I’ve blogged about biking in the past. I thought that doing a third post might be too much, but I realized it has almost been a year since my last cycling-related entry (the days are long, but the years are short). I think that RAGBRAI gets me in the mood to write about one of my favorite pastimes. My escalation in bike riding could not have been foreseen. Seriously, though, I went from not riding a bike to thinking that going for a 36 mile ride is a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon! I feel like it’s time to invest in a new, better bike, and ICPL has a great resource to help figure out what’s best for me.
Last year during RAGBRAI, I got serious bike envy. Let me explain–four years ago, I had decided that riding a bike to work would be a good way to exercise. I walked into a local bike shop and told the friendly employee that I needed a bike to make my short-ish commute downtown. They got me set-up with a no-frills bicycle for that very purpose. I was (and still am) very happy with it (I would like to mention that I named my bike Road Warrior). Thing is, I feel like I’m working harder than I need to on longer rides. My bike is heavy with wide tires. Hence the RAGBRAI bike envy. Everyone had really nice bikes, and I was riding the bike I use to get to work everyday.
I have an idea of what I want to get, but I definitely needed to do research. The Library has access to the Consumer Reports database (currently only available within the Library, but we’re working on it). Consumer Reports is known for its unbiased information and reviews on numerous products. They have a Bike Buying Guide. I should mention that it’s a section that they’re no longer actively updating, but the info that is provided is very helpful. They have a great “Getting Started” section that gets you thinking about how you want to ride, how much you want to spend and where you should get your bike from. They recommend going to a bike shop. We’re lucky to have so many options in Iowa City including World of Bikes, Geoff’s, 30th Century Bicycle and Broken Spoke. Going for a test ride is important to make sure you’re comfortable with the bike.
They go through the different types of bikes, which was actually quite helpful for me. I always assumed that my current bike was a road bike, but the description is more in line with a fitness bike. Which makes sense, because it says that fitness bikes are good for commuting. A performance road bike seems like the kind of bike that I’m interested in now. After that, there’s a section about several brands of bikes. I also appreciated this section due to the fact that I was only aware of a handful of popular manufactures. Consumer Reports also has a guide for purchasing a helmet and great articles like “Gear Up for a Safe Ride.” They recommend getting a mirror for your bike. I do too! I’ve found my mirror to be invaluable.
I’ll probably be getting that new bike relatively soon. It takes me forever to make a decision like this. I want to be happy with it, because I plan on riding it for years and years to come.