I have it in my head that I want to own and operate a bicycle even though I have not owned and operated a bicycle since I was 12. This should end well. Bike buying is part of the constant self-improvement journey I’m always on. I figure since I live so close to work now that I could bike to and from on days when I don’t have my kids or any meetings that would require a car. I’d save gas, prolong my janky Honda Accord and maybe get a little cardio. Win, Win, Win.
I procrastinated on this shopping project for many months because I knew there was a lot I’d have to learn before I could even attempt a proper purchase of a quality, used bike. And I’ve been busy. I don’t remember what prompted the conversation on Twitter a few months ago, but a new-to-me person named Bill offered to advise me on bike buying. I think I was checking out his Twitter profile and noticed he was a bike enthusiast. Perfect timing, Universe!
We exchanged emails and I was suddenly flooded with just the right information. Here are some excellent passages:
- The ultimate goal is for you to find a bike that’s gonna be both comfortable and easy to ride. If it’s not, then it’s going to end up sitting in your garage collecting dust.
- New or used, avoid anything and everything from Target or Walmart. While their bikes are cheap junk anyway, the bottom line is, they were assembled by an employee of Target or Walmart. If the goal is to keep riding, having a cheap bike that’s uncomfortable or always breaking down because of poor quality or assembly won’t encourage you to ride.
- Don’t worry about buying what were traditionally known as women’s bikes with step through frames. Instead look for what’s called a hybrid bike. A hybrid will give you the upright comfort of a mountain bike, but be better suited for the road with smoother tires and a more comfortable seat. You don’t want to bomb down mountains on it, but it’s light enough and geared to let you get up hills without blowing out your knees, and it will handle OKC’s delightful, pothole filled streets just fine.
- Make sure you get a bike with enough gears to maintain a comfortable pedaling cadence regardless of the terrain.
- Though they’re currently trendy, if you have *any* hills on your commute, avoid a single speed bike or beach cruiser. They’re fine for cruising with the kids and knocking around but, again, you want the ability to change gears to suit your terrain.
- Craigslist will offer you the widest selection. Beware, as for every decent bike, there’s one that was liberated from the trash, cleaned up and sold as “gently ridden.”
During the planning stages of our vacation, I thought renting a bike on our San Francisco trip would be rad and figured bike ownership would help me not look like an idiot out there. Know what else I discovered about not looking like a bike-noob in San Francisco? Don’t rent bikes…which is what we did. Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to check off item #10 off on another visit to my fair city. (Darn…have to go BACK to San Francisco.)
Bill volunteered to review any Craigslist purchase I was considering. What actually happened, though, is that I triggered his inner bike junkie and suddenly I was getting emails with specific links. And not just links, Bill was cruising Craigslist for appropriate bikes in my size and price range, then asking the seller detailed info before passing the links along. He has relentlessly emailed me Craigslist bike listings for months, to which I am eternally grateful. Hoping that before it snows I will jump on one of those listings and just buy the bike already.
Anyone in the OKC area have a hybrid bike they want to sell cheap to this tall lady?