Bicycle Picking – A Beginner’s Guide
I enjoyed riding bicycles (bikes) as a child many years ago. As a busy adult, I decided to pick up riding again as a source of exercise and the occasional commute to work. Needless to say bike choices have progressed with the times. The major types of bicycles I found were:
Typically of rugged design and intended for off-road use, but can be used on the road and pavements too. The knobbly design of the tires provide superb grip off-road, but may lose efficiency on tarmac. Mountain bikes have a wider selection of lower gears to aid climbing steep hills, some have front suspension, others also include rear suspension to cushion the trail bumps. The knobbly tyres and suspension make this bike a great off-road option and with a change of tyres, they’re also comfortable for road riding.
Light-weight design intended for use on the road and pavements for commuting. Typically built for speed, may not perform well off-road. These are lightweight and fast with skinny tyres, they typically come with drop handlebars and they’re designed to be streamlined. The Touring Bike is a version suitable for long distance rides with panniers to carry your luggage.
These are intended as a cross between the mountain and road bikes, hybrids are lightweight but sturdy with smooth tyres.
These are fashionable casual bikes and remind me more of the models from many years ago.
The bike options mentioned above may come with prominent features that then go on to define them for example:
- Foldable bikes – more compact and be folded for easier storage on trains and buses for commuters.
- Electric bikes or E-bikes with stored capacity to support or take over riding effort.
The ideal bicycle frame size is based on the type, but you can get a rough estimate by standing astride the bike and gauging the clearance between the bike and your crotch.
I wasn’t sure that I’d like riding and was a bit nervous about bicycle safety in a busy city, so I based my decision on utility and cost. I wanted a bike I could use in most scenarios, something to figure out what worked best for me without burning a hole in my pocket. The hybrid offered this for me, the best of the road and mountain bikes, but this selling point increased the starting cost of these hybrids. Some mountain bikes were indiscernible from hybrids and I selected one of these as my adult ‘starter’ bike. It has worked well for commuting to work during the week and keeping up with the children at the weekend. Because I purchased this bike at a bargain, I had some money left over to spend on accessories. Accessories I considered and purchased were:
- Front and rear lights
- Tube lights
- Bike bag
- Tool bag
- Tyre pump
- Bike lubes
- Hi-vis jacket
- Cadence monitor
- Smart watch
- Chest strap
Please consider your health, local regulations and safety guidelines on the road.