I started out by hitting up the bike shops in town to see which brands they carried so I could check reviews and compare features/components.
Unlike shopping for road bikes where the brands I was interested in and my body shape/height made it so I needed to go with a women's bike with the mountain bike this wasn't so.
Being able to fit on a men's or a women's mountain bike opened up a world of possibilities when it came to options. I was like a kid in a candy store. So many choices. Maybe even too many.
I needed to figure out what was important to me, what features mattered and which were irrelevant, just fluff.
Where would I be riding? Did I want a mountain bike? Maybe a cross country or a trail bike instead?
Disc brakes? Hydraulic or mechanical?
Full suspension or hard tail?
Lockout on the fly?
Rapid fire shifter?
So many questions. And each of them needed to be answered. But there was one question I knew the answer to as soon as I took my first ride at the shop- 26 or 29?
These numbers, 26 and 29, refer to the wheel size. Each one has pros and cons and I am not saying that 29ers are superior or even the best option for every rider. But one of the main benefits of 29ers, and the key selling point for me, is that that the larger wheels roll over roots and rocks easily.
So easily that when I ride (unless I am jumping over a curb) I never need to pull up on my handlebars.
Why is this important? Well, mountain bikes are heavy. Pulling up on your handlebars to get over obstacles takes strength and energy. Doing so every few seconds on the trails is tough. Especially if you aren't super strong.
I am pretty weak. I don't have much when it comes to upper body strength. When I do pull-ups I have to stand on Paul's legs to push off. My arms just don't got no muscle.
So if I was out on the trails on a 26 and had to pull up on my handlebars to get over every root and rock in my path I would last about 5 minutes.
For me, the 29er was the obvious choice. When I ride I never have to worry about my arms getting too tired to keep going.
I only have to worry about those stinking trees that get in my way ;)
For women, or at least for women like me, the 29er is an equalizer. It levels the playing field. It makes it so we can get out there and hang with our male counterparts.
And that my friends, makes all the difference in the world.
So if you are in the market for a mountain bike make sure to do your research. Also know your limitations. Maybe a 29er is right for you!
"Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live."- Mark Twain