Every time I see a new article about biking I get excited. After reading it, not so much. I feel that my kind of bike riding is totally ignored by the so-called specialists or athletes and that’s just not right. Yet, I see many bicycle magazines and websites that aim for just that.
It’s no wonder more people aren’t motivated to get back in the saddle and ride because like them I’m not interested in racing or setting up my bike so that I can be hunched over my handlebars trying to be aerodynamic while wearing racing jerseys and shorts.
Most of the people I see on the Bay Trail are like me, people on their bikes just trying to have fun and maybe lose a little weight. I see whole families biking together with big smiles on their faces and I know that’s what it’s really about!
I smile at other bikers on the trail as they pass by me smiling back on a beautiful spring day.
Another thing that I notice is how many people seem to be riding bicycles that don’t suit them. They go to look at bicycles and buy the first shiny thing they see getting misdirected by the seller or pressured by their friends to buy a bike they aren’t going to want to ride. Or even worse a bicycle they will hate riding because it’s not the right type for them.
I see people on mountain bikes that never go on trails or expensive high-performance bikes made just for racing looking uncomfortable. If you don’t get the right bike for your body and where you ride you may be asking for a painful ride that will never get better.
If you are older you may not want to bend over on a ten-speed bike anymore and if riding on pavement most of the time you don’t need a shock absorber on your front fork you need a decent seat with springs underneath. Of course, that depends on you, we all have different needs and there are many types of bikes to choose from.
A warning up front, bikes are not made like mine anymore (my bike is over 30 years old) and if you aren’t careful you could end up with a cheap bicycle that will break down more than you’d wish. Chains coming off easily, derailers with plastic parts that snap, bad breaks and pads, I’ve seen it all. Expensive doesn’t always mean quality spend a little time when you look. Get on the bike and take a test ride most good shops will let you ride first. Or better yet, rent a bike and see how you like it then buy it.
Even my roommate bought a mountain bike, it has 21 gears (versus my 10 gears) but when he rides with me on the Bay Trail he has to go through his gears constantly because they are for offroad use. Where my bike has stiff springs under the seat that make my bike incredibly smooth to ride, his has a front shock for landing on the wheel while doing jumps or taking large bumps on dirt paths. My bike has large wheels that roll further when I pedal and he has small knobby tires. It makes more of a difference than you’d think.
Touring bikes are your best bet you can ride them on the street but take them on the occasional trail or gravel road but they have changed! Most come with without fenders, have tiny seats without springs and drop handlebars (like a ten-speed bike.) There are “city” (or commuter) bikes that are meant for city streets that have almost straight handlebars. The “Dutch-style bikes” look more like the old touring bikes with fenders, good seats, and upright handlebars but don’t always have over 7 speeds. There are so many different styles of bicycles to buy now so decide what you want on your bike and stick to it.
Here you can compare a touring bike and a mountain bike. These are both Schwinn bicycles one old and one new. My frame (the silver bike) is a girls “dutch style” bike and the red one is a boys “mountain” bike. Mine is a 10-speed geared for the street and the other is a 21-speed bike geared for the dirt.
Make sure the bike frame fits you and you can get on the bike. Make sure your seat is high enough and that you’re sitting up comfortably. If you want an easier ride, get more gears on your bike. I like at least 10 gears and think anything above that is just extra shifting unless you go off-road. Go to a reputable bike store and let them help you but be firm about what you want.
I hope I’ve given you some things to think about. The important thing is, get the right bike so that you’ll be comfortable riding it so you’ll keep riding it. Shop around and you’ll find that dream bike and love it as much as I love mine.
If you love your bike it will take you places and put a smile on your face!