Everything is intended to keep riding a bike fun and not too complicated. Considerations in choosing the right bike include the terrain you would be riding; the position you set yourself whether you’re more comfortable in an upright position or whether you prefer a more aggressive position; and what is the distance you would ride.
From the moment you scramble to stand upright as a baby, children have a fascination to climb and ride on a kiddy toy bike. Your interest in bikes brings you from your teenage years to adulthood. Remember those carefree days, riding your bike to school and camping trips with friends and family but unfortunately riding stops the moment you get your driving license.
The lure of that shining four-wheeler is irresistible, and those riding wonder years are momentarily set aside until the riding bug catches upon you again. Years of development and technological advances have brought biking to a whole new sport.
From the early Raleigh roadster, the heavier, single-speed with a double top tube and a coaster brake to today’s modern bike construction which makes the bike much lighter in weight, more efficient braking system; more gears to tackle speed and difficult terrain and developing of new suspension devices for the cyclist extra comfort.
- Best Reasons For Leaving Your Car Behind
- Risk of cycling injuries
- Features To Look Out For When Buying a New Bike
- Types of bike: How To Pick the One That Suits You
- Guide On What Bike To Choose
- Best Women Hybrid bike
- Best Touring Bike
Best Reasons For Leaving Your Car Behind
Apart from saving on gas, cycling will do a world of benefits for you. Insomnia sufferers “who cycle for 20-30 minutes every other day have taken the time to fall asleep by half and sleep time increased by almost an hour,” according to one researcher.
Exercising outside exposes oneself to daylight which produces Vitamin B, which keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells from degenerating.
Another researcher backed it up that “peddling improves cardio-respiratory fitness and an improvement in mental power”.
Studies have found that regular cycling cut the risk of heart disease by half. Keeping fit can help those avoid heart attacks more than those who would not exercise at all.
If you’re adventurous type and love to explore the great outdoors, staying in hotels can be very costly. Either for a fun trip or a quick overnighter, you don’t have to spend money like that instead, adventure out on a budget. Bike camping is fun and is not for everyone. If you still want the comfort of home, this is not for you.
Backpack your camping gear and ride towards the sunset. Select the right tent for you. Learn more
Risk of cycling injuries
Unlike weight exercise, cycling is a low-impact sport while most of us considered it a leisurely ride. Notwithstanding, this relaxing exercise can bring serious injury and discomfort if there is no proper self-care.
While transport-related involves cyclist collisions with other vehicles, others, like falling off a bike or hitting a stationary object, are self-inflicted.
Other self-inflicted injuries are caused by incorrect cycling posture that may lead to injury to the toes, hands, shoulders, knee and torso.
- Lower back
- Knee pain and Achilles Tendonitis
- Muscle tightness
- Saddle sores
- Foot numbness
- Shoulder pain
Riding for long periods of time in a drop-handle bar can cause spasms in the lower back spine and fatigue. However, these aggressive positions will give you stronger pedal strokes. If you’re not going for speed, choose a wider, straight bar preferably, your handlebar to set lower than the seat of your bike. This will allow your body to sit comfortably in an upright position.
Knee pain and Achilles Tendonitis
In competitive cycling. cleats are fastened to the pedals so that your feet will have a better grip on the bottom of your shoes. This is important because if the cleats are too far forward the petal axle ends up underneath your toes which will lead to you gripping with your toes which leads to cramping in your foot. Get an expert from the local sports store to fix it for you in order to have a nice fit. ROAD Cycling Shoe Look Keo Grip Cleats 9° float Shop at Walmart ?
Getting the best for your cleats will get you a more powerful pedal stroke. Not fixing the cleats properly can also cause cyclists’ patella, knee and quadriceps tendinitis injuries. Lumintrail PD-606S MTB BMX Road Mountain Bike Bicycle Platform Pedal Shop at Walmart ?
Always do a proper warm-up exercise before each time you took to the saddle. Your calves and hamstrings muscles are not flexed enough and are too tight when you push through. Though your body permits you soon find out that you are working against it. The tightness can cause your muscles to cramp and tear.
