My New Mountain Bike: Part 1.

AlpCycles offer extreme Biking Holidays in the French Alps

Shakin’ That Ass, Shakin’ That Ass.

pop quiz: the lyric above is from what song and artist? clue: perhaps dancing works as a diet for car lovers.

As you all know, I am a skier, but without long distance travel to ski in the southern hemisphere, my ski season is over. So, getting a mountain bike might be the answer to what I can do in the Summer, especially as I;

  • Love the mountains.
  • Enjoy being active.
  • Am happy in the great outdoors.
  • Am keen to explore new places.

Besides the gym and regular yoga, my summer exercise of choice is usually hiking. However I am increasingly tempted by the idea of cycling. A couple of years back a physiotherapist recommended cycling as part of my rehabilitation for a knee injury. I see lots of folk of all ages and abilities on e-bikes in the mountains. The fact that on a day’s ride you can travel so much further on two wheels than on two legs is very appealing.

Mountain Bike or Shopper?

Having never owned anything other than a bike to pop to the shops on, I asked a few mates what sort of bike they’d recommend. Most of the suggestions were very useful.

I suspect that, at least initially, most of my cycling will be on quiet lanes, tracks and purpose built cycle routes, the advice was to investigate what some are calling hybrids, some call adventure and some call cyclo-cross.

  • As I am not a regular in the saddle, the recommendation seemed to be that drop handlebars and clip in pedals should be upgrades that I considered once I am comfortable in the saddle.
  • The starting point is getting the right frame size and the only way to get the right one is to try lots. Women’s frames tend to be shorter from saddle to crossbar, others say the idea of a woman specific frame is nonsense as there is so much other adjustment in the geometry of the bike that getting the frame size ‘about right’ is the place to start.
  • Quality brakes are now disc; don’t settle for callipers.
  • Good suspension is now air hydraulic; don’t settle for springs.
  • Good gears are now considered to be fewer gears, with one at the front and 10 to 12 at the rear being typical; don’t select three cogs at the front.

What to Spend on a New Mountain Bike.

Given my list of recommendations, the price of a bike seemed to range from about £500 to £5,000 – below £500 and the brakes and/or suspension and/or gears didn’t meet my criteria. And, I am reliably informed, many other components will be ‘cheap’: So where to start?

You can stare at bikes on the Internet all day, but there is no substitute for a novice like me to getting out and going shopping; sitting astride a few bikes and talking to the knowledgeable folk employed in the many bike shops around.

Where to Shop for Mountain Bikes, I went to:

All gave me excellent advice from a slightly different (ie. their) perspective: What did I learn and what did I buy; find out in Part 2.

Pop trivia: Fat Boy Slim remixed Groove Armada’s, ‘I See You Baby’ featuring Gram’ma Funk. Renault used the track in 2003 to create a classic advert for the Megane.

Photo from Alpcycle; if you are into more extreme cycling than me; check them out.

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