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I Got a New Bike! (& Things to Consider When Buying a Cruiser)

Posted on Location: 4 m read

After moving into our new house, David and I talked about buying bikes to get around locally because our community is extremely beautiful and bike-friendly. We spent plenty of time shopping around and even buying bikes we ended up not happy with. It was so hard for me to choose one because I saw many pretty ones online that were Insta-worthy but when it came time to actually riding them, most were quite off in terms of practicality. Ultimately, I wanted a cruiser that was not only cute for photos, but also practical. At the end of the day, that’s what a bike is for, right? It’s supposed to take you around where you need to go, with ease!

At first, I wanted something that was affordable because I thought, well, I was just getting back into biking after a decade of not biking… so a beginner’s bike should do. We went into Walmart and found the cutest yellow bike by Huffy that I thought would be the one! It even came with a cup holder and a front basket already, and had a back rack if I wanted to put a basket on there and take one of the pugs on a ride. For under $150, I thought I couldn’t ask for more… so we took the bike home. After several nights of riding the bike though, I noticed that it couldn’t really handle even the slightest inclines in our immediate neighborhood. While I loved being able to back-brake on my pedals because that’s what I did growing up, David suggested that maybe a bike with gears would be a better choice for me in the long run. I also didn’t like that the light colored wheels got dirty SO insanely fast from light riding. While cute at first, it definitely was not a practical choice. So, we brought the Huffy cruiser back to Walmart and decided to check out a local bike shop to see more options.

Excuse the terrible quality photo I got on my phone – it was actually the only one I managed to get before we returned it. LOL.

We went to Palm Springs Cyclery in Palm Desert, and were pleasantly surprised by the great variety of bikes they had – not only a bunch of cruisers, but also other types like mountain bikes which is what David ended up selecting from. I had a hard time choosing a cruiser because some would be way out of my budget ($1000+), and others would be nice but be missing certain elements of a bike that were important to me. Given the choices we had there, I was pretty set on a bright teal blue cruiser called Townie Balloon 8D EQ by Electra, but I really didn’t like that the wheels were similar to the yellow bike I had gotten from Walmart… bright, and got dirty just from the test ride. London Pickering, one of the sales associates at the bike shop, was extremely helpful and offered to switch out the tires to a darker brown color for me. I was pretty pleased with this offer, but then also noticed that this bike didn’t come with a back rack. Adding a rack to a cruiser is not uncommon, but they didn’t have any racks that matched the color exactly. I was pretty bummed about that… I mean, who doesn’t make matching bike rack colors?! Worst comes to worst though, I decided I could always spray paint a white one. After all the DIY projects we have been doing, what’s another, right?

At the last minute, I asked London if they carried any purple cruisers. I always wanted one but didn’t see any on the sales floor. I’m so glad I asked, because he ended up showing me another Electra cruiser, the Townie Commute 8D, which was the same price as the blue cruiser I was eyeing ($750) but already had everything with it – a matching colored front rack, back rack, and black wheels. The only down side is that the purple is a bit dark – like you might not even tell that it’s a purple color unless you looked closely. My dad thought it was black when I first showed him a photo. But given that it offered a lot more for the price, I went with it. They didn’t have the Aubergine purple one in stock, so he special ordered it for me and I got it in 3 days. In the mean time, London let me test ride one in grey that they had in store and I liked how it rode… for the most part. The seat was unusually high even at the lowest setting and we didn’t realise until later that it’s because it was a men’s model! When my bike came in, I found that the women’s model fits much better and rides even easier, which is a bonus.

After my buying experience, I wanted to share a few considerations that I learned to be quite important during the shopping process. If you’re thinking of investing in a bike for yourself, I hope that these pointers will help you get started in the right direction!

PRICE

To be honest, $750 was a bit more than what I was hoping to spend on a bike, but I don’t regret it. My Electra bike definitely has a lot more to offer than the cheap one at Walmart, and that was evident just from a quick test ride. Long story short, you definitely get what you pay for. If you’re planning to bike even semi-seriously, I think it’s worth the investment to go for a better quality bicycle.

PLACE OF PURCHASE

The great thing about buying from a local shop like PS Cyclery is that they often offer perks like discounts on other items you might buy (we got free helmets, for example), and some sort of warranty. We felt confident buying our bikes knowing that if we have any issues we can always bring it in and have the guys help us out. Plus, since they’re close by, we don’t have to worry about shipping the bike back or going through other hassles to get our problems addressed. Another big perk is that the bikes were already assembled properly and we didn’t have to worry about having to put each piece together like we would if we ended up purchasing online.

