During my lifetime, the design of the bicycle has changed at a pace that would make your head spin, but the essentials are still the same. What really matters is to find a bike that suits you and get out there on the road or track as soon as you can.
Before you do that, though, you need to find out what kind of bike is best for you. Friends who are new to cycling often say they find this choice daunting, partly because there’s so much information and advertising out there.The first question I ask would-be beginners is what they want to do with their new bikes. Answer that and everything else will fall into place.
Different surfaces require different kinds of bike.The two main types on offer are road bikes and mountain bikes. I’d like to have a look at each of these in turn, so we can assess their strengths and weaknesses for use in different environments.
Speed and Performance
The main emphases in the design of the modern road bike are on light but strong frames and responsiveness over smooth, paved terrain. To minimize resistance and maximize speed, road bikes have very thin wheels and tires. In the world of professional cycling, the frame of the bike will be built from especially strong materials like carbon fiber or titanium. Bikes made for the consumer market use different light but durable materials, such as steel or aluminum.
Big Wheels and Rough Terrain
What if you’d prefer to go off the beaten track? Well, in this case you’ll need a mountain bike. These bikes are designed to maximize performance on off-road surfaces, such as dirt, mud, or gravel. So, your mountain bike will have a good suspension system and will be able to handle a lot of the hardship that comes from the impact of rough terrain. Your wheels will be much larger than those on road bikes, and the tires will have raised lugs that grip onto loose or uneven surfaces.
I’ve focused here on the choice between road and mountain bikes, simply because these are the two options I’m usually asked about. Remember too, though, that if you simply want to use your bike to get to and from the office, inexpensive commuter bikes can also be a good choice. So, to sum up, before you buy a bike, be clear about what you want to use it for. If you do this, your money will be well spent.
Anyone who knows me or reads my blogs will be well aware of my passion for cycling. I love cycling not just as a competitive sporting activity but also as a very enjoyable means of relaxing and keeping fit. For much of my working life, I’ve specialized in cutting-edge development and expansion strategies, especially in relation to the world of technology, media, and telecommunications. I’m also fascinated, though, by a very-much older and beautifully simple form of technology: the bicycle. That’s why I’ve blogged a lot about cycling and about the tactics and demands of competitive racing. At the end of the day, though, it’s all about enjoying yourself safely. Happy trails!