How to Buy a Folding Bike

The market in folding bikes is just crammed with choices. A good way to narrow your range of choice down to make it easier to come upon a buying decision would be to just decide beforehand what your budget is. With that in mind, you can begin to make sense of the bewildering range of choice available.

Most brands and choices in folding bikes are easily available online. You would do well to go down to a local store to actually check a model that you like out. It’s hard to describe user experience like on the Internet – unless there are other owners who helpfully point problems out in complaints.

Wherever you buy, online or off, how do you know how to compare one model against the next? What features do you compare them by? Well, when it comes to folding bikes, you can’t compare models the way you compare regular bicycles.

For instance, folding bikes are all about portability. You want to be able to fold your bike up and carry it with you on the subway or to work or up the stairs in your walk up or something. When it comes to folding bikes, the cheaper they are, the more they tend to weigh. The cheaper models can actually weigh you down at 35 pounds. So you do need to think about this.

Some budget folding bikes are light indeed – except that they’ve somehow compromised on quality. You’ll find that very lightweight bikes, when they are poorly made, can be quite unstable. Basically, it needs to be kind of a trade-off among stability, quality and weight.

Folding bikes have to be tiny. They can’t be as full-sized as regular bicycles. For this reason, you need to check out if you can actually fit on it. This shouldn’t usually be a problem though unless you’re more than a couple of inches over 6 feet or 175 pounds.

Some folding bicycles tend to have a very annoying kind of folding mechanism. And when you do fold them, there’s nothing effective in place to keep the whole thing together. You need to either have such a mechanism, or you need them to give you a convenient carry bag. In fact, the bag would always be good idea. Some transportation authorities don’t allow folding bikes onboard unless you have them completely covered in a bag.

Brompton, the British folding bicycle company, at $2000, happens to be one of the classiest brands around. You even get a six speed gear changing system. It’s light, it’s stable, and it’s high-quality. If your budget doesn’t quite go that far, Strida’s LT model at $600 can be a great choice. Of course, at that price, there certainly have been some compromises made. But most users claim that the compromises have been sensible ones.

Time For A French Cycling Tour

The French countryside is full of picturesque villages and historic buildings. The landscape is ideally suited to cycling tours in France. Touring the country by bike means that you see more than if you were in a car or coach. It’s easy to take the bike down narrow country lanes and to have a break, walking through the woods or by the river. Another advantage is the opportunity to buy excellent bread, cheese and pastries to eat by the roadside. On the whole, France is bicycle friendly and not too hilly.

There are many companies that offer bike tours, either self-guided or with guides. These are organized by region. The Exodus company has a Loire Valley planned self guide tour, which takes in fabulous chateaux and vineyards. There are charming villages at every turn. Amboise and Chenonceau Chateaux are highlights. Exodus also arranges a France cycling tour in Burgundy. This is the destination for serious lovers of wine and gourmet food. The wine-growing region includes Nuits Saint Georges. Medieval villages, abbeys, and chateaux line the way along with lovely half-timbered houses with beautiful roof tiles.

Digngo organizes tours in Alsace, another region of awesome architecture and fine food and wine, including Riesling. Many travelers like to visit in the festive season for the famous Christmas Markets. The tour includes the medieval town of Colmar and Strasbourg with its magnificent Cathedral. The company arranges luxury accommodation and meals at restaurants and a support vehicle assists the cyclists. A hybrid bicycle is provided with safety helmet, water bottle and route maps. This France Cycling Tour company also arranges admission to tourist attractions, museums and events.

Normandy is another destination for Digngo. Its most famous landmark is Mont Saint Michel and visitors also frequent historic cities, such as Bayeaux, home of the tapestry, and Caen. The area is known for its cheese, seafood and cider. Many people like to visit the World War II landing sites along the coast, including Arromanches, Omaha Beach and Pegasus Bridge. This region is also known as French Catalonia and it has a fascinating history. The Breton town of St.Malo is famous for its fortress.

Discover France is another touring company. Its Champagne Bicycle Tour is popular with lovers of the bubbly and the trip begins in Epemay, in the heart of the Champagne vineyards. The village has beautifully designed houses and visitors can explore the local cellars and taste the produce. Languedoc is another area that the company operates France Cycling Tours in. There are old Roman towns, Cistercian Abbeys and yet more vineyards! Wines here include the Cotes du Roussillon. It is also an important olive oil growing area. Carcassonne is a Roman settlement with a 12th century castle. The 11th century and 14th century basilicas of Saint Nazaire and Saint Celise are of historic interest. Other interesting cities include Montpelier and Narbonne.

Dont Buy A Road Bike on Price Alone

When it comes to buying most things we tend to look at the price first and the quality second. Of course, price is an important factor, but there is a danger that it becomes the only thing we consider and when it comes to buying a bike, you really do need to consider the quality of the components and frame as well. Here are some of the things I recommend you take into account when trying to find the best road bike for your needs.

