To start riding with the club, all you really need is a bike that is roadworthy. Even if it is cheap and not designed for cycle touring it will cope with our easier rides and help you to discover whether you like club cycling.
As you become a more regular rider you’ll probably want to get a bike that is going to be well-suited to all our activities. The features to look for are:
  • Strong frame, to cope with heavy loads and occasional rough tracks
  • Low gears, for easy hill climbs even when heavily loaded and off-road
  • Good quality components (including quick-release wheels front and rear), for reliability when far from home.
  • Light weight, to minimise required effort
  • Four-point rear rack fixing bolts, to enable fitting of panniers for use on weekend rides and tours.
  • Tyres that are suitable for both road and off-road use (ie not too smooth and not too knobbly).
  • Full-length mudguards (or at least the ability to fit them), to keep yourself clean and respectable whatever the weather (especially important on weekend trips and tours).
Mountain bikes are very popular and can be ideal provided you select one that has all our required features. For example, it’s no good choosing a bike that is designed for racing, as rear suspension forks don’t usually allow the fitting of panniers. Suitable mountain bikes (for example from Trek or Specialized) start from around £250, but you’ll probably need to allow extra for pannier rack, smoother tyres and mudguards which are often not standard fittings.
Specialist Touring bikes are ideal for cycle touring but tend to cost more than equivalent mountain bikes.
Hybrid bikes, a compromise between mountain and touring bikes, are also quite suitable for touring and are sometimes preferred by adults returning to cycling who may be put off by the drop handlebars of a specialist touring bike and who do not need a bike capable of extreme off road riding.
General sports bikes and racing bikes are not designed for cycle touring: whilst they can be modified to make them partially suitable they should not be considered when making a new purchase.
For younger children with inside legs shorter than 28” you’ll probably need to consider buying a 24” wheel mountain bike or, if shorter than 23”, a 20” wheel mountain bike. Choice is limited in these frame sizes, so take advice from several cycle shops before buying.