Buying your first bicycle in the United States

I get approached often with questions about how to get started with cycling. In fact thats why I created the Sprocket app to help buyers connect with sellers that have great deals - or even better, save bikes that were going to get recycled otherwise! Buying your first bicycle can be daunting - for many of you its fairly common that you have not ridden as a child but still remember how to ride. For some of you you've never learned to ride and are terrified to get on to give it a try for the first time. Lastly the price of a bicycle can seem daunting. These are a few of the many reasons that folks fail to make the jump into this new, and exciting chapter of their lives. So let me give you a cursory overview of answers to common questions I get asked by folks just like you :) 1. You dont know how to bicycle If you dont know how to bicycle and are thinking of learning how there are many places you can go take classes for adults. Many times the lessons are FREE and are run by the local city/community groups, bike shops and coalitions. Just Google around or visit your local bike shop to find a class. You will be on the road in no time and having more fun than ever before! 2. You dont know what bicycle to get My go-to recommendation for new cyclists is a road bicycle - which as exactly as it sounds, is made for road cycling. Chances are, you (like the rest of the majority of the US population) live in a city or somewhere urban enough that theres some nice tarmac to get you around town. Road bicycles are the most efficient types of bicycles for getting around on roads due to their wheel size, tire width, geometry and gearing. In laimens terms you will go the fastest with the least amount of energy loss. I often meet newbie cyclists who are convinced they know more than veteran riders and insist on getting a hybrid or a mountain bike. Ask yourself what kind of riding you expect to be doing and what condition the roads are in, because mountain bikes and mountain-road hybrids are meant to deal with gravel, dirt, lots of potholes and other terrain obstacles not encountered on city streets to the extent that a heavier bike is needed. Not only are they heavier, they usually have wheels that run on lower pressure with more tread making contact with the ground, all of which slows you down. Some may have shocks that can not be switched off causing a lot of your energy to dissipate into the frame with each pedal stroke. The advice is to start on a road bicycle and swap to a more all terrain bike once you learn your needs better after a few months on the road. Cruisers, Fixies, BMX etc. are specialized bicycles are not recommended as a first bike because they are poorly suited for commuting, errands and getting used to riding in general. Cruisers look stylish but are simply too heavy and improperly geared to get you most places. Fixies (also known as Track bikes) use a fixed gear drivetrain where there is no ability to coast and are therefore generally meant to be used in an indoor bicycle track aka a velodrome. BMX is meant for tricks and the small wheels/frame are not practical for riding long distances. None of this is meant to discourage you from eventually getting on one of the many unique and exciting bicycle types in the future. The advice is meant to help you first get accustomed to riding and building that fun bike lifestyle habit, rather than give up because you picked something hard to ride and then assumed riding was just 'too hard'. 3. What price bicycle to get Well... the first question every bicycle shop owner will ask you is "Whats your budget?" Cycling does not have to be expensive and in-fact many of the $2000-4000+ are simply unnecessary for us mere mortals. Bicycles on average last 7x the lifespan of a car and there are plenty to be had on the used market at about $200-300 dollars. If your budget is just under $1000 you can find some exceptional deals on models that were 'new' only a few years ago or even reasonable new bicycles at your local LBS. The strategy here should be: "Buy that first used road bicycle to get into cycling in general and learn the ropes." Once you have a better understanding of what you need/want switch it up for your next more expensive purchase or another used bike that fits your style better. This will save you from buying an expensive boat anchor initially and then throwing in the towel on the whole thing all-together once you realize the size is wrong or its too hard to ride for some other reason. 4. Where to find great deals on bicycles OK so you know that youre looking for your ~$200 road bicycle but you dont know where to look. Here are some recommended places to check first: CraigsList.com - Good selection of used bicycles all over the country. Every once in a while a good place to find a stellar deal eBay.com - Also has some good low-cost used options that can be bid on or purchased immediately Facebook Marketplace - Its buried pretty deep and its location in the app seems to change month to month but its there Sprocket App or www.sprocket.bike - The only one on this list specialized to just bicycles and with Bike Index Verification on some of the listings (meaning theyre registered as not stolen on bikeindex.com) letgo App - Has some good bike deals from time to time OfferUp App - Has few good bike deals but less than letgo app Bkie - Has great deals but if you live in the country of Spain only Hope this helps get you started. Most importantly find that bike family/work friend and ask them all your questions. You will be surprised by how much they want to help - both to live vicariously through you as a new cyclist and to help get more wheels on the road for a better bicycle community and planet. - Seven Sprocket App Founder