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Here are some things to look for when buying a bike:

Fenders to keep yourself clean: A rack on the back for a newspaper or side racks for your briefcase.

Rubber pedals: ( they are less durable than steel, but preserve your leather soles.)

A topnotch lock: (The U-bolt models by kryptonite and citadel are among the best ones.)

Touring bikes are right for most people. They have a longer wheel base for a "cadillac" ride.

With a racing bike, you feel the road more, but you get better handling and efficiency.

For more comfort, look for new anatomically designed saddles. These seats, made of leather with foam padding, feature two ridges to support the pelvic bones, with a valley in between to avoid pinching.

Buy a low-impact, plastic shell helmet. This will protect the head better than a high-impact motorcycle helmet. With racing bikes, you feel the road more, but you get better handling and efficiency.

Considered a Japanese brand. A European bike of equivalent quality will cost at least 20% more. ( Although there are 30 different Japanese makes, they're all produced by one of two corporate families, so they're about the same)

Sizing up a new bike. Straddle the frame with you feet flat on the floor. There should be an inch of clearance between your crotch and the top tube. If you can't find an exact fit: buy the next smaller size, then adjust seat and handlebar height. Aframe that's too big can't be adjusted.

Padded bike gloves make good shock absorbers. Sheepskin bike shorts provide added comfort. Bike jerseys with rear pockets will keep your keys from digging into your leg with each push of the pedal.

Female bikers should point the seats slightly downwards to avoid irritating the genital area. Men should point the seat upward, to avoid problems such as injury to the testes.