BIKE TYPE

As far as usage goes, I don’t plan to become a professional biker by any means. I just wanted something I could ride around from pool to pool and around the golf course in our community, and maybe to a local farmer’s market, for example. A cruiser fit my needs perfectly, and I also liked the general style of them. On the other hand, David wanted a bike that was more optimized to go on hiking trails. He opted for a mountain bike instead, and it has served him quite well so far!

FEATURES

After returning the Huffy bike, I had a few features in mind that I wanted in my new bike: multiple gears for practical riding, matching colored bike racks, black or darker colored wheels, and a detachable wheel for easy transport in our SUV. My Townie Commute 8D has all of these, and more without additional cost! I love that it comes with a bell and front/back lights that are powered by wheel movement when I ride. The seat is relatively comfortable, too. The color of the bicycle could be a bit brighter and lighter, but that’s minor. Overall, I’m really happy with my new baby. The hand brakes are definitely something I’ve had to work on adjusting to. Like I said, I’m used to back braking because that’s how I learned biking as a kid (thanks, dad!). It’s pretty cool being able to shift between different gears depending on where I’m biking though – makes getting around SO much easier than riding on a single-speed bicycle.

So far, I’ve only been riding around in our immediate neighborhood. I hope to explore more parts of the desert on my new bike when it cools down, and when I become a bit more comfortable with using the hand brakes. I’m still a bit nervous to ride alongside traffic on the highway, so for now I’m just cruising through the golf course, around the community lake, and to the pool.

OH, and some people on Instagram have asked about where I bought my baskets – these are actually not formally bike baskets. They’re regular baskets that I found at Marshalls for a small fraction of “real bike baskets” as far as prices go. I was so excited to find that both happened to fit the front and back racks PERFECTLY! It was hard to find baskets that matched this dark purple bike, so I was pretty happy to find that this vintage grey color matches it pretty well! I’m in the works of converting the back one into a dog-friendly basket where the pugs can ride in it safely. I’ve gotten as far as securing the basket onto the bike, but still need to attach adjustable basket leashes and make my own liners for them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you own a bike? Where do you enjoy cruising around most?

What do you think?

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72 Comments
  • Alexandra
    July 16, 2018

    I do have a bike, but it is not nearly as pretty as yours. Your bike is too cute and has total Audrey Hepburn vibes! I haven’t ridden in a long time, but with a bike like that, I think I would ride everywhere all the time too! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sharon Wu
      July 16, 2018

      Awww! Haha there are so many bikes out there – it definitely took a lot of time and back & forth for me to decide on this one. I’m glad you like it. I still think that the purple is a bit darker than I’d like it to be but I think it’s growing on me. I had in mind a lavender purple for a pop of color but can’t have it all, haha! And, I’ll take Audrey Hepburn vibes! I love her!! <3

  • Eileen
    July 16, 2018

    Omg your bike is soooo pretty! Great choice and I actually love the darker purple because itโ€™s a color you donโ€™t see very often on a bike ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™ll have to look into Electra, do they make electric bikes? Iโ€™ve been wanting to get one!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 16, 2018

      Thanks Eileen! That’s true – I don’t see a dark purple bike often quite like this one. And I’m always all for being unique ๐Ÿ™‚ Electra does make some awesome electric bikes… though they are definitely more expensive than bikes like this Townie Commute I got. Still worth checking out though, since electric bikes in general regardless of brand tends to be a lot more! Good luck shopping! xx

  • TheStyleSecond
    July 16, 2018

    Hey, this makes me want to go biking! Iโ€™ll need to check into some trails around Houston. Seems like great exercise, too!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 16, 2018

      Yes!!! So, I actually quit the gym after moving into our new house because the gym we went to before was amazing but it’s now a bit too far from us. And, I haven’t been able to find a gym that is just as good as that one… so biking it is! Been biking a lot and doing at-home exercises. The at-home exercises though, not as much. LOL! Biking is so fun and I can’t wait for the weather to cool down some so I can bike mid-day without roasting myself. I’d love to check out some of the trails in Houston too! Sounds like fun!!

  • Mary Powers
    July 16, 2018

    This looks so fun!! I would love to get a bike. Havenโ€™t ridden one since I was a kid!!

    – Mary

    • Sharon Wu
      July 16, 2018

      Haha it brings back so many memories for me. I biked with my dad very often growing up and took like a 10-15 year hiatus before getting this one lol!

