TCI Friday is meant to be a participatory activity. I do a little dance here at the beginning, and then I pose a question. The game works best if you put your thoughts in the comments below.
I have a bit of a buffet problem. I get overwhelmed standing before the steam table, the array of choices before me. What do I want and how much? Somehow, I walk away with an eggroll, three buffalo wings, a Belgian waffle, two shrimp with cocktail sauce, and a piece of pecan pie. It’s like the menu version of Mad Libs. It’s how to get from hungry and excited to disappointed and nauseous in under 60 seconds.
Considering a new bike is a similar problem, fraught with all sorts of peril. The pressure to pick the best, most rightest thing is eight miles high, and depending on where you go the racks stretch down one wall and continue along another. The colors are bright and it all starts to swirl together as soon as the helpful salesperson tells me what rear derailleur each bike comes with.
That’s if you go to a bike shop, which I highly recommend, because you can, if you can steady yourself after the initial excitement, take each candidate out for a test ride. Out on the bike, things become much clearer. Decisions make themselves, though almost never in a color you like and usually a few hundred over your budget.
That’s ok. A bike is an investment in a dream. It’s all just funny money anyway.
If you dare to eschew the bike shop, local or otherwise, what are you looking at? The internet? Oh no! Suddenly the buffet table stretches beyond the limits of your imagination. The nagging thought that there is one great bike or one great bike company you’ve neglected to look at puts you into a sort of analysis paralysis. And then what? A spreadsheet? A Ouija board?
My own process mostly involves asking a lot of people who know more about bikes than I do what they think I’d like best. Then I look at just those bikes, get a test ride if I can. I definitely consider color. A bike you like the looks of will ride better. I promise.
Assuming I’m doing it wrong, this week’s TCI Friday asks: How do you research and identify a new bike to buy? Are you shop consumer or a web shopper? If you’ve done both, which one has produced the better results?
Know an opinionated cyclist (redundant)? Share this with them, and let’s get more people talking about bikes!