Life in the Fast Lane


Biking 101

By 9:40 AM , , , , ,

On how to choose a bike, that is.

Backgrounder: the bike I currently own (my beloved Merida Kalahari) was bought secondhand. I didn't know anything about bike sizes in relation to my height when I got this bike. I just wanted to pick up the sport once again after a ten-year dry spell and join my friends who had already started getting into trail biking without me.

One year later, I'm more informed when it comes to bike specs and getting a feel for how bikes work. And I've realized one important thing:

My bike is small for me.

Just from my past pictures, my biker friends could tell this because of my height while seated in proportion to the seat post and handlebars. So I raised the seat post. But now, I realize that I look kind of awkward on it. See photo below:

From last Saturday's trail ride at Camp Aguinaldo.

There are websites – like this one – that calculate what the height of your bike frame should be, considering your height (mine's 5'8") and leg length (mine's 34"). Not taking into consideration several other factors like top tube length, I should be an owner of a 19" bike. My bike's 15".

However, based on the opinions of my experienced and knowledgeable biker friends, I should fit comfortably on a 17" bike.

I've since tried taller bikes (yes, a 17" or 18" bike fits just right) and I'm convinced that I'd need to upgrade to a taller bike in the near future. Not only will I feel better while riding; I'll probably be able to pedal faster and harder while exerting less effort.

In the meantime, I'll still get more mileage – or kilometerage, since we use the metric system; Laugh Out Loud – out of my Merida. This Sunday, I'm joining the Independence Day Ride (the Philippines celebrates its Independence Day on June 12) around Makati. It'll be a 20km ride inclusive of climbs up flyovers, which is kind of intimidating, but exciting.

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