Tips on how to find and buy a used bicycle

Unless you’re a seasoned rider who enjoys cycling all of the time, purchasing a bike from a retail shop may not be the smartest decision.

With fairer weather on the horizon and bike lanes to help make cycling in Vancouver safer, there is no better time to leave the car keys at home and hop on a bike. Buying a brand new bike, however, can be expensive. Unless you’re a seasoned rider who enjoys cycling all of the time, purchasing a bike from a retail shop may not be the smartest decision. This is especially true if you haven’t rode a bike in years and you’re not sure if you love it.

Luckily, on websites like Kijiji, finding a used—and cheaper—bicycle is easier than ever. And if you’re just searching for a specific accessory to add to your cycling experience, well you’ll likely find helmets, bike baskets and panniers, lights, and specialty wheels too. Before you start searching for your next great ride online, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Have a general idea of what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend. Are you hoping to buy a specific brand? Are you planning on spending $100 or $500? What area of Vancouver do you want to pick up your bike from? Knowing the answer to these questions will set you off on the right direction.

2. Measure your height and maybe your inseam as well. When buying a bike, one of the most important things to take note is that the bike must be suitable for your height and size. Riding a bike that’s either too big or too small can easily lead to injury. Luckily many bike listings include a description of what height or inseam the person riding the bicycle would be best suited for. There’s no point in checking out a bike in person, if you know it would fit you perfectly based on the measurements online.

3. One thing you may want to consider when buying a used bike is when the bike had its last tune-up. Just like cars and pianos, bicycles need to be tuned—its breaks checked and its chain oiled. The air in the tires go flat from riding as well, so it’s best to get them pumped at least once a year. Ask the seller if the bike that they’re selling was recently tuned. If it hasn’t been, you may want to visit your neighbourhood bike shop to inquire how much a tune-up costs and factor this into the price of your used bike.

4. Before agreeing to purchase the bike, make sure to meet up with the seller and ask to take the bike on for a spin. This may just mean hopping on the bike and riding it around a backyard or up and down the block. Squeeze the brakes, shift the gears, pedal fast and slow. Make sure this is the bike for you before you hand over the cash.

5. If you’ve purchased a bike, congratulations. Give it a polish (and a tune-up if necessary), and start riding your bike. Don’t forget to wear a helmet (it’s the law!) and to attach lights for when the sun goes down. Visit websites like HUB to discover the latest info on bike lanes, bike safety, and more. Happy cycling!

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