Sunday, July 30, 2006

Taking Up Bike Riding

My husband has decided that he is going to begin biking to work. Actually he has already started. He will be able to save some money on gas if he can bike to work everyday. Right now he is doing it only once a week. Starting a biking hobby was not as expensive as I would have thought although it did require some initial investment.

First he had to get a bike. Since he is not an experienced rider, we decided to go for a base model bike. He got your basic 24-speed mountain-type bike for $80. It is red and silver, but there is nothing overly exciting about it. It will get him where he is going, and that is our primary goal.

He had a seat cover from back when we used to go to a spinners class at our local gym. It is basically a padded seat that fits over the bike seat cover. He really likes it because it makes the ride much smoother. If you have to buy that, though, they are only about $8 and are really worth it in the long run.

We also got a spare tire. I have to admit that it cracked me up. I did not even know that you could get spare tires for bicycles. I had never thought much about it. He got one for $3. I did not inspect it to see how it works, but it comes in a small box. I am assuming that we will just get it out and inflate it if he ever needs. Speaking of inflating, we picked up an air pump as well. It was only about $10, and it is a basic manual pump. It would not work for a huge job, but it will be just fine for a bike tire. He decided not to get the ones that mount to the bike for a couple of reasons. First they are a little bulky to have to fit on the bike somewhere. Second, he will be riding only the 2 and a half miles to work and back. There really is no need for a pump. I can just go get him if he needs it.

Finally, we got a bike chain. He will have to use it to lock up the bike when he is at work. He got a little magnetic box for the key while he is riding the bike. I am not sure why he got that because he put a key on his keychain. Plus he got the chain and lock.

Those were the whole of the supplies that we purchased for his new bike-riding hobby. The whole lot of supplies cost $102. Since they are everything you need to get started, that is not a bad investment.

He will be adding a couple of things in the future. He mainly wants to get some type of bag to carry with him. He will have to pack his lunch everyday that he rides instead of coming home for lunch as he usually does. That will mean that he will need to be able to carry it with him easily. I may get a bike in the near future as well, depending on how much he ends up riding. If that is the case, then we will get a small bike rack for the house so that we will have somewhere to put them when we are not riding.

We got our 15-month-old to check out a tricycle while we were shopping, but he is not yet old enough to ride. He did not understand the concept of using the pedals. It will be another summer before he is able to ride a bike. That is okay as we anticipated having to ride him on ours in one of those little baby packs on the back. That should work really well if we go out on any trails or anything or if we take the bikes when we go camping.

The bike-riding hobby is something that I support completely. It will allow my husband to get into better shape, and it will save us money in the long run. Those are two qualities that are great in a hobby.

By Julia Mercer

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