It’s bike season! Time to get outside for a ride.
Below we break down the must-knows for buying a bike for anyone – from tykes to grandparents.
Finding a Bike for Your Child
The main goal with buying a bike for your child is finding the right size. Children’s bikes are measured by the diameter of the wheel, with sizes ranging from 12 to 24 inches. The appropriate size depends on the child’s age and height or leg length. For example, most 2-year-olds start on a 12-inch bike in order to accommodate their shorter legs.
To test proper fit, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children sit on the seat with their hands on the handlebars. They should be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground. To further test fit, the AAP recommends children straddle the center bar. They should be able to stand with both feet flat on the ground with about a 1-inch clearance between the crotch and the bar.
Also, a helmet should be standard equipment with any bike purchased for a child.
Finding a Bike for Yourself
Again, sizing is important in choosing the best bike for yourself. eBicycles has a handy guide to choosing your correct-sized bike based on both your height and inseam. Each type of bicycle has different sizing guidelines, so determine the type of bike you want first.
Designed for riding rough, off-road trails, mountain bikes have flat or upright handlebars and a very low gear range for pedaling up steep trails. Most mountain bikes have some type of shock absorbers or suspension. Mountain bikes with front suspension only are called hardtails; mountain bikes with both front and rear suspension are called full-suspension bikes or duallies. Mountain bikes with no suspension are called rigid.
Built for long, leisurely bike rides, Cruisers offer both comfort and style. While these bikes won’t win races or power through rough terrain, they are perfect bicycles for family rides.
Road bikes are designed to be ridden fast, on smooth pavement. They have smooth, skinny tires and drop handlebars that are perfect for on-road racing, and these bikesare usually lighter than other types of bicycles. They can be ridden on paved trails, but most people find them uncomfortable and unstable on unpaved trails.