Biking is a great activity for exploring the outdoors, travelling and staying fit! However, before purchasing a bike it’s important to understand what bike is best suited for your needs. The most important aspect in deciding what bike to buy is knowing what kind of surface will you be riding on. In addition to the surface, features like suspension, gears and brakes will also play an important role in your decision making process
This month, we bring a few guidelines that will help you decide what kind of bicycle is best suited to you.
Some bikes are made for a specific type of surface, while some are more versatile and can easily function on a variety of surfaces. In general, there are about three to four different types of bikes. These are: road bikes, which are best for roads, mountain bikes, which are best for rugged trails and gravel roads, and specialty bikes, which are intended for pavement.
Road bikes are good for fitness riding, racing, long distance rides and commuting. They usually have drop-bar handle bars that are curved down, which put you in a more aerodynamic position allowing you to travel faster than usual and increase the efficiency that your energy is being transferred into making the bike move forward.
Mountains bikes are designed with shock-absorbing features, making them ideal for rough and bumpy terrain. They usually feature lower gears than most road bikes, considering that they’re not intended to go as fast and to help them handle steeper terrain. They’re overall more durable and heavier than road bikes.
Specialty bikes are bikes with very specific features that set them apart from other bikes. They’re usually intended for leisure rides, such as the cruiser bike which features slightly wider 26-inch tires than other pavement bikes, with a more laid back seat and relaxed sitting position.
Purchasing bicycle is only step one in the process, safety is a whole different ball game altogether. A few small steps can help you get the most out of your cycling experience, making it an activity that you look forward to.
Small tips that can make a big difference:
- Wear a helmet. When properly used, helmets can reduce the risk of head related trauma by nearly 90%.
- Pick the right seat. The standard seats on racing bikes can often be uncomfortable, particularly to women who tend to have widely spaced sit bones. Specially designed seats, wider and more cushioned are sure to add to your riding experience.
- If you are not used to riding, start slowly. Ride for just 30 minutes or so a day on flat terrain for a few weeks. Gradually, you can increase intensity, change terrain and even join a cycling group, which can help the miles go by quicker and motivate you to become a better cyclist.
- Avoid riding at night. Most cycling deaths occur between 6 and 9pm. If you are going to be cycling in a low light environment, then ensure that you’re wearing bright colors in order to be made more visible and easily detectable by drivers. Also, install a strong headlight and a strobe type, blinking red tail light.
- Don’t pedal in high gear for long periods of time for it risks over exerting your knees. Switch to a lower gear for faster revolutions to get more exercise with less strain on the knees.