Make Your Old Bike More Rider-Friendly

More Savvy Tips

I do not enjoy riding my old Gitane bicycle any more with its low handlebars, hard seat and skinny tires. Ric Paul, owner of Wheel Away Cycle Center, Inc., a Diamond Certified company, tells me that with a few changes, I can reduce the strain on my neck and back and have a much better riding experience.

First off, you need to elevate the handlebars. Just getting a longer stem or buying new upright handlebars can increase the rise for the upper body 6 to 8 inches. This might slow you down a bit, but you have better visibility and a much more comfortable ride. A broader and softer seat adds comfort, and you might consider padded cycling shorts as well. If you're ready to trade in your old Gitane or Varsity Schwinn for a brand new comfortable cruiser, Mr. Paul recommends the Townie from Electra or the Expedition by Specialized. Prices range from $350-$400.