Did you know that April is National Bicycle Month?
Happy Bike Month everyone! As a bike enthusiast, I’d like to spread the bike love from my home on the internet. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an online repository of resources for the casual bikeist? Nope, this will not be an expensive list of components for gearheads, not a “how-to” for shredding mountains, not a bike touring packing list. Just a simple list of places to go and shops to check out for a casual rider. Once upon a time, I was a new rider who searched the internet for a resource like this… but alas, I could not find it. Now I am taking it upon myself to fill the gap! Necessity is the mother of invention.
This page is dedicated to the casual rider with little time to wade thru long paginated advertisement websites. I hope to keep this list of resources succinct and relevant—to help get you started, keep you motivated, and make your time on the road more enjoyable.
Buying a Bicycle
If you are looking for a quality bike, I’d skip some of your large generic retail stores (ahem, Walmart). However, I’m not entirely against a good old-fashioned brick and mortar shop. There is something to be said for going into a store and coming out with a product in hand. If you are ok paying extra for a product for the convenience factor – go check out the nearest REI Outlet or your local bike store. If you are fine delaying gratification and trading the tactile experience for increased options, see the list of online shops below:
- http://citizenbike.com/ (folding bikes)
- https://pedegoelectricbikes.com/ (electric assist)
- http://www.republicbike.com/ (design your own bike)
Bikes for Kids and Cargo
- WIKE Cycle Stroller (Amazon)
Here are the best online resources I’ve found for personalizing your ride and finding useful upgrades:
- https://www.bikebelle.com/ (based in Poland but ships worldwide)
- https://nutcasehelmets.com/ (helmets with bold designs)
Ridesharing and Bicycle Rentals
Folks who live near a city have the possibility of rental bikes. In particular, there are new convenient bike-sharing companies popping up in many urban areas. Established bike rental systems like Citi Bike operated by Motivate Company have been around for awhile and are mostly seen in dense tourist areas. Newly arrived on the market are “dockless” bike share programs like Limebike and Spin.
Dockless bikes are nice for small cities because they do not require predesignated docking locations. These bikes can be placed anywhere around town and are found with the assistance of a mobile app. When a rider reaches their final location, there is no need to find an approved drop off. When you have completed a ride, simply relock the bike wherever it is convenient to park. The bikes can be unlocked by the next rider by using a QR code; no extra chains or bike rack needed. They have built-in wheel locks and GPS systems to deter theft. Any stray bikes left around the city should be retrieved by the company on a rotation.
Places to Ride
There are tons of listicles online for bikers of varying styles and competencies, it can be a bit overwhelming. This list is a good place to start for the casual riders → Top 10 Bike Cities
If you are fortunate enough to live in one of the cities noted, you will have many amenities available to you. But if you did not see your area noted, don’t worry, you may still have a lot of resources at your disposal. You will simply have to do more research to see what is out there.
- Start with your city government website – search for the sections on “Transportation”, “Paths” or “Trails”.
- Head over to Trail Link and search for trails by zip code. You need to register for use of their site, but basic access is free (extra features require a fee). This is the nicest repository for trails I’ve come across and they also have an app.
If you don’t find much on the city websites or on TrailLink–Try exploring on your own near city parks or schools. The infrastructure is usually more accommodating in those areas. If you find something nice, maybe consider sharing
I currently live in Phoenix, which did not make the Top 10 list. Nevertheless, it is wonderful biking locale. The city has a long central canal path → Phoenix Bike Canal Trail and several of the public parks are connected via a pathway. The Scottsdale Greenbelt is a beautiful trail connecting 11 miles of parks. Additionally, you will enjoy plenty of generous bike lanes and multi-use pathways, especially around the college in Tempe.
No reference page is complete without further reading recommendations. So here are a few other blogs and websites to add to your bookmark list.
- League of Bicycle Friendly America
- https://rascalrides.com/ Biking Reviews and Family Riding Tips
- Lovely Bike A personal blog with lots of little bike tips. The site is no longer active, but there are great archives available.
Happy Trails All!