How to Choose a Bicycle for Commuting
Riding a bicycle to work can change your entire way of life. Explore what you need to know to acquire the most appropriate bike for day-to-day travel.
A few factors will determine the right bike for your commute, including personal preferences, how many bikes you want to own, the load you'll be carrying, and what the route is like.
- Determine what style of bike would work best for your commuting needs: road, mountain or hybrid.
- Consider your route. Does it involve long, uninterrupted stretches, or lots of stop-and-go pedaling? Road bikes are the fastest way to get from point A to point B, but the racing-style seating is not as comfortable in stop-and-go situations as the more upright position of hybrid and mountain bikes.
- Think about the amount of gear you want to carry. Road bikes are fine for light loads; the sturdier frames of mountain and hybrid bikes make it easy to attach all sorts of gear and packs.
- Decide if you want to use the bike for more than just commuting. A road bike works great for the road; a mountain bike is, of course, great for trails; but a hybrid's performance in either situation will usually only be tolerable to the most casual of riders. Alternatively, consider adapting your current bike for commuting if it's comfortable and you like it.
Some more issues you should address:
Check out the new commuter bikes, which are hybrids that come equipped for the road - with features such as fenders, horns and comfortable seats.
Don't forget to look in the classifieds or at bike shops that may sell used bikes. It's a good way to get a "new-to-you" bike without paying new prices.
Make sure the frame fits you. As you straddle the bike, standing upright, there should be about an inch of space between you and the bar.
Bike shops will let you test-ride bikes. That's the best way to figure out what is comfortable, and to try out a good cross section of different sizes and styles.
Back to Bicycle Advice
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