Monday, 25 February 2013

5 things to consider when buying a bicycle

As the streets of our cities become more congested, the petrol price sky-rockets and dedicated bicycle lanes are built everyday - more people are looking into riding a bicycle to get around instead of just automatically jumping into their cars.

What should you be considering when choosing what type of bike you are going to buy? Here are 5 things we think you should keep in mind:

1. Purpose
What are you going to be using the bike for? A mountain bike is designed to tackle tougher, off-road terrain and not ideal for tarred surfaces. Likewise a road racing bike is designed to race as fast as possible between two points and not great at carting your weekly shopping around. Get a bike that is designed for the purposes you intend to use it for.
It can be tempting to overkill here, but don't get what you aren't going to use. If you are going to be getting a bike to commute to work or school - get something that is designed for urban riding and is inter modally flexible.

2. Storage
That massive comfy cruiser may be a dream to ride on the Promenade, but where are you going to store it in your one bedroom apartment? Think carefully about this one. It's the same as buying the cute St Bernard puppy without thinking about what you are going to do with him when he weights 50kgs and stands taller than you. Many a bicycle has had to be sold because there is nowhere to keep it.

3. Transport

A weekend away in Tulbagh or Paternoster with two bikes and the potjie and all your gear may sound brilliant until you realise that lugging two bikes up and down the country in your Mini will take an extra investment of a potentially costly bike transportation contraption. Have a look at great bikes that are also portable by design. Unless you are an athlete, you want the experience of taking your bicycle with you on a weekend getaway to be a pleasant one.

4. Maintenance

Do yourself a favour and buy a reputable brand from a recognised dealer. Buying  a vintage fixer upper from a flea market might sound like a good idea at the time, but it can end up like buying  a vintage car that was found in a garage on a farm. The project itself may end up being more fun than the reality of owning the bike.

5. Add-ons

Choose a bike and brand that is going to grow with your needs. Make sure that as your requirements change with your growing alternative commuting lifestyle, you have access to a range of accessories that will seamlessly add onto your chosen bike platform.

In conclusion, find a bike that not only ticks these boxes, but one that speaks to you.
It must ride well and put a smile on your face. Find something that you'll find any excuse in the book to get on and use often. Ditching the car and using your bike should not only give you a deep sense of logical satisfaction, but it should fuel your soul and make your life a celebration.