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A Big Decision – Buy A Bike Online or at Your Local Bike Shop?

There are definite pros and cons to both. This article will help you figure out which is best.

Your Community Bike Shop

image of buying a bike online 1The local bicycle shop is the hub of a cycling community. In any area, the lack of a bike shop will reduce local participation in cycling. The presence of a bike shop can create new bicycle riders and enthusiasts on a daily basis. A good shop organizes events, rides and shows up at local races.

If you have ever been off the bike for a bit, does it not excite you when you drive past a group of riders? Doesn’t that pace line make you want to break out the old road bike and start pedaling?

Most all shop employees ride. They know which products to recommend and which ones to avoid. That is one aspect that makes this industry unique. The employees often directly influence the items that the store sells. If your local bike shop or LBS has a great staff, you are fortunate.

You can see, touch and even try the products that interest you. Do you need a new set of shorts? Try on a pair for the size and buy whichever pair is most comfortable. If you get home, and you have found out they are not just right, bring them back to the shop. You do not hassle with shipping charges or anything. Best of all, any parts you buy can be installed right in the shop by a professional.

Online Bicycle Shops

Online stores do offer a huge selection of bikes at great prices. Very deep discounts are often closeouts from previous years’ models. Good online shops offer detailed descriptions of products as well as customer reviews. They also typically share warranty information with buyers.

If you’re set on buying your bike online and want to read reviews, we recommend checking out cycling blogs. Rovo’s website can help you buy a bike online. I met Rovo a few years back and he’s super passionate about seeing people finding the right bike at the right price.

Be careful with online auctions for bicycles or classified ads. There are also unauthorized retailers called “gray market retailers.” The products available from these places may not come with warranties, and they may not even be authorized to sell various brands. Even if they offer a warranty, it may not be honored by the manufacturer.

Often, returns are not accepted from these online places. Plus, many classifieds or auctions are for stolen goods. Be aware of the risks when buying from online sources.

Your local bike shop has more expenses to cover that many shoppers are not aware of. They have to pay rent, payroll, and utilities. Your local LBS understands your desire to save money buying products online, but as much as they want to cut costs for customers, they cannot do so.

It costs them more to operate a brick and mortar shop than it costs online retailers to operate web stores. They often feel offended if their local customers buy online because they also pride themselves on offering personalized service.

Online retailers can offer huge selections at low prices. Some can be trusted, and some cannot be trusted. Online retailers can offer higher end products at really low prices. This makes it harder for your local bike shop to stock high-end bike products. Why should they stock these expensive items if customers are going to search online for a lower price than they can afford to sell it for?


LBS’s understand this but need local customers to be loyal to them. These shops are around to make money, and they have to if they are going to stay in business.

LBS’s employ people who are passionate about the products they sell. If some employees are not as knowledgeable as others, it does not take them long to learn more about bikes. They have passion and sensitivity that just cannot always be found online.

Local bike shops need their customers’ loyalty. They can feel hurt if their customers migrate to online sources for bikes and parts. It is hard to see a customer come in and brag about a part they got online for virtually nothing.

It is your money. You can spend it as you like. However, how you spend it can determine how long your local bike shop is around to serve you.

Cross training for bikers


Those who ride a bike on a regular basis know what great exercise cycling can be. But as good as you may feel after cycling, and as good as cycling may be for your health, it is in no way a complete workout. Cycling is a wonderful way to stay in shape, but even the most avid cyclists have to do more. Here are some ways that bikers can cross train to help complement their cycling habits and improve their cycling ability.

It may sound surprising, but running is actually good cross training for bikers. Running can further enhance the leg strength that cyclists will have developed already, but running or jogging provides more of full-body workout than cycling. It works out the upper back, the shoulder area, and the upper arms, as running can give your upper body a nice workout. Running is also more physically demanding and can help improve your endurance and stamina, elements that will ultimately show up in your cycling.

Swimming is another great cross-training exercise for cyclists, as it helps to further develop your cardiovascular fitness. This can be a good way to give your legs a break, as your arms will do most of the work, giving your legs only a light workout. It’s considered a low-impact workout, but your arms and upper body will get a good workout that will ultimately help your cycling, as your joints will get a break and your cardiovascular fitness will improve.

When you’re not biking, you may want to be rowing, because that’s a great way to cross train. Even if you can’t get out to a lake, the rowing machine at the gym will do just fine. Your thighs, hips, back, and shoulders will all get a good workout from a rowing machine, and most of those are body parts that won’t get a lot of work while biking. Also, rowing can be quite a vigorous work out, further pushing your cardiovascular system in addition to working muscle groups that are largely ignored when cycling.

