I
t’s a perfect day. You’re pedaling along between La Rochepot and Baubigny in France’s Côte de Beaune region, a wheel of epoisses and a baguette ancienne tucked in the front basket. A little tight on good wine. Sun warm on a crisp day. Your girlfriend rides alongside and looks at you affectionately. You do that thing where you reach out and touch fingertips. Then you hit a little bump in the dirt road: You don’t even know how to ride a bike, and now there’s spittle on your Macbook Pro trackpad. Fortunately, that’s all about to change, because you’re about to buy your first bike.

This is not an article about component groups, frame geometry or the benefits of different carbon layup schedules for achieving optimal stiffness-to-weight ratios. It’s an article for people who get a headache from that type of talk, for those who have never worked in a bike shop and who simply want to do some recreational riding, commute to work, enter a charity ride, or just see what it’s like to wear padded spandex shorts. Let’s get started.

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limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original GP series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.