      • Dad
        July 17, 2018

        I am so proud of you girl! Exercise safety rules when biking – wear your helmet, safety vest, elbow/knee pads, and wrist guards for your protection when biking. Enjoy and have fun riding on your new bike!

  • Stephanie
    July 16, 2018

    I love how you really thought through this purchase. I gotta giggle because so many people say “it’s like riding a bike” meaning, you never forget! But I totally forgot how to ride a bike. It had been 10+ years, and I completely fell off while riding on a flat surface in a parking lot. I felt so ridiculous. I gotta try again some time soon and see if I’m any better after some practice haha! Enjoy your bike-riding for me!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 16, 2018

      Awwww hehe! That is so true… I don’t know why people say that because I definitely was rusty when I started trying to bike again after 10-15 years of not biking. LOL. When my bf and I first started dating, I was riding a rental bike around Coronado in San Diego with him (one of our earlier dates), and somehow I tripped on something, my bike basket fell over and my brand new phone fell out. I was still going at full-speed because I couldn’t really brake in time, ran over my phone and I seriously panicked and broke down. Needless to say that date was not one of the successful ones, but definitely memorable. I was scared to pick up biking again but finally mustered up the courage to try again… lol… the views where we live make it hard to resist. I now just always keep my phone secured in a bag in my basket haha!! Practice definitely makes perfect though – I am getting more comfortable with my new bike over time! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mariann Yip
    July 16, 2018

    Thatโ€™s so exciting!! I love riding bikes and actually have always wanted to get one. Maybe next summer I will but itโ€™s a bit difficult riding in the city haha. But thanks for sharing your tips!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 16, 2018

      Super exciting! I actually can’t imagine riding in the city… LOL… but maybe because I’m not fully comfortable riding around a ton of people and traffic yet. I can’t even handle desert roads yet, and we’re pretty empty over here. I’ve just been sticking with riding within my community and it’s been really nice. I think once it starts to cool down some I’ll venture out further but I’m scared to get heat stroke while I’ve biked out far. I’d love to see what kind of bike you choose if you end up getting one!

  • Stella
    July 16, 2018

    girlll your hood is so gorgeous :O can’t believe you live in such a beautiful community! definitely bike-friendly and good call on investing in a nice bike to ride around! I definitely would too if I lived in a place like that haha

    • Sharon Wu
      July 16, 2018

      Thanks Stella! I know, I pinch myself every time I wake up to such a gorgeous view. Golf course living is definitely something else – I had never experienced anything like it before and really enjoy it. Desert living at its finest ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • London
    July 16, 2018

    Great write up!! Love the photos too! When you folks get some free time stop by for a visit๐Ÿ˜Ž ride safe!!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 16, 2018

      THANK YOU London!!! You are the best! David and I owe it all to you for our wonderful riding experience thus far. Love our bikes! We shall pop in with the pups one of these days and hopefully catch you there ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Carolyn
    July 16, 2018

    I feel like biking doesn’t get enough attention. Great exercise and a great way to get around! It looks like you really did your research here and that it paid off.

    • Sharon Wu
      July 17, 2018

      Right? It’s actually such a fun way to get your exercise in too! I definitely had my fair share of trial and error, and am glad I finally decided on a bike that works for me!

  • theeyetraveler
    July 16, 2018

    This is such a classic bike! I love a good bike ride if only my apt is big enough to fit one ;p

    • Sharon Wu
      July 17, 2018

      Thank you! Haha I know that feeling! I held off on getting a bike for so long for that same reason!

  • Kileen
    July 17, 2018

    Love the bike you ended up keeping!! It still looks so cute!

    Kileen
    cute & little

    • Sharon Wu
      July 17, 2018

      Thank you Kileen! Glad you think so! xx

  • I am loving this bike! That purple is so pretty, I’d definitely buy the bike just for the color! Great tips.

    • Sharon Wu
      July 17, 2018

      Aww thanks! I’m glad you like the color! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • adriana
    July 17, 2018

    These pictures are the cutest! Absolutely love them and that bike is amazing!

