Bikes, bikes everywhere, but which to choose for you? For those of you who are new to the bike world, it can be an intimidating idea to figure out what bike to buy. How much should you spend? What style is best? Where should you shop? We are here to tell you that the answers to your questions are limitless, but here is a quick guide to get you started on your journey.
Step One: Go to a Bike Shop Bike shops are filled with friendly, experienced, and professionally trained bike fanatics. At least the good ones, anyway. They know everything youíd ever want to know about bikes, riding, accessories and more. They can answer all your questions and make sure you get a bike that will fit your needs and your comfort level. They also have lots of bikes that you can hop on and try out right there. That is something Wikipedia canít do for you. Even if you donít decide to buy your bike from a bike shop, they are a wealth of information that will point you towards the bike that will be right for you.
A Note of Caution: If you do choose to get your bike from another source like eBay, Craigslist, a big department store, the cobwebbed back corner of Uncle Teddyís garage, always take it to a professional bike shop for a tune-up and a once-over. Bikes need to be assembled correctly for the best riding experience, but also for safety and we are sorry to say that the guy in the back room of a big department store had no idea what he was doing and may have forgotten important bolts. So if you want your bike to last and no pedals flying off halfway down the Monon, let the professionals get your bike in the best shape right from the start. Remember that regular tune-ups are important for the life of your bike. You should take it in at least once a year for general maintenance depending on how often you ride and in what conditions.
Step Two: Decide What You Will Do with the Bike When looking at different styles of bikes, a key deciding factor is what the bike will be used for. Different bikes were designed for different use. Here is a quick breakdown of some general bike styles and their uses.
Step Three: Get a Bike that Fits Believe it or not, bikes come in sizes and it is vitally important to get a bike that fits. A wrongly sized frame with be uncomfortable and potentially frustrating to ride. This is one of the many great reasons to go to a bike shop. Sizing a bike can be complicated and the guys at the bike shop have plenty of experience doing it. They know how to perfectly size a bike to you and even if they donít have the frame you love in the right size, they can probably order it for you.
A note about money: Now that youíve spent some time in a few bikes shops, you might start being worried by price tags that range from $300 to $3,000. The truth about spending money on a bicycle is that itís an investment. Particularly for those of you considering seriously downsizing your time in a car in favor of a bike, think about how the money you save in gas, car payments, insurance, and more that will very quickly pay for the bike. You need a quality bike that you can rely on. What good does it do you to buy a cheap, low quality bike now that will need plenty of repairs and then replaced in a year or so?
Now, for those of you just using your bike occasionally for short distances, you can get away with just about anything. As long as you take care of it, it will take care of you.
So, as a start, spending a lot of money on a bike is not necessary. But you may soon find yourself falling in love with cycling and desiring a lifelong companion bike. Just a warning. Bicycling can be addictive.
Step Four: Get a Comfortable Bike You Like The truth is, you can ride just about any style of bike for whatever purpose. Particularly with downtown commuting, any bike will do. All this information is just a guide. The most important thing when choosing a bike is to pick one that is comfortable and that you enjoy riding. If you like your bike, you are more likely to actually get out there and make good use of your investment. Save the environment. Save the budget. Save your waistline. Bikes are nothing but good for you.
Still not sure how to choose? Check out some of these Indianapolis bikers, what they are riding, and why.