Is one of your resolutions for the new year to get in better shape? Are you tired of exercise programs that are boring and that don't actually work? Unlike typical exercise regimens, riding a bike can be both fun and a mode of transportation. Since, in most cases, you don't have to go to a special location in order to ride a bicycle, you should easily be able to work it into your daily routine. However, before you just buy a bike and start riding, here are some things that you should do:

Locate a bike shop: Your easiest option for buying a bike may be to pick one up at your local big box store, but you'll still want to know where your local bicycle shop is. Unfortunately, some cities may have just one or even none, so you may not even know whether or not there is one nearby. But locating one can be essential when you are in need of bicycle repair. You may be able to change a tire quite easily, but other aspects of bicycle repair can be more difficult. The brakes on off-the-shelf bikes at a big box store, for example, may need adjusting in order for them to work as you'd expect. Instead of risking accidental damage to your brand new bike, take it to a shop that also offers bicycle repair and let them do the repair for you.

Decide what accessories you need: When you go into a bike shop, or even just the bicycle aisle at your favorite store, chances are good that you'll be met by an array of gadgets and accessories that you never knew existed. You could easily spend hundreds of dollars on these items. But then once you get home, you may realize that you don't need even half of what you bought. Instead of having to make the trip back to the store to return the unnecessary items, make a basic list to start with. A helmet is obviously a necessity, and perhaps even a more comfortable seat, but you may not need anything else to start with. And you can always buy more accessories later, as needed. For example, due to the extended daylight hours in the summertime, you may not need a bike lamp kit until the days start to shorten again.

Go shopping on your bike: Instead of having a set "bicycling time" for you to exercise, it helps if you incorporate your ride into your daily life. Instead of driving your car to the grocery store, take your bike. You can find bicycle racks and baskets at your local bicycle repair shop that are big enough to hold at least a few bags of groceries. If you do this, you'll be saving on the cost of gasoline and also help you to burn even more calories and lose more weight.