So you made your wish, now it is time to go shopping for your bicycle. We are going to give you 6 tips and tricks to get you the bike of your dreams.
First, finding the Right Shop:
Just as you would test-drive a car, “try a shop before you commit.” Try and get familiar with your local bike shop, go in and say "hi," or just stop by for coffee if they have it. Perhaps they offer free lessons on how to change a flat tire; sign up. See if you can find a connection with them. Buy from the store where you have the best connection and experience.
Image courtesy of Voyeur Design
When you are ready to make the purchase there's a few things you can do to prepare.
Think about and write down the answers to the following questions.
- What will you use your bike for?
- How do you plan to ride your bike?
- When, where, and how often will you ride?
- How much are you willing to spend?
This exercise should help you—and the shop staff—focus on your needs, whether you’re buying your first bike or a new wicker basket
to go with it, knowing how you plan to use it will help you make the right decisions.
Test Ride the Bikes you're interested in.
When you are ready to buy your bicycle you should test-ride a few. (If the shop doesn’t allow this, go to one that does.) Touch and feel everything on the bike so you know exactly what you’re getting. Turn on lights, test the breaks, shift the gears and sit on the saddle.
It’s easy to feel put out of place when shop employees start to rattle off jargon. Don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down and speak in language you understand. Most will be happy to help and remember, you are in control of the situation. After all, you have the money.
Expect Super Service
When I first started riding my bike I didn't know how to change a tire or fix a flat. You may find yourself in this situation. When buying your bike find out what their guarantee for repairs is all about? Perhaps they will offer 3 free tune-ups? Call a number of stores to comparison shop. A good shop will stand behind its work and you can find a dealer that suits your needs and your pocket book.
It’s Okay To...
Return stuff so find out what the return policy is before you buy your bike. Some shops allow exchanges within 30 days. Ask about their policies before you buy your bike.
How will you know when you find the fight bicycle? Let's just say it is like finding the right pair of jeans; you just know when it fits.
Follow these steps and you are on your way to finding a bike that's right for you and will put a huge smile on your face.
A special thanks to our friends at Bicycling
magazine for the great tips!