The Bristol Bike Project


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How to choose the perfect ride!

This month’s guest blog comes from freelance writer and editor, Jane East, who writes with some top tips for selecting your perfect ride! Even when you’ve been cycling for years, like Jane, choosing the right bike isn’t always easy. There are so many different styles, options, and sizes. Even asking advice in a specialist shop can leave you feeling more confused than when you started! Jane’s bike review site devised a fun quiz to help people focus on what they need and want. Read on for her top tips…

What Your Bike Says About You

The UK is developing its cycling-friendly system to be inclusive of all types of people, and Bristol is one of the best locations leading the way, having been named one of the UK’s top 5 cycle-friendly cities. Fast-moving roads, often suitable only for experienced and confident cyclists, are quickly becoming a second option. With the mental and physical benefits of cycling well-established, it’s a hobby anyone can benefit from. What you might want to consider is what you want your bike to do for you.

Restoring and continually maintaining a bike is an enriching experience, but don’t think you aren’t able to tune your bike to your exact needs. Here are the key features for common types of cyclists.

Everyday Cyclists

The reasons people cycle are varied, but most are looking to commute. Especially for disadvantaged people without access to public transport or a car, the humble bicycle offers opportunity and the ability to exercise those aforementioned mental and physical aspects. Cycling has remarkable inclusivity, too, with 25% of Cambridge’s disabled people cycling and similar levels taking to Bristol’s roads. Given the sheer breadth of people looking to establish their must-have features on a bike, it’s helpful to know exactly what goes into the ‘everyday’ bicycle. Generally speaking, you want easily shifted gears that have the ability to traverse fall rises and falls; and effective brakes to deal with adverse circumstances.


Off-roading is another animal altogether when it comes to cycling. The sleek roads of cities (potholes notwithstanding) and towns give way to rugged paths that require concentration, skill and a bit of physicality. Technology has started to step in, however. Electric bikes, previously powered by the pedal-pushing feeding into a battery-like motor, made for casual, sweat-less road travel. Basically, geared towards work commuters. Now, electric mountain bikes are being developed and allow you to use that stored power to make climbs. This allows more energy to be conserved for balancing in tougher tracks.

This technology is certainly compatible with refurbished rigs, too, with the right know-how.


Finally, a nod to the racers. Now, common parlance would have you believe that ultra-light frames, a lack of brakes and one-gear fixies are best for pure speed. Essentially, stripping your bike of non-aerodynamic or weighty fixtures, and even resorting to wooden bike frames. Whilst this can be true for the fastest experience, be wary of removing brakes entirely – and also of the legality of any adjustments you make to your bike.

Bikes can complete any number of different functions for the owner. The adaptability and availability of mechanics means you can twist any design or refurbished bike into a solid bike for your requirements.