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I'm a total newbie.<br><br><br><br>
The bike would be used for:<br><br><br><br>
- Riding along a flat biking path (dirt/small stones) for recreation/exercise.<br><br>
- Possibly for a sprint triatholon (not to race, just to finish, so I don't need anything super technical).<br><br>
- Possibly along the road for recreation/exercise.<br><br><br><br>
Is there a bike out there that would fit my needs? Honestly, I know nothing about this. I guess I just want to know what "style" of bike I need. I know there are "road bikes" and "mountain bikes," and I'm assuming neither of those are right for me. Is there a "style" that is?<br><br><br><br>
Thanks so much for any advice/guidance!
 

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You could try a cross bike. It falls somewhere between a hybrid and a road bike. The tires are not as thick as a hybrid's (or mountain bike's) but not as thin as a road bike, which adds to increased efficiency. The geometry of the frame also makes a more efficient bike.<br><br><br><br>
Perhaps one like this:<a href="http://www.schwinnbike.com/products/bikes_detail.php?id=609" target="_blank"><br><br>
http://www.schwinnbike.com/products/bikes_detail.php?id=609</a> ?<br><br><br><br>
If you visit your local bike shop and tell them what you're looking for in the bike, they could probably provide you some guidance. Make sure you test ride anything you consider, and don't rush the selection process. Go to several shops to get second opinions if you think it's necessary; some shops do not carry a wide range of bike types/styles. A good fit is also essential, so take the time (and money, if required) to have someone from the shop adjust your bike to fit you.
 

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Sounds like about the same needs I had when looking for a bike. Doesn't sound like you'd need anything special. I just ended up getting the cheapest bike I could find from Wal-Mart, because I didn't see the point of spending hundreds of dollars. It's served me good so far. I bought a bike leash attachment so I can start taking my dogs with me too and it works fine.
 

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Hybrid/comfort bike if you don't mind slow but like comfortable -- the geometry is built to appeal to the casual rider.<br><br><br><br>
Cross bike (cyclocross) if you want to do triathalon. The geometry is like a road bike but less aggressive (so it's way faster than a comfort bike), tire size is intermediate so it's way faster than a comfort or mountain bike, not as fast as a road bike, but suitable for bike paths and roads.<br><br><br><br>
Used real bike is better than new department store bike if price is an issue. (ok, so I thought department store bikes were real...until I rode something better. World of difference, I never would have guessed.) If you must get a department store bike, get a Schwinn. They're far and away best of breed.<br><br><br><br>
Whatever you get, make sure it fits.
 

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Wal-Mart bikes last for (usually) about a year and then you're out of luck. Also, a lot of bike-repair shops won't touch Wal-Mart bikes because they are shoddy in terms of the way they are put together. It's impossible generally to work on one without breaking it more and they don't want to be held accountable. You'd be better off buying a used bike <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I would definitely go to a bike shop rather than a department store. You will wind up spending a little more, but it will last for quite a bit longer. They will also be able to help you try a few different kinds out and see what you like and what you will need. Most bike shops (in Calgary anyways) offer free tune ups etc for the first bit too!
 
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