs to fit a bike and you've ridden a few, get what will likely not be the last bike you'll buy, if you can spend at least $700-1,000, you'll probably have a great start up that a shop fits to you

I agree on considering a road bike, a variety of hand positions will help to avoid numb hands. Buy a pair of shorts, cycling gloves, any helmet that fits for openers will get you started, you can always upgrade. I did get clipless pedals pretty early on when my group ride leader showed me to aim for cadence of 90, not only was the pedalling more powerful, my feet stayed in the pedals easier.
Enjoy!
 

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Given you asked a whole forum full of road cyclists.... I'll add another consideration for a drop bar cross or gravel bike. It'll do everything and still be great if you start riding more miles and picking up speed. I got my daughter a hybrid, she loves to ride, but I regret it, honestly... Hybrids don't do anything well. They weigh a ton, and you are a sail.
 
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