  • Tonya Tardiff
    July 17, 2018

    That is the cutest bike ever! I have a Huffy too but not as cute as yours!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 17, 2018

      The Huffy bike was sooo cute haha wish the one I got was more practical though. I’m a lot happier with my Electra bike! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Deborah
    July 17, 2018

    Great tips! I’ve thought about getting a bike because I live in a big city but everyone I know who has a bike gets theirs stolen at some point, no matter how thoroughly they secure it. Plus, there are a lot of bike sharing options where I live and I think that may be more my speed

    • Sharon Wu
      July 17, 2018

      Ugh, that really sucks! I can’t really imagine myself biking in a big city because, anxiety LOL. I was also a bit worried about the issue of my bike possibly getting stolen around town when I take it out and lock it up… luckily, the one I got has a wheel lock for extra protection (making it harder for someone to steal it in addition to a regular bike lock). But right now, I’m more worried about my pretty bike getting dinged (LOL it’s literally like buying a new car)!

      That’s amazing that there are bike sharing options where you live though! Glad that you found something that works for you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Linh
    July 17, 2018

    I wish i had a nice neighborhood for biking hehe these bikes area so cute! I love that you even put a basket on it! Adorable!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 17, 2018

      Come visit me! These pics were basically taken right outside my house lol. Golf course views are the best when biking! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Atsuna Matsui
    July 17, 2018

    Aww so cute that you got a bike! I saw your Instagram post about this. Haha it sounds totally perfect for you so you can work in some extra tan. I tried biking when I lived in Japan and LOL I was super paranoid that I would crash into someone so I haven’t biked since..

    BLOG | YOUTUBE | INSTAGRAM

    • Sharon Wu
      July 18, 2018

      Haha thanks Atsuna! Yes, biking around town has helped me get a deeper tan! But it’s just been so hot to bike in the middle of the day lately ๐Ÿ™ humid too. Been trying to go early morning and later in the evenings to get my exercise in. I can’t imagine biking in a big city like Tokyo or even LA so I don’t blame you! LOL

  • Tara Raquel Fuller
    July 17, 2018

    you are so stunning! such an adorable bike!

  • Samantha Mariko
    July 18, 2018

    This is such a cute beach cruiser!! I mean, $750 is a lot for a bike but if it has all the right features and it’s stylish like yours.. worth it perhaps? This post totally reminded me when back in middle school my dad finally agreed to get me a beach cruiser and I loved it so much! At least southern California has a lot of places you can cruise around in them ๐Ÿ™‚
    xo Samantha

    • Sharon Wu
      July 18, 2018

      Haha yes! Totally worth it because I bike everyday now which is a great way to squeeze in my exercise. Because I always dread working out lol. That’s so cute that your dad got you a beach cruiser in middle school! I wish I had one – I only had a regular kiddy bike hahaha.

  • Cassidy
    July 18, 2018

    That is just the cutest bike babe! Great choice. I have a Schwinn bike that I’ve owned for many years. It’s nothing fancy but gets me around where I need to go! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sharon Wu
      July 18, 2018

      Thanks Cassidy! I was looking at some Schwinn bikes when I was shopping around too!

  • Jennifer
    July 18, 2018

    Those baskets are so cute. I never would have thought to check Marshalls for bike baskets! Need to go there now to see if there are any I can put on mine. Would be nice to have a place to put my groceries other than my backpack when I ride to the store! Are you going to share a blog post on how to convert a back basket to make it dog-friendly?! That would be so cool. I have a small frenchie – I’d love to take him riding but am scared he’ll jump out lol

    • Sharon Wu
      July 18, 2018

      Thank you Jennifer! Appreciate it. Maybe I will make a post on this conversion now that you bring it up! I want a frenchieeee haha

  • Yara Elizabeth
    July 18, 2018

    I’ve been looking around for a purple bike too!!! Similar to you, I want a lighter one – I actually saw one at Walmart but I think it was for little girls because I’m not that tall and it was still too small for me ๐Ÿ™ hahaha. I guess maybe I’ll have to take a look at local bike shops to see if I can find one or yours! Thanks for sharing, Sharon!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 18, 2018

      WAIT I think I saw that one LOL was it by Schwinn?! I wanted it too but similar to you I was too tall for it! Womps! Haha hope you’re able to find another purple bike you love enough to get! xx

  • Liliane
    July 18, 2018

    Such a great cruiser choice, and I’m loving your helmet too! Super cute!

  • Drea
    July 18, 2018

    Omg I have the same Huffy bike but in blue! Hahaha I actually love mine but I only use it for light riding – not going up insane inclines or anything. So glad you were able to find a bike you love! Happy riding girl!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 18, 2018

      I saw the blue one too! So cute haha just wish it did better on inclines!

