Welcome to my site!
I have been avidly riding bikes for nearly 15 years now. My love of bikes has lead me on an incredible journey, from traveling across the country to attend races and tradeshows, to working in the local bike shop and helping to wrench on charity rides.
Many people would love to get into cycling, but find the cost too prohibitive. All too often bike manufacturers take advantage of new riders by selling them really junky bicycles that fit poorly and are not made to last.
It is my aim to help you find those affordable bicycles and bicycle accessories that can help you get fit and enjoy the sport without breaking your bank account.
Bicycles are the coolest things we humans have ever invented.
You can ride them in the flatlands, in the mountains, and on the beach.
You can go great distances — even traversing entire continents with them — or you can pedal the pump track that you build in your backyard.
Outside of running, few sports are as universally accessible.
The bike plays a role as both a fitness experience and an environmentally-friendly, low-cost commuting tool.
A Passion For Cycling
As a child, my bike was my favorite toy. For me, it was freedom, adrenaline, friendships, adventure and creativity rolled into one toy.
Whether I was pedalling through town with my brother riding on the handlebars (not advised), riding it down the steep face of a dirt berm on a new construction site (the foreman chased us away), pedalling to the corner shop for eggs and milk, or creating new paths through the woods…
…any day with my bike was always guaranteed to be a good day
One of my first forays into road cycling was when I convinced the substitute babysitter to takes us on a long bike ride to the nearby park. We got “lost,” and, without much water, had to find our way back home.
The entire bike ride was only 4 miles, but as an almost 10-year-old pedaling my undersized 20″ bike, it was one of those epic days you remember forever.
As I grew older, I kept spending my allowance money on used bikes that would break down. We ended up with a pretty disgusting heap of junk bicycles that dad had to haul off in his pickup.
It wasn’t until I bought a used lady’s Cannondale at auction that I began to understand the difference in bike quality.
This Cannondale had serious issues with a tired, worn-out drivetrain. I never did get it to shift correctly. On top of that, it was too small for me.
But it re-ignited the fire. I’d ride every day after school before I got my homework done. The ability to get away from the stresses of entering adulthood and enjoy the wind in my hair was how I kept my sanity through the freshman year of college.
Later, my love for the sport helped land my first gig at a local bike shop and started my amateur racing career. Some of the best times of my life, frankly.
Increasing The Accessibility Of Cycling
Price keeps bikes from being ubiquitous. It truly is a “rich man’s sport,” similar to golfing. When entry-level road bikes at your local shop are hovering at the $900 mark, it is challenging for new people to try cycling.
My goal for this site is to help point new riders to alternatives.
If you know where to shop, and what bikes are a good value for the money, you can often find deals that other people would miss.
I always have friends asking me for advice on how much they should spend on a bike, or whether certain brands are good bikes to buy.
And it made sense to put this information together on a website where I could refer them.
The goal of this site is to help you find those high-quality cheap bikes, and ultimately make this sport affordable to people who otherwise think it is out of their reach.
“WalMart Specials Vs Bike Shop Bikes”
The challenge to my endeavor is that low-quality bicycles keep new riders from building a connection to the sport.
I talk about my experiences with cheap bikes on the site, but when you buy a poor quality bike that breaks after one season — it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
It is hard to form a strong cycling habit when your bike is broken everytime you want to go ride.
You need your cycling experience to be frustration-free.
Bikes are inherently high maintenance. The gears and brakes need to be adjusted once a year (even on the high-end bikes), and their tires love to go flat once a week (I add air to my tires every ride).
But when you have bikes made of lower quality parts, those maintenance issues happen much more frequently.
I didn’t understand why people hated on “Walmart-quality” products until I ended up jobless during the recession.
The local staffing company found me $9 per hour work assembling gas caps at a local factory. I jumped at the chance — if nothing else it would let me pay my cell phone and rent bills.
There were two types of gas caps that we assembled. They looked identical except that one was gray and one was orange. When I enquired, I found out that the gray ones were made of thinner plastic to meet the pricing demands of the big chain stores.
Now, I want to disclaim here that I don’t remember exactly which stores were buying cheaper gas caps. Walmart may not have been buying a single gas cap. I don’t malign these companies.
But there were very real economies of scale where stores that ordered large quantity in bulk could request thinner materials to cut costs.
From my experience, bikes purchased at local chain stores are usually the wrong size for the rider, excessively heavy, and made from materials that flex and bend, making accurate shifting and braking impossible.
This problem isn’t a Wal-Mart issue. It is a chain store problem.
And it is driving people away from the sport.
The Importance Of Your Local Bike Shop
One of the problems with our sport is how much cyclists love to buy things online.
We enjoy the tax savings, and often we can get generous discounts on our bike products through online closeouts.
The problem with our online shopping fixation is that bicycles need repair and servicing.
And, unlike an auto repair shop, there isn’t enough margin in the fixing of bikes to keep the local bike shops in business.
They need to sell bikes (and accessories) as well as fix them. It’s the only way they’ll stay in business.
So, as much as I appreciate your business through my site, if there is a way to buy something from your local shop, I encourage you to do that.
And, even if you buy something from my site, it doesn’t hurt to give you still bike shop frequent “token” business. Even if it is only a couple hundred dollars every year, it can go long ways towards making sure you’ll always have a reliable source for bike advice.
For many of our readers, one of the best ways to build a relationship with your local shop is to have the local shop assemble their new bike.
This helps ensure the bike assembly is done correctly, while also giving you a place for getting plugged into the local cycling community.
Whatever you do, don’t get your online shopping advice from your local bike shop. It’s utterly insulting to help customers shop online at a competitor’s store.
And, yes, I’ve had them ask me to do that.
Feedback? Product Review Requests?
Some of this blog is my opinions, and sometimes I’m way off the mark. Either way, I invite your comments and feedback.
You likely have fitness experiences that I haven’t had — and vice versa — so let’s learn from each other!
Every month I try to add a few new articles to this site. If you have a product that you would like me to review, please send it to our address on the contact page.
I’m always happy to take items for a test drive and tell our audience what is going on.
Since this blog supports itself through affiliate links, we do prioritize our product reviews based on the availability of an affiliate program to promote it through.
This site receives commissions when a purchase is made by a customer who visits one of our affiliate programs through our special tracking link.
We do our best to be impartial — even if that means missing out on sweet commissions — but we understand it’s hard to maintain the perception of absolute impartiality when money is involved.
(On the flip side, it’s hard to maintain a blog when no money is involved!)
I’ve been screwed over before by a bad recommendation, and my goal is that we provide you with a better experience than I had.
Most of the articles are written by myself. A few are written by several handpicked cyclists whom I trust.
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