This article is for people that think they might need a bike, or a better bike, or just a different bike, whether you’re new to cycling or not.
If you don’t want to spend money until you’re sure it won’t be wasted, read on! You don’t want a terrible bike or the wrong type – that might put you off cycling for life and be a total waste of money. And you need to be safe!
Bike types can be very confusing – there’s a great summary of the different types on the Sustrans website.
If you don’t find the answers here, or you want advice on starting a different type of cycling (such as commuting to work, or joining a cycling club), you can always ask a specific question here.
You have three main options:
- Borrow a bike. Perhaps you know a keen cyclist that has has a old one they’d be happy to lend you (most do). Maybe you know someone that bought a bike, but doesn’t use it. There is also a cycle hire company on the island.
- Buy a new bike. You don’t need to spend a fortune – there are some great new bikes in the £150-500 range. More than that could be an expensive mistake until you know how much you’ll be cycling, and where.
We have a number of good bike shops within easy reach of Hayling:
- Buy second-hand (but make sure it’s suitable – see below). Locally:
- Portsmouth Community Cycle Centre is very good at recycling donated bikes, on Facebook and their website.
- Hayling Cycles only sell new bikes, but it might be worth checking if they’ve taken a bike in part exchange.
- Try: local adverts, garage sales, asking friends, the tip, Facebook, and of course, Ebay.
- You might see signs outside private houses – 33 Rails Lane (active Aug-2023) and 1 Manor Rd (not sure if active 2023).
Some things to check :
- The right type of bike for you! Check Sustrans – how to choose.
- The right size to be comfortable and efficient – adjust the seat height so:
- Your leg is nearly straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke
- You can touch the ground with both feet to stop safely
- Gears – they help a lot to get you going and to keep going once you’ve started, avoid single speed bikes unless you know what you’re doing
- Mudguards – good to be protected from the elements while you get around
- Suspension – unless you’re considering serious off-road riding, suspension just slows you down, adds weight and something else to go wrong.
- Man or woman? Men’s bikes used to have crossbars, but that’s changing. Step through bikes are just easier for everyone to get on and off.
- Saddles make such a huge difference, especially for women, that we’ve written a whole page on them here!
- Folding bikes are brilliant for trains and buses, or car boots, or to store at home. They might lose a very little in straight line speed, but they make it up in convenience – read more here.
If you’re buying second hand:
- Do a thorough M-Check, and check especially:
- The tyres do not look worn or cracked
- The brakes work effectively (if the brake pads are worn, make sure you can replace them)
- Gears change smoothly
- The chain, gears and gear-changing components are rust-free and not worn
- You can change the seat position (freeing up a rusted-in seat post can be impossible)
Good bike shops will advise you on all these thing. Or we’d be happy to try to answer any specific questions you might have here.