The 8List Guide to Biking for Beginners
Are you going to use this bike to commute to the neighborhood sari-sari store to buy pan de sal or suka? Do you want to hit the muddy mountain trails of Timberland? Or do you have visions of doing sprint finishes a la Tour de France? There are many kinds of bicycles: mountain bikes, folding bikes for a convenient commute, road bikes, BMX bikes… You’ll need to know what your bike will be primarily for.
Being savvy about buying a bike means you need to establish what your budget is before you start shopping for a bike. It’s easy to get seduced by all the pretty bikes at the stores, but they also cost a pretty penny. Unless you’ve got the scratch to cure the itch, having a budget to work with means you’ll be savvy about what to spend on and what you can save on. For instance, second-hand bikes and bike parts can definitely reduce your overall costs, provided they’re in good condition.
If you’re reading this, it probably means you don’t know as much about bicycles as you should when making a purchasing decision. Don’t be a know-it-all and end up spending more because you bought a standard stem but have an oversized drop bar, or the wrong frame size. (If you didn’t understand the last bit of that sentence, you really need help.) You can educate yourself by reading up online or hanging out in forums. Bike aficionado friends are also a great resource, they can give great advice and can also accompany you when you start shopping around.
Don’t just buy the first bike that catches your eye. There are many bike shops around the metro, each with different selections of bikes and parts brands. Pricing can also vary; bike shops in malls or near posh locations will generally have higher price points than bike shops in Cartimar.
There is a saying: “There are two kinds of cyclists: ones who have crashed, and ones who are about to.” Aside from buying a bike, you need to buy a helmet and get into the habit of wearing one at all times while cycling. Unlike riding in a car with walls, windshields, and seatbelts to protect you, riding your bike leaves you unprotected and vulnerable to impact. Protect your noggin from splitting open on the sidewalk – put your helmet on!
Just like a car, a bicycle also needs tuning up. While experts recommend a yearly tune-up at your local bike shop, you will still need to clean and lube the chain and cassette, center the brakes, wipe the bike down after a dusty, wet, or muddy ride, check your bike periodically for wear on the brakes and tires, etc. You will need to give your bike some loving so you can keep using it for years to come.
A bicycle is meant to be used. What is the point of having a bike if you leave it rusting in a corner? You didn’t spend thousands of pesos just for a new place for you to hang your clothes.
When you buy that bike, don’t forget to ride for the pure pleasure of the experience. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of zooming by on two wheels propelled only by your two legs.