From my own experience, I had my legs and body aching the following day after an afternoon of leisure cycling around my neighbourhood. My mistake was I didn’t warm-up before I started pedalling.
Besides torso, legs and hands injury, saddle sore if not treated, the nagging soreness is a source of constant reminder each time you mount the saddle. It is annoying and if it persists can keep you off the bike altogether.
A saddle sore is irritation of the skin you’re in contact with the saddle, as a result of constant chafing and sweating. When you’re cycling for the first time, you will be greeted with soreness because your skin isn’t used to the pressure and rubbing with comes with sitting on a saddle for too long.
The persistent rubbing back and forth of the inner tights against the saddle leads to extremely painful abrasions called chafing. If untreated, it can lead to a serious skin infection. Not knowingly the smallest lesion can result in your skin being ulcerated especially if your outer skin is gone. Bacteria then strive on the opened skin and dwelled in the warm and damp environment. ISM Saddle Ism Pr 3.0 Black – VL9052BLK Shop at Walmart ?
Foot numbness is common among cyclists and it involves more than one root cause. Choice of shoes is key because our feet swell during cycling as our feet demand more blood supply for muscle activity. If your choice of shoes is too tight it restricts blood supply to the nerves which causes numbness.
Find a shoe with multiple points of adjustment that allow flexibility to accommodate variances in our anatomy. You will find that a prefabricated insole can help your foot maintain a stable foothold throughout the pedal stroke. Giro Men’s Terraduro Cycling Shoes (Black, 39.5) Shop at Walmart ?
Poor bike fit
The three main contact regions of your bike are the saddle, the handlebars and your peddles. Your comfort of nether regions, hands and feet will determine if you got a good fit. One bike doesn’t fit all because our anatomy is different from bike to bike. Even if you have a touring bike that perfectly suits you doesn’t mean a mountain bike will equally fit you. You simply cannot have your measurements perfectly transfer from bike to bike. A competent bike fitter can do the adjustment for you.
What would have caused your nether regions from going numb? Why are your knees and lower back sore? Your bike fitter would be able to tell you if your saddle suits your cycling style or if your handlebar is lower than your seater. This constitutes a good bike fit, and it relieves you of all the pain. A lot of people simply give out because they constantly feel pain and uncomfortable without knowing it can be resolved with proper knowledge.
Don’t place too much weight of your hands on the handlebar especially if you are riding with straight elbows. This transfers the whole body weight to the shoulder which has to bore the “road absorber” causing discomfort in the arms and your shoulder. You have seen a long-distance rider flex his arm and will not ride with straight elbows.
Features To Look Out For When Buying a New Bike
Whatever bike that suits you comfortably, is the right bike for you. It need not be too costly but the cost had to be equalled with the quality of the bike. Some might swoon over the design of the bike, and just looking at it, makes one jump on the saddle and rides away. Needless to say, this is the perfect bike for you.
But choosing and investing in a good bike need not be just simple as that, looks are just superficial and comfort is all you need. Making the right choice will give you years of riding happiness and cycling enjoyment.
Whether you are looking for an upgrade or choosing a bike for the first time, it requires accurate knowledge and understanding of all the bike’s features.
- Handlebar Shape
The choice of brakes is important because safety is something you cannot compromise on. Brakes also help in controlling the speed and manoeuvrability of your bike. These are the common brakes used:
- Disc brakes
- Rim brakes
All bike brakes are made to brake to slow down and ultimately stop the bike from moving. This is among the most important features you look for in a bike for safety reasons. All brakes use a friction-creating brake pad against a braking surface on the revolving wheel using a hand-operated lever. As pressure is exerted on the brake lever and the friction force is increased in tandem. Ultimately, this works together with the tyre’s grip to slow the bike down.
The type of brakes and how effective is the braking system depends on where the braking force is applied in relation to the bike’s wheel. Disc brakes concentrate on a small area in the centre of the wheel where they can generate incredible power to stop the wheel. With that only less force is required to halt a bike. You will find that you need less hand strength to brake on long descents, thus reducing muscle fatigue.
