Buying a bicycle is a great investment and an excellent way to save money as a student, not only will it get you from A to B for free, but it will keep you fit and healthy too!
Buying the Bike
When purchasing a bike, you need to think about its purpose, as there are different types of bike frames and wheels to cater for different riding preferences. Will you be riding long distances, in the rain or off track? Or is it for casual rides in the park or to a friends place. A great place to start is to find your local bike shop and chat to the staff about which type of bike will best serve your needs.
New vs. Used
Unless you’re lucky enough to borrow a bike from a friend, the next decision you will need to make is whether to buy a new or used bike. Talk to the cycling society at your university; they’re sure to have some good tips on where and how to buy a bike.
If you plan to give the bike a lot of use then buying a new bike is a good investment, remember you can always sell it on later. But avoid department store bikes. Brands such as Cyclops, Huffy, Royce Union and Triax may appear to be great value for money but the trouble they will cause and cost you later is not worth the initial savings.
If the bike is for short-term use, only it is probably a good idea to buy second hand. Some good places to shop for used bikes are the trading post, gumtree and local markets. Some bike shops even offer a buyback scheme, which is perfect for exchange students, and many community bike clubs are starting to offer free repair and maintenance classes.
Before you get riding, you’ll need to make sure you have a helmet, as it’s illegal to ride without one in Australia, a bell, red rear reflector and white front reflector. Also, you will want a secure bike lock for safe parking and front and rear lights for nighttime rides. Purchasing a bike pump to keep your wheels in shape and some lubricant to oil the chains regularly will also come in handy and extend the life of your bike. Another idea is to pump up your tires at the nearest petrol station. Check your local council’s website for information about road rules, bike lessons and maintenance help.
Click on the relevant state/territory for more information on bike road rules around Australia: