Buying a bicycle is not simple.
First you have to decide where you buy it from and this isn’t simple either. There’s the main retailers like Halfords but the worry with these guys is that it’s not really what they do for a living and would you get the good advice? They might be cost effective in some areas, but there are lingering doubts. Then there’s the uber specialist bike shops, who all seem to have logos that look like graffiti and the guys in the shop clearly live and breathe cycling, but it can be intimidating crossing the threshold.
My inclination would be always to talk to the guys who are passionate about the product they sell (after all, I am) as in my experience they always give you advice based on their experience and the premise that you may be a returning customer and probably worth looking after. An old fashioned concept in some places, I realise.
Once you’ve found a good shop then you’re faced with a bamboozling array from entry level up to state of the art pro bikes. Disk brakes – hydraulic? Hard tail? Fixed fork? Frame material? Road, trail, cross? There is pretty much an endless choice that unless the novice rider reads up assiduously for 6 months, I think it would be impossible to make the right decision.
Hence talking to a specialist to help navigate the process. I was recommended to visit my local bike shop in Rodley near Leeds – it’s called CrossTrax and it’s logo looks like graffiti. So off I went, brochures in hand.
A rather cool guy called Linden was incredibly helpful and advised me which bike he’d sell me based on my budget and inexperience (the last bike I actually owned was a Raleigh in 1976). Linden steered me towards their range of Scott bikes and in between calling me ‘man’ and ‘dude’ (which I actually liked, considering myself both of those things), instructed me that for the budget the Scott Aspect 45 was the logical conclusion.
Throwing caution to the wind, I ordered the bike in my size in the red and black colourway. It has black wheels and a very cool paint job. I have failed thus far to come clean on the key influence for me on the final decision on the bike selection: the bike brand and how cool the thing looks. But I’m okay with that – if you buy a bike from a shop like this, you know you’re getting top quality kit (which is important obviously) and as long as it looks the business, then the my internal brandometer is satisfied. Sad, I realise but welcome to my geek world!
I’m already very excited about getting my first bike since the hottest summer on record – probably more excited than I was back then.