Image via Girls/HBO.
When I bought my bike, finding the right one for me was a piece of cake. I knew absolutely nothing about them, and there were only about five zillion options on the market to choose from. Simple!
Okay, I’m kidding; it was difficult and confusing. Although I ended up with a bicycle I love — after much deliberation — I would have preferred the whole process to be simpler. (It’s a dark blue cruiser named Zula, in case you were wondering, and it has a basket.)
So, to save you the time and effort it took me to navigate the world of bicycles, here are some helpful tips to find the right bike for you. Think of me as the Tinder of the bike world. Jokes. Kind of.
Types of bikes
There are three main varieties: hybrid, mountain and road bikes. Mountain bikes were originally designed for riding on mountainous terrain, so are great for off-road. Road bikes are also called racers and are designed to be ridden on roads (and it is compulsory to wear Lycra when riding them). Hybrid bikes? They’re a mix of both road and mountain, making them great-general purpose bikes. Zula is one of these.
“If you’re ready to take your riding a little bit more seriously, or are going to be riding extended distances, it is important to have the right style of specific bike,” Amanda Fisher, health and wellness coach and owner of Bangin’ Bodz, tells me.
“However, if you are just wanting to ride to work or short distances, style is not as imperative — but comfort is! A hardtail bike, with a solid frame and a suspension fork on the front, is great for beginners as it allows you to get a feel for riding.”
A great stretch before you ride is this yogi stretch from Paper Tiger. (Post continues after video.)
Gears will make a big difference to your riding experience. If you live in a particularly flat area, you might not need gears at all — you can be all hipster (or not) and invest in a “fixie”, which a single gear bike that will get you where you’re going, fast. But if you live in a hilly area, you probably want to invest in some gears.
“Gearing is one thing that can have a big impact on the price, depending on what you are planning on using the bike for. If you are planning on riding over a lot of mountains you may want to choose a triple gear, whereas a compact gear is good for varied terrain,” Fisher explains.
But which brand?
Looking for your perfect bike is kind of like finding the perfect jeans: don’t get caught up on buying a particular brand. It’s more important to find one that has the features you want, is comfortable, and is within you budget, than one with a specific label on it.