Buyers Guides:

So you want to buy a bike. This is good. And by this I don’t mean good that you’re keeping your car off the road, because I’m not one of these car hating people. I love my car, it’s fast and uses a shocking amount of petrol and makes a nice burble… I’m actually a bit of a petrol head at heart, but I digress…

But what kind of bike? A mountain bike? A Hybrid? A road/touring bike? Hmm… I think you’ll be catered for better elsewhere on the internet.

Here’s a question for you: Are you riding your bike as an alternative to a car or public transport?

Are you commuting to work, on roads or cycle paths, and going about 10 miles on it? If you answer yes to this then you need a town bike. Most shops will try and sell you a ‘hybrid’ cycle now as the town bike doesn’t really exist any more. The hybrid is, well, a hybrid between a mountain bike (chunky steel or aluminium frame) and a road bike – slimmer and slicker tyres, usually 700c rather than the smaller 26″ wheels found on modern mountain bikes. Some of these will have suspension for soaking up potholes and rough roads. I say you’e already got a couple of good shock absorbers, your legs. A hybrid also has mountain bike gears, probably either 18, 21 or 27 of them. Most of which you will never use and all those extra cogs will confuse the situation and add weight and inefficiency to your ride.

If you live in a flat part of the world, you can probably even get away with a single speed – and I mean a proper single speed, with a freewheel and brakes, not a fixie – fixies are for lunatics that will one day be removed from the gene pool by natural selection – but if you’ve got hills, even quite big ones, then you’re going to need a three or a five speed hub, especially in the city.

You know when you have to stop quickly and haven’t changed down? You have two choices: get off and select the right gear, lift the back wheel, spin the crank, get back on, continue on your way, or set off standing up because you’re right up in the high gears. Or you could have a hub, select a low gear, and off you go again. Simple.

I’ve posted couple of sub-pages about Vintage and New bike. Have a read. Please don’t think that I’m being heavy handed and against mountain bikes and racers, they have their place, but for your average day to day utility cycling, they’re more of a hindrance than a help. Read on, gentle reader, and if you like the words, say so in the comments.

  • The Premise

    Everyone seems to wear all kinds of strange luminous tight fitting clothes when riding a bike? Why? Because they think they're being professional cyclists, but really they're going to work, going to the shops, peddling to the pub.

    This is utility cycling. Going from one place to another, but not in a time trial.

    Let those that enjoy the feel of Lycra continue to do so. Let those that spend a fortune on a high tensile aluminium or carbon fibre space-age frames continue to do so. Round here there's only a few caveats. Steel frames, hub gears and chain-cases are regular finds. Trouser clips are optional, but not required, and there's very little mention of new contrivances, just old finds and restoration jobs.

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