New to Cycling, Seeking Advice

iBreatheApple

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 3, 2011
2,610
407
Florida
Hey all. I have a few questions. In addition to kayaking, I've decided to become more active. I've purchased a new bike (Schwinn Trailway Hybrid, Men's 28") and I really don't know anything about them. Below are a few (probably elementary) questions I have.

  1. Are there general rules for shifting? I know you obviously need to be pedaling, it depends on terrain and what 'feels right', and I can tell that the front gear changes are more drastic than the back... is that all there is to know?

  2. What's the ideal position height for the bars and seat? It feels fine, I guess, but I really don't know what's normal. And I don't mean exact position in height, I mean relative to the body, are there any general rules?

  3. I've read briefly about the derailleur. What exactly does it do? How will I know if it needs adjusting?

  4. The recommended PSI for my tires are 50-75; I've filled them to 60 and they seem pretty rock solid, is it okay to keep going? I know I probably shouldn't max them out but with a range like that I'd expect them to be able to handle 65-70.

  5. Beside checking tire pressure and ensure everything is tight, is there general maintenance I should perform?

  6. Any other information for a new biker that you think would be beneficial is greatly appreciated!
 

chown33

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 9, 2009
8,497
4,458
Pale blue comma
Where did you buy the bike from? If it's from a bike shop, they can answer every one of the questions you posted, in as much detail as you think you need.

If you bought from a private party, then I suggest finding a bike shop in your area. At the very least, it will be useful to patronize it for maintenance. Which also answers your question #6.
 

JTToft

macrumors 68040
Apr 27, 2010
3,405
754
Aarhus, Denmark
  1. are there general rules for shifting? I know you obviously need to be pedaling, it depends on terrain and what 'feels right', and i can tell that the front gear changes are more drastic than the back... Is that all there is to know?

  2. what's the ideal position height for the bars and seat? It feels fine, i guess, but i really don't know what's normal. And i don't mean exact position in height, i mean relative to the body, are there any general rules?

  3. i've read briefly about the derailleur. What exactly does it do? How will i know if it needs adjusting?

  4. the recommended psi for my tires are 50-75; i've filled them to 60 and they seem pretty rock solid, is it okay to keep going? I know i probably shouldn't max them out but with a range like that i'd expect them to be able to handle 65-70.

  5. beside checking tire pressure and ensure everything is tight, is there general maintenance i should perform?
1. In general, you should avoid too drastic gear changes. Take it one or two at a time, and don't jump suddenly from 3rd to 18th, for instance. Also, try to keep the chain relatively straight between the back and front gears - avoid having it on the innermost back gear and the outermost front gear, for instance.

2. That's individual, really. But generally speaking, the seat should be at such at height that when you're pedalling, your legs are slightly bent at their most extended. Not entirely stretched, but certainly nowhere near 90 degrees, either. Also, for security and comfort, you should be able to touch the ground with the tips of your toes/shoes when seated.

5. Keep the chain and gears well-oiled.
 

hallux

macrumors 68030
Apr 25, 2012
2,774
485
I'm no expert but I'll try to answer the best I can. I'll put my answers in red inline in the quote.

Hey all. I have a few questions. In addition to kayaking, I've decided to become more active. I've purchased a new bike (Schwinn Trailway Hybrid, Men's 28") and I really don't know anything about them. Below are a few (probably elementary) questions I have.

  1. Are there general rules for shifting? I know you obviously need to be pedaling, it depends on terrain and what 'feels right', and I can tell that the front gear changes are more drastic than the back... is that all there is to know?


    Consider the gearing like a dual-range transmission. Once you run out of gears in the back, you can upshift in the front if you want to go faster. One thing to consider though, when you upshift in the front you should downshift in the back. Going direct from "low gear front, high gear rear" to "high gear front, high gear rear" is a HUGE jump and will kill any momentum you have. Upshifting (going from bigger cogs to smaller cogs) in the rear at the same time as upshifting in the front will also help with the upshift process.. I know that's contradictory to what I said before, but the momentary slackening of the chain from the upshift in the rear helps to move the chain to the bigger chainring.
  2. What's the ideal position height for the bars and seat? It feels fine, I guess, but I really don't know what's normal. And I don't mean exact position in height, I mean relative to the body, are there any general rules?


