Buying a bike

- Advertisement -

Here is another extract taken from Bicycle Magazine, like last week’s piece. It’s applicable to all cyclists, not just those who plan to see some of the world by bike.

In the Comfort Zone

As you will be spending a great deal of time on your bike, comfort is naturally the primary issue. First of all your bike needs to be the correct size for you, to accommodate both your leg length and your torso/arm length.

Any good bike shop will do this as a matter of course when selling you a bike or, alternatively they may be able to adjust your present bike. If the fit is good, one might only have to refine the 3 points of contact to make your bike feel as comfortable as your favourite pair of jeans. The points of contact are saddle, handlebars and pedals.

SADDLES: The most personal item of all! These range from gel filled and ideally leather covered, which will mould itself to you instantly, every time, to the traditional solid leather Brooks saddle. These look like an unyielding item of torture, but in fact they are very breatheable and will, after several hundred miles, exactly replicate your posterior.

This makes them the ultimate customised saddle, and with a little proofing they will last forever. In between is a massive choice, with trial and error unfortunately being the only judge. One final point, if you are a woman buying a man’s bike (a very good idea), get the saddle changed to a ladies’ one at point of purchase.

PEDALS: In the past, flat pedals or pedals with toe clips and straps were the only option. Used with stiff soled cycling shoes without cleats, these allowed you to walk around without sacrificing too much performance when pedaling.

Since the invention of SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics), we now have the best of both worlds; a shoe with the cleat recessed within the sole, to let you walk comfortably and yet it still engages tightly with the pedal. A simple twist of the foot disengages you in an instant. Also with many SPD pedals it is possible to clip in on either side of the pedal, so no more having to flip the pedal round to pop your foot in.

HANDLEBARS: Quite often people wonder why touring bikes have ‘racing’ style handlebars. It’s simply because they offer around five different hand positions and to some degree, several different torso positions too.

On a long ride this will alleviate the ‘pins and needles’ that some riders experience in their arms and hands. For a similar benefit, one could try the “butterfly” style of handlebar. Again a good number of hand positions, albeit in a more upright stance. If you have straight or ‘riser’ bars, you might find that simply adding a pair of bar ends will give sufficient extra hand positions to stave off discomfort.

Braking News

Armstrong’s new team debuts in January

Lance Armstrong’s new team – RadioShack – has been invited to ride the Tour Down Under in Australia next year. The event, at which Armstrong launched his post- retirement come back earlier this year, runs from the 17th to the 24thJanuary 2010. If RadioShack has its application for a Pro Tour licence approved by the Union Cycliste Internationale, we can expect to see the new team make its debut in Adelaide next January.

It’s quicker by bike – Or is it?

Forget all the green issues, how cheap it is and how much good it does you, but is cycling really the fastest way to get around?

A chap called Stuart McMillen, who lives near Brisbane in Australia, has been conducting a relatively scientific study of bike commuting against taking the bus.

His results are very thorough, he allows time to walk to and from the bus stop (one bus stop is an amazing 30 seconds away!); time to shower and change his clothes, both on arriving at work and again on returning home; and even time to walk his bike to where he parks it.

So what is the quickest way to travel? Yep, still the bike, but by a very slim 30 seconds!

Checkout his cartoon on

Shweeb any one?

Well it’s a lot of fun and you do it lying down. From New Zealand, land of extreme sports, comes Shweeb, a human powered monorail race track. Situated at Agroventures, near Rotorua, on New Zealand’s North Island, the shweeb track has been open since 2007.

Put simply, riders race a pedal-powered pod around three laps of a 200 metre track, either against the clock, or another competitor. It’s also possible to race pairs of pods against each other.

The pods are aerodynamically shaped transparent tubes which have seven gears, and a very low rolling resistance. Because of this, it’s easy to reach speeds of over 60 kilometres an hour, and on the curved sections of track centrifugal force pulls the pods out to an angle of 60 degrees.

And finally,

Do you remember Lance Armstrong’s impromptu bike ride in Glasgow from last week’s blog?

He was in Ireland this week, riding the Tour of Ireland. Although he had dropped out of the race, last Tuesday he was fit enough to organise another impromptu ride which started in Dublin.

As yet I don’t know how many turned out for this one.

• Arthur Lamy is the manager of Boudins for Bikes, in Sand Street, and author of Jersey Cycles. He has spent 15 years as a tourist guide and writer, and is also a keen photographer.

More information can be found on his website:

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.