Riding a bike is something we generally learn to do as kids, and something we never forget. I just recently got my first bike in many years and am trying to get comfortable riding it. I mean, it’s been 30+ years since I’ve ridden a bike! For this article, we’ve compiled a few tips for what to look for when buying a new bicycle and accessories that are budget friendly and definitely won’t break the bank!
The First Step: Buying a Bike
Let’s be honest – bikes can be expensive and are manufactured in a wide range of materials with many, many options for parts. If you’re just starting out or just want to take the occasional leisurely bike ride, buying a new bike at a big box store can be just the ticket. The most important part, though, is to make sure the bike fits you properly and that it is safe to ride. Bikes purchased from big box stores are assembled by the person working in that department that day who is generally not an expert. Once purchased, take the bike to an actual bike shop and have them properly fit the bike to you and have them adjust the parts making sure the bike is safe to ride.
But if you’re serious about riding, which I am, you may want to invest in a better bike that is built for genuine riding. A better bike would be one with outfitted with upgraded parts like the drive train (which includes the gearing and chain), a better seat and most importantly, better brakes. Buying a used, high end bike is an affordable option. Also, check with a local bike shop rather than buying online – they can recommend a bike or parts as well as make sure the bike fits you for a fabulous ride!
The Most Important Step: The Helmet
The helmet, also known as the “Brain Bucket” or “Skid Lid”, is absolutely the most important step! The helmet should sit on top of the head with the strap firmly clasped under the chin. If you shake your head back and forth, it shouldn’t move. It should be snug but not tight, be comfortable and be breatheable. After all, no one wants a super sweaty head and eyes while riding! Most modern helmets come with a ratchet adjustment on the inside for a perfect fit. (Pro tip: if you’ve been in an accident and skinned up your skid lid, get a new one or get it inspected at a local bike shop!)
Padded shorts specifically for biking, are absolutely necessary! Most bike seats (or saddles) are not made for comfort, and padded shorts help get you through long rides so the focus can remain on the road, not your butt! It’s hard to focus on the road when your tail (amongst other parts) are numb and uncomfortable. There are shorts made specifically for men or women, as well as for the type of bike riding you’re going to do such as road riding or mountain biking. Investing in a good pair or two is a wise choice!
Cycling Shoes – Clip In or Not?
Cycling shoes and clip-in pedals definitely help with the push/pull action of pedaling and in turn, you’ll have much more power for the ride. But if you’re like me and not quite ready for that, there are some really cool flat pedals with tiny bolts that stick out and grip the bottom of your shoes without actually clipping in. I have these pedals on my bike and they grip really well, and come in some nifty colors! The bolts are small but keep the shoes from slipping off of them, and are ideal for road biking as well as mountain biking.
Riding Indoors on a Bike Trainer
This is something that is more my speed… My bike, Daisy (yes, she has a name), is mounted to a bike trainer so I can do sprints indoors. Trainers for a regular bike, as opposed to a stationary bike, let you get used to the saddle and gearing, as well as provide a great workout during inclement weather. I bought my bike trainer on Amazon (<– affiliate link) several years ago and never regretted it! I do sprints twice a week, which is the equivalent to HIIT on a bike, and love it! The best part is that I don’t have to ride near other people until I get over that fear…
We’ve outlined a few of the things to look for when buying a new bicycle and accessories, so now the very most important part is to get out there and ride! Have something to add to the list? Tell us about it in the comments below!