Disc brakes with improved stopping power and overall performances in harsh weather, are safer and can be used in wider tyres, which incredibly improves the control of your bike, comfort and handling of the bike at high speeds. Shimano Saint BL-M820 Disc Brake Set Shop at Walmart ?
Unlike the disc braking system, a rim brake has a stopping force concentrated on the outer edge of the rim itself. The familiar sight of callipers mounted to the fork near the axle are classic in design and have been used in bikes, a long time ago. Most commonly used in mountain and cyclocross bikes because the callipers are less likely to get stuck in the mud.
Because the rims offer a large area for dissipating heat, rim brakes make safe for speed control on long and downhill runs, on a single-rider bike.
If your bike is using rim brakes, making a switch to disc brakes may require you to purchase an entirely new frame, wheels and components. Is your personal choice and if riding style, comfort and ease of repair are factors that you have considered, then the switch is justified. Shimano Mountain Bicycle V-Brake – BR-T4000 Shop at Walmart ?
Only a small portion of your wheel is in constant contact with the ground as you channel power through the pedal. This is where all the weight is concentrated, and as a contact point, your wheels played an important role in determining whether you have good riding experience. Buying the right set of wheels to match your riding style is highly recommended.
Upgrading and changing your wheel can help to make a single improvement in your ride and feel.
Bike wheels are broadly classified into three different types:
- Clincher Wheel
- Tubular Wheel
- Tubeless Wheel
By far the simplest and offers maximum convenience that allows instant riding upon installation. Fit in the clincher tyres on the frame first followed by the inner tube. Once properly in place, the tube is then inflated to the recommended pressure. The pressure of the tube pushes the bead of the tyre in place ensuring you a safe ride.
You would have probably ridden a bike of a BMX racer during your childhood days and all these used clincher wheels. These are considered common and generally viewed as the standard for ease of use and availability. There are great choices of clincher wheels and it all depends on the durability and performance you are looking for.
The advantage of having a clincher tyre is that it is easier to repair a puncture by carrying a spare inner tube. The downside of using a clincher wheel is that it has a higher rotational weight at the rim because it has to withstand the outer pressure of the tyre bead and the inward pressure of the braking as well as the heat builder. Zipp 302 Carbon Clincher Rear Wheel Center Lock Disc Brake V1 12×142 XDR Shop at Walmart ?
The tubular wheel looks like the clincher wheel on the outside but they work differently. Unlike the clincher wheel, there is not an open part of the tyre that needs to clinch. The tubular is just one piece, with the tube sewn into the tyre. They are light because they don’t have to be strong to support the bead of the tyre as in a clincher.
The advantages of the clincher counterpart are that they are lighter and a lighter rim is good for acceleration and climbing up the terrain, and they roll over the corner nicely. The disadvantages are it is less easy to fit than that the clincher and repairing a puncture is not that straightforward.
Tubeless is gaining in popularity and many clincher wheels are now compatible with both tubeless and clincher inner tube setups as well. Similar to the clincher wheels it has an open cross-section tyre that is seated in the rim but the tyre forms an airtight against the rim and instead of having an inner tube air, sealant is injected into the tyre.
The advantage of using a tubeless tyre is less risk of getting a flat tyre and less rolling resistance than that of a clincher tyre. Since it doesn’t use an inner tube it is losing some rotating mass as seen in a clincher.
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All bikes have gears, without them, you cannot pedal comfortably and easily on tougher terrains. Along with your brakes, shifting your gears is one of the fundamental mechanical functions that you need to master when riding a bike in which you will encounter a multitude of terrains.
For beginners and veterans alike, shifting gears may seem basic, but a lack of understanding will lead to poor handling of speed making your ride very erratic. Your ride becomes very frustrating and your endurance drops. There is no perfect gear, your goal in riding is to keep your pedalling as consistent as possible.
Gears are necessary for manipulation of how fast and slow your bike is and its magnitude as well. It mainly helps in keeping your riding smooth and optimizing for all sets of terrains. Shimano Tourney CS-HG200 Cassette – 7 Speed, 12-32t, Black Shop at Walmart ?
If you’re going uphill with the biggest chainring at the petals and the smallest cog at the cassette (rear gear), you really have to crank very hard. It’s really hard to turn because you are turning for such a long distance with so much resistance.
