How to find a friendly bike shop
Anyone can feel overwhelmed by the choice and intimidated by the jargon of bike shops.
But remember most bike shops are run by people with a passion for cycling, and with this passion comes a great deal of valuable knowledge, enthusiasm, and willingness to give a fellow cyclist a hand with a repair or throw in a free inner tube.
However, as in all walks of life, you might encounter someone less tolerant of a lack of knowledge. In these circumstances, walk away.
There are literally hundreds of bike shops in London, so you're free to choose.
Before going into a shop, think about what type of cycling you plan to do: the length of trips, the kind of terrain, whether it's in all weather or just on sunny weekends.
Think realistically how much money you plan to spend, and budget for accessories too.
Some shops specialised in family bikes, or custom bikes, while some sell all kinds. Do a bit of research so you're more likely to end up talking to someone who can help you.
The key to getting the most out of bike shops is to try a few out, ask lots of questions, take the name of the most helpful person and then to return to that helpful person to buy your bike.
If the shop does not have the exact bike you require, they may be able to order it for you, or recommend someone else who can.
Buying a bike is only the beginning of your journey, hopefully you will be riding your bike for many years, and over that time, you’ll need to return for maintainance, new parts, accessories and advice.