We have speculated in previous columns about what will happen to people who have started riding bikes during this pandemic, writes Roger Symonds. A YouGov survey has found that a majority (85%) do not wish to go back to how the world was before Coronavirus.

One of the big changes we have seen is in an improvement in air quality, which is helped by people riding bikes rather than driving cars. The UK Government has made it clear that it expects local authorities to allocate more road space to bicycles.

So you are riding that old, dusted off bike from the shed but it’s not really good enough for regular use in the longer term, so perhaps you are thinking of buying a new bike. There is a bewildering number of differing models of bicycle in bike shops. If you are new to bike riding, and you want to continue to ride a bike more suitable to your needs, how do you decide which bike to buy?

First of all, you will need to decide where you want to ride and the main purpose for having the bike. There are bikes for many different activities and abilities. If the bike is mainly for short journeys on the flat, an urban bike will be okay. A simple ‘sit-up and beg’ bike, like those used in the Netherlands, will be comfortable and may have an ‘open’ frame rather than a crossbar so it is easier to get on and off.

If the intention is to ride longer distances that include a few hills, then more gears will be necessary and a ‘hybrid’ bike would be better. Hybrids are usually straight handlebar bikes and usually have good gears for those hills. They are ideal for shopping, carrying work papers, or a laptop, in detachable panniers. The riding position is comfortable, and if you want to use the bike for touring, it will be suitable. These bikes are usually made of aluminium, or steel and have fittings for mudguards and a rack.

If you are travelling long distances on public transport, folding bikes are good. The Brompton folder is probably the best known and highest quality but is expensive and there are alternatives.

Of course, if you wish to use a bike for fitness, or sport cycling, perhaps as a member of a cycling club, you will probably need a ‘road bike’, which will be lighter than a hybrid, have dropped handlebars and built more for speed than for comfort. It is possible to use a road bike for commuting, but they are not ideal as they’re not really designed for mudguards and a rack.

There is an old saying within the cycling community that ‘the number of bikes you need is always one more than you own’. So if you’ve just found, or rediscovered cycling, perhaps that old bike in the shed is only the start.

Read more by Roger Symonds at www.twowheelsgood.org.uk