I need a bike

This article is for people that think they might need a bike, or a better bike, or just a different bike, whether you’re new to cycling or not.

If you don’t want to spend money until you’re sure it won’t be wasted, read on! You don’t want a terrible bike or the wrong type – that might put you off cycling for life and be a total waste of money. And you need to be safe!

Bike types can be very confusing – there’s a great summary of the different types at dailybiking.com/2014/08/types-of-bicycles-explained.html

If you don’t find the answers here, or you want advice on starting a different type of cycling (such as commuting to work, or joining a cycling club), you can always ask a specific question here.

You have three main options:

  1. Borrow a bike. Perhaps you know a keen cyclist that has has a old one they’d be happy to lend you (most do). Maybe you know someone that bought a new bike, but hasn’t used it. There is also a cycle hire company the island.
  2. Buy a second-hand bike. You could try: local newspapers, such as the Islander, adverts in shop windows and – of course – Ebay. The Community Cycle Centre is a group of volunteers that recycle donated bikes, giving them back to members of the community in return for a donation; you can increase your chances of getting a bike from the centre if you’re prepared to help in fixing up your new bike.
  3. Buy a cheap new bike. We have a number of bike shops within easy reach of Hayling – and Hayling Cycles in Elm Grove is a Cycle Hayling supporter. Although you can spend a fortune, you don’t need to – there are some pretty reasonable new bikes from, say, £150-200. Spending a lot more than that could be an expensive mistake until you know how much you’ll be cycling, and where.

Some things to look for:

  • Size – you need to be able to adjust the seat position so:
    • Your knees are slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal rotation
    • You are able to touch the ground with both feet so you can stop safely
  • Gears – they help a lot to get you going and to keep going once you’ve started, avoid single speed bikes unless you know what you’re doing
  • Mudguards – you’ll want to be protected from the elements while you get around
  • Suspension – or lack of. Suspension adds weight but is of little benefit to casual cyclists (folding bikes are an exception – they need suspension to be comfortable)
  • Man’s bike or woman’s? Bikes without a crossbar used to be considered essential for preserving women’s modesty. These days they can be just as useful to men with mobility issues. It’s important, though, for women to have a female fit saddle if they are going to cycle any distance – look for a deep groove or cut-out in the middle of the saddle.
  • If you want to take your bike on the train, or in the back of a car, or you’re short of storage space, folding bikes have come on a long way. What they lose in straight line speed, they make up in flexibility.

If you’re buying second hand, make sure:

  • The brakes work effectively (if the brake pads are worn, make sure you can replace them)
  • Gears change smoothly
  • The chain, gears and gear-changing components are rust-free and not worn
  • You can change the seat position (freeing up a rusted-in seat post can be impossible)
  • The tyres do not look worn

We’d be happy to try to answer any specific questions you might have here.