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Biking

How to Buy a Bike as an Adult

It’s like getting back on a bike. After a few year hiatus, I finally took the plunge to go with two wheels.

As the author of Green Philly Blog, I feel as though I should have purchased a bike years ago. However, I stalled this decision based on my long commute to the suburbs, a naïve decision to buy a new car after college (for the record, it has a low emissions rating) and the expense of owning a bike/living in the city using public transit instead.  Since I’ve lived in the city, I’ve been able to get around sans car & bike on the weekends.

After wanting to make the switch, choosing to participate in the low car diet finally put me over the edge to buy a bike.  I visited a few shops; test rode a few bikes before settling on the one I called the One.  It was quite an exciting process overall.  I considered each type of bike for my decision, look at various prices and thought long and hard about what to select ultimately as my new wheels.

For those who haven’t converted yet, biking in Philly is hotter now than ever.  Spruce & Pine Streets have lanes devoted only to 2-wheeling citizens, the Bike Coalition has many events, and Philadelphians recently participated in the Naked Bike Race to raise awareness of how much bikes help the city and environment.

What to consider when buying a bike in Philly

For those who are thinking of the purchase of a bike, here are a few pieces of advice I picked up from my journey:

1)      Choose what style of bike works best for your lifestyle. Are you using the bike for commuting, everyday, or just on occasion?  Do you want to exercise with it, or even possibly do a race with the bike?

2)      Ask questions!  VIA bicycles on 9th & South and Bike Line (The Philadelphia location sadly closed, but they have other locales in the suburbs) had staff with a wealth of knowledge and answered all of my questions.  Don’t be afraid to admit if it’s your first bike or you’re not sure what the differences are.

3)      Test drive a few bikes! Try a few different styles and brands to see what you feel comfortable.  Try an upright Cruiser versus a hybrid or utility and feel the differences.

4)      Remember the accessories.  To ride a bike in Philly, you’ll need a high-quality lock, bike lights, and helmet… among other added maintenance items.

5)      Join the Bicycling Coalition of Greater Philadelphia – They have excellent news, events, and updates to help make Philly more bike friendly.

Readers, what have you found about biking?

In case you were wondering, here’s my choice of new wheels:

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Julie Hancher
Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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