Bicycles, ever since their invention in the late 1800s, have become popular worldwide for their convenience and price alike, and they can be used by customers today for any number of purposes, from commuting to visiting a local market to recreational riding (such as on mountain bikes) all the way to competitive, sanctioned bicycle races like the Tour de France. Whether a bicycle is being used for a race, going to market, or leisurely riding around on public parks and trails, a rider may want to visit a bike shop every so often, and a bike shop can be either a brick and mortar location in one’s hometown or city or even an online catalog for a particular brand of bicycles. Bike shops can offer nearly anything that a bicycle rider will need, from bike pedals to bike frames (and repair on them) to bike chains (no bike works without them) to bike stems or even bike toe clips for those who want them. Getting a new or upgraded bike saddle, or seat, is also important for having a comfortable and practical ride on a bicycle, and the bike’s purpose will dictate what sort of saddle is purchased at a bike shop. Just how popular are these vehicles, and how will a rider know what parts to get from a bike shop?
The World and Bicycles
Bicycles are popular around the world, and they outnumber automobiles two to one, with an estimated one billion bicycles found around the globe. These are practical vehicles for many reasons. For the rider’s convenience, a bicycle is much less expensive than even the cheapest cars or motorcycles, allowing even impoverished communities or households to acquire them without too much trouble, and their fair price means it is easy for hobbyists to start riding them and get custom parts at a bike shop. Bicycles also have the advantage of being simple and needing only human operation to move, meaning that they need no fuel and do not pollute, and they are very simple to repair given how they have no engine or transmissions. In fact, it has been determined that every year, bicycles save close to 238 million gallons of gasoline. Bicycles are also quiet, meaning that they do not ever violate noise pollution ordinance the way a motor vehicle would, and they are so light they can be carried by hand and easily stored nearly anywhere. A rider also does not need all the complex paperwork and insurance and financing that a car, truck, or motorcycle would need.
Whether ridden for leisure, work, or a race, bicycles are an excellent source of aerobics. They allow riders to burn many calories and get their heart moving, and this can help with any weight loss program and even lower the risk of premature death, according to research that was carried out by Glenn Stewart at Brunel University in London. Similarly, a 2017 study found that riding a bicycle to work may burn the same amount of fat as going to the gym 40 minutes per day, five times per week.
Going to the bike shop may mean getting a new bicycle, or finding new parts for them. Knowing what type of saddle to have is also important for any bike rider. Those looking to race will invest in a saddle that is narrow and tough, and may have a leather cover. Racers will pedal hard and often lean forward, putting very little sitting pressure on the actual seat, and what is more, racers need to clear any interference or friction with moving their legs, so a narrow saddle profile fits that need well. By contrast, more leisurely bike models call for a wider, more cushioned saddle. Leg friction isn’t as big an issue here, and the rider will sit more directly on the seat during use, so the sitting bones need the correct cushioning during a ride. These saddles may also be made out of leather if need be, though leather should be protected against rain. Other products like toe clips are available, which when attached to a bike, can allow the foot’s upward motion to move the pedals as well as the downward motion.
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