Your main piece of equipment is, of course, your bike. It's a jungle out there, but bikes can be split into 4 main categories:
-Racing bikes come with racing handlebars and thin, fairly smooth tires. They're light, but solid and hard-wearing. You sit low on them but stretch out to hold the handlebars, which doesn't make them the comfiest of bikes.
-City bikes are designed for shortish journeys. They're usually of average weight, with a low seat, and often come with handy baskets on the front and bag carriers on the back.
-Hybrid bikes are designed for both city and country roads and paths. They're easy to control because they have thicker tires than racing bikes, and your position on the bike is much straighter than it would be on a racing bike.
-Mountain bikes are designed for seriously sporty bikers. They can be ridden over any surface and come with excellent suspension to absorb shocks from rough terrain. They have thick tires with grip for all surfaces.
NB: Think about the shape of the saddle and the frame size you want. Go for a saddle that's wide at the back so that your pelvis isn't put under pressure and you can push off from it. The frame size depends on your leg length, but you need to be able to touch the ground. Ask a sales assistant to help you and try several out for comfort!
Photo: Classic Gitane