By: Chris Walters
With the rising tide of go green movements, fuel efficient vehicles, vows to exercise more, and alternative ways of transportation, one simple vehicle seems to triumph above the rest.
The bicycle is no longer being used just to exercise. Bikes are commonly being used by individuals, avid cyclists, and corporate companies to commute to work, run errands, and ultimately decrease the need for the automobile and it’s more expensive counterpart-gasoline. Bicycle manufacturers have helped the consumer find an appropriate bicycle by producing endless genres of bikes.
The common 10-speed is dead. Now, a consumer has the ability to choose from hybrids, performance hybrids, road or touring bikes, single speed/fixed gears, mountain bikes, comfort bikes, and the list continues. The choices can be overwhelming so if you don’t know what you want, skip the internet. Visit you local bike shop and ask all the questions you can. And, if test rides are allowed, test ride! There is no better way to find out if you like a bike than riding it.
Accessories also make or break a bike. If you plan on commuting to work, school, or sports practice, pick out a lock, kickstand, and water bottle cage. Locks are inexpensive and come in different thicknesses and lengths. Many locks can be opened by a combination, the user sets, but there are also key locks which eliminate the need to remember a combo.
Lights and a helmet are always nice to have too. Helmets, although not a law, should always be worn when riding. Contrary to much belief, there are tons of cool helmets out there to fit your style. On the other hand, if you are riding at night, lights are necessary. It is a law and failure to comply can in fact result in a ticket. Lights can be purchased in singles or a headlight and taillight pack. Some are even rechargeable, brighter lights, for those who don’t want to continuously buy batteries.
Winter gear is also a must during the cold season. For your head, companies make headbands, skull caps, and balaclavas that are snug enough to comfortably fit under your helmet. Warm cycling jerseys and jackets are also nice to have. Although the common cotton sweatshirt will keep you warm, it will often keep you too warm. This sweat sits up against your body and eventually makes you cold. Nobody likes the cold sweats. Cycling tops eliminate this sweat by a wicking process. The material pulls the sweat off your body to keep you the perfect temperature. Winter gloves and arm warmers are a perfect pair that leaves you nice and cozy on your bike. And, all these cloths paired with some leg warmers will keep your whole body warm when the weather is trying not to.
With the right bike and accessories cycling can be fun, save gas, and beat the traffic all year round. Head over to your local bike shop and check out all the possibilities. See you out on the road.
Chris Walters has worked for Century Cycles in Medina since he was 16 years old. Now 19, he attends Lorain Community College and submitted this article for The Collegian, the campus newspaper. Chris' bikes include a 2007 Raleigh One Way (brakeless and fixed gear), a 2007 Hoffman Bama BMX frame built from scratch, and a 2008 Raleigh Cadent FT1.