Cycling is great for beating the traffic on the way to work and you get some much needed exercise at the same time. You can also go off-road for some fun in places your car can't reach. All in all, there are a lot of good reasons to buy a bike, but which bike should you choose?
Three of the most common types of bikes are mountain bikes, hybrid bikes and road bikes. When you step into the bike shop you will see a whole array of different bikes of varying shapes, sizes and prices before you so the decision facing you may initially appear overwhelming. Here's how to start.
The first thing you will have to do is ask yourself how you are going to use the bike. Are you going to use it to commute a few kilometers to work or are you going cycle long distances or take part in competitions?
Are you going to cycle in parks and on beaches or are you going to stick to the road? Are you willing to spend a lot of money on a bike or are you just looking for a bike to get you from one point to another and you're not too bothered about the quality of the components on the bike?
Is the bike going to be just a fun recreational item that you use every now and again or are you going to train seriously on it for long periods at every opportunity you can? The answers to these questions will not only determine how much you spend on the bike shop but also what type of bike you'll end up with.
Obviously mountain bikes get the name because they have strong and thick wheels and are powerful yet heavy machines that can be adapted to almost all terrains. They are easy to ride and tough to break.
If you intend doing a lot of off-road cycling or live in an area with very questionable road quality then mountain bikes should be your best bet for negotiating your way through the narrow treks and cracked roads.
Hybrid bikes combine the sturdiness of the mountain bike with the speed of road bikes. They tend to have taller, thinner wheels than mountain bikes and lighter frames.
They allow the rider to cycle faster with less effort and are popular with commuters, yet can also be taken off-road even though the hybrid bike tyres are a little more vulnerable than the thicker mountain bike tyres.
Road bikes tend to be the most expensive bike type in the bike shop and are the same bikes you see professionals like Lance Armstrong use on television. They are built for speed and have drop handlebars that some cyclists find difficult to use.
These give the cyclist the possibility of bending his back and adopting a more aerodynamic position. They are incredibly fast bikes but are also the most in need of your care and attention of all the bike types. It's not advisable to take the ultra thin wheels of these bikes onto rougher terrain.
Bike Shop Versus Online Bike Shop
Talk to the staff in the bike shop, and based on your background and needs they'll have some recommendations. Check some online reviews of the bikes they recommend or even take the bike for a test cycle if they let you.
Make sure the mechanics set up the bike to the highest possible standard and make sure the size is just right for you.
There is a growing trend for buying bikes online these days but doing so usually means you have to set up the bike yourself and lacks the personal touch and service you get from the staff in a bike shop.
Nevertheless if you are confident in your mechanical skills and know the bike you want then why not visit the online bike shop? As long as you know what's right for you then you should have a long and happy relationship with the bike you eventually choose.