If you’re considering taking up cycling, you’re taking a step in the right direction. Not only will it boost your fitness level, but it will also make you feel stronger, healthier and live greener. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce the impact you have on the environment. The biggest task you’ll face is finding the right bike for you. The choices are plenty when it comes to the selection and variation of bikes so it all depends on what your personal preference and the type of riding you’ll likely be doing.
Here are a few of the most common ones you should consider.
If you picture yourself picking up flowers from the nearby market and heading to a nearby beach, the cruiser is probably your best fit. They typically have baskets in the front or the back, a strong steal frame, upright seating and the balloon tires make them a no-fuss, easy ride.
Road bikes come in varying sizes, but are all light with thin tires and dropped or flat handlebars. They are good for travelling at high speeds on paved roads and are associated with triathlons or day trips along the countryside roads.
Just as its name describes, touring bikes are meant to go the distance. With a sturdy frame, multiple mounting point and dropped handlebars, it’s great for carrying cargo and has multiple gears to help a rider face a variety of terrains. These bikes are great for commuting to and from work. Touring bikes are also great for weekend trips or longer ones if you’re feeling adventurous.
Created for off-road cycling, mountain bikes are popular because they can be ridden anywhere in an upright position. They have suspension absorb shock, heavy-duty wheels and larger, knobby tires to handle rough and bumpy terrains. They also have more powerful brakes and have multiple speeds to facility easy uphill climb or rapid descent.
A blend of road and mountain bikes, the hybrid is probably a step up from a cruiser. With an upright position, it’s meant for a leisure cycle along a waterfront path or even for commuting. Quicker than a cruiser, but not as fast as a road or touring bike, hybrids offer a comfortable and stable ride. They also light and usually have mounts for water bottles and other items.
Think of a stationary exercise bike that can move and you basically have the recumbent bike. The rider is placed in a reclined position, which allows for a more comfortable and stable ride because weight is evenly distributed. It’s great for allowing a rider to sit back and enjoy the scenery a little more, but can be more difficult to ride when travelling uphill.
Electric bikes are a bit more pricey, but are great for commuters who don’t want to arrive at work drenched in sweat. They come with a motor that can go up to 500W and can travel speeds up to 25 to 35 km/h. Be sure to check your province’s rules and regulations around electric power assisted bicycles because they vary.
Sizing: Choosing the right fit
Once you’ve narrowed the search on what type of bike you’d like, you should choose the right size frame for your body. This will ensure that your bike handles the way it’s meant to and in turn make it more comfortable and fun for you to ride. Different types of bikes have different sizing charts so you’ll need to know your height and your leg inseam (from your crotch to your foot) when consulting with them. You’ll also need your stand-over height, which is the distance from your crotch and the cross bar. As a general rule you should have one to two inches of clearance on road bikes and two to four inches on mountain bikes.