Joe Traill is the eponymous owner of Joe's Bike Shop—formerly (and currently for some loyal customers) Mt. Washington Bike Shop. "I first fell in love with cycling when I was about 14," he says. "I used to leave my home, get lost for a few hours, and then try to find a different way back." He's raced mountain bikes, road bikes, and BMX bikes. He's worked as a bicycle messenger and mechanic, and he's run a mountain bike camp. That certainly made him eligible to take over the Falls Road shop in 1999. "I simply love everything about bicycles," he gushes in a manly way.
Q: What are the most important things to consider when it comes to buying a bike?
A: Most important is the intended purpose. You have to be honest with yourself about how you plan to use the bike now and in the future. Keeping this in mind will help you get a bike that will grow with you and not need upgrading as quickly.
Q: How much money should you expect to spend on a new bike?
A: You should really try not to get fixated on a price. I know that's easy for me to say, and might even sound a little self-serving, but it's really important to get the right bike for your riding. If you're trying to get a workout or commuting daily, then expect to spend at least $500. A bike suitable for off-road riding should cost more than $600. Another thought to keep in mind: You can't buy too much bike. Bikes only get lighter, shift better, and are easier to ride as you spend more money.
Q: Are hybrids the way to go?
A: Hybrids blend road bikes with mountain bikes. It is the perfect bike for rough roads, gravel trails, riding around the neighborhood, and over grass. But be wary and consider how you plan to ride. A hybrid bike won't be able to keep pace with a road bike and will quickly be out of its element in the woods. Hybrid bikes are not the can-do-anything bike but are a great fit for commuters, casual riders, or those that might just want a little exercise.
Q: How important is fit? And what's the best way to determine whether a bike fits?
A: Proper fit is crucial. Are you comfortable? Are you in control? Keep in mind that riding a bicycle might be a new feeling and can initially feel awkward, so you may have to trust your bike shop. Make sure whoever is fitting you knows exactly how you're feeling on the bike.