There are quite a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding cycling and we thought we would discuss a few below as these may help increase your enjoyment of cycling or inform any decision-making while buying bicycles or accessories. Here we go.
Cycling is expensive
If you are wanting to get into cycling or are going to start using the car/train/bus less on your commute, the most important factors are correct size and safety, not necessarily price. The most you are likely to spend in one go is when you first purchase the bike and accessories. Once you have made this initial purchase, the general upkeep on bicycles is significantly cheaper than motor vehicles/train tickets. And with options to spread the cost with the Cycle to Work schemes or 0% credit finance available, you do not need to pay for the whole amount up front.
Bike weight is everything
When buying bicycles particularly, one of the main misconceptions is that weight is everything and that the more you pay, the only benefit you get is lighter weight. Sometimes you do get a lighter bike but that’s not ALL you get. When it comes to road bikes, you will generally get a lighter bike but what you are really paying for is efficiency (of which the lighter weight is one factor) which also includes a stiffer frame for much greater transfer of power to propel you forwards. The skill here is to also give you a comfortable bike while maintaining this efficiency which is why carbon is the material of choice as it can be both stiff, comfortable, and strong.
When it comes to mountain bikes, the principles above also hold true but because of the forces at play on an MTB, a stiffer frame leads to more predictable handling as there is less lateral movement when cornering.
Steel frames are a bit different again as you pay more for a lighter frame but the skill here is that the frame gets more comfortable, lighter but maintains all the strength. Bicycle frame materials could be a fairly lengthy blog on its own but hopefully this is an adequate overview.
Cyclists should cycle next to the gutters/pavements
This is definitely not the place to ride your bike although it seems the most logical as it is further away from cars. The reasons this is not correct is that riding in the gutter means you are riding through all the rubbish that collects at the side of the road. If a pedestrian doesn’t see you and steps off the kerb you have less time to react and can only swerve right, potentially into passing traffic and lastly, you are safer sitting out a bit further to make yourself visible and encourage vehicles to pass you with more space. We have also done a blog on some basic cycling safety.
It would be rational to assume that bike sizing between different brands would be similar but unfortunately this is not the case. Just because you are a 56cm in a Specialized Diverge does not mean you are a 56cm on all bikes. This is why you should always test ride a bike especially if it is a different brand than you are used to. Another reason this is problematic is that some bikes are measured in inches, and some are small, medium, large etc.
The other thing to note is that bicycle size charts are just a guide and will not be correct for everyone and they also do not factor in any personal preference. Best to visit us to sit on the bike and then you can be sure ou are getting the correct size.
The look of a saddle determines how comfortable it is
A saddle could look like a bit of cheesewire but be exceptionally comfortable and on the other hand, can look like a big comfy marshmallow and not work for you and the bike you are riding. Understanding the type of saddles that are appropriate for different bikes is the first step to finding comfort and efficiency. Road and gravel bike saddles will tend to be narrower as they are designed to allow your legs to move freely while in the road bike position as your pelvis will be tilted forward at a different angle. A bigger and more padded saddle would likely cause discomfort as it will rub in the wrong places and not allow your legs to fire efficiently. A road bike saddle on a hybrid will likely target the wrong pressure points and will result in pain from pressure in the wrong area.
Please be wary that the saddle shape that is appropriate to the bike you are riding first. The next step is the width. Width can be measured using a device in some of our stores and this will generally depend on the width of sit bones. From there, once you have determined width and style required, you are well on your way to finding your perfect saddle.