Riding a bike brings many benefits. It keeps you fit, provides you with a cheap and environmentally friendly way to get around, and it’s an inexpensive way to have fun.
Bearing this in mind, I have put together this post to help you get started with cycling (even if you are on a tight budget).
Make sure you like cycling first
Before you invest in buying a bike, you need to give cycling a go first. Borrowing a friend or family member’s bike and safety equipment is probably the cheapest approach.
If you’re a city girl, consider getting a membership to a bike sharing program. Here in London, we have Santander Cycles, but there are bike sharing options in most major cities: NYC has Citi Bike, and D.C. has Capital Bikeshare. If you enjoy it, then buy a bike.
Buying a bike
There are plenty of second-hand bikes out there, but you do need to be careful about buying one. It is very important to look the bike over properly and make a mental note of what needs fixing before you buy. Getting something like a warped wheel fixed can easily blow your budget or keep you off the road until you have saved up enough money to get the repair done.
If all the second-hand bikes you look at need repairs, buying a new bike might be a better deal. Stores like Target usually have cheap (and stylish) options. You just need to be realistic about what you are buying. A cheap bike will keep you on the road, but only for a few years at which point you will need to buy another one. Therefore, saving up and buying a good bike is usually the most economical way to own a bike, at least in the long-term.
Buy waterproof gear
Apart from a cycling helmet, you do not need to buy any special cycling clothes. However, it does make sense to buy a waterproof jacket just in case you get caught in the rain.
Don’t forget safety equipment and security
If you are new to cycling, you will also need to budget for and buy safety equipment as well as a lock for your bike. You can buy what you need from Radial Cycles, a new online bike shop that sells bikes and cycling accessories to suit all kinds of cyclists regardless of their budget.
Get the right insurance
It is also important to check that you have insurance for your bike. You may have coverage included in your home insurance policy, so it is worth checking that policy first.
However, bear in mind that most home insurance policies will only cover you if your bike is stolen from the house — not from the street.