Hello and welcome to the last guide you will ever need on how to purchase a brand new bicycle! I expect this guide will be most useful in the spring when the weather is warming, but with Christmas approaching, some of you may be fancying yourselves future proud owners of two-wheeled joy. If this is the case, let me just say that I preemptively welcome you to the sport and/or recreation of cycling, and I can hardly wait to be smug to your face about your woefully poor choice of first bicycle. For you see, you will undoubtedly screw it up… unless you heed this guide!
As for my smug attitude, do not take it personally. That is how all true cyclists greet one another; with shaved legs, tasteful amounts of face stubble, a visible and awkward crotchular bulge, and cold disdain. Please note that stuffing your bibs to attain a properly awkward crotch bulge is strongly encouraged, for women especially.
This may come as a shock to some of you, as you think of cycling as a relaxing pastime, or a fun way to spend an afternoon with friends, but it is nothing of the sort. Nay! In truth, if you are astride a bicycle, and you can see someone else who is also astride a bicycle, it is a race, and you must crush them. Failing this, you must make up a plausible excuse as to why you failed to crush them.
Acceptable excuses include:
- They exploded.
- You exploded and are now dead.
- You did crush them. (lie)
Please note that it is not permissible to fail to crush an opponent merely because he or she is five years old, or elderly, or your date. Naturally, dating the elderly is strongly encouraged — they always have butterscotch candies! — but failing to crush them? Never! Don’t think for a moment that these people aren’t racing you. They definitely are, and if they win you will never ever be loved. Ever!
This is the basis upon which this guide is stylishly perched, and the reason why most bikes can be dismissed without any deep consideration.
Here’s a quick list of components or frame styles at which you must immediately turn up your nose:
- Mixtes (pictured above… melt on sight)
- Anything with non-drop handlebars
- Anything with an adjustable or positive rise stem (exception: Look Ergostem in negative rise configuration)
- Sloping top tubes
- More than one top tube (see mixtes)
- triple crankset
- bikes that look comfortable or promote comfort of any kind
- any manufacturer that does not currently have a team in the Tour de France (exception: vintage TdF bikes, and Surly CrossCheck)
Remember: cycling should at all times be suffering, and that goes for your finances as well as the pain you will feel if you are riding your new bike properly. If you don’t break out into a cold sweat when you see what it’s going to cost to purchase a proper bicycle, you’re doing it wrong.
That should wrap it up for now, but welcome once again to cycling, and I look forward to either crushing you mercilessly or lying about it!