Brought to you by Outspokin Bicycles
Bicycling is a healthy and popular hobby with plenty of other benefits. Using a bicycle as transportation has rapidly become more popular as people look for ways to help cut down on smog, save money and get exercise.
Cities around the country are becoming more bike-friendly every day. There are bike lanes and even buses with bike racks. Some companies offer incentives to employees who bike to work. Health insurance providers may also offer discounts to exercisers.
Whether you live in the city or the country, you can enjoy the fresh air and sunlight while getting great exercise.
Riders have plenty of choices when it comes to finding excellent bicycles. When looking for a bicycle shop, whether to purchase a new bicycle or for accessories, keep these suggestions in mind.
CHOOSE A SPECIALTY
When it comes to bike shops, finding the one that specializes in what you need is important. In the U.S., bicycles fall into four main categories — comfort bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes and fitness bikes.
Comfort bikes are the least expensive. People ride them for pleasure. You should use them on smooth surfaces while sitting in an upright position. Maybe you even need a basket to carry a few essentials!
Mountain bikes are mostly for rugged terrain. These sturdy cycles have wide, knobby tires that will not go flat easily. If you like to ride over rocks and bumpy surfaces, you’ll appreciate the extra shock absorption these bikes offer, especially after a few miles.
Road bikes tend to be lightweight cycles. People like to use these aerodynamic bicycles on pavement and over long distances. Besides, when you’re ready to mount the bike on a city bus rack, you’ll appreciate the weight.
Fitness bikes can help you get into great shape. They are more comfortable than road bikes, but less aerodynamic. They require more effort to pedal, making them ideal for riders looking to burn calories and build muscle.
DO THE RESEARCH
Once you decide on the type of bike, research shops that offer that specialty. Scour the Internet, read reviews of shops and (perhaps most importantly) ask other cyclists for recommendations.
In addition to reputation, consider how long a shop has been in business. Look for a shop that has a long track record of service. You want people who will be in business for years to come so they can service your bike after the sale.
The best shops will have education programs to teach you the pros and cons of each bicycle. The salespeople will help you make a selection based on your needs and goals.
Your neighborhood may have events in your biking specialty. There may even be bike clubs for you to join. Look at who sponsors these events — you’ll usually find some bike shops in there. Ask attendees about their experiences with various bike shops.
Once you have a list of stores, visit your top two or three choices. Observe the salespeople. They should be knowledgeable about manufacturers, warranties, and the different aspects of the bicycles. Some of them may even talk about bikes from a personal experience.
It is best to find a store that offers fully assembled bikes. (Just ask your parents, who likely spent at least one harrowing Christmas Eve assembling a cheap bike for you.) A professional can make sure your bike has been correctly assembled and adjusted. Each nut and bolt has a purpose. You don’t want your bike to malfunction at a critical point in your ride because you dropped a tiny piece and it rolled under the couch.
Just like car dealers, quality shops will allow you to test drive various bikes. It might be necessary to leave a deposit with the store, but your experience will be well-worth it.
A sales associate should help you choose the right sized bike and adjust it to fit your body.
Finally, the best stores are the ones who are involved with the cycling community. They offer activities to help you meet other people with similar cycling interests. The more cyclists you know, the more you can benefit from their experience and enjoy your ride!