Your choice of bike can have a big impact on your enjoyment of cycling, select the wrong bike and you might find that cycling becomes more of a chore rather than something that you enjoy doing. Try thinking about when do you want to use your bike, will it be mainly for commuting to work, or more for fitness? Maybe you might like the idea of mountain biking more, or long distance cycling. Your bike should complement your lifestyle, so choose the type which reflects the majority of journeys you intend to make for a more comfortable and enjoyable ride.
Buying your bike
If you’re new to cycling selecting your bike and where to buy it from might not seem very easy. Prices on the internet might work out that little bit cheaper, but generally it is better to go along to your local bike shop where you will receive the expert advice in what will suit your needs, what size frame you will need and also have the wide select of different brands to choose from. You will also more than likely be able to try out different styles of bikes and go for a quick spin to test it out.
It is very important to make sure your bike is the right size for you and is adjusted to suit you riding style.
TaxSaver Bikes only lists independent bike shops as we know you will be cared for correctly when being fitted for your bike. If you buy a bike that is too big or too small, you will find that it will be uncomfortable to ride and can cause aches and pains unnecessarily. First you will need to select the right size frame for your height, then the bike will need to be adjusted to suit your riding style.
Each bike comes with its own set of benefits. Remember, you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend more. Sometimes bikes come with lots of extra features that you might not need, so think about what’s essential for the journeys you make.
In Ireland, cycling is a common means of transport and popular for several reasons
- It is an excellent form of exercise.
- It’s cheap
- It cuts down on your travel time, especially during rush-hour.
But cyclists are also a vulnerable category of road user. Every year there are several cycling fatalities on Irish roads and countless collisions involving cyclists.
As a cyclist, you can reduce your risk of injury by following some simple advice
- Never cycle in the dark without adequate lighting – white for front, red for rear.
- Always wear luminous clothing such as hi-vis vests, fluorescent armbands and reflective belts so that other road users can see you.
- Wear a helmet.
- Make sure you keep to the left. Always look behind and give the proper signal before moving off, changing lanes or making a turn.
- Follow the rules of the road, never run traffic lights or weave unpredictably in and out of traffic.
- Maintain your bike properly – in particular, your brakes should work properly and your tyres should be inflated to the right pressure and be in good condition.
- Respect other road users – don’t get into shouting matches with motorists; stop at pedestrian crossings; don’t cycle on the footpath.
- Watch your speed, especially when cycling on busy streets and going downhill.
- Steer well clear of left-turning trucks; Let them turn before you move ahead.
For more information please check the RSA safety booklet
A bike will work better and last longer if you care for it properly. It’s good to get in the habit of checking your
bike regularly – simple checks and maintenance can help you enjoy hassle-free riding and avoid repairs.
Maintaining your bike doesn’t have to take up lots of your time, but if you’re in doubt, leave it to the experts.
Most bike shops these days offer you free life-time servicing so make sure you ask about this when buying
your bicycle. This will not include parts though.
Tools you will need for looking after your bike:
The following are just the basics that you will need to get started:
- A pump
- Lubricants and grease
- Cleaning rags
- A puncture repair kit
- Tyre levers
- Allen keys and screwdrivers
- A multitool with a chain breaker
- A small brush, like a toothbrush.
Tyre levers attach to the spokes of your wheel and help to ease the tyre away from your wheel rim, they’re
really helpful if you have a puncture and a quite small so easy enough to carry with you.
An allen key is a tool used to drive screws and bolts that have a hexagonal socket in the head. It’s extremely
handy for maintaining bicycles.
Getting a puncture:
You can reduce the risk of getting a puncture by ensuring your tyres are always fully inflated. Not only will this
reduce punctures, it will also make life so much easier – even a slightly under-inflated tyre will slow you down.
Thankfully, punctures don’t happen too often, but when they do they are easy enough to fix yourself. Or you
could also carry a spare inner tube with you if you don’t fancy repairing the puncture on your journey. Make
sure you carry some tyre levers and a pump so you can change the tube, then fix the puncture when you get
If you don’t mind repairing punctures on your journey, make sure you carry your repair kit and pump at all
times. All puncture repair kits have full instructions with pictures making it easy for you to follow. If neither of
these options suit, you could just take it to your local bike shop and they will fix it for you for a small fee.
Here are some some quick and easy steps, which will keep your bike in tip-top shape and save you time and
money in the long run.