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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Selene Yeager, rodalewellness.com (TNS)

So you’ve learned what bike is best for you. Now the question is how to go about buying it. Don’t worry, it’s nowhere near as stressful as the experience you have at car dealerships. But there are still a few tips to know.

Know the basics
A bike shop can help you narrow down your selection to the perfect bike if you can answer basic bike-buying questions. You should be prepared to answer the following questions and commit the answers to memory before you go.

  • What will you (or do you) use your bike for?
  • When, where, and how often will you ride?
  • How much can you spend?

This exercise should help you — and the shop staff — focus on your needs, whether you’re buying your first bike, or new pedals or bar tape for your existing ride.

Ride bikes
If you’re buying a bicycle, you should test-ride a few. (If the shop doesn’t allow this, go to one that does.) Touch and feel accessories so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Be assertive
It’s easy to feel put off by shop employees who rattle off jargon. Even helpful, friendly staff can unwittingly talk over your head, making you feel dumb when that’s not their intention. “Don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down and speak in language you understand,” said bicycle retail consultant Ray Keener. “Remember that you are in control of the situation.”

Play fair
Your local bike shop is not the place to haggle. With so many online outlets competing with their business, brick-and-mortar retailers must keep their prices competitive. Profit margins on bike sales are razor thin. It’s not uncommon for a shop to net more money on the extras _ helmet, pedals, computer, and so on _ than on the bike sale itself. For this reason, dealers are often more willing to throw in a free seat bag or bottle cage than to give you a deal on the bike. Service is an area where you can seek out value: It’s common for shops to provide a year of free basic adjustments on your new bike, so it’s worth asking for this if your shop offers less.

Another way to potentially save some cash is by joining your local advocacy group. Many shops discount their prices for members. If you really don’t like the deal offered by a shop, then quietly go elsewhere. You may find a better price in a nearby town, but remember, it’s not always worth driving an hour to save a few bucks. In the end, having a good local bike shop will save you time and money on service and any warranty issues. Shops tend to go the extra mile for you if they know you bought the bike there.

Finally, eBay is good for many purchases, but bikes aren’t one of them. Yes, it’s possible to buy a bike online but it’s not recommend. And many reputable sellers offer new and used bikes online, if that’s the way you really want to go. But steer clear of ads that are vague or downright shady, like one on eBay that read, “not recommended for the Pittsburgh area,” presumably because that’s where the bike had been stolen.

When you venture online, you’re on your own. If you know your preferred frame angles, top tube length, and stem and handlebar sizes, you might find a barely used dream ride and save hundreds. It’s happened. But if those measurement terms mean nothing to you, visit a bike shop for help. Otherwise, you’ll get a bargain online but spend twice the savings trying to make the bike fit, and it may never feel right.

Shop Smart
Just because you shouldn’t haggle with your shop doesn’t mean you can’t get a good bargain on a new bike. Like shoes, cars, and clothing, bikes are seasonal. New models arrive on the bike shop sales floor each year, typically in the fall, as the riding season winds down.

This is the best time to look for deals, because shops don’t want soon-to-be-year-old inventory lingering through the slower winter months. While hot models in popular sizes will sell out over the summer, you may get lucky and find last year’s model at a discount, but do your homework before buying: Models often get dramatic redesigns only every few years, so if the new model just has different paint and minor parts tweaks, you’ll save on last year’s bike.

But if the new model has big frame changes or parts upgrades, then it can be worth paying for the new model. Beware of bikes that are more than a few seasons old. Advances in frame materials and component technology happen quickly, so a seemingly great deal may be only an average one.

(Excerpted from The Bicycling Big Book of Cycling for Women.)

(This story originally appeared on Rodale Wellness, formerly known as fitbie.com) (c)2015 Fitbie.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: A man rides his bicycle through the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.