When the weather gets nicer, I want to – all the sudden – exercise. I want to get out into the sunshine and replace my sweat with glorious vitamin D. One of the best ways to enjoy warmer weather is by getting into cycling. Biking isn’t just for kids, afterall. Millions of adults enjoy the hobby. One thing that makes biking such a good option for outdoor enjoyment is that you don’t necessarily have to break the bank to make it happen.
There are many reasons to bike: exercise, family time, or even personal time. Cycling is the perfect way to get to know the layout of a neighborhood better in a leisurely way. Biking also has the potential to be a social outlet through your local bike store or bicycle co-op. Ever since its invention, bicycles has been a means of transportation that have brought people together.
Affordable Ways to Bike
Local bike shops are something the public sleeps on, and that’s a shame. An obvious reason to give your local bike shop patronage is that it helps the local economy. Beyond that, local bike shops eat, sleep and breathe biking. They know what it is like for people who are obsessed with cycling, but they are also equipped to help people new to the hobby. While a chain bike store often has to push sales and meaningless trinkets, a local bike shop is better equipped to get to know you as a hobbyist and find the bike that fits your needs.
Of course, chain bike stores are not all bad. They are just not the most affordable way to get into biking or continue the hobby. Chain bike stores (e.g. Trek Bicycle Company) tend to be clean, well-staffed, and always well-stocked with the newest bicycles and cycling gear on the market. You may think that chain bicycle establishments are highly incentivised to have excellent customer service, but that is not always the case, especially when it comes to serving amateur bikers. Now, if you are willing to weather a potentially uppity attitude to get an expensive part for your bike faster, then knock yourself out!
However, bike riding on a budget is not worth it if one doesn’t follow the rules of the road. Obtaining a bike helmet absolutely is the first thing you should invest in after purchasing a new bike or dusting off old faithful from the garage. A quality helmet can easily be found for less than $30 – way less than any hospital visit I have ever heard of. You don’t have to have intimate knowledge of every single screw of your bike to get riding, but you should be at least familiar with bike maintenance 101. This involves learning to patch a flat, keeping your chain well-oiled, and becoming familiar with adjusting your seat height and handlebar angle. Your local bike shop can help you with this knowledge for no charge at all.
All-in Cycling Lifestyle
You say you are looking to blow your tax refund on a new bicycle? Lucky you! You are going to have a great time. Bicycle retailers are constantly making bikes faster, stronger and more expensive. There are bikes, presumably made out of space metal, so light (and fast) that you can easily carry it between patches of smooth road, or lift it over your head to cross a creek (if you are into jungle biking). Having a new, fancy bike sure is fun, but one thing you want to budget for is maintenance – the more expensive the bike, the more likely you want to take it into a shop to get retooled by experts. And that, my friend, ain’t cheap.
But what’s the point in riding a fancy bike if you don’t look smancy as well? Looking cool while pumping pedals is half the fun when biking-without-budget. Carbon fiber apparel, for instance, if created to be aerodynamic and comfortable. If you are looking to really work up a sweat on the road than you are going to want to invest in a sweat-wicking uniform. If you are looking to road bike, you may want to invest in snap-in boots that offer a secure connection. This type of equipment is way more than feeling cool: snap-in boots are considered safer for the rider, but also minimize stress on your joints.
Cycling can be an incredibly enjoyable hobby. There is no better way to get exercise in warm weather. Cycling can be a solo, contemplative venture or it can be one in which you connect with many new friends. It (almost) goes without saying that it is the quickest way to get around in an environmentally friendly way. Whether you have many dollars or not so many, the sun is waiting for you to get biking!