Check out our Greysnet Guide to choosing your new wheels.

Cycling is a terrific pastime and one of the best ways to get out, get active and enjoy a whole range of health benefits. If you are thinking of taking up cycling for pleasure then you’ll want to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. A big part of that process will be choosing the right bicycle for you. There are a number of things to consider when choosing a bicycle. As we get older our physical strength and our mobility naturally decreases. You’ll want to find a bicycle which is easy to manage and offers a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are a few things to look out for.

Frame Design

You’ll want a bicycle with a frame that’s lightweight and manageable. This will make it easier to get it in and out of your garage, shed or where-ever you’re storing it. Getting your bike out easily is a important part of the experience. If it’s too much of a faff then you just won’t bother. Whether you are a man or a woman the fame design will determine how easily you can get on and off your bicycle. If you have any mobility issues look for a bicycle with a “step through” frame. This means the bicycle does not have a high bar between the seat and the handle bars. Step through frames are traditionally associated with “ladies” bicycles but they have become common on modern bicycles for men and women especially with the advent of folding bikes and the resurgence of “retro” designs.

Vintage bike designs are seriously back in fashion.

Ride Position

Another important factor to consider is the ride position. If you are cycling for pleasure, you’ll want a ride position that allows you to keep your back as upright as possible. This will make for a more comfortable experience. Try to avoid bikes that force you to lean forward while riding as this will place unwanted stress on your lower back, arms and shoulders. Depending on your height, you’ll want the seat to be a few inches lower than the handle bars.

Seat

No-one likes sitting on a hard seat and the more uncomfortable the ride the less time you are likely to spend on your bike. Look for a seat that has plenty of good quality padding and enough width to support your body. A narrow seat with only a small amount of foam padding is likely to get very uncomfortable rather quickly. Think of it like buying a new sofa! The seat should feel comfortable and supportive.

Suspension

Another important feature to look out for is the suspension. Just like in a car, the suspension on a bicycle helps to smooth out the ride and soften the impact of any bumps or inconsistencies in the surface. Different bicycles have different types of suspension, some are incorporated into the seat, others in the joints of the front and rear wheels, others in the handlebars. Most bicycles use a combination of systems. While you won’t need the sort of high-tec suspension which can be found on a modern mountain bike you will want a bike that is capable of handling a variety of surfaces without shaking lose your fillings!  

Test-Drive

The most important thing to do when buying a new bike is to take it for a thorough test drive. It’s the only way to be certain that it’s the right one for you. A good bike shop will have no objections to letting you test out a bike before buying.

Buying

The best place to buy a bike is from your local independent bike shop. If you have to go to one of the big chain stores be sure to ask the assistant plenty of questions. If you get the impression they don’t know what they are talking about then try somewhere else and if they try to bamboozle you with jargon ask them to keep it simple, after all it’s not rocket science, buying a bike should be as easy as riding one! If you decide to buy a bike from the internet then thoroughly check the returns policy and make sure it comes with a full money back guarantee.

Don’t forget to Accessorise!

Make sure to get yourself a good quality helmet and some high visibility clothing especially for cycling in low light.