I need a bike

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

    1. Hayling Cycles in Elm Grove is a Cycle Hayling supporter
    2. Halfords in Havant
    3. Emsworth Cycles
    4. Decathlon in Port Solent
    5. And many more.
  3. Buy second-hand (but make sure it’s suitable – see below). Locally:
    1. Portsmouth Community Cycle Centre is very good at recycling donated bikes, on Facebook and their website.
    2. Hayling Cycles only sell new bikes, but it might be worth checking if they’ve taken a bike in part exchange.
    3. Try: local adverts, garage sales, asking friends, the tip, Facebook, and of course, Ebay.
    4. 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.