They often say you never forget how to ride a bike, but they don’t always tell you that you may not always own a bike.
A bike is a great thing to have no matter what you’re doing, as it’s great for exercise, transportation or just simple enjoyment. Maybe you just want to cut down on your carbon footprint. If you’re considering buying a bike, have a look at these tips before you go out and make a purchase.
What is the bike for?
First and foremost, you need to know what you’re going to be using the bike for. You don’t want to buy a super expensive road bike only to use it sparingly.
Are you planning on getting a mountain bike so you can hit the trails near your house? Are you buying a bike that you can ride around the neighborhood with your family? Or are you buying a bike that you plan to ride to work every day?
Whatever the case, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do before making a big purchase. Many bikes, especially good ones, are not cheap so you’ll want to be positive you’re going to be getting the most bang for your buck.
If you’re buying it for someone else, like a family member or friend, be sure to consider their wants and needs.
Where are you buying the bike?
This question is strongly linked to the first question. If you plan on being a casual rider, someone who occasionally takes it out on weekends or just with your family, you might be looking at getting a bike second-hand. You don’t want to break the bank on an occasional item.
Test the bike before you go about buying it. That’s everything from the frame, the handlebars, brakes, tires and chain.
If you’re buying it new, choose a local store and see what they offer. Explain your situation and needs and let them guide you to an appropriate bike. Set a budget before you go in.
What other gear do you need?
Much like buying a car, you’ll want to purchase some additional items for your bike. Not just great mirrors and a water bottle holder, but other items as well.
It goes without saying that your first purchase should be a good helmet. No one ever expects to get into an accident, but it pays to be safe.
You’ll also want to make sure and buy any appropriate clothing like body wear or specific shoes and a pump. Many other items are not necessary, like mirrors on your bike or helmet, and are up to you to decide. Maybe you’ll need training wheels for your child who is about to learn to ride.
If you plan on going mountain biking or traveling, make sure you get an appropriate bike rack for your car as well. If you plan on leaving it in the garage, you can invest in a bike hanger or station to keep it safe and (hopefully) damage free.
Do you know how to take care of a bike?
Bike maintenance, thankfully, is not as difficult to understand or figure out as taking care of your car. Everything about the bike is out in the open and you can usually see the problem without having to pop the hood and run a number of tests.
While your local bike shop has a repairman on deck, it always helps to know a bit yourself. You should know the basics of the bike and how to fix routine problems.
There are different kinds of wheels depending on the bike and how you inflate them is different as well. If you catch a flat, you should know how to do a quick repair before you can replace the tire.
Know what to do if your chain falls off or you have a problem with your brakes. Be sure and know enough so you don’t have to waste money taking it to a mechanic to have them perform a routine fix that ends of costing you more than you anticipated.
You don’t need to know just about taking care of your bike, but bike safety as well. Know how to use hand signals and learn the rules of the road before you head out.