About seven years ago, I bought a brand new mountain bike for 75 bucks (off a woman who won it as a door prize) and boy, did I think I got a sweet deal. In reality, the bike’s too heavy, the gears stick, and I have to work really hard to get it uphill.
I didn’t quite realize how dour the situation was until my friend the winter cyclist and ex bike courier called it “extreme”; sadly, not in a cool extreme sports kind of way.
The benefits of biking are multiple: it’s good for the air, the environment, and for your body. So I did a little research and figured out that because I ride my bike around the city, what I need is a commuter bike or a hybrid. Now, the fun part – testing out a few models and picking one that falls in my price range.
If you need some help identifying the right bike for you, here are the primary features of the mountain bike, road bike, cruiser and hybrid:
The Mountain Bike: Rugged and sporty, the mountain bike is designed for trails and off-terrain riding. Prominent features are thick, threaded tires made for shock absorption and traction. It’s typically a heavy bike, although if you pay top dollar you can get something lighter. Oddly enough they are often the default choice for beginner cyclists simply because low-end models are economical and widely available.
The Road Bike (aka racing bike): This light frame bike is designed for speedy travel on pavement. With its skinny tires, multiple gears and drop handlebars for a crouched posture, this bike is perfect for skilled riders who want to get somewhere – fast.
The Cruiser: Get out the banana seat and handlebar tassels! A cruiser is high in flash value (retro look) and heavy, well, all around. Riders sit upright on a wide comfortable seat, and should not expect to reach high speeds, but should expect to turn heads.
The Hybrid/Commuter Bike: Meet your car replacement! A bicycle made for people who want a mix of town and country – the hybrid is designed for use on roads and bike paths, and its tires are the happy medium of a mountain bike and road bike. The hybrid is so versatile that it can get you to work and back with a mix of speed and functionality. Don’t forget to add the fixings: racks, panniers, mudguards, and a bell.
But don’t just take my word for it. Drop into your local bike shop, take one for a test drive, and get ready to hit the road!
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