How To Find The Best Bike For You – British Vogue

Posted: May 8, 2020 at 4:43 pm


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Like running, cycling has become one of the nations favourite pastimes since we were instructed to hunker down at home. Weve seen an unprecedented growth in bike sales since the beginning of March with triple digit growth across all types of cycling, says Michael McHale, road cycling commercial leader at Decathlon UK. We had anticipated seeing an increase in the sales of childrens bikes as parents try to keep their children active and entertained during lockdown and school holidays. However, as key workers continue to cycle to work and people take advantage of the nice weather and empty roads, weve seen a boom in bike sales across the board, beyond what we had envisaged.

The dedicated female bike brand, Liv, has also seen sales increase. From road racing machines to mountain bikes for off-road adventures and lifestyle products for a pedal around the neighbourhood, weve seen a rise in interest in all sorts of bikes, says Livs Collette Clensy. Weve also seen a change in the age groups searching online, with a much younger audience looking for bikes.

Cycling starts to seem a lot more technical once you start researching, and it can be overwhelming. Its also worth considering how you plan to use your bike if youre looking at making a new purchase. Remember a bike isnt just for keeping fit now; you might want to start using it for your commute once lockdown is lifted, too. Liv Cycling, which was founded by a woman and employs only female engineers to design bikes for women from the ground up. To ensure happy riding experiences, we build bikes that fit a womans body for the best fit possible. Beyond this, we demonstrate a commitment to women throughout their cycling journey through events and community projects, Clensy explains. How much you spend depends on the style of bike and the type of cycling you want to do but, according to Clensy, you can pick up a bike for less than 500.

If youre looking for a speedy, lightweight bike that works for your commute, long weekend rides or as a static exercise bike, look for a road bike. If youre looking for a bike to bridge outdoors and indoor training, wed recommend a road bike, says Clensy. However, remember that theyre purely for road cycling and wont be able to handle off-road riding due to the thinner wheels and more fragile, agile frame. Brands to look at include Liv, Decathlon and Specialized.

This will take you off-road and down to the local shops as well as on a nice ride with friends and family. Some models will offer suspension for those looking to be more adventurous. They also have straight handlebars if you prefer a more upright position. Mountain bikes are ideal if youre travelling over tough terrain. They have tyres that grip and suspension that absorbs shocks, plus a wider range of gears to help you climb. Theyre ideal if you want to get off-road and tackle rocky paths and grassy hills, says Tim Ellis, bike expert at Halfords.

Unsure whether to buy a road bike or an off-road bike? This is the compromise. In the style of racing drop-handlebar bikes but with thicker tyres than a straightforward road bike, youll be able to ride on gravel paths and bumpier tracks. You can also use it as an at-home bike on a turbo trainer, turning it into more than just an outdoor bicycle.

A combination of road and mountain bike, this is the best all-rounder. Its probably the best choice if youre unsure what type of riding youll be doing the most of, Ellis explains. Hybrids are a great starter option. They tend to give the rider a more upright and comfortable sitting position, which also means that youll have a good view of the road or path in front.

Remember to read the sizing chart carefully and use a measuring tape. Without the ability to visit a bike shop and try, you need to make sure you get the fit right. Online bike suppliers like Rutland Cycling are still taking calls and offering advice if youre unsure. Ellis says: Knowing what size bike you need is really important. Learning how to measure for a bike is important so you can ride a model thats right for you. Most websites now offer sizing guides to help you decide.

If you want to turn your bike into an indoor exercise bike, then investing in a turbo trainer, a tool which converts your bike into a stationary trainer, is well worth it. McHale has also seen a rise in turbo trainer sales. Somewhat ironically, its the regular cyclists who are now indoors on their interactive training apps. We saw over 1000 per cent sales growth of turbo trainers in March as social distancing measures began, forcing group rides and races to meet up online instead.

Paul Derbyshire, cycling accessories expert at Halfords, explains: When it comes to choosing a turbo trainer, its all about what you want to get out of your training. For the casual user looking to stay fit and active, a standard mechanical turbo trainer is a great, cost-effective option for turning your bike into an indoor trainer and the perfect solution for taking part in online virtual spin classes. Halfords has just partnered with global gym fitness classes Les Mills, to provide access to their at-home Les Mills On Demand platform for just 8.95 a month. But for those seriously into their cycling and missing their training routine, or in the middle of training for an event, wed recommend a Smart Turbo Trainer. You can link your trainer with a third party app like Zwift, which makes serious training much more fun and structured.

Clensy agrees there has been a significant spike in interest. During the lockdown, weve noticed a surge in people purchasing bikes for indoor training. The great thing about training indoors is it allows you to avoid bad weather and focus on targeted training particularly if time is of the essence. We also offer training plans at Liv Cycling. Luckily, most turbo trainers fit most bikes, but Derbyshire recommends double checking with the store that the one you want is compatible with your bike. He also recommends thinking about where you will install your turbo trainer; If you live in a flat or a place where noise travels, wed recommend investing in a fluid or direct drive turbo trainer, which are much quieter than their traditional wheel on counterparts.

Linking your at home set-up to an app can make your bike work harder, as it morphs into an indoor trainer. Peloton is currently offering a free 90-day trial, with access to thousands of classes available whenever you want to take them. Then theres Zwift, which Liv has seen a big migration towards within its community, and which connects to your turbo trainer (check your trainer has Zwift connectivity here). Zwift offers video game -like training programmes, races and group rides for a monthly subscription. Also try Technogyms MyCycling, a smart trainer thats extremely quiet and offers routes, training and coaching. Strava is a monthly subscription app that logs your rides and connects you to the cycling community, allowing you to follow friends so you can compete and compare your progress.

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