What kind of bike (and helmet) do I need?

The dictionary says that

Commute means to travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis.

I challenge you to consider bike commuting as a viable option of transportation. It is a great way to get to work and get some exercise. I hope that this will help you find some answers to common questions about bike commuting before you get started. I am writing this as a guy who rides almost eleven miles one way when I commute. I am sure people who ride shorter/ longer distances will have experiences different that mine. I will attempt to include links for commuting resources as I uncover them.

First step would be that you need a bike and a helmet.

I was asked in a comment on this post, “What kind of bike should I ride?” I think you can get any bike to start bike commuting. I would encourage you to get one that you are comfortable on. Everybody is comfortable on a different kind of bike. It would also help to make sure you have one that is mechanically sound (meaning the tires hold air, it shifts correctly, and can stop properly.) I think that you would want to find one that fits you as well.

A mountain bike (one without any suspension) might be a great starting point for a bike commuting. It gives you an upright ride and possibly a sturdier frame to handle you and your stuffs weight. Some have the ability to add a rack and that really makes your commute easier. The wider tires give you a little suspension over poor city streets and make it easy to do a little off road if you need too.

A road bike is another option because it is built for the road. It is faster and has a more aggressive rider position. Sometimes you can find one with the ability to add a rack but not usually. You will also find that it lacks the space to add fenders should you want them.

my bikeI use what is considered a cyclocross bike. It resembles a road bike positioning for the most part but it also adds some features that make it my “ultimate choice” for commuting.  The specific frames differ because they have differing width/ clearance for tires or fenders. Some run disk brakes like higher end mountain bikes do. Plus as an added benefit the cables are generally routed on the upper side of the top tube, which allows the rider to carry the bike if you have to. This upper attachment of cables also prevents the them from being contaminated by dirt.

I also recommend a helmet because you only have 1 brain and brain replacements are not usually covered under most insurance plans. All helmets should be covered by the proper certifications. Find one that fits and is certified.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned when we talk about planning your route. If you have any questions about bikes please leave them in the comments below.

This is part of my Quick Tips for Bike Commuting series. You can find the table of contents post here.


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