You live, work or hang out in Downtown. You’re aware that Long Beach has been at the forefront of the Bike-Friendly Cities movement for many years and that National Bike Month is coming up in May. You want to shop for your own bike to join in on all the fun, but don’t know where to start. What to do?
This was the challenge facing Justine Nevarez, DLBA’s Community Outreach and Events Manager. “I’m not a super hardcore rider, but I will use a bike to get around town and do some longer rides,” she said.
Nevarez decided to reach out to Pedal Movement’s Dylan Ambrose, a mega-knowledgeable cyclist who manages the GoActiveLB Hub. Pedal Movement is the organization that runs operations for Long Beach’s Bike Share micro-mobility program.
The GoActiveLB Hub – that eye-catching turquoise building at 1st Street and the Promenade – is a complete cycling resource, offering bike repair, a great selection of accessories, Bike Share rentals out front, and a variety of bikes for sale, from clunkers and cruisers to state-of-the-art eBikes. The Hub even maintains a fleet of bikes for British Airways crews who stay at the nearby Westin Hotel and want to exercise and do some sightseeing on days off.
Ambrose welcomed Nevarez to the Hub and outlined five main points for her to consider when shopping for her new bike:
1) WHY ARE YOU BUYING THE BIKE? Will you just be cruising around, using your bike for mellow recreation? Perhaps you want to go harder, doing long rides, tackling some hills, building up your cardio. Or, are you using a bike for work, either by commuting or using the bike to make deliveries? This is a key factor in determining what style of bike you’ll want to get.
2) WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO RIDE? Do you plan on screaming down gnarly mountain trails? Doing stunts at skate parks? Navigating city streets and the obstacles they present? Maybe you just want to stick to smooth, protected bike lanes. In any case, the terrain and riding surfaces you’re planning to encounter should play into your decision.
3) WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL PRICE POINT? “In general, bikes with more mechanics will cost more than stripped-down, simple bikes,” Ambrose explained. “If your budget’s $200, you won’t be able to get the quality of a $400 bike.” To illustrate, Ambrose pointed toward a simple, one-gear beach cruiser which sells for close to $100, then showed us a beautiful eBike, on sale for just under $4,000, designed in a quasi-cruiser style but capable of assisting your pedaling efforts for up to 100 miles on a single charge.
4) WHAT ARE YOUR PHYSICAL NEEDS AND LIMITATIONS? We all have different body types and levels of fitness. Your bike choice should reflect these realities. “For instance, you may not want a bike that’s too heavy for you if you’re having to carry it upstairs. Make sure to pick a bike that fits your physical abilities,” said Ambrose.
5) CAN YOU ADD UPGRADES TO YOUR NEW BIKE? Many riders will be content to leave their bike as-is for the duration of its use, but some may want to make changes and improvements down the line. Think about this before you buy your bike. “You don’t want to get a beach cruiser if you plan on making lots of deliveries but can’t mount a rack on the back,” noted Ambrose.
Nevarez left the Hub armed with knowledge. “That was very informative!” she said. “Now I feel ready to pick a bike.”
Note to all riders: Traffic laws apply to you, so make sure to wear a helmet at all times, obey all the laws, and keep all six senses on high alert when riding. For eBikers, make sure to be courteous and stay within the speed limit on our city’s bike lanes and trails. With that, DLBA and the GoActive Hub wish you Happy Cycling! Stay safe out there!