Choosing The Right Bike

What are you going to use the bike for?

This might sound like an obvious question, but it’s the most important one. I think we can safely assume you’ll want the bike to ride, but still, lets consider what you will be using your potential new bike for. See which of the following apply .. and perhaps make some mental notes as we go along:

  • Travelling to and from work
  • Trips to the pub. Or pubs.
  • As a replacement for a car. ( – This is called utility cycling, which simply means using a bike for literally every trip you make, be it buying a weeks worth of groceries or a trip to the DIY store)
  • Leisure or Recreational Cycling – riding a bike simply because you enjoy it
  • Fitness cycling – Trying to shed a few pounds or increase your level of fitness generally
  • Competition – Cross country or road racing, for example
  • Endurance cycling events – A bit like Marathons, in cycling there are Sportives and Audax events. The longest Audax events can be well over a thousand kilometres and last several days
  • Cycle Touring – Self-contained leisure cycling – carrying everything you need with you for the duration of your trip. For example, cycling coast to coast, or Lands End to John o’ Groats.
  • Mountain biking – Making cycling more challenging with technical terrain
  • Transporting cargo – Yes seriously! There are a number of bicycles or human powered vehicles (HPVs) designed specifically for carrying larger items of cargo – often useful in very densely populated areas
  • Cyclocross, BMX or stunt cycling

For some types of cycling, it’s quite obvious that you need a specific type of bike – BMX for example. But for other types of cycling, there are a few efficient choices. If you are buying a bike to travel too and from work, you could use a road bike, a touring bike, a hybrid bike or even a moutain bike depending on the distance.

lady cyclist racing a penny farthing bicycle

A cyclist racing a Penny Farthing / an ‘Ordinary’ bicycle

Most readers at this stage make a mental note of the types of cycling they’re interested in before we start exploring the next question.