Finally, on days that you don’t cycle, you may just want to spend some time in the weight room doing a variety of exercises. There may not be any cardiovascular benefit to the weight room, at least compared to the aforementioned cross-training exercises, but you will be able to find exercises that work out the leg muscles that can improve your cycling considerably. Doing squats, leg extensions, calf raises, and hamstring curls can all add a good deal of strength to your legs. The weight room also gives you opportunities to work your arms and your core, and making working out in the weight room on a regular basis will eventually pay dividends when it comes to cycling.

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Essential Biking Gear

Purchasing a new bike can be exciting but it can be easy to forget to buy some proper bike gear. If you’re equipped with the right gear, you’ll be able to enjoy biking in a safe manner. It’s not a problem to bike with your favorite pair of pants or shorts, but if you intend to bike the longer distance or aim for rugged trails, you’ll be glad to have invested on some reliable biking gear.


A helmet is a must for biking. Avoid purchasing the cheapest one you find. It’s essential that the helmet you’ll be buying is made from high quality materials since they offer maximum comfort and protection. If you want to save a few dollars on a cheap helmet, you’ll regret it later when an accident comes around since a poorly made helmet won’t save you from head injuries. It may even lead to serious neck problems if it doesn’t fit well.

Therefore, it’s better off to spend a little more on a durable and quality helmet. It may be a good idea to opt for a helmet with good ventilation to curb overheating during hot weather.

Hydration Pack

A hydration pack is another good idea, although it’ll only be useful if you intend to go for long-distance rides. In a traditional manner, bikers are often seen carrying a water bottle on the bicycle frame, and that’s reasonable for short trips. But that would mean having to stop for a drink or lifting your head to drink, which means losing sight on what’s ahead of you. That would entail losing control and speed.

Sometimes it would be a little easier to avoid drinking water while biking. However, you could risk dehydration. But with a hydration pack, you can easily sip your fluids without interruptions. In addition, the pack has enough room to store your mobile device, keys, rain jacket, and even food. It’s also good idea to have a water bottle, just in case.


A pair of googles or wraparound sunglasses is highly recommended. They shield your eyes from the harmful glare of the sun and dust on the road/trail. Glasses with yellow or orange lenses are advisable since these colors enable the road/trail to appear brighter, lighten shady/dark patches, and enhance visibility. They work exceptionally well early in the evening or when skies are overcast.


Buying a pair of half-finger gloves is also an essential biking gear. These special gloves have padded material on the palms that allow free movement of your fingers. These help prevent rash formation or other finger-related problems on long bike rides.

It’s important to remember that your bike is just part of your bike gear. It’s worth buying a bike that’s durable and made for the kind of biking you desire. It’s ideal to opt for lightweight bike with good suspension. By selecting the right bike gear and bike, you’ll make cycling more safe and enjoyable.

Endurance Training for Bikers


Endurance training is an important component for a cyclists’ regime. Regardless if you’re a speed cyclist or simply commuting from one place to another, you’ll attain better benefits from cycling when you build up on your endurance, including enhanced fitness levels that endurance training can bring.

A key aspect to endurance training for cyclists is to slowly build up your distance training and mixing your biking with long climbs and flat roads, where you stack up tempo and recover from a hill climb.

Gradual Increase in Training

Employing variations is essential to building up on your endurance. A combination of steep climbs, quick sprints, and a bit of cruising are examples of increasing your endurance. To maximize your biking endurance training, gradually increase your distance over several weeks instead of doing everything in one session.

Enhancing your endurance will aid your body to make use of the glycogen stored within your liver and muscles. This will make your body efficient in utilizing glycogen as fuel and for burning off fat. When your endurance increases, your muscles and cardiovascular system will operate more efficiently.

Even though good climbing methods are essential skills for bikers, endurance training will enhance the ability of your body to cope with stresses brought about by extended rides and hill climbs.

Rest is Beneficial

Resting plays a critical aspect in endurance training. Most cyclists would want to hop on their bikes and take on the road but the fact of the matter is, rest periods are required in training. If you’re beginning to feel tired or you’re breathing heavily on sprints, taking some time off is needed. This will be beneficial for training than pressing further to train.

Train smart, train hard, and include rest periods in your training regimen. You can still bike during rest periods, but avoid steep hill climbing and reduce your training intensity. Allow ample time for your body to recover.

Importance of Endurance

Your biking ability is created on endurance. Good techniques are important but even this entails some level of endurance. You may possess adequate climbing techniques but if you start getting weary as a result of low endurance, it won’t do your body any good at all.

Endurance is the foundation where you biking is created on. The higher your endurance, the more capable you are with your bike. Add some endurance training in your biking regimen and you’ll soon notice the benefits it brings. Not only will you see it on your biking ability but also in your overall fitness level.

Image Credit: Flick’r