One of the most common questions I am asked is, “What type of bike should I get for city riding?” Of course, absolutely any bike that’s in working order will work. The problem is that some bikes can actually make riding around town to run errands or get to work needlessly challenging and can even be downright uncomfortable.
While not always available in every bike shop, there are several bicycle styles that will make city riding more comfortable and enjoyable. And more comfortable riding means that you’re far more likely to hop on you bike more often. Here are four bike styles that will help you get the most out of city riding and enjoy every trip:
The Dutch Bike
The Dutch are known for their excellent approach to promoting everyday cycling with their extensive network of separated paths. And a common sight on those paths is the elegant Dutch bike. The upright riding position of these bikes allows you to see your surroundings and chat with other riders. In addition, many Dutch bikes also come equipped with chain and skirt guards, racks, and fenders all allowing you to simply hop on and ride in any clothes and in any weather. Dutch bikes with step-through frames make getting on and off the bike effortless. You may not be the fastest rider in the bike lane on a Dutch bike, but you will experience the most comfortable and relaxed ride of your life.
The Mixte (pronounced “MIX-tee”) is the perfect ride for hilly cities and along long and winding paths. Equipped with swept-back handlebars, Mixtes ride comfortably upright while still positioning you forward enough to breeze up hills and pick up speed when you’re feeling sporty. A common misconception is that Mixtes are just for women since they feature an angled top bar. However, you’ll find both men and women riding on these frames in many North American cities, often on classic models found at garage sales.
The Folding Bike
In dense, urban areas, where space is limited, folding bikes are the perfect choice. With smaller wheels, these bikes may look slow, but after a test ride you’ll find that folding bikes won’t hold you back on your morning commute. In addition to fitting in your apartment or under your desk at work, folding bikes are often allowed on public transit, allowing you to carry a quicker way to get to and from the train or transit station.
The Cargo Bike
Cargo bikes are the ultimate car-replacement tools. Carrying kids, large purchases, a month’s worth of groceries? The cargo bike can handle it. You may experience some sticker shock when first looking at the wide range of cargo bikes available, but these prices are more than justified when you consider their versatility and ability to alter what you thought was possible on a bicycle. The cargo bike is perfect for families or people who need to take more with them more often.
What’s the best way to find the ideal bicycle for you? Try as many as you can. Stop by your local bike shop and see what they have in store. The right ride is waiting for you.
Photo: Anthony Niblett