Lots of people in Bristol cycle, all kinds of cyclists from the serious lycra clad to the whimsical flowers in hair and on the woven basket filled with organic veg at the front types. It’s inspiring, and I’ve decided I want to join in. I first got this yearning about two years ago, and since then it’s been mulling.

So in France, on our Eurocamp trip, I decided to hire bikes for us all. It was idyllic, not the bit where we all got fed up pushing huge heavy bikes up a big hill in woodland, but the scenery, the freedom, and the big downhill after. Cycling is for us. So then it’s just a matter of bikes. The boys both have little bikes, but Robo Boy isn’t confident enough to ride solo yet. Neither Mr Purple nor I have bikes. So two bikes, and a tagalong. We have a little seat for Wonder Girl to ride with me, found on Freecycle.

I’ve visited lots of shops, expensive shops, second hand shops, middle of the road shops. My head is swimming with bikes. I think I want a hybrid, but, with a low budget, second hand seems the best way to go. I don’t want anything too heavy or cumbersome. Obviously it would be great if it was purple.

I plan on using it for school runs, and occasional family trips along some of Bristol’s cycle paths. So I need your help, bike shopping is planned for next weekend. What should I be looking for? Any tips about purchasing, maintaining and riding are welcome.