Seven Things to Know Before You Buy a Bicycle

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I hope you didn’t click on this expecting a skinny girl in Spandex to show you how to change the tire on a bicycle. If that’s what you’re looking for, this ain’t it, Sis. This is just a little story about the valuable lessons I’ve learned in the three months since Gertrude joined my family. 

This is Gertrude.

Isn’t she lovely? (You’re singing it, now, aren’t you…) This is the day we brought her home from our favorite little bike shop – the day she was perfect, pristine, clean, and pure. I mean, she was certainly beautiful the day she came home. Less than 24 hours later, she had her first bumps, scratches, and bruises, along with my ego.

You see, I’m 41 years old, and I haven’t owned a bike since… well… before the internet. I learned some very important lessons very quickly, so if you’re thinking about becoming one of those “cycling” people, here are a few things for you to remember.

  1. Don’t buy a bike from a stranger on the internet. The little cop that still lives inside my soul knows how many of them are stolen, broken, or haven’t been taken care of. Especially later in life, you need a bike that fits you. Don’t buy a bike you can’t sit on and pedal and get a feel for first. 
  2. If it isn’t comfortable to you in the store, you won’t ride it. Period. Don’t let someone tell you that it’ll get easier, or that you’ll get used to the funny way it sits. If you don’t like it in the store, chances are, you won’t like it at home.
  3. Quality adult bikes are way more expensive than I thought. Be prepared to make a small (or schmedium) investment into good equipment. 
  4. Yes, you can ride 10 miles in one go. Yes, it’s a long way. 
  5. Not all puddles are puddles. Some are potholes filled with water that will stop your front tire like you just hit a freight train and subsequently launch your aging body over the handlebars and into the prickly bushes and rocks at the entrance to Oklahoma Christian University. 
  6. You will fall down. You will crash, at least once. Buy a helmet and wear it every time. 
  7. You will end up buying at least one of those cycling outfits we all make fun of, including the padded shorts. And speaking of the padded shorts, wear those every single time, too. Your lady bits will thank you. 

I’m still learning, and I’m still pretty slow, but we ride around Lake Hefner nearly every Saturday morning! If you see the Sloth Cycling Team, make sure to say hello! 

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