I got a new bike this week. After six years in Oxford, riding around on £100 cheap and nasty bikes with inadequate lights, I decided it was about time I stopped pushing my luck and spent some real money on my primary mode of transportation. Happily my employer participates in the Cycle To Work Scheme (and unlike some, administer it all in-house with no middle-man taking a cut), allowing me the use of a decent road bike for a relatively modest deduction from my next twelve pay slips. Here's a fairly poor picture of it propped up in my hall:

My new bike

Impressions so far? I know nothing about bikes, but spending real money definitely makes for something which feels much smoother, safer and easier to ride. Having a really good (£100) set of lights makes a major difference too, and panniers are really useful to prevent your back getting all sweaty with a backpack.

Incidentally, various friends who've been burned in the past chipped in with some helpful advice:

  • Never forget to take your lights off when you park the bike, or someone else will take them off for you
  • Register the frame number with these websites, and there's a good chance you might get it back if someone steals it and it's later recovered. Obviously, a solid lock and a dose of paranoia should prevent that...

I can also recommend Beeline on Cowley Road to Oxford residents - very pleasant and helpful, and a couple of free services post-purchase thrown in too.