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Lower-cost biking

October 27, 2003

I have to comment on the guide to road bikes in your recent edition (Gear column, Oct. 13). The price points you selected were highly misleading of the sport's cost.

I have ridden and raced bicycles from $200 to several thousand dollars. Not once in a race or training ride have I been outclassed as a result of my equipment. I am asked frequently by new riders looking to get into the sport how much to spend, after being daunted by the $1,500-plus price tag of bikes similar to the ones you selected. I say that by $500, one is at 85% of the quality, weight and functionality of the top steeds.

At $1,000, one is at 90%. New cyclists are hard-pressed to recognize the difference above that and could derive more from the sport by saving $200 to put toward shoes, gloves, shorts and a helmet.

Geo Snelling

Topanga

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