When I was a motorcycle instructor, students would come up to me all the time asking this classic question. And, with a smile, I would say — as would my co-instructors: “The one you can afford.”
The same holds true for any new tool you need for a new interest. Right? So now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into a little more detail about what kind of bike you should get!
First, if you have no idea where to start and you live in the city, figure out how you’re going to store the bicycle. If space is a concern, perhaps a folding bike is the way to go. There are many types on the market today, and at different price points. If you can hang it on the wall or suspend it from a high ceiling (really), then you’ve just opened up a whole world of choices.
Type of Riding
Second, think about the type of riding you would ultimately like to do a couple of years from now. Are you what I call the Mary Poppins-type rider? You know, easy-going, with a basket on the handlebars?
Will you want to do triathlons and ride in the city? Perhaps a hybrid bike is the way to go. And, yes, it could happen, because my philosophy is that anyone who can walk, swim, and ride a bike can do a sprint tri, so don’t rule out the idea! (I’m a coach, remember.)
Maybe you’re just like a bat outta heck and wanna go fast all the time, so a road bike and some spandex/lycra could do the trick.
Do you envision yourself riding trails? Then a mountain bike is something to look at. Do you want to race on the trails? Then a cyclocross bike could be just the thing for you.
Or do you like an upright position but want speed? Then maybe a mountain bike frame with city slicks, tires with less tread, will suit you just fine.
Finally, most experienced riders will tell you to avoid big box stores because the bikes there are, well, crap. And maybe they are, but if a “Good Enough For Now Bike” is what’s in your budget — and you cannot find a good quality used one at that price — then there’s no shame in getting one. Just know that you could spend more money at your local bike shop getting stuff repaired more often than with a higher quality bicycle.
Not All Bells Are Created Equally
Just so you know, in NYC, it is the law to have a bell (the “brrring-brrring”, not “ding-ding” are better), front headlight, and a rear taillight.
My recommendation is that whichever awesome ride you find, you’ll be happier if it has some gears, handbrakes, and a place for a water bottle. While we’re on the subject, please, please, please, invest in a good bike lock! Other add-ons to consider: kickstand, rear rack, front basket.
Welcome to City Bike Coach!
I’m so glad you could stop by today.
Today’s topic is about the one thing you need to ask out loud before registering a loved one for a Learn-to-Ride session.
The one thing that comes up so frequently is….drum roll, please….: Rider Readiness!
Just how ready to learn is your loved one?
Often, folks will call – either for their children or a significant other – to schedule a Learn-to-Ride session.
For parents of children, ages 4 years to 7 years, the main theme is, “It’s time that Johnny and Susie learn to ride! What’s the earliest appointment available?”
For significant others, I hear a lot of this: “I want him/her to ride with me on the weekends. It’ll be so much fun to be able to spend more time together doing what I love!”
Sometimes, the same people will have already booked a session online and then call for the details.
But here’s the thing: Are you the one who wants the student to ride? Or, has the student stated a strong desire to learn? In most cases, when the targeted student does not want to learn a session can be a disaster. Truly.
You may ask, “But how can learning to ride a bike be that hard? Get outta here! That’s just what you do when you’re a kid. I did it, I fell, I got over it, and look how I turned out!”
Well, let me tell you.
First, if a student – no matter the age – has a real fear of riding, that fear must be addressed first. Maybe you were forced to do it, too, but was that fun?
Second, perhaps the student has no interest in learning. In our worlds, this can be unfathomable, but think of all the things your family and friends love to do yet you have no desire to even try. Um, baking with cricket flour, anyone?
Third, maybe the student is not ready developmentally. For children, there is no set time for physical fluency. For example, a four-year-old who is flying on her balance bike may find that her legs shut down once pedals are introduced.
Now, if a student has fear and/or physical fluency factors but really wants to learn how to ride a bicycle, then there’s your green light! We’ll take it one session at time until the student is rolling on two wheels.
This is why at City Bike Coach, we must know and feel that the following is true: The student must state a desire to learn – or at least be curious enough to try. It’ll be the first thing I’ll ask anyone calling for a session. So please ask your loved one first; it will save you unnecessary stress, time, and money. Trust me :).