What type of bicycle should I buy ?beginner . bikes . tips
So you’ve decided you want to start cycling. But like any person getting into a new sport, you’re confused by the jargon and conflicting information. These days with the help of Google and the rise in popularity of cycling, it’s a lot easier and hopefully some of the info below will also be of help.
There are some key questions you need to answer, before jumping in (or on!).
Why did you decide to get into cycling?
The reason you decided to take the next step is a key indicator as to which type of bike you should buy. Fro example, you might have decided to start doing triathlons. For this particular discipline you’re going to need a road bike to get started. I decided to “do cycling” in my early teens. I had a bicycle when I was a child. I loved going everywhere on it as fast as I could. I also had a brief stint BMX racing but I can pinpoint the day it hit me that “THIS is very cool”.
I had a friend in school, Peter, who I used to cycle around town with as kids do. He was into cycling and one day he suggested I go with him. I remember that day like it was yesterday (and trust me it wasn’t :-) ). We hit the road, me in my t-shirt and jeans. A beautiful summer’s day, cycling past vineyards and a gentle breeze blowing at our backs . And it just hit me..”This is freedom and I LOVE it!” From then on I was hooked. The road bike was my no. 1 choice. I loved the speed and distances I could travel.
So to cut a long story short
- What type of cycling did you experience that made you decide to start doing it more. This does NOT mean you HAVE to stick to that style! I did road, mountain biking, track etc. This is just the beginning.
- Where do you live ? If you live in a city, while you can of course start with a mountain bike, but it might be a better choice to buy a starter road bike. This would allow you to get out of the city and into the countryside more quickly. If you live in a more remote, mountainous region, it might-be more fun to start with a mountain bike or the latest rage, a gravel bike!
- If you’re considering cycling to work as well as for leisure, maybe a hybrid is the best choice. Allowing you to get out on the weekend but also have a comfortable setup when cycling to and from work.
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
This is pretty like the above but digging a little deeper. The bug may have bitten while you were flying down a mountain on a 30 year old mountain bike with bad breaks. But maybe you prefer the days you’re out on a spin with the local road cycling club. Like any hobby (or job), the more we enjoy it, the more fun it will be and the easier it is to suffer the hard days (which there WILL be). Find that discipline you enjoy the most and buy THAT bicycle. The others will come with time, trust me :-D
What will your primary source of training be ?
If you feel more comfortable in the hills and forests, buy a started mountain bike. If you like to discover new areas and travel far and wide, buy a road bike and go from there. If it rains a lot……buy an indoor trainer! This is about making the hobby even more enjoyable by choosing the type of bicycle that best fits your location and schedule.
How much should I spend ?
These days we’re lucky to have access to a huge range of bicycles at reasonable prices. Technological advances have enabled manufacturers to build bicycles that do not cost the earth. Whatever bicycle you pick ensure that you don’t go crazy on the latest top of the line model. Pick one that will allow you to enjoy your cycling (don’t go cheap either!) and make your mind up if this is indeed a sport you want to continue taking part in.
A quick glance at the local classifieds here in Ireland shows some deals for example;
The day will come (and if you continue, it WILL) that your wallet will be tested ;-), so don’t be in a hurry!
In summary, try and pinpoint the reason for that light bulb moment when you decided to start cycling as a hobby. Focus on the type of cycling you’re most attracted to. And that makes the most sense for your location, training group and schedule. And remember, there’s no need to buy the latest and greatest. Yet! :-D
I’ll be writing another article soon on the important accessories you SHOULD spend money on. But for now, focus on the above. Go for lots of test spins at your local bike shop. They might all look similar but not all bikes feel the same. And once you’ve decided, above all, ENJOY the experience and the new bike!
Oh, and do let me know what bike you bought :-D
Hi and welcome! I hope you find this site interesting and helpful. If you're wondering about the name, I chose “The Optimistic Cyclist” because not matter how old I get, I still believe I can go faster than I did 10 years ago :-D Gianni
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