The commuter’s best friend

Choosing the right bike

With so many different kinds of bikes to choose from, how do you choose the bike that’s right for you?

To help you make the perfect choice, we’ve reviewed all the main types of bikes, and summed up the pros and cons of each…

A bike for every requirement

You’ll find bicycles built for speed on the road, bicycles built for off-roading; even electric powered bicycles, so first off, you need to decide what you want your bike for.

This quick guide will help:

If you’re looking for a speedy commuter bike and perhaps for longer rides at the weekend then a road bike could be the best choice. Road bikes have a light frame, drop handlebars and thin tyres. These are designed for the best performance on the road, but are generally unsuitable for riding on rough tracks.

Ideal for use on rough tracks, trails and off road, mountain bikes come with wide knobbly tyres for extra grip in the mud. They can come with or without suspension. These bikes are not the best for use on the roads as the knobbly tyres create lots of friction and so require more effort compared to bikes designed for road use.

Electric bikes have a motor fitted which can be turned on for a bit of extra power. The motor assistance can help you go further than you may be able to on your own. It will allow you to tackle bigger hills or simply ride with less effort.

Assuming they comply with the regulations (as almost all reputable electric bikes sold in the UK do), they do not require tax, insurance or a licence to use, and can be used wherever a standard bicycle can go, including cycle paths. There is a wide range of electric bikes available, including folding bikes, step through and those with a crossbar. Electric bikes are also a good way of building your fitness up after an operation or when returning to cycling after a long absence.

These are suitable for both urban and light use off road, in particular on cycle paths and roads. They come with or without suspension and can have knobbly, sporty or smooth tyres for a variety of uses. They are practical for commuting as they have a comfortable upright position helping you to see and be seen in traffic.

These are very useful commuting bikes, especially if you don’t want to cycle the whole journey. Folding bikes are perfect for short commuter journeys and they can be folded up, taken indoors or onto public transport. They also have the added convenience of not requiring much space to store at home or in the office. These bikes also make good holiday bikes as they can be very easily transported.

Perhaps the best way to get a decent bike without forking out too much money is to choose a used model. Give the Gloucestershire Bike Project a go… All their pre-owned bikes are lovingly serviced and safety-checked by their Cytech level 3 trained mechanic..

When you’ve figured out the right style of bike for you, try it. Ask the shop if you can have a test ride. Or, better yet, borrow a bike from a friend. Give yourself at least twenty minutes to really get a feel for the bike. Is it comfortable? Is it easy to ride? Does the pace feel right to you? Put that bike through its paces and make sure you’re choosing the right bike for you.

It’s important to try before you buy. The best way to get the right bike for YOU, is to go into a bike shop. The bike you buy should be the right size for you.

  • When in the saddle you should be able to extend your leg with the ball of your foot on the pedal without over stretching. This is important as cycling is very biomechanical and repetitive, not using your muscles correctly can lead to strains and stresses.
  • You should be able to sit on the seat and reach the ground on your toes. If a bike is too big it will be harder for you to control.
  • The joy of buying a bike from a specialist bike shop is that they will help you find the right bike, with the right fit. Most will be able to talk you through the purchasing process and provide you with the bike you want.
  • Make sure you test ride any bike you are considering buying. They all feel different and the deciding factor for using your bike will be that you like riding it. Riding positions vary on bikes and it is personal preference. So don’t be shy, ask for a test ride.

Cycle to Work Schemes

Save up to 42% on the price of a new bike through a cycle to work scheme.

Ask your employer if they are signed up.

Next steps – Choosing a bike

With addresses, telephone numbers and reviews, here’s a useful list of some of Gloucestershire’s best bike shops:

Local bike shops

Got a bike and looking for some safety advice? Here’s what you need to know:

Keeping Your Bike Safe in Gloucester

Have fun
& stay healthy.

Cycling in Gloucestershire >

Think ride Cycling gives easy access to town centres & freedom to travel Think walk Feel the health benefits & enjoyment of regular walking Think train Free up your journey time & save on fuel and parking costs Think bus Avoid the jams & parking hassle with your direct route into town Think share Car sharing can cut your travel costs by a minimum of 50% Think electric Fully electric or hybrid cars are well suited to commuting & local trips