Bike Basics 101

Q&A with Bino Cummings, manager of the bicycle shop at Armonk’s Hickory & Tweed.

What should one look for in a bike? Buy as much bike as you possibly can. The better quality bikes last longer and work better. Whatever you choose should be comfortable. And finally, it should look cool, so it’s something you’re psyched
to own.
Why not buy your bike at Wal-Mart? Bikes sold by mass merchants are usually made of steel rather than aluminum, so you end up with a heavier bike that’s harder to balance and ride up hills. Also, their bikes tend to fall apart really quickly because they are not assembled particularly well. It’s not unusual for someone to buy a bike at Target and then come to me a week later to get it fixed and the cost of my service is more than the original cost of the bike.
How have bikes changed over the last several years? They’ve gotten lighter and more efficient; every ounce of energy the rider puts into the bike makes it go farther, and the parts work better, e.g., the shifting is smoother, and the brakes are more powerful.
What’s the hottest new thing in the cycling world? There’s this crazy new electronic gear shifter from Shimano. The rider doesn’t have to do any adjustment when, let’s say, he’s riding up hill. It’s like power versus manual steering in a car. It’s also crazy expensive; a bike with Shimano costs between eight and ten thousand dollars.
What should a cyclist never leave home without? A helmet, padded bike gloves and shorts, a water bottle, ID, and a flat-tire repair kit.
Your dream destination for a cycling trip? The Moab Desert in Utah—it’s like mountain biking Mecca.

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