    As another poster mentioned, if you bought from a shop they should have "fit" you for the bike. When I bought my bike last year, my shop owner measured me and set the seat height for me. Seating position depends very much on the bike. With mine being a road bike with drop bars, a forward-leaning position is expected. Something else to consider, you want the "ball" of your foot to be over the center of the pedal.
  3. I've read briefly about the derailleur. What exactly does it do? How will I know if it needs adjusting?


    The derailleur is what shifts the gears. If the gears don't shift right, it needs adjusting. If you don't know what you're doing I HIGHLY suggest you have someone do this, it can be tricky.
  4. The recommended PSI for my tires are 50-75; I've filled them to 60 and they seem pretty rock solid, is it okay to keep going? I know I probably shouldn't max them out but with a range like that I'd expect them to be able to handle 65-70.


    I read someplace that there's a correlation between the weight of the rider, tire size/width and recommended tire pressure. That may apply more to a bike like I bought with skinnier tires than you have, but it may hold water for you also. I can't locate it right now, sorry.
  5. Beside checking tire pressure and ensure everything is tight, is there general maintenance I should perform?


    When I bought my bike, the shop told me to come back with at least 250 miles on it and he'd re-tension the wheels and make final cable tension adjustments at no cost. After that, it shouldn't need much except chain lube unless the shifting goes out of whack at some point. As for chain lubing, he told me to do nothing until it stopped throwing the factory wax-based lube when I rode. This was a new bike, an old bike may need more TLC to start with.
  6. Any other information for a new biker that you think would be beneficial is greatly appreciated!
I was visiting www.bikeforums.net during the season last year, and will be going back there shortly. Some of the people there are hardcore but they do have areas suitable for beginners. Something I HIGHLY suggest you do is read up on rules of the road for the area in which you're riding, and if you ride on multi-use paths, read up on suggested practices for use of the trail by cyclists (call-outs, bells, alerting others to your approach, speed "limit") but one thing to keep in mind, pedestrians have the right of way.
 

sviato

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2010
2,280
44
HR 9038 A
Check out the app MapMyRide which will map your bike route and record speed, distance, and incline. Happy cycling :D
 

SmurfBoxMasta

macrumors 65816
Nov 24, 2005
1,350
0
I'm only really here at night.
Hey all. I have a few questions. In addition to kayaking, I've decided to become more active. I've purchased a new bike (Schwinn Trailway Hybrid, Men's 28") and I really don't know anything about them. Below are a few (probably elementary) questions I have.

  1. What's the ideal position height for the bars and seat? It feels fine, I guess, but I really don't know what's normal. And I don't mean exact position in height, I mean relative to the body, are there any general rules?


    This depends on your height, weight, physical condition, and the type of riding you do... best advice is to go to shop that can show you what, where, how & why.

  2. The recommended PSI for my tires are 50-75; I've filled them to 60 and they seem pretty rock solid, is it okay to keep going? I know I probably shouldn't max them out but with a range like that I'd expect them to be able to handle 65-70.


    Things to remember here: The higher the tire pressure, the less rubber that contacts the road, allowing less resistance and more efficient use of your pedaling power. >>HOWEVER<< watch out for bumps, potholes etc cause they will jar your bones loose more with the higher tire pressure... as well as possibly damage your rims, spokes and wheel hub bearings.


  3. Beside checking tire pressure and ensure everything is tight, is there general maintenance I should perform?

  4. Any other information for a new biker that you think would be beneficial is greatly appreciated!
Go to a shop for advice on #3 & 4, but A) Keep your bike clean & free of dust, dirt and road debris, and B) Keep the gear systems well lubricated with a DRY lubricant, like silicone or lithium, NOT WD-40 or similar sprays...
 

Sydde

macrumors 68020
Aug 17, 2009
2,124
2,314
IOKWARDI
5. Keep the chain and gears well-oiled.
Oil the gears? Never heard that. You oil the chain once in a while (hardcore cycle forums have threads with hundreds of posts of people arguing about proper chain maintenance), and more importantly, occasionally put a drop of oil on the pivot points on the derailleur mechanisms. And after you oil these things, wipe off any excess, because oil attracts dirt.
 

Sydde

macrumors 68020
Aug 17, 2009
2,124
2,314
IOKWARDI
- If you oil one of the two (gears or chain), the other will automatically be oiled as well, since they are in contact.
Not really, not if you do it properly. There should be no residual oil on the chain when you finish oiling it, and any that gets on the cogs or chainrings should be wiped up forthwith. There is no reason whatsoever to get oil on your gears, it only wears them out faster by collecting dust.