Bike Noob Adventures: The Two-Wheel Bandwagon
A buddy of mine asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted a bike that he no longer wanted. I've never biked in the city, and the last time I rode a bike was back in the 'burbs when I was a kid. So, it was with some apprehension (mixed with raw enthusiasm) that I accepted the bike and prepared to take the plunge.
My first mission: to visit some bike stores and procure the necessary gear at the most reasonable prices.
First things first, I went to good old Canadian Tire at Yonge/Church. CanTire is a great place to pick up all the little things you need to stay safe and avoid tickets: a bell ($4), 2x reflective ankle straps ($10), rear flashing LED light ($7), and front LED light ($10). Plopping down a huge wad o' CanTire money felt so satisfying, but to my disappointment it only reduced my bill by a dollar.
Next, I was off to Set Me Free (653 College @ Grace) to grab an OnGuard lock ($58). OnGuards are cheaper than the up-market Kryptonite locks found in most stores, which easily run over $100. My friend recommended OnGuard because his has never been defeated and the key mechanism is consistently smooth.
For my final stop of the journey, I visited Bikes on Wheels in Kensi (309 Augusta), where they had some helmets for 30% off. I picked up a Bell helmet for $35.
I was a bit shocked that I had just spent $124 on things necessary to ride a bike. If I had to pay for the bike too, I might have thought twice about this endeavour. Any such doubts were soon assuaged as I took the old 1-speed beater out for my first ride in the Annex. It was twilight, calm, and a bit cold out. But that sound of the wind in my ears and the feeling of air blowing past my face made it all worthwhile.
I'll be posting more of my thoughts as a rookie downtown cyclist. Next post: The ins and outs of traffic, bike lanes are your friends, and my trial by fire.
Also see: ...And Helmets for All?, City councilor to dead cyclists: it's your fault!.
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