A Simple Guide to Choose a Bicycle for Your Needs

Do you love it when the air hits your hair and you are bicycling on your favorite street? If the answer is yes, then it is certain that you are a cycling enthusiast and you prefer cycling both as an exercise and pleasure!

An interesting study showed that cycling is one of the most common mediums of transport and that close to 3.43 million Australians love to cycle for fun or commute, every week!

Impact of Cycling on our day to day lives

Cycling is one of the easiest and most natural forms of physical exercise. This helps you to save time and is one of the most common forms of commutes, too. If you are an environment lover, then bicycles have to be your thing. Trust me, it is as good as running (or maybe, better!).

With cycling, you can get rid of your body fat easily, and even prevent some common diseases like diabetes, cholesterol, etc. So, now, that we have a clear understanding of how important cycling can be, let’s look at the comprehensive guide to bicycle buying!

1. Types of Bicycles and it’s uses

According to the need or use of bicycles, they can be easily classified into the following types:

  • City or Commuter Bicycles: These are the most common kinds of bikes that are seen on the road. They come with user-friendly attachments like a basket, lights, and mudguards. These cycles are quite comfortable and upright for commuting and are available at affordable prices.
  • Flat-Bar Road Bicycles: These are quite similar to the regular commuter bicycles, but they feature a flat handlebar. However, they are faster than normal bicycles and are majorly purchased by professional cyclists.
  • Cruiser or step-through Bicycles: These bicycles are usually called urban or sit-up and beg bikes. These bikes are usually shorter than regular bikes and have a relaxing posture.
  • Mountain Bicycles: These bikes feature plenty of customizations like the shock absorbers, and come with an added advantage of flat tires, which are good for off-road cycling. These cycles are usually quite tough and can easily handle bumpy city rides. They are a bit expensive as they also have gears.
  • Electric Bicycles: These are newly introduced and come in two options – pedal-assist or without pedals. If you want to go uphill and do not want to pedal, or you travel longer distances, this is the bike for You. With conversion kits, you can convert your normal bike to an electric bike.

If all these types of bicycles are confusing you, you can visit xds bicycles, stroll through various options, read the specifications, and then purchase whatever fits you the best.

2. Consider the size of the bicycle

Technically, there is no universal size for any bicycle. It usually depends on the comfort of the user. There are certain bicycles that are height adjustable while a few others are not.

Primarily, there are two lengths in a bicycle that you must consider before making a purchase – the height that is between the pedal and the seat and the stretch, which is basically the length between the seat and the handlebars. Both of these things are important, as the effort, which is required to be put depends on both of these sizes!

3. Which is the right frame for Your New Bicycle?

There are three kinds of materials, available for bicycles – Steel, Aluminium and Carbon Fibre. All these materials have their own pros and cons.

While carbon fiber material is used in Mountain bikes, steel and aluminum are seen in the city bikes. Carbon fiber is a highly expensive material, and a lot of cycling enthusiasts prefer custom creation with carbon fiber!

4. Are gears a useful addition to your bicycle?

In modern days, bikes come with more than 20 gears. If you have a longer distance to cover, or you have to cycle at a faster pace, these gears help you to reach there at a comparatively lesser effort than riding on a gearless bike. But gears also add to the maintenance cost making the cycle a bit more expensive!

These gears come as a complete package and are accompanied by the entire brake system, and other modifications like the shock absorbers, front and rear derailleurs, cassette, chain, cranks and shifters, etc.

5. What should be the best combination of Wheels and Tyres?

There are certain clichés when it comes to the cycling world. When it comes to the durability of the wheels, double-walled rims are far more strong than single-walled rims. Also, if you want to ride on roads, which are bumpy, then, you have to increase the count of spokes in the wheels.

If you want to have a perfect bicycle, you have to invest in your tires. So, what is the right kind of tire? You should go for a higher quality tire, as it has a lesser probability of punctures.

While you are at it, invest in wider and flatter tires, as they are more durable than the other available options.

6. The must-have accessories for your bicycle

There are certain accessories that are mandatory and extremely necessary for your bicycle.

