Creative Image Slider: There is nothing to show! 4 Important Facts to Know Before You Buy Your First Bicycle

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4 Important Facts to Know Before You Buy Your First Bicycle

old timer bike

Image from here.

You have heard a lot about the fun that bicyclists have between their legs every time they set out on a bicycle trip somewhere far from the city.  You have seen their Facebook page and read their Tweets where they tell the details of the exciting trip they did on two wheels. Now, at this point, you are convinced and you want to experience in person what you only have been reading about in the last five years or so.

You now want to have a bicycle of your own!

But how and where do you start?  Who can help you with this very important milestone in your life? Read on and you might just find out how.

Think of buying your first bicycle as a process - you need to go through several preliminary steps first before you actually go to your local bike shop and really buy a bicycle. Buying a bike will actually be the last thing you will do even as it is the first thing you thought of. The most logical first step is to think of what type of bike you want to buy, but this in itself will depend on your bicycling skills and maybe where you want to bike and for what purpose your bicycling will be.  This now sounds like a jumbled or unorganized way of arranging your bicycling goals and yet, there is a reason for this seemingly unintelligent way of thinking. And it actually matters from how and whom you learned your bicycling skills as you role model of a bicyclist will play a huge role in your lifelong attitude towards the bicycle, where you ride and how you will interact with other road users.

Let's examine the 4 most important facts you need to know first before you even decide to buy your first bicycle.

1. You are  not Lance Armstrong (or insert name of other famous internationally known cyclist in the Tour de France here) or Hans Rey (or insert name of another famous mountain biker here).  These people are specialists, experts and multi-awarded winners of various bike races all over the world and they are professionals who have trained hard and long to achieve their revered status in the cycling world today. 

What this means for you:

Your first bike need not be top of the line as required by those people we have mentioned above, but it should also not be a disposable one, like the kind they call "department store bike." There are several types of bicycles and there are real reasons why cycling experts decided that there should be more than one type of bicycle that people ride. Mountain bikes are mostly for mountain, trail or downhill riding; road bikes are built for speed on the highways; hybrids can do more than one thing; they are, well, a combination of both mountain and road, a kind of bike that you can use on almost all types of terrain; and city/commuter bikes, which are built for the bicyclist's comfort and ease of maneuvering in busy city or side streets.

One important step experts advise is for you newbies is to have your own bike fitting session. The objective here is to find the right geometry, size and fit that will result into a comfortable and efficient bike ride. This includes adjusting handlebar height, saddle position, seat height, and reach  It seems that it matters how snug your butt settles down on the saddle or how much aerodynamic your whole body is as you bend down to reach the handlebar, or how angled or stretched your legs are to reach the pedals. This should be done in a bike shop where your body can actually be measured and your measurements used to find the bike that suits your measurement. But of course, this step is optional although finding the right fit will be a trial and error affair.

There are plenty of online resources that can help you with information on these types of bikes. Try this one for bike fitting.

2. Now that you know you have several options regarding the type of bikes available for you to choose from, it is time to think of why you want to bike and where you will bike.

What this means for you:

Some people start to bike because they want to get fit or to simply lose excess weight. However, these two are as different as apples and oranges. Sometimes, getting fit has nothing to do with weightloss or losing weight doesn't result from biking several  centuries over several weekends. But you do get the point that bicycling offers lots of fun ways to both get fit and lose weight. Some people are forced to use the bike because it's the cheapest way to go to their work.  These people bike to work because it is economical and bicycling to work allows them to have free workout at the same time. There are those who fell in love with biking after their very first bike ride, amazed at themselves for being able to bike for long distances, having a blast and fun and excitement all the way.   Some of these people may even graduate to real road racing or actual mountain bike or downhill racing .

So as you see, there are as much reasons for biking as there are types of bikes you can buy. The type of bike you need to get follows your reasons for biking and where you want to bike.

3.  Money is the root of all good things about the bike.

What this means for you:

After considering the first two important facts we mentioned above, it is up to you how much you want to spend on your first bike.  The truth is , you can actually spend as much or as little as you want on any bike model that strikes your fancy.  But of course, you have to consider that you'll be getting what you pay for. Indeed, buying your first bike is not only an investment on a material item that you want to posses, but an investment on yourself as well. So the bottomline here is the amount of money you are willing to let go in order to have the bike that fits you well and allows you to bike faster and farther without making your body ache that much at the end of the day. Your first bike should make you a happy bicyclist, because otherwise, you will not ride your bike at all after the first month or so.

Some people go for function while others go for form.  It all depends on your personality: are you hedonistic or utilitarian? It simply means whether you are ok with a low-maintenance bike that can get you from point A to point B and you are not bothered by sundries or you need to have expensive, beautiful items to boost your morale and encourage you to bike more each day. A daily wage earner will not be expected to go for original, imported bike parts because they are expensive and way beyond their budget, but of course, they will appreciate it much if they can get hold of those kinds of parts.

And last but not the least considered:

4. As Socrates said, "Know Thyself!"

What this means for you:

Ahh, if we would only think of this before we launch ourselves into doing things we know nothing about! But what is there to know or what is it that we should know about ourselves before buying that first bicycle we will own? As we have said above, the type of bike you need to buy is one that you will be happy to ride.  You will not ride one, even if it is the most expensive in the country if you have no will at all to bike whether you are going to work or going on a joy ride around the city or out into the country roads. You will only ride the bike that you are comfortable with and that make you proud to be seen riding it. 

The ultimate reason for riding can only be found within ourselves - do we need an expensive bike to be happy or would we be contented with anything that has two wheels in it? Know thyself is a reference to how we look at ourselves when confronted by ideas that seem foreign to our deeply held values. Bicycling is not just a fad like some people believe; it is actually a way of life and you would need to overhaul your known existence if you want to adopt this kind of lifestyle and live by its demands and enjoy its rewards.

So are you now convinced that YOU need to get a bicycle now?  The Tour of the Fireflies is still months ahead and you have plenty of time to ponder about your reasons for buying a bike and actually buying one.  If you are still looking for a real, compelling reason, make it the Tour of the Fireflies in November.  You wil have the opportunity to bike with thousands of bicyclists in the country and maybe, thinking of this can make you leave your car in the garage and go buy your first bike.

 

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