Tips for buying a bike
- If you're buying a second hand bike, make sure the seller really owns it. If you think that it might be stolen, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- The right size bike is essential. One size does not fit all! The inside leg measurement is the most important as this determines the frame size you need. Make sure that you adjust the bike for a comfortable ride. Handlebars to saddle distance should be the same as your forearm. You should be able to sit on the saddle with the balls of your foot on the lowest pedal with only a slight bend in your leg.
- It is best to buy from a specialist cycle dealer who can advise on a bike to fit, and also offer services/repair. Which-ever bike you choose, always ask for a test drive to try the bike out (it is normal to pay a small deposit).
What will you use your bike for?
- If you are going to use a bike along roads (e.g. into town or to work) then opt for a "road bike" which has narrow tyres. This will mean that you can go faster with less effort. You might want to go for a fully equipped bike with easy-reach handlebar's (curving towards you), mudguards, a lighting system, a rear rack (with quick-release panniers).
- If you want to use your bike for leisure (riding off road, or along rocky tracks) then opt for a "mountain bike". For undemanding rides look for medium-fat tyres and a light frame.
- If you want a bike which is good for on-road and off-road riding then opt for a "hybrid". These look like mountain bikes but are lighter, and more responsive. They have larger wheels than a road bike.
- If you want to travel by bike to the train station, to catch the bus, or drive most of the way by car and cycle the remainder then opt for a "folding bike". They're fine for short journeys, they're light enough to carry on a train or bus, and collapse small enough to put in the boot of a small car.
- Tandems are a great option when 2 people want to ride together. They go faster than solo bikes and are more aerodynamic.
- You can begin with a one or two seat child trailer. These attach to your own bike and can be used by children who can sit up (e.g. approx. one year old). Alternatively you could opt for a childseat on the back of your own bike. Make sure that your children are fitted with cycle helmets.
- When your child is old enough to pedal they could have a "child-back" tandem also known as a "tag-along bike" it has one wheel, and pedals and attaches to your own bike. These can give children a thrilling sense of speed and ease at an age when they would be struggling to keep up on an individual child's bike.
- When your children are old enough to have their own bikes, they can start with stabilisers to help their balance. Look for a design which allows the bike to "grow" with your child (adjustable saddles and handlebars).
- Lights: Essential for any bike. You must use a white light at the front of your bike and a red light at the back when riding in the dark. Road vehicle regulations were revised in 2005 and you can now use lamps emitting a steady light or flashing light (with an intensity of at least 4 candelas and 60-240 flashes per minute). Battery lights are the most widely available and commonly used. They are cheap to buy, simple to fit and can unclip for security. Dynamo lights are the most economical if you ride a lot at night. They cost practically nothing to run, and are generally lighter than other lights. They are bolted on, and give good light (and many modern versions have a ‘standby’ light that continues for a short while when the bike is stationary). Cycle trailers need a rear light and reflector. For more information regarding lighting regulations follow the link on this page.
- Computer: These are now widely available (and cost between £5 and £15). The bike computer will tell you how far you've travelled, your time, and your top speed. They're great motivators, especially if you are commuting to work.
- Kit: Always carry a pump and puncture repair kit
- Lock: Choose a lock that matches the quality of your bike. If your bike is expensive opt for a top of the range, hardened D-lock, and also a cable lock to secure one wheel to the frame. For a complete list of Police approved security products contact your Crime Prevention Officer at your local Police Station.
- Helmet: make sure it fits snuggly and is comfortable. Choose a helmet which meets BS, SNE, ANSI or AS standards.
Bike suppliers can be found by searching on the yellow pages website. Alternatively, follow the link on this page to the Shropshire cycling website for a list of local bike shops.