Which Bike is Best for You?

There’s a very good reason why Freddie Mercury from Queen dedicated an entire song solely to bicycles: it’s because bikes are incredibly awesome. They’re fun, functional, and could possibly be the best machine you can use to stay fit. There are many different uses for a bike, hence the existence of more than just one type. That can make it difficult to choose a bike. In this article, we’ll discuss the main types of bicycles and which environment each one is best suited to.

 

City Bikes

Best for: The Casual Biker

Description: As the name implies, the city bike is designed for frequent short rides through urban settings.  It’s optimized in both form and composition for paved surfaces – for example, its tires are intended to hold up against broken glass and other common road hazards. The city bike is perfect for the daily trip from home to the office or school, or for running errands. It’s also great for leisurely trips to the park and around the neighborhood. The city bike is generally ridden in an upright position wearing normal clothing.

cruiser bikes

 

Road Bikes

Best for: The Athlete

Description: If you plan to use your bike for a good workout, a road bike is for you. This type of bicycle is optimized for riding on smooth pavement – it’s what you’ll see racers on.  With their lightweight frames, skinny wheels, drop handlebars, and high gearing, these bikes are built for speed. If you want to use bicycling as a way to get in intense workouts, and to go fast, a road bike is for you.

road bike

 

Mountain Bikes

Best for: The Thrillseeker

Description: Mountain bikes were originally intended for traversing, you guessed it – mountains. This bike features a robust structure, wider tires and reinforced suspension in order to cope with the rugged terrain that’s the norm in this environment. They also have a wide range of gearing in order to handle all types of terrain. If you’re the adventurous type, then this is the best bicycle for you. However, long gone are the days when mountain bikes are only used on mountain trails—they’re practically everywhere now, as you may have noticed.

mountain bike

 

Touring Bikes

Best for: The Traveler

Description: A touring bike is a hybrid between the road and mountain bikes. These bikes feature a structure that’s similar to a road bike although they have slightly higher handlebars and more gears that you probably wouldn’t utilize in urban environments. The touring bike is designed for those extra-long distances, multiple-mile trips where speed is not an issue, but the ability to carry heavy loads is. Armed with the capability of shifting to the lowest of gears, carrying cargo, and climbing uphill are done with relative ease. The touring bike is a packhorse, reliable in all kinds of conditions.

touring bikes

 

Folding Bikes

Best for: The “Half-way” Commuter

Description: Most folding bikes don’t drive as smoothly as a lot of two-wheelers out there and generally aren’t recommended for long distances. Despite this, many prefer foldables over other bikes because of one key reason: convenience. A bike that can be folded and carried can be really handy, after all. You get to work but there’s no place to park your bike? Fold it, then take it with you inside the office. Many commuters love foldable bikes if the train or bus does not go directly to their office.

folding bike

 

Cargo Bikes

Best for: The Car-free Biker

Description:  Cargo bikes are human powered vehicles designed and constructed specifically for transporting large loads. There is a wide variety of cargo bikes made, so there is sure to be one for whatever you need to carry. Have a bunch of kids you need to transport? Doing the weekly grocery shopping? Need to take a big load home from work or to a construction site? Cargo bikes can handle just about anything.

cargo bike

 

Now for the important question: where to buy—the local store or online?

Now that you have a better idea of which bike is best for you, it’s worth thinking about where to buy your brand new two-wheeler. Should you opt for the local bike store or go online?  Actually, there’s really no bad choice here; each one has its own set of pros and cons. At your local bike store, you can view a selection of bikes firsthand and if you find one you like, you can take it home straight away. The professionals in the store can help you choose a bike that is best for you.

On the other hand, online stores excel when it comes to price, convenience, and product selection. It’s cheaper to buy online since internet retailers don’t have to pay for overheads, space, and utilities in multiple locations. It’s convenient, too, as you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home in order to check out their sizable selection and buy the bike you want.

Whether you buy from a store or online, what’s really important is that you have a clear idea of how you want to use your bike so that you can choose the one that’s best for you.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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4 Responses to Which Bike is Best for You?

  1. Hannah@GettingStamped October 7, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Nice entry here Nancy! We haven’t gone on a bike escapade yet but definitely would love to rent out a bike one of these days and just stroll wherever our bikes would take us!

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Hannah@GettingStamped, That’s the best way. Just start pedaling and see where you land!

    [Reply]

  2. Dan @ A Cruising Couple October 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Great guide! We just completed a 1,000 mile tour through Vietnam and loved every minute of it :-) Cycling really is a great way to get around. Luckily we got the right bike to handle our (unfortunately large) load :-p

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Dan @ A Cruising Couple, I’m so glad we’ve got another convert to bike touring ;)

    [Reply]

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