Low Gear = Easy for climbing
Now, if I put the smallest chainring at the petal and the largest cog at the back wheel, you’ll notice you need considerably less power to drive your bike forward with the least resistance.
The gearing ratio used in bikes is exactly the same as that used in cars. When your car is set to low gear, the car moves slowly but very powerfully, whereas, when you put on high gear, you are cruising along without much effort.
Having the right frame is another feature of the bike that will determine whether it will give you a comfortable ride. A light frame is for easier hill climbing, the stiff frame is for acceleration. There is a great variety of frame material to choose from and that depends on your budget and what type of bike you want to use it for. The four main options are aluminium, carbon fibre, titanium, and steel. They all work equally well, but there’s going to be trade-offs.
- Carbon fibre
A popular choice for riders and racers who are on a budget. It is light but not as light as carbon fibre, corrosion-resistant and it has a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it the perfect design for safe structures.
Typically stiff, aluminium makes it a good criterium for making frames for racing bikes for delivering snappy handling. The stiffness helps to absorb the bumps when riding on dirt roads or long-distance touring. Some comfort is a trade-off here for keeping the costs low. Aluminium fatigues more quickly and it’s not easy to repair.
Carbon fibre is not a matter, therefore is more corrosion-resistant. They are the most expensive among aluminium, titanium and steel frames. But their weakness is that they are prone to fracture rendering them to be very fragile and ultimately unfit to ride.
Carbon fiber is known for its high tensile strength, high chemical resistance, low weight, high stiffness and low thermal expansion. Their properties have made them very popular in competitive sports like biking among others. Virtually every bike raced at a professional level is made from carbon fibre and they are common among mountain bikes and road bikes.
Their stiffness means it absorbs road vibration better and this translates into a more enjoyable and comfortable ride. Unlike metals, carbon fiber gives designers flexibility in creative design latitude. They can design all shapes and design especially to maximise the aerodynamic efficiency of a frame.
Titanium is a relatively rare metal and therefore is costly. It is very light and a good absorber of road vibrations. Titanium is very snappy for a bike frame and it doesn’t corrode so there’s no need to paint it.
It has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of all metals which mean it can make long-lasting and lightweight frames making it an especially popular choice for touring, custom road and hardtail mountain bikes.
Its weight makes it very undesirable for a high-end bike’s frame. Because of the emerging popularity of carbon fibre and aluminium, we see the decline of steel. Steel is expensive hampering its use for making a frame for the lower-end models.
It would be a rough and painful ride if there is no suspend between the rider and bicycle to insulate them when travelling in difficult terrain. Bike suspension can be implemented in a variety of ways or any combination thereof. There are:
- No Suspension
Typically you’ll find suspension in both the front and the rear wheels in a mountain bike. It absorbs the rough impacts of the rugged trails, thus drastically reducing the impact on your hands, elbows and your body. It also improves traction and braking and makes for a more forgiving and comfortable ride.
Front suspension is typically less costly than full-suspension bikes, which have fewer moving parts. If you ride mostly on fairly smooth trails, then a front suspension or a hardtail suspension will suffice which will soak up all moderate bumps with the front suspension fork.
Having fewer parts than a full-suspension bike means you’ll have a much lighter weight which translates to easy hill climbing and covering longer distances.
Suspension adds weight to the bike and is expensive and hard to maintain. Most road bikes and hybrid bikes thus forgo weight for speed. Those suspension forks make pedalling less efficient. If you are riding on bike paths and paved trails, generally there’s no need for suspension.
For optimal comfort in riding, your saddle should be lower than that of your handlebar. With that position, you can sit upright with your arms straight and you place less weight on the handlebar. But on the other end of the spectrum, those superbikes needed you to be in an aerodynamic position to gain speed and apply more power to the petals. This can be achieved by placing the handlebar lower than the saddle allowing you to crouch in an aggressive manner.
- Drop bar
- Flat bar
Perfect for a road bike, touring bike, cross bike and track bike as a standard. Drop bar handlebars are lightweight and aerodynamic that makes you lean forward to pedal. In a crouching position with your saddle pointing upwards and your handlebar downwards it makes an ideal position to accelerate on your pedal.