  • Alexa
    July 18, 2018

    I had no idea that shopping for a bike could be so time consuming! It’s practically like buying a car haha. I am happy to hear that you found one you love ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sharon Wu
      July 18, 2018

      I had no idea too! I feel like it took me as much time to buy a bike I love as it did when I was car shopping hahaha totally worth it though!

  • frances c.
    July 18, 2018

    What a classy looking bike! I could totally see myself riding something like that along the beach.

  • Celeste Godoy
    July 18, 2018

    Girl, your bike is so cute! I’ve been wanting to get a new one so will definitely check this one out!

  • Nailil
    July 18, 2018

    How fun! I’ve wanted a bike for so long. I’m just waiting for my girls to learn to rider theirs.

    Xx, Nailil
    http://thirtyminusone.com

    • Sharon Wu
      July 18, 2018

      Awww that would be so much fun to ride with them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jessica
    July 19, 2018

    My dad has always said, “you get what you pay for!” It’s shame your wee yellow one didn’t work out but I’m glad you found a good one in the end. I’m too scared to ride a bike in LA but hopefully, we’ll live somewhere quieter in the future and I’ll get one. I’ll definitely be getting one with gears (now you mention it) and I won’t pick white wheels! Lol. If you do line the baskets (like you mentioned on IG) that would be seriously cute. Maybe you could find a cute yellow to contrast with the purple and it’ll go with your helmet too! xxx

    • Sharon Wu
      July 19, 2018

      Haha and I totally agree with your dad! I don’t blame you for being scared to ride in LA… lol I would be too. In fact, I haven’t built up the courage to bike outside of our community yet because traffic scares me. David’s been riding around though with no problems so I really should give it a go soon lol. Gears are definitely nice to have especially if you plan on biking not just on flat ground all the time. The yellow bike didn’t do so well on inclines :/ I am still looking for a good fabric store in the area to pick the perfect fabric for the liners! I am so jealous you had such a great variety to choose from at your local fabric store earlier. If I’m able to find a gold-yellow that would be cool, or some sort of lavender, and bring out the purple of the bike! Hehe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • rachel vogt
    July 20, 2018

    Aww my husband just got me a bike a few months ago, too. I still need to take it out for a ride. Love your bike tho.

    xoxo, @rachelvogttrends
    http://rachelvogttrends.com

    • Sharon Wu
      July 21, 2018

      I think I saw it on your Instagram that you got an Electra bike too! You’ll have to let me know how you like it! I almost got a white one actually lol I was debating between the white or the blue… and ended up with purple haha

  • Nicole
    July 21, 2018

    So happy you found one you love! Our family bikes quite a bit, I have a mountain bike and absolutely love it, such a great work out too!!

    • Sharon Wu
      July 21, 2018

      That’s amazing! So glad you love your mountain bike. My boyfriend is loving his as well. You’re so right – biking is a fun way to get a good workout in! I don’t even feel like I’m working out which is great haha

    • Sharon Wu
      July 23, 2018

      Thank you girl! I’ve been having so much fun biking these days!

  • Suzanne
    July 22, 2018

    A bike is the perfect accessory to have in LA! I love the one you got along with the cruiser ๐Ÿ™‚ xo, Suzanne http://www.suzannespiegoski.com

    • Sharon Wu
      July 23, 2018

      Haha I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to bike in LA with all that traffic but I suppose if you are an experienced biker it would be fun to bike to local farmer’s market and what not! xx

  • Jenelle
    July 22, 2018

    I have been wanting to get a bike for ages too! I’ve borrowed some of the cheaper ones and they are okay, but when I tried out the pricey ones I can feel the difference. Though am not sure how much I will use it to justify the cost! Gah!
    xx Jenelle
    http://www.inspiringwit.com

    • Sharon Wu
      July 23, 2018

      Awww haha hopefully one of these days you’ll be able to find one that you feel is worth investing in. Like you mentioned, there’s definitely differences between cheap bikes and ones that are more costly – you get what you pay for! The electric bikes are even more expensive :O

  • Candace
    July 26, 2018

    This is a great way to stay fit. I don’t have a bike tho. I might consider getting one. Thank you for sharing!

    Candace
    http://www.thebeautybeau.com

    • Sharon Wu
      July 26, 2018

      Yes! It is a great way to stay fit. It’s just been way too hot all of this week to take my bike out though ๐Ÿ™ hopefully it’ll cool down after all these desert fires are put to rest! Hope you’re having a wonderful week xx

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