Since cycling season is upon us, I’ve been out a few times the past couple of weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed breathing in the fresh air and cruising down the open road. But what I had forgotten about during the long winter months indoors quickly became apparent only a few yards into my latest trek: I desperately need a new bike.
My current bike is nearly 18 years old and, frankly, it’s time for it to head to that big bicycle rack in the sky. In addition to being not-at-all cool looking (it’s a clunky mountain bike in a dark purple shade reminiscent of a bruise), only half of the gears work and I’ve replaced more tubes and tires than I care to count. Doing the walk of shame a mile from home with the incessant thwump-thwhump-thwhump of a flat tire announcing your presence to anyone within earshot is fairly embarrassing and not something this 42-year-old cares to experience again.
But as soon as I decided to get a new bike, I just as quickly realized I have no idea what kind to get. For being such a simple machine, the bike has really evolved a lot in the last few decades. So I did what any self-respecting person does and hit up Google for some advice. There’s a lot of good information out there, but this 2-part piece called “How to buy a bike” by Jim Langley, a bicycle aficionado, is quite thorough.
To get you thinking, he asks: Why do you want a new bike? What kind of person are you? What kind of riding do you want to do? Lastly, how much do you want to spend?
To summarize, I want a new bike for riding around town and paved bike trails with the kids and as an alternative to my running routine. I don’t need the latest and greatest technical features, just something reliable and well made, and I’d like to spend $500 or less, knowing that it’ll last me at least another 10 or so years. I also know that I don’t want another mountain bike, nor do I plan to race, so a hybrid of the two seems to make the most sense.
The next step is to visit a couple bike shops to see what’s available and take a few bikes for a spin. Fortunately, there are quite a few bike shops to assist me in this process. While we have a couple of big box sporting goods stores in the area as well, I like the idea of patronizing a locally-owned establishment. I think it’s important to support small businesses, and I feel like I’ll get more personalized attention, something that’s important both now and down the road, as it were, when I need service or repairs.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress. And if you have any suggestions as to where to shop or specific models or brands you favor, let me know.