How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps.

Step 250: Treat buying a bike like you would buying a car

Time for a fantastic guest entry from Gregory! Gregory is super involved in the Boston cycling community. He commutes (safely!) about 20 miles per day, and back in 2010, he even biked from Boston to San Francisco to raise money for autism awareness. Gregory?

You’ve decided to buy your first adult bike. Good for you! The good news is this is one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. The bad news is it’s a bit trickier than you might have initially imagined.

You may have grown up thinking that cars are for adults and bikes are for kids. That the adult ‘cyclist’ always has been, and always will be, a fringe species. And that anyone who rides a bike is one of those people who take riding a bike super seriously.

For these reasons, diving into the bike world can be daunting and you may not know very much, if anything, about buying a good bike.

But here’s the good news: people who ride bikes are actually just like people who drive cars. So when you go shopping for your first adult bike, treat it like you are shopping for a car. Go into it with intentionality, do your homework, learn to walk the talk and ride the ride.

Think you’ll buy something used to save a few bucks? Simple enough. Apply all the same principles you would to buying a used car. How are those tires and wheels looking? Are you seeing rust anywhere indicative of neglect? What about a dent or bubble in the frame that might mean the bike was in an accident?

Think about the owner, too. Is this bike coming from the cycling equivalent of a mechanic — someone who will have kept it tuned up and dependable? Or is this just some dude trying to hock it?

Next, take it for a test-drive! Give those brakes a squeeze. They might be great, or they might just be OK. But just like a used car, are the brakes something you can just say ‘Meh’ to? No. They’re a pretty big part of the equation.

Thinking of your bike as a car will keep you happy and out of harm’s way. Cars get ticketed when they have a light out. You should have lights. Cars can’t get inspected without a working horn, so go get a bell!

Most importantly, in the event of an accident, your seatbelt will save your life. Helmet. Helmet. Helmet.

It may, at first, feel funny and you may think you look silly, but the only real difference between you and a car is that you’re traveling for free, getting fit, and having way more fun.

Thanks, Gregory! Photo by cyclocotpus.

16th Oct 2012 122 notes , Comments
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  13. tekym said: Devil’s advocate re: helmets: nytimes.com/2012/09…