A post on how to buy a bicycle on International Women's Day? The connection is not so far-fetched: Susan Anthony, one of America's most influential suffragettes said: She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life. In her opinion, "the bicycle had done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance." The creation of bloomers (pictured), so radical at the time, evolved from the need for new attire to wear whilst riding a bike. Even now, bicycles are about freedom, liberation, and having the power to make your own decisions about your life. So throw away those chains and get out there! The Guardian has issued a handy little guide to cycling, including what to buy, what to wear, where to bike and how to fix a flat tire. But first things first: how to buy a bicycle. Start by setting a budget--the more you can spend, the better the bike in most cases. It will last longer and have more precise handling gear. Then figure out what kind of bike you want: racer, mountain, every day usage, folding? Make sure that you go to a shop with knowledgeable staff where they will fit your size and shape to the bike. If the bike doesn't fit, you will never have a good ride. The frame needs to be right as does the width of the handle bars.
Take a test ride, with the seat and handlebars adjusted. There is a difference between men's and women's bikes--women's have that slanted bar to make it easier to dismount, and the seats are wider and shorter. Feel comfortable about the gears--do you want the kind on racing bikes (lots more speeds) or the kind that are covered on the rear wheel-with more protection against weather and bashes. Second hand is great but do not buy one that you haven't seen or tried out or that is a self-assemble kind. Make sure it isn't stolen too. And don't forget the helmet. :: Guardian