If you are lucky enough to be choosing a bike to accompany you on life’s great adventure there are two questions that you need to ask yourself before you saddle up.

First, do you want to get dressed specifically to ride a bike? If your answer is ‘yes’, you are a roadie and you will be carrying only the things that can fit into the three small pockets on the back of your jersey. Move on; there’s nothing for you here.

If your answer is no, it is more likely that you just want a bike to get about on, one that will save you the faff of getting on the bus or getting in a car when all you wanted to do was go up the road to get something, visit someone or have a drink.

And so to question two: are you likely to need to carry something on any of your journeys in the next six months? If your answer is no, you have to face the fact that you are actually a roadie because really the only possible answer is ‘yes’. Be it work, pleasure or duty, you are going to need to carry a bag, some books, a coat or a bag of chips in the very near future.

So why do so many people ride around with countless gears but nothing in which to put their gear?

If riding a bike is to become an everyday transport option for a sizeable proportion of the population, rather than a lifestyle choice for the committed, the bicycle has to have the status of a convenient tool. It should not be shrouded in mystery or fetishized as the choice of champions. It needs to be sturdy, upright and at the front of the shop. It needs a limited range of sizes (small, medium and large should do it) and colours (black, blue or red; anything else as a special order) but a wide variety of carrying options (basket, rack or panniers; perhaps the folding, front-mounted rack common in the Netherlands designed to hold a beer crate or a friend).

There should be a minimum number of gears (who needs more than three?) and a sympathetic individual to reassure you that, yes, while a bike is quite a lot of money, it will cost you next to nothing to keep on the road, you’ll still be riding it in 20 years and it will be a source of joy, all of which is in stark contrast to having anything to do with a car.

So with two simple questions you are on your way to a life of bicycling convenience, free from the need for special clothing or the dangers of things hanging from your handlebars. Of course, there is a third question: do I need a bike that can carry another three or four people, a month’s worth of groceries, three bags of sand or a barrel of beer? If the answer is yes, we may need to talk cargo bikes. But that’s another story.