When you have to relax a bit you can also ride with your hands on the top of the bar or midsection of the bar. Each gives a very different weight on your bike and helps to reduce fatigue and strain on your hands and body. Spank Flare 25 Vibrocore Drop Bar – (31.8) 48cm – Black Shop at Walmart ?
Found in hybrid bikes and some road and mountain bikes, they are heavier than the drop bar. You are able to sit upright and you don’t have to put a strain on your shoulders, wrists and hands. The flat bar gives you the opportunity to hold it wider, therefore you have more control and leverage on your bike when you’re pulling up and down. LYUMO Aluminum Mountain Bike Road Bicycle Fixed Gear Riser Bar Shop at Walmart ?
Bullhorn handlebar gives you two riding positions: if you’re casually riding you can place your hand in the front straight bar and if you want to be a little aggressive and accelerate forward then you move your hands up the bar, literally catching the bull’s horn. This really a good position for climbing hills. Nitto RB-018 Pursuit Bar (Bull Horn) Hbar Nitto Tour Rb018 Bullhorn Shop at Walmart ?
Types of bike: How To Pick the One That Suits You
Whether you are considering buying a new bike or looking for an upgrade making a choice is not easy. It has a host of features to ponder if you care to look into.
Narrowing down to three broad factors, I think it may make your choice much easier. The terrain in which you would ride your bike, whether it is paved or rugged? Bike features and components like gears, brakes and suspension and how it affects the bikes performance. The overall bike fit is of paramount importance. For example, would you wear oversized shoes or a shoe size too small?
- Road Bikes
- Sports Bikes
- Mountain Bikes
- Hybrid Bikes
- Touring Bikes
- Folding Bikes
They are lighter than other bikes, and have smooth, skinny tyres and drop handlebars. Suited to ride on smooth paved trails but very unfordable on unpaved trails. They are light and superfast and the drop bar may seem uncomfortable but they can be accommodating if you riding a shorter distance.
The drop handlebars can be too uncomfortable for many who want to use them for a leisurely ride. But the road bikes are perfect for descending and climbing hills because of their lighter frame. Superlight, think of it as your Porche sportscar on two wheels!
Genesis 700c Saber Men’s Road Bike, Medium, White Shop at Walmart ?
Some are more aerodynamic built, usually, their frames are made from carbon fibre or aluminium. Their slimmed-down design for all intent and purposes to be as light as possible. Going maximum speed on flats and charging up hills, you are in control. With aggressive geometry with steep angles, your bike could turn in an instant.
They are specially designed for going steep trails and then going back the same trails – the mountain bikes’ strong and burly frames and thick wheels make it possible. Think of it as your Hummer or a Jeep, they are made for the rough and tumble ride.
With a wide range of gears available, mountain bikes could able to mount on any terrain very easily. Most mountain bikes feature partial or full suspensions on the front fork will help absorb those nasty bumps and shocks while the riding gets tough. Suspension can also be found in the rear for better control.
While mountain bikes can be used on paved roads for everyday use, however, they are slow because of their bulky frame and tyres.
Definitely, ebikes are not for those who are riding competitively or professionally. ebikes use an electric motor and this saves you from exerting physically from pedalling. How fast you can go will depend on the make and model. The battery’s capacity will see how long your ride is.
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If you are not sure whether to get a road bike or a mountain bike without having a workout then a hybrid bike is just for you. It features an extended handlebar rather than a drop handlebar, which is not too harsh on your hands and body. You’ll have a laid-back seat that you can sit upright comfortably without having to slouch forward.
Schwinn DSB Hybrid Bike, 700c wheels, 21 speeds, men’s frame, grey Shop at Walmart ?
Touring bikes have plenty of eyelets in the frame which allow you to carry accessories making it convenient for a commute as well as distance cyclists. They have a close resemblance to road bikes and are noted for their durability rather than speeds.
Touring bikes usually have steel frames and are heavier which makes them better at carrying loads in the front and rear. In addition, they have the widest range of gears than any type of bikes.
