Not all bikes are created equal.

Bikes come in many different shapes and sizes. Staying safe means finding the right bike. Not only that, you want to have a bike that is perfect just for you. But the wide variety may seem overwhelming.

How do you know which bike is best for you? It all depends on what you use your bike for and where you’ll be riding.

Shawn Carkonen, an avid outdoorsman and writer for REI, details the different types of bikes in his article “Bicycles: How to Choose.” Below is a brief overview of his expert recommendations, which can help you gain a better understanding of bicycles and which to choose this season.

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How to Fit Your Bicycle

After you determine which bike is right for you, you need to make sure your bike fits. Peter Jon White, an expert on bike fittings and the author of the online article How to Fit a Bicycle, explains the necessity of getting a bike fitting: “Your body’s position on the bike affects how you ride. It affects how much power you can efficiently deliver to the pedals. It affects how comfortable you are on the bike. A position that is more comfortable may not allow you to put as much energy into moving the bike forward as a less comfortable position might.”

He then goes on to explain that they best way to get the ideal position is to make sure everything fits just right, since the parts of the body that directly fall in contact with the bike are “your hands, your seat, and your feet.” He also expands on what you should be looking for according to your needs and your body. If you need one-on-one assistance, locate your nearest bike shop and they will be able to help you get the best possible fit for you.

Safety, Safety, Safety!

Even after you get your bike properly fitted, you still need to take other safety precautions:

  • Understand and follow the rules of the road. You cannot control what other bicyclists or vehicles are doing around you, but you can control your actions and adhere to the laws.
  • Keep your bicycle in great shape by consistently getting bicycle check-ups. If something seems wrong, get it checked out—better safe than sorry.
  • Wear a helmet. According to the Snell Memorial Foundation, a leader in helmet safety, “Every year the estimated number of bicycling head injuries requiring hospitalization exceeds the total of all the head injury cases related to baseball, football, skateboards, kick scooters, horseback riding, snowboarding, ice hockey, in-line skating and lacrosse.” They go on to add, “Ninety-five percent of bicyclists killed in 2006 reportedly were not wearing helmets.”