Find a local group:
www.bikeleague.org Learn about bike laws:
www.bikeleague.org/ action/bikelaws More about bike helmets:
your inseam. The longer your legs, the larger
your frame size will need to be. The website
eBicycles.com has a calculator that can help
you find the right size. You’ll know you’ve got
a good fit if you can sit on a bicycle comfortably with your toes touching the ground.
When you are sitting on the bike seat, there
should be the slightest bend in your leg when
your pedal foot is at the lowest point.
Several bicycle accessories are must-haves. Every rider should have a helmet, since
helmet use significantly reduces the risk of
serious injuries. The helmet should be worn
directly on top of the head, and the chin strap
should feel snug without being painful, says
Fife. “I see people wearing them tilted back,
which exposes the forehead to injury if you
have an accident. Look at the pros and see
how they wear them,” he says. Some bike helmets offer more protection, with harder shells
and fewer ventilation holes, but will not be as
comfortable for long rides, says Robert Hurst,
the author of several bicycle-related books,
including The Bicycle Commuter’s Handbook
(FalconGuides, 2013). “You don’t need to
spend a ton of cash to get a decent helmet, but
steer clear of bargain-bin knock-offs that
haven’t been certified by the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission,” he says.
Other important gear includes reflectors,
a bell, a portable tire pump and a light. “If
you’re going to be out biking in the dusk or
dark, it’s insane and often illegal not to have
lights or reflectors,” says Fife. Reflective clothing works, too.
The final step is learning the rules of the
road. Bicyclists, like anyone who drives a car,
are considered vehicle operators and must
follow the same traffic rules and regulations.
What’s in a name?
There are three main types of bikes: road,
mountain and hybrid. Which one you choose
will depend on how and where you intend to
ride it, says Bob Ross, president of the New
York Cycle Club.
Road bikes, sometimes called racing
bikes, have thin tires and downward-curved
“drop” handlebars. “They are perfect for riding in the street or on paved bike paths because
they put your body into a remarkably efficient
position for riding on roads,” Ross says.
“For example, bicyclists have to ride
in the same direction as traffic and
obey all traffic signs and lights,” says
Ross. He says most cities have at least
one biking group that runs classes
and group rides designed to help
newbies brush up on what they need
to know. C
e c e o ocombine the upright combine the upright Choosing the right bicycle means a safer, enjoyable ride
Costco member Karen J. Bannan is a
health, tech and business journalist.
Mountain, or so-called off-road, bikes
have thicker tires designed to handle rough
surfaces such as sand, gravel and other loose
road materials. Mountain bikes are also
heavier, have upright handlebars and may
have built-in suspension systems much as
your car does, says Graeme Fife, the author of
Tour de France: The History, The Legend,
The Riders (Random House, 2013).
Hybrid bikes combine the upright
handlebars, thicker tires and heavy-duty brake system of a mountain
bike with a frame design more
resembling a road bike.
Once you decide on the type of
bike you want, it’s time to choose the
right-size frame so you’re able to ride comfortably, control the bike and stop it quickly
when needed. Bicycle frame sizes are
expressed in inches and loosely correspond to