Most subways around the world wouldn’t allow you to carry a full-sized bike into their coaches for obvious reasons. To a certain extent, they may allow folding bikes during a certain period of time of the day, perhaps off-peak hours and weekends where generally there are considerably fewer commuters.
Sometimes you need to speed up the journey to get to the last mile of your destination. What better way if you have your own transportation, carried literally in your bag! The folding bike is compact and can be folded up and placed in a bag. Yes, you heard it well. Though small in size and folding bike, nowadays, there are some excellent ones in the market.
Most are battery-powered and go up to about 10 mph and have a good range of about 10 miles. It is run by a motor and a battery which can be easily recharged. They are eco-friendly and have zero-emission. Swagtron SWAGCYCLE Envy Steel Folding Electric Bicycle Foldable Bike Shop at Wal-Mart ?
Guide On What Bike To Choose
There are many different types of bikes as there are so many people with so many biking needs. Some like safety, some like speed, some like to race, and some like the rugged trails. Each of these requires research, each preference is different from another. One bike doesn’t fit all. Even your best bike fit for one bike may not necessarily fit you for another bike. I have picked up some bike ideas to get you started.
Best Mountain Bike
Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike Source: Amazon
- Schwinn mountain frame with Schwinn suspension fork for controlled riding on tough trails
- Shimano twist shifters with 21-speed rear derailleur for quick gear changes
- Front and rear alloy linear-pull brakes provide secure stopping power
- Alloy rims are light and strong for a durable riding experience
- Tool-free adjustable seat post for easy height adjustments on the go
Schwinn Knowles Men’s Mountain Bike, Black Shop at Walmart ?
Best Road Bike
Dynacraft Vertical Alpine Eagle 24″ Bike Source: Amazon
- Dual suspension mountain bike
- 18-speed Shimano derailleur with Shimano grip shifters
- Front and rear V-brakes
- Adjustable seat post
Best Folding Bike
Schwinn Loop Folding Bicycle Source: Amazon
- Discover the convenience and utility of the Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bicycle. In just a few easy steps, this brilliant device folds out to a bike that’s big enough to accommodate a six-foot rider
- Great for camping or RVing this durable steel bike packs up so small that no bike rack is required. The folded size is 29.5 inches by 29 inches by 19 inches
- Tackle small hills and cut through brisk winds easily, thanks to a seven-speed Shimano RevoShift Twist Shifter and Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
- The rear carry rack and an included nylon carry bag keep the bike protected and concealed. Perfect for commuting, this bike features a kickstand and durable steel hinges
- This bike ships ready to be assembled weighs approximately 33 pounds, has a limited lifetime warranty, and the wheels measure 20 inches
Best Women Hybrid bike
- Versatile women’s hybrid cruiser bicycle with a 17.5-inch swooping step-through aluminium frame; perfect for cruise, leisure, and commute rides
- The upright riding style keeps your back and shoulders comfortable; the foot-forward design helps maintain proper leg extension
- Single-speed bike great for flat terrain; Front handbrake and a rear coaster brake for easy stopping
- Stylish, curvy frame with the comfy dual-spring saddle; includes matching fenders and a rear rack for optional baskets and panniers
- 26-inch, 1.95-inch wide whitewall semi-slick tires provide a cushioned, stable ride for easy rolling
sixthreezero BE, 26″, Women’s , Three Speed, White/Blue Shop at Walmart ?
Best Touring Bike
Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike 700C Wheel Bicycle Source: Amazon
- Versatile adventure touring bike features capable adventure bike geometry, a sleek alloy frame and steel fork for the ultimate ride
- 2×7 drivetrain with Shimano Tourney derailleurs, an integrated Micro shift shifters/brake lever combo and mechanical disc brakes keep the ride smooth
- The integrated frame bag features a stylish embroidered patch and all the room you need for your riding essentials
- The large front rack (with an integrated bottle opener!) can easily carry two panniers, while the rear rack mount offers, even more, carrying capability
Mongoose Hotshot Hybrid Bike, 7-speed, 700c wheels, Black / Orange Shop at Walmart ?
“You Can’t Be Sad While Riding A Bike”– Anonymous
Do you like your new bike?
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