A lot of people, especially those who are environmentally aware, are leaving their cars at home a lot more and getting around on bikes.
I have been a bike rider for more than 70 years. I have probably owned a couple dozen bikes during that period and have picked up a bit of useful information about buying a bike and making it comfortable and safe to ride. All throughout my advertising career, I rode my bike practically everywhere.
These tips are mostly for the average bike rider buying their first bike.
- Make Sure Your Bike Is The Right Size For You: Any good bike shop person will be able to tell you that right off the bat.
- Make Sure You Are Comfortable: This means a couple of things: That the handlebars are the right height and configuration and the seat is not too far back so you’re not reaching too far. This will stress you out rather quickly and make the riding less enjoyable.
- Make Sure The Seat & Your Butt Are Compatible: Again, another comfort issue. Most discomfort on a bike comes from a seat that is too narrow or not well-padded enough. So you should be prepared to buy a seat that suits your body.
- Don’t Get Carried Away With Gears: Most casual bike riders only need a bike with six or seven gears.
- Make Sure The Hand Grips Are Comfortable: Most bikes come with ribbed rubber grips that can be quite uncomfortable and hard on your hands and wrists. A good pair of foam rubber grips are not expensive, very comfortable, and provide good shock absorption.
- Make Sure You Buy A Good Mirror” One of the most important assumptions to make is that drivers of automobiles don’t care about you. So it’s important to keep a close eye on them.
- Make Sure You Have A Carrier: Most new bikes come with carriers that are actually kind of useless. If you use your bike for shopping or just don’t like riding with a backpack, you can easily fasten a wire basket to the flat carrier with plastic ties.
- Always Carry The Right Allen Keys & Wrench: Most bikes are adjusted by means of an Allen Key. This is for making adjustments or tightening something that comes loose. The wrench is for removing your wheel if you should get a flat.
- Buy a spare inner tube, a small air pump and the little tools that allow you to remove a tube that goes flat for any reason. That way you’ll never get stuck a long way from home and have to walk all that distance or blow money on a cab.
- Keep Your Chain and Your Gear Mechanism Clean & Lubricated: This can be done with a slim screwdriver or an old toothbrush.
- Buy The Right Kind Of Lock For Your Situation: There are U-shaped steel locks and there are longer cable locks. You should choose your lock based on where you take your bike and leave it for any length of time
- A Good Helmet Is Critically Important: It’s pretty easy to bang your head really hard if you fall off your bike for any reason. You only have one head.
- Check Your Brake Pads and Brake Tension Regularly: That’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Never Lock Only Your Front Wheel To Anything: Bike thieves will take your bike and leave the wheel. Always make sure that your bike is locked through the frame.
- Never Overinflate Your Tires: Most bike tubes are made in China and are not of the best quality. Overinflating the tires will put a lot of strain on them they could just fail under that kind of pressure, Plus overinflated tires make the ride a lot bumpier.
- Make sure you have your local bike shop or a mobile bike mechanic tune up your bike at the beginning of every season.