  • Helmet and Bells: It goes without saying that road safety is an important part of riding bicycles and commuting. So, you must invest in a quality helmet and bells. These are meant to keep you safe and ensure that the helmet is subject to the standards of Australia.
  • Lights and Reflectors: If you are riding in the dark, both of these things are important for a safer ride. The lights and reflectors can be USB-chargeable and also have a great battery backup. You can easily buy it at any of the bicycle stores, or even explore options online.
  • Lock and Repair Kit: You just can’t forget a repair kit if you are on the roads for a long ride. The lock will help to keep your cycle secure when you are not around to keep an eye on, whereas the repair kit is meant for probable accidents on the road.

There are other accessories, which come in handy too – mudguards, racks, high-visibility vests, etc. which will help you with a smoother cycling experience. You can also go for phone holders on the handlebars!

Over to you…

A statistic showed that Australians purchased about 1.2 million bicycles in the fiscal year of 2017. So, if you are going to buy a new bicycle, do not just read this article, but also make use of it! This will keep your post-buying experience hassle-free!

The Way of St. James’ Routes: Which One to Choose?

Although the name is not plural, the Way of St. James does not refer to a single way, but to the many routes traveled by pilgrims who go to Santiago de Compostela. Given that each pilgrimage begins at every pilgrim’s front door, it could be said that there are as many Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago as there are pilgrims. However, in order for pilgrims to have access to accommodation and signposting, there are several official routes -more than fifty in Spain, and hundreds throughout Europe- to make the way easier

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But what makes a route an official Way of St. James route? The main requirements are a documented history of pilgrims’ passing through that particular way, and the presence of hospitals or shelters along the way.  The main route is the “French Way“, followed by two out of every three pilgrims. The Northern Ways are a set of routes that were declared a World Heritage Site in 2015. They are the Coastal Way, which goes from Irún to Santiago; the Primitive Way -from Oviedo to Santiago; the Lebaniego Way -to Santo Toribio de Liébana; and the Basque Inland Way -which links the Coastal Way and the French Way at the height of the Basque Country and La Rioja.

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The Portuguese Way has also very variants and it is crossed by many pilgrims. There are also the Silver Route, the English Way, the Madrid Way, the Jacobean Way of the Ebro, the Salvador Way or the Baztán Way which do not reach Santiago but end in other bigger routes.

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Which Way of Saint James route should I choose?

Most pilgrims choose the French Way to Santiago, but there are more options. Each itinerary is different: the number of days, the people you can meet, the landscapes and the climate… But they all have their charm.  To choose your route, study and compare the different options, take your time and then decide which one to follow and from which starting point. You will choose the right one and make a great memory. 

If you need help preparing your route, you can use an online agency like Santiago Ways to make the process easier. Santiago Ways is the leading agency on the Camino de Santiago, with a score of 4.9 according to Google Reviews and 5.0 according to Tripadvisor. Each year thousands of pilgrims rely on Santiago Ways to organize their trips to the Camino de Santiago due to the availability of skilled labor with a high level of languages since they offer their services to more than 50 countries around the world.

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The “Camino Francés” (French Way)

The French Way is the most used route and it has the greatest load of history and art along the way. It enters Spain from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles, in Navarre, and through Somport in Aragon. The two roads become one in Puente la Reina and continue the journey to Compostela. At the end of the 20th century, it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco and a European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe.

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The Northern – Coastal Way

The Northern Way or Camino del Norte usually refers to the Camino de la Costa. It starts at the French-Spanish border and runs along the entire coast of northern Spain. When it reaches Galicia, in Ribadeo, it descends southwest towards Santiago de Compostela. It is a very pleasant route even in the cold months. 

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The Camino Primitivo

This is the other great route of the Caminos del Norte. It starts in Oviedo, the ancient capital of the Asturian kingdom, and continues west towards Santiago de Compostela. The current name is due to the fact that it is the oldest route according to documentation, It was used by the Asturian king Alfonso II the Chaste.

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The Camino Portugués

The Portuguese Way is a set of routes that pick up pilgrims who start anywhere in Portugal to enter Spain through Tui, heading to Santiago de Compostela. It is the second most used route -and the one that is growing at the highest rate.

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The English Way

It is the small route of barely one hundred kilometers that the pilgrims who arrived by boat to the coast of A Coruña used to travel.

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The Vía de la Plata (Silver Route)

As Via de la Plata is known historically to the Roman road that linked Merida and Astorga. However, today the “Ruta de la Plata” extends from south to Seville and north is divided into several branches to enter Galicia or join the French Way in Leon. It is a very little-traveled route, mainly due to the summer heat and the great distance between the towns, with barely intermediate services.