What Bike is Right For You

With gas prices rising, alternative methods of transportation are becoming more sought after. One easy way to get around if you don't have to go far is a bicycle. I have been fortunate enough to live no more than a couple miles away from where I work and go to school for the past three years, so I have been commuting on a bike for awhile. Bicycles are also a great way to work out that doesn't require a monthly gym membership.

Whether you are buying a new bike to commute or exercise, there are several different types of bicycles you can choose from. Some general advice is you get what you spend. A cheap bike from a department store will be of lesser quality and will not last as long as better quality bike.

Road Bicycles

Road bicycles are built for distance and speed. They are light weight. This type of bike is great if you want start riding long distances for workouts. Road bikes will work for commuter bicycles as long as the roads in your city or town are not in bad shape. Since the bike is so light, you feel every bump. Some people don't like the feel of riding a road bike because you have to lean forward when riding. If you're not used to it, it feels a little like you're about to dive into the ground. Road bikes allow you to change gears so you can pedal faster when the going is smooth and slower when it's uphill.

Road bikes come in aluminum and carbon fiber frames. The carbon fiber frames are the lightest but also the most expensive.

Mountain Bicycles

Mountain bicycles are built for riding on trails. They are heavier and the frames are built differently from road bikes so you are more upright when seated. When it comes to mountain bikes, the more money you spend the more comfortable your ride will be. Different types of suspension and brakes will allow you to ride more difficult trails. You can commute with a mountain bike, but they are much slower than road bikes.The tires are a lot bigger so the bumps on the road will be smoother. Mountain bikes also allow you to shift gears.

Hybrid Bicycles

A hybrid bike is just what it sounds like. It is a mix between a road bike and a mountain bike. Nevertheless, it is not built for riding rough trails. It's one of the best bicycles for commuting and longer longer distance biking if don't like the feel of the road bike. You get to sit a little more upright and don't have to lean forward as much. The frame is a little heavier than a road bike and the wheels are bigger. This makes those bumps in the road a lot more bearable. Like road and mountain bikes, hybrids have gear shifters. You could ride longer distances with a hybrid. For long distances, I prefer the light weight and the forward seating position of the road bike.

Bicycle Cruisers

Cruiser bikes remind me of a grown up version of a little kid bikes. They only have one speed, and are often decorated with streamers and bells. They are fine for riding short distances. The frame is designed so you can sit upright. I never ride cruisers simply because I don't think they are very functional. I'm not that fast, but I like to be able to pick up a little speed even if I'm only going short distances. Cruisers have heavier frames and just too bulky for me.

Fixie Bicycles

What is a fixie you may ask? A fixie, or fixed gear, is a bike that only has one gear and no free wheel. This means you have to constantly pedal for the bike to move. It also means you can ride backwards or balance on the bike. Also, you don't necessarily need a brake because you can use resistance to slow down and stop the bike. Fixies can be dangerous, so consider your abilities before purchasing or building one. Fixies can also be a lot of fun if you know what you're doing. You could use a fixie for a commuter bike if the roads are not awful. I would not want to ride one long distances personally, but there is no reason you couldn't if you really wanted to.

Whatever your specific needs are, there is a bicycle for you. If you'd like to get a feel for the different types of bike, go to your local bike shop. They will be more than willing to give you more information and let you test ride whatever you want. Once you're riding, don't forget to practice proper bike safety!

 
Off Road
Commuting
Long Distance
Road Bike
No
Yes
Yes
Mountain Bike
Yes
OK
No
Hybrid
No
Yes
OK
Cruiser
No
Yes
No
Fixie
No
Yes
No

What type of bike do you ride?

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Comments 7 comments

Outbound Dan profile image

Outbound Dan 4 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

I ride a mountain bike, that I turned into a hybrid. I wasn't riding many trails anymore and found myself road riding much more often. I switched out the knobby tires for some narrower road slicks, changed out the seat, and added different bar ends to my handlebars.

I just added a luggage rack for my panniers to this bike, so we'll see how it does touring.

Are those your bikes? Great pictures and Great Hub. + and Shared


brenda12lynette profile image

brenda12lynette 4 years ago from Utah Author

Thanks Dan! The road bike is mine, and I use it to commute. The other ones are my husband's. He's more into road biking and the crazy fixie stuff.


bankscottage profile image

bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

I ride a hybrid on rails to trails, carriage trails at Acadia, and other limited access areas. The few times I have been to Hilton Head, I have enjoyed a cruiser for a ride on the beach or the bike paths. The cruiser is great when you aren't in a hurry and really aren't looking to be someplace. It is all about a ride and stopping for coffee or ice cream.

Road bikes worry me, not the bike part, he road part. I have a friend who rides road bikes a lot. He was hit and seriously injured by a distracted driver. The driver was an on duty state cop who was typing something into an on-board computer.

What do you think of recumbent bikes? I hear they are supposed to be easier on the bodies of us older folks :-)

Great Hub. Voted up and interesting.


brenda12lynette profile image

brenda12lynette 4 years ago from Utah Author

Thanks bankscottage! Fortunately for me the roads I ride are pretty safe. Half of my commute is actually through a university campus. Sorry abut your friend. I also know people who have been hit by cars.

I have never rode a recumbent bike, but I hear great things from those who do ride them! If you're interested I bet your local bike shop would let you try one out.


bankscottage profile image

bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Brenda, my town is so small that I think my local bike shop is Walmart. I believe there is a bike shop, recumbent at that, in State College. My friend still rides his bike regularly, even in the winter in Maine! I think he rides a recumbent bike at that.


brenda12lynette profile image

brenda12lynette 4 years ago from Utah Author

Bankscottage, I am impressed. I ride in the winter, but I live in Texas. I bet it doesn't get quite as cold here!


CyclingFitness profile image

CyclingFitness 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

Can I throw in a type of bike you missed off- Cyclocross bike. Almost as light as a racing bike, strong enough for light long distance touring and grippy enough for what most people would consider off road cycling. I can even ride mine on the local 'red' difficult singletrack trail centre loop

Cyclocross racing is the fastest growing competitive form of cycling and offers a rider everything condensed into an hour slot

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