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Tips For Buying a Bicycle

Jul 13, 2008
I remember when I went with my dad to the local bike shop to pick out my first bike. I was so excited. I remember looking up at walls and walls of bicycles in all shapes, sizes and colors. When you walked in the door, there were tall ceilings line forever with neat rows of bicycles and the smell of new rubber permeated throughout the entire building. I walked around with my father for a while and he allowed me to gravitate towards certain bicycles. It was neat because, unlike, other stores, you were actually allowed to touch the stuff in here. I felt the handlebars and ran my hands along the banana seats and through the streamers. Eventually, I found a bicycle that I liked and my dad exchanged a few words with the sales guy in the store. Before you knew it, the bicycle had been taken down and we were being led to the back of the store to the parking lot where there were other people riding around on bicycles.

I was actually going to get a chance at test riding this bicycle! At the time, it had training wheels on it, but I remember it clear as day. It was a purple, banana seat bicycle with streamers coming out of the handles. It rode really smoothly; I loved it. A few minutes later, my father was at the register paying for my first bicycle. I remember riding my bicycle up and down the sidewalk with neighbors as well as in my backyard on the patio. There were so many good memories, including the day the training wheels came off and I was able to balance well enough on my own to finally ride solo.

I think that for a lot of people, bicycles hold some sort of sentimental value, which is why it usually takes some time and deliberation to choose one out. Once you get old enough to purchase your bicycle, things can become a lot more technical, especially if you're planning on using your bicycle for more than the leisurely ride in the backyard or around the neighborhood. Bikes can range in size as well as in price. For instance, some people will actually spend upwards of $1,000 to purchase a lightweight "road bicycle". If you're planning on buying a new bicycle, know what you are going to plan on using it for. If you are planning on becoming a cyclist who races road bikes, you'll be looking for a different bicycle than someone who is planning on going mountain biking or taking their kids out for a ride on the boardwalk.

Usually, you can purchase bikes that are already assembled, but it's always a good idea to double check and make sure that this is the case. A lot of the times, you'll end up having to assemble the bike, so be ready for it if that's the case. If you can afford it, buy your bicycle from a "bike shop" versus a discount store or some other store that happens to sell bikes (ex: Target, Kmart) because the people at a bike shop are generally qualified to deal with specific issues as it relates to bikes versus people in other stores who are more likely to give you their opinion but not really know what they are talking about.
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