Be sure to get the right one.
If you like me are living within a few kilometers from the places you go the most i.e. work, school, shopping, sports, you should consider using a bicycle to get around town.
It is not only fast, convenient and pollution free, it is also great exercise.
I am by no means a bicycle expert but I will gladly share my opinion about what you should look for when you go out to buy a bicycle.
The bike on the picture is my daily commuting bike. I use it around town on trips shorter than 50 km. It is heavy, sturdy and very reliable.
- Tires. Everybody hates getting a flat so you want to make sure that you have great tires on your bicycle. I have always had good experience with Schwalbe tires so they get my full recommendation. In this case, I have fitted a pair of Marathon Plus with SmartGuard and after thousands of kilometers, I have not had a single flat yet.
- Kickstand. Mounting a kickstand or not is often a personal preference but I like to have one. If you are like me, you want to get one similar to this one which is mounted at the rear end of the bike. By doing that, it is out of the way when you're biking.
- Pedals. I prefer to have clip-on pedals and my personal preference is the SPD system from Shimano. As you can get bike shoes where the cleat is protected it will not be in your way when you walk. Since I every now and then use my bicycle while wearing regular shoes, I have mounted a pair of pedals with SPD on one side only.
- Reflectors.Make sure you comply with the provincial law when it comes to bike lights and reflectors as well. Read here if you want to know the law in your province.
- Brakes. Once you try hydraulic disc brakes on your bicycle, you don't wanna go back to the conventional system with brake pads. These brakes will make you stop in any weather condition. Period.
- Suspension. Many people will claim that having front fork suspension on a city-bike is not necessary. However, if you have bad road conditions like we have here in Ottawa, you want to be able to smoothen your ride a bit. This particular one can be locked, though, so you will not waste any energy bouncing up and down every time you decide to stand up and work hard in the pedals.
- Handle for locking the suspension. Conveniently located within reach on the handle bar.
- Bar ends. Adding a pair of bar ends will provide additional riding positions.
- Water bottle cage. Don't leave home without water on a hot day. Biking makes you thirsty so a bottle cage is needed.
- Lock. If you don't want to buy a new bike on a daily basis, you need to get a good lock. Do yourself a favor and spend money on a good quality lock with storage bracket provided.
- Mud guards. Some bikers don't use them as they find it makes the bike look boring but I prefer a boring look to a wet back. The ones I mounted are mostly made from plastic which makes them very sturdy and flexible.
- Gear hub. If you plan to use your bicycle most of the year and you want something that is low maintenance, get yourself a bicycle with a gear hub. It is almost maintenance free and you will love it, when the snow starts to fall.
- Lights. Last but not least. Don't leave home without it. Make sure you comply with the provincial law when it comes to bike lights and reflectors as well. Read here if you want to know the law in your province.