If you’re ready to combine exercise, sunshine, and fresh air into your daily commute, you need a bicycle. Depending on your climate, fitness level, and any work-required clothing, you may be happy with a single-speed or need the assistance of an electric bike.
No matter which bike you choose, make sure you invest in the proper safety gear. According to Alek Asaduryan, founder of Yes Cycling, you should consider adding fenders to protect your clothing from dirt and water splashing. Add a place to secure a lunch bucket, shopping bag, or change of shoes on the back of the bike. Finally, invest in a high-quality lock or set of locks, so your bike is there when you’re ready to go home.
1. Single-Speed or Fixies
I recently learned that single-speed bikes are great for short commutes. These bikes are often used by messengers and other cycling professionals who need a lightweight bike that can easily and quickly be secured to a rack or carried to your workspace. A fixie is simple to maintain as there are no gears, and your ability to speed up and slow down is completely controlled by pedal motion.
There is no coasting on a fixie bike, so your workouts will be consistent. Be aware that fixies generally have a high center bar; if you want to bike to work and wear skirts, you may need to carry a change of clothes.
2. Road Bike
A road bike is built for pavement and can be a great choice for any in-town commuting. These bikes can be bought from nearly any retailer and come in a variety of formats; new handlebar configurations give cyclists plenty of flexibility in choosing the bicycle that suits them best.
If your commute is long and flat, the ability to change gears will make it easy to get to work or any other destination quickly. It’s also easy to customize the seat and add any carrying gear or fenders you need to make the bike a full-value transportation tool.
This may seem like excess weight for little gain, but any recent rains will send you to work with a wet bottom. Unless you can shower and change at the office, a fender is useful.
3. Folding Bike
If you don’t have a space to secure your bike, a folding bike is critical. These tools can also be extremely helpful if your car commute can get you close but not close enough. For example, if you work in the city center, you can park in an outlying lot and carry your folding bike in your trunk.
From car lot to office, your folding bike can make it easy to manage traffic and get to work on time. Many folding bikes come with a custom bag that makes carrying all the easier; simply fold it up and take it to your desk for security. Folding bikes come with tiny wheels. The pedaling circumference may take some getting used to.
However, as you learn to manage the ride, your commute will get a lot quicker. Many folding bikes are designed to include a rear rack for a laptop bag, gym bag, or grocery bag.
4. Electric Bike
If you have a long commute, an electric bike is a great choice. You will still need to pedal, but you won’t need to expend as much energy to get where you need to go. Depending on your region’s climate, the ability to avoid getting overheated can make your workday a lot more pleasant.
Electric bikes are also an excellent option for older riders; while knees and ankles may not tolerate the pressure needed to get a Fixie rolling along, a little electrical assistance can make cycling fun as it takes the pressure off your joints and connective tissues. Electric bikes are configured with a low center bar, making them ideal for anyone in a skirt and older folks who need to avoid getting unbalanced.
The electric assist is also handy for those who need to haul their shopping home on their bike; baskets and even trailers are possible when you have a little help. If you plan to bring your e-bike indoors for security at your office, be ready for a heft. These bikes can be heavy.