Shop local – we hear it all the time, and especially around the holidays. The benefits of shopping local are many: supporting local businesses, not having to spend time in traffic on the freeways and boosting the tax base in our city and county.
Our local bike shops can make it easy if you’re planning on giving the gift of fitness for the new year, replacing a bike that’s been stolen or outgrown, branching out into a new area of cycling, or want a bike so you can get around town without a car.
Between Davis, Woodland and Winters there are local bike shops that feature great selections, and buying directly from a bike shop has a lot of advantages over buying online or from a big box store. Getting a bike that fits, having a bike that’s properly assembled and ready to ride, or buying a quality used bike — these are all things local bike shops offer.
Bike fit is important, and test riding a bike before you buy is essential. A bike should fit your body type, including leg length, arm length and body length. When pedaling, your leg should be slightly bent when the pedal is at the lowest point to avoid stress on your joints, your arms should be comfortable, and you shouldn’t feel like you’re having to stretch to reach the handlebars. Bike shop employees know how to fit bicycles to riders, and they can help you with things like proper seat height.
What type of bike do you need? Things to consider are where will you be riding your bike — in town, off road, or long distance? Local bike shops can make recommendations for a bike that fits your needs. Cruisers, mountain bikes, gravel bikes, hybrids, road bikes, e-bikes – they all have different capabilities and price ranges, and having someone with experience to help you navigate the choices is helpful.
Bike features are another thing to consider. On a multi-gear bike, what kind of shifters are you comfortable with? Do you need a special seat for longer distance riding? What tires should you have for the surfaces you ride on? What type of handlebars are you most comfortable with? Customizing your bike is easy at a local bike shop; employees know what options are available and they can do customization in house.
Knowing your bike’s been assembled by a professional at a bike shop can give you peace of mind. All the parts will be in the right place and orientation, and the bike will have been checked to make sure it works correctly. National retail department stores don’t have bike mechanics, and buying a bike that isn’t properly assembled is common when purchasing from big box stores.
Buying a bicycle online to save money may also look attractive, but how comfortable are you assembling the bike when it arrives? Included instructions aren’t always clear, you’ll need the correct tools, and if the assembly doesn’t go as planned it can be expensive having it assembled correctly at a local bike repair shop. Add to that the proliferation of porch pirates at the holidays and buying online may not be such an affordable option.
If you’re looking for a used bike, those sold through bike shops are checked by mechanics so that they’re ready to ride and they’re less expensive than new bikes, which is great if you’re buying for growing students or looking to venture into another type of cycling. If you buy a used bike online you have no guarantee that it isn’t stolen, and you also don’t know if there’s anything wrong with the bike that may not show in the pictures.
Local bike shops are also be stocked with other things cyclists need — bike locks, lights, racks and baskets, and helmets. Making sure you have a properly fitted helmet is essential, and for cyclists under the age of 18 helmets are required by law. Lights are required if you’re riding at night or within 30 minutes before sunset or after dawn. A good lock for securing your bike to a rack is always a good idea as well.
Buying your bike locally is convenient, good for the local economy, and can get you the bike you need to get out and ride.