Used or new

These days, buying a bike is easy. Simply log onto the Internet, type “best road bike” into a search engine and you will be presented with hundreds, if not thousands, of choices in every imaginable category and price range. If money is a big consideration, then this is probably a great option for you, however, as with buying anything online it’s a case of buyer beware. After all, you don’t really know how well used the bike is or even what kind of condition it really is in. It may look clean in the photograph but the frame may be badly damaged, the tyres worn and rims bent and buckled and it may not be immediately obvious from the listing. When it turns up at your door in a sorry state, it’s often too late.

When buying any kind of second-hand bike online make sure that you, at least, check the components for any obvious signs of wear and if possible contact the owner and ask them about the kind of use the bike has had, whether there are any stress fractures on the welds, and if any of the components have been replaced recently.

Of course, faulty or damaged components can be changed, in some cases quite cheaply, especially if you’re willing to do the work yourself but getting a qualified professional to do the work will, of course, cost extra and should be factored into the overall buying cost of the bike. The most serious problem is, naturally, some kind of structural deformity, which can put you at serious risk of injury or even death.

Price range

Good bikes tend to fall into three price ranges, low mid and high. We’re going to discount the high price range bikes in this article simply because they tend to be the preserve of professional riders and serious amateurs and with prices starting at £3 to £4000 (or more) it’s pretty obvious that you need to be a specialist buyer in order to be considering this kind of bike.

Mid to low range road bikes tend to fall in the £2 to £400 category with the mid-range bikes going as high as £1200. This may seem like a lot of money, and it is, but considering the cost of professional road bikes is not actually that high.

So what’s the difference? Well, the quality of the frame, gears, brakes, seat, handlebars plays a big part as do the materials involved. Don’t expect to get a carbon road bike for £200. At the lower end of the price scale there will naturally be some compromises, but shopping around you might be surprised to find out that certain components, such as the derailleur tend to be common across all price ranges. If it’s just a decent good going bike for casual use, then it’s probably not worth paying the extra money for a mid-range bike but if you use the bike regularly for commuting then the better quality components will definitely be worth the extra money.

Cost of repair

An old friend of mine used to say buy cheap and pay dear and when it comes to bikes this is certainly the case. Cheaper components will of course break more easily and will be worn out faster so it’s important to factor the cost of replacing them into the overall cost of ownership of the bike. As you use the bike more, so the components will wear out faster so, again, it makes sense to pay extra for better quality components. For example, replacing the derailleur can cost anything between a hundred  and £200 depending on the model you decide to replace it with. Replacing brakes and the crankshaft can be equally expensive. In the past, I have actually spent more replacing components on a bike than I the spent buying the original.

As I said, you buy cheap you pay dear.

For most people buying a bike needs a bit of research and consideration of your budget. However, do the work, take a bit of time and by the late bike and will be something you can enjoy for many years to come

The Joy of Riding Bike Trails

Let’s face it when it comes to exercise riding a bike outside in the fresh air is one of the best ways to get yourself fit. Even if you don’t like the great outdoors then that a whole range of exercise bikes that can be used in the comfort of your own home without the need to get outside and get dirty and wet. Of course, these exercise bikes get you fit but really for the thrill and excitement there’;s nothing to beat riding a real bike and of course this is especially true when you join a club and experience the thrill and excitement of riding with others. It’s a great way to bring the family together, working out and enjoying some good exercise and fresh air. Of course, for the best experience it makes sense to find some good bike trails rather than trying to negotiate city traffic.

Even if you live in a big city, there is a good chance that there will be bike trails near where you live. After all, you can find parks almost anywhere and a growing number of them have paths where people can walk and ride bikes. The good thing about this is that even although they are located in the city, you still get the feeling that you are out in the countryside, even if the scenery might not be as spectacular. When riding bike trails, you do have to keep an eye out for walkers and horse riders, after all they have just as much right to be there as you do, but horses can be easily startled and walkers can be hit if you get distracted and run into them. Remember to keep to the paths and tell your family members and fellow cyclists to keep an open eye as well. That way everyone has a good time and no one gets hurt.

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to live out in the country you are probably spoilt for natural bike trails each of them offering a varying degree of challenging intensity. Some of them will be easy, low-level rides that offer the chance for a perfect day out for a leisurely ride with the family and children. These trails are great for beginners, and of course kids as well, and can be a relaxing way to spend a Sunday morning. Chances are you will also meet like-minded cyclists and families along the way so as well as getting fit it’s also a great way to meet new people.

Of course, if you fancy more of a challenge they don’t have to look too far in most rural areas to find trails that offer a bit more in the way of vigorous exercise. Whether it’s a hill climb, obstacle course, or even a forest trail, each bike trail will offer its own unique challenges even the most experienced cyclist.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that you should have proper safety equipment, helmet, glasses, and if necessary elbow and knee pads and of course, the right kind of bike for the kind of terrain that you be riding on. Road bikes with narrow wheels may be excellent in the city and roads but the just not built to go on by trails and are not only uncomfortable but can be dangerous. Make sure that you have a trail or mountain bike with decent suspension, fat tyres for good grip and a lightweight but sturdy aluminium carbon-based frame.

Riding bike trails is one of the more exciting ways to enjoy the sport, taking the necessary precautions anyone can enjoy it.