It’s finally spring, which means it’s time to take advantage of the sunny, warm weather that always seems to be gone too quickly in Buffalo. One of the most popular ways Buffalonians like to enjoy the warm weather is by riding a bike.
Cycling is definitely one of our favorite activities here at Kenmore Development. KenDev President Scott Hunt is an avid cyclist and a member of the Shickluna Bike Team, which KenDev is a co-sponsor of this year.
In addition to being fantastic exercise, riding a bike is a great way to “go green” and save money on commuting to work and businesses. And with the price of gas rising, it’s an ideal time to invest in a bike.
But if you’re new to the cycling world, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to buy a bike and what type of bike to choose.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to buying a bike. We encourage you to consider purchasing a bike for the sake of the planet, your wallet and your health.
Be aware that there has been a major bike shortage since the start of the pandemic, so it might take longer than you want to find your perfect bike. We recommend reaching out to a bike shop as soon as possible to get on waitlists, if necessary, and figure out where you can find inventory.
Tips For Buying A Bike
Figure out the type of bike you want.
When purchasing a bike, it’s important to consider what types of rides you will primarily use your bike for. Bike styles and materials can vary, and certain types are better for different kinds of rides. Budget is also a factor, and generally, the lighter in weight the materials, the faster but more expensive the bike.
Are you looking for something to take on quick trips to the farmers’ market, but also take out for park rides on the weekend? A commuter or hybrid style would work well. Looking for something you can ride on gravel-filled paths for a little adventure? Check out a gravel bike. Want to start training for road races and live out your Tour de France dreams? A road bike would be your best bet.
Whatever your interest, we suggest visiting a local bike shop and talking to people there. The employees are very helpful and knowledgeable about a wide range of bike styles, and they can help you figure out the best bike for your situation and interests.
Buy local and get a bike fit.
It can be tempting to go to Target or Walmart for a cheap bike. But we can guarantee you’ll end up regretting it, especially if you ride your bike often.
The experience of purchasing a bike should be personalized — it’s important to find a bike that fits your body well, as opposed to buying something off the shelf of a big-box store. The big-box store bikes are also made of cheap materials that won’t last, and they’re much less safe than the durable, well-made bikes you can purchase at a local bike shop.
A good bike shop will help you find a well-built bike that fits your body to help ensure your rides are as comfortable and efficient as possible. Many beginners don’t realize that getting a proper bike fit is incredibly important to help you avoid future injuries as well.
As KenDev President Scott Hunt puts it,
I’ve been riding for almost 40 years. In my experience, having a bike that fits you properly is huge.
Knee and back pain can result from a poorly fitting bike. Proper saddle positioning can make for a much more comfortable, enjoyable ride.
Many local shops also include free bike maintenance and adjustments for the first year of ownership to make sure all of the parts are working correctly and you’re feeling comfortable as you continue to ride the bike.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a major shortage in the bike supply chain, so it might be difficult to find your perfect bike new. Also, if your budget is limited, purchasing a used bike can help you get a high-quality ride without breaking the bank.
Ebay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are good bets for finding deals on used bikes from reputable brands. Of course, always be careful when meeting up with people to make a purchase.
If you do purchase a used bike, we recommend bringing it into a local bike shop for a tune-up. At a local shop, a bike mechanic can look over the bike and let you know if any parts should be replaced for safety and/or quality reasons.
Don’t forget clothing and accessories.
Of course, a helmet is non-negotiable. Whether you’re going for a casual ride in the park or commuting on busy roads, you should always wear a helmet.
We recommend getting a helmet with Mips (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System), which incorporates a slip plane designed to manage energy from rotational and angular impacts, making it the safest choice available. A Mips helmet will be more expensive than the plastic ones you’ll find at big-box stores, but it’s your most important accessory when riding a bike. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to cycling or a pro racer–crashes happen, and there’s nothing more important than protecting your head.
In terms of clothing, most cyclists find that padded shorts are helpful for avoiding painful saddle sores and other discomfort from riding. You may also consider purchasing special cycling gloves, as well as arm or leg warmers that you can easily take on and off as temperatures vary during your rides. You don’t have to dress like Lance Armstrong, but your clothing and accessories can make a huge difference in your comfort while riding.
Thanks to our co-sponsorship of the Shickluna Bike Team, we’re able to offer KenDev residents 10% off any bicycle accessory at Shickluna Bikes & Darts. Just visit the shop and mention this blog post. This offer is valid through May 31st.
Cycling is one of the best ways to meet new people, and Buffalo has a ton of group rides for riders of all ages and skill levels.
Group rides can help you stay motivated and improve your riding skills while making friends with common interests.
We suggest stopping into your local bike shop to ask about group rides. Cyclists tend to be very welcoming and enthusiastic, and they can point you in the right direction to find the best ride for you.
One of the most popular group rides in Buffalo is the Slow Roll, which starts at the beginning of May and runs through October. The Slow Roll is a free, inclusive ride for cyclists of all ages and experience levels. You can find the full schedule on the Slow Roll website.
Campus Cycling Collective also runs a series of popular rides on Wednesday nights from May through August. You can find information about all of their different rides on their website.
For upcoming rides from Shickluna Bike Shop, follow their Facebook page and visit their website for updates.
Figure out bike storage.
If you live in an apartment with minimal space, you may be worried about the logistics of owning a bike and storing it, especially in the winter months when it gets less use.
Many apartment communities offer indoor storage you can use for this purpose. Several of our KenDev properties have individual storage sheds in the basement that are large enough for bikes.
In terms of storing your bike in your apartment, a wall mounted bike rack is a significant space saver. The Steadyrack is one of the best we’ve found for apartment dwellers. The rack is very secure, stable and easy to use, especially if you have trouble lifting your bike onto a typical bike hook.
The Steadyrack allows you to roll your bike wheel up the mount on the wall, so there’s no lifting required. The mount also lets you fold your bike 160 degrees from side to side, allowing for maximum storage space efficiency. It can be mounted on just about any wall–just make sure to check your rental agreement and follow all guidelines to avoid losing your security deposit. And of course, be a good neighbor and brush off any excess dirt and grass before bringing your bike back into your apartment community.