Some of you may have noticed that I linked to an article about which bike type is best for a bicycle commute on our facebook page this morning. Well, why not reason a bit about that. After all, without a bicycle, a bicycle commute can be quite difficult.
One of our followers had this to say about the choice of weels;
I vote for beat up old girls bike that the thieves ignore while they are boosting the $900 fixie on the same rack. The best commuter bike is the one that is still there when you get off the train in the morning. – Jim Riemenschneider
Jim has a point here. While it can be fun to ride a modern flashy bike with all kinds of gadgets, are they really needed? As long as the breaks, lights and reflexes works and he chain isn’t too rusty, won’t any bike do? Theft is a real problem all over the world. I once saw a bike thief pick the lock in a few seconds and then speed away before anyone could react. And he went for the brand new and highly expensive mountain bike that more or less screamed “steal me” on the bicycle rack… And theft aside, why not get a cheap one just to try it out. You don’t buy a brand new and expensive car to someone who just got their license to drive after all. Why buy the most expensive bike if you never have tried a bike commute before?
In my experience, a 21 speed bike can be a blessing if you live in a very hilly place. I did, and I faced steep slopes more then once on my commute. My high-gear blue horsie made sure I stayed dry and didn’t arrive panting. But other then in those circumstances you can probably ride anything. An old beaten up ladies bike would have worked just as well and would not have run the risk of getting stolen or gotten the tires slashed. Both happened to me.
One thing to think about though is that if you are going to ride in rain/mud or snow a lot, choose broader tires and make sure there are splash shields (freely translated from Swedish…). Broader tires, preferably studded during winter, gives better grip and reduce the risk of slipping. Thin tires are for racing bikes, leave them for professionals. And leave those silly neon colored spandex suits to them too… Splash shields protects you from getting dirty water and mud from the road on the clothes and face…
A bike commute can be really easy. While it does require some preparation, getting the most expensive bike isn’t one of them. I say choose one that works for you. If you have to battle hills and snow, choose a ten-speed and up with broad tires, and otherwise one that is comfortable, safe and effective. Number of gears doesn’t mean a thing. Peddle on and enjoy an almost free mode of transportation that will give you exercise and saves CO2 that would be released if you drove instead. Health, wealth and a better planet. Commute Greener! everyone!