Bikes come in a multitude of
shapes, sizes, models and
styles. Here's how to pick out
the one that meets your needs
safely and practically
H$ DEGREE to which you will enjoy cycling will depend largely on how wisely you select your bike. For some individuals an expensive 10-speed bicycle is a must, for others the same bike would be an extravagance. But there is one common denominator: the overriding importance of safety. So here are some tips to help you choose the most practical, and safest bicycle for your needs.
Types of bicycles. Basically you can think of adult-size bikes as either conventional middleweights, or lightweights. (In bicycling, an adult is any person who is large enough to ride a full-size bicycle; the bicycle industry considers anyone over age 14 as adult-sized.)
Within these two weight categories, you find bicycles of different styles that are suitable for specific riding purposes. Some are designed for moderate distance touring, while others are for long-distance touring; three-speed bikes are especially good for business commuters; middleweight models are best for local riding, as
on newspaper delivery routes; adult threewheelers are for those who have large loads to transport or for those whose sense of balance is not the best; folding bicycles facilitate transport in cars and boats; tandem bikes promote togetherness; onewheeled models (unicycles) are for the adventurous and those having better-thanaverage balance.
The traditional bicycle made in the
Lightweight bicycles weigh as much as 15 pounds less than the middleweights. The lighter weight plus three speeds make this category of bicycle very popular as a general use bicycle among adults. Expect to pay as much as three times the cost of a middleweight vehicle.
There are still lighter bicycles weighinl under 25 pounds that some view as a thirc basic category. These have anywhere frorr 5 to 15 gears, with 10 gears perhaps bein€ the most popular. Other features include hand-lever brakes, dropped-down handle bars of the type seen on racing bicycles am thin, hard tires.
Who needs 15 gears? Relatively fev
cyclists need a bicycle having fifteen gears, but many riders will find five or ten gears useful. On the other hand, others would wonder why they spent money on extra gears when one-or at most three-gears would have sufficed.
The number of gears your bicycle should have should be determined largely in relation to the kind of terrain you expect to travel. Extra gears are used to maintain as consistent a pedaling rhythm as possible because for most individuals a cadence of 65 to 85 pedaling revolutions per minute is most comfortable. The trouble is that you just can't maintain this rpm when pedaling up a steep hill with a conventional single-speed bike. So you drop to a lower gear which requires less physical
effort on your part. This means, of course, that you travel a shorter distance per pedal revolution, so you sacrifice speed for the sake of energy conservation. The general rule is that the steeper the slope you must climb, the lower the gear you use, and the slower you move ahead. You would also use a lower gear when bucking a heavy wind.
The higher gears are used primarily on down grades or when the wind is at your back. If you live in very flat country, you really have no use for a multi-speed bicycle, except perhaps as a status symbol. But if you will be touring through hilly country-New
Gearing ratios on bicycles are listed as whole numbers. For example, "70" gear is used on bicycles intended for "normal" riding conditions. The number relates to the distance you travel during one revolution of the pedal crank. To calculate the