I can remember it now clear as day. I was probably right around 13 years old.

“See you later mom! I’m going to ride bikes with Neil!” And off we went. I thought we were so cool! Blazing our own paths, being independent, discovering new areas, and meeting up with friends for group rides.

At some point, riding bikes became less exciting. I became older, more “mature,” and got my driver’s license. I became less and less independent and more dependent on my motor vehicle to get me around. I stopped blazing new paths, discovering new areas, and meeting up with friends for group rides.

I’m 31 and I recently purchased my first bike since I was 13. The desire to get on a bike and a blaze a path has come back like a boomerang. I’ve found my new path, and I’m meeting up with old friends and others for group rides. I’m even training for my first ever sprint triathlon. May the odds be in my favor… in the water, anyway.

Now that I’m back on a bike, I have some thoughts to share. Here are my top five things to consider when getting into or back into biking.

Find your why.

Why do you want to into or back into biking? For fitness, for fun, or to get around for errands or work? Maybe it’s a family activity you’re looking to add in. It could be something that you haven’t tried before, and you’re looking to expand your options for physical activity. This will also help in the process of buying a bike that fits you and your needs.

Take a test drive.

You don’t buy a new car without taking one for a test drive, do you? Renting a bike is a good way to get back in the saddle.

  • The Greenride Bikeshareis a great place to start. The Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association (CATMA) and its partners created the Greenride Bikeshare.
  • Here are some more details about the Greenride Bikeshare:
    • You can rent one of more than 100 bikes at 17 hubs throughout Chittenden County.
    • You can pay as you go. The first 30 minutes cost $2. You can rent by the hour or choose monthly, annual and subsidized membership rates.
    • Access the bike you want via the app Social Bicycles. Just connect a debit or credit card and then you can sign out and rent a bike.
  • Of course, you can rent a bicycle from any of your local bike shops. Test drive a bike you might like to buy and make sure it fits you and your style! 

Consider buying used.

  • If you’re new to biking, you may consider starting with Old Spokes Home. It’s a non-profit bike shop with a mission to create access to bikes and the opportunities they provide.
  • Pick from a wide variety of bikes in their large room of used bikes.
  • The shop refurbishes and maintains all the used bikes they sell. It’s like a year round bike sale.
  • You may be eligible for their Everybody Bikes Program. Click on the link for details.
  • Buy from a yard sale or at a bike swap. I know, I know… You’re thinking, “I don’t know who owned and used this bike before me. What if something’s wrong with it?” Most bike shops inspect the bikes prior to approving them for bike swap events. Double check with them first. Check with a local bike shop for more information.

Never stop learning.

  • Local Motionand Old Spokes Homeprovide classes and workshops. Topics include commuter biking, street biking, bike maintenance and more. They also organize group rides. Rest assured, you’ll have all the information you need.
  • Ask your local bike shop if they offer classes on bike maintenance, bike commuting and more.

Safety

  • Check with your local bike shop or the resources mentioned in this blog for classes focused on safe riding.
  • ALWAYS wear a helmet while biking. Click herefor more information on summer safety tips!

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