Mountain bike, hybrid, road bike or fixie?
As far as I can tell, cycling in cities is becoming more popular. I have commuted by bicycle to work for the last 8 years or so, first in Paris, then in Singapore. Over this period, I have the feeling there are a slowly increasing number of people riding to work.
Cycle commuters seem to come in various flavours.
Some choose vintage road bikes that have seen better days.
Some use fixies or single gear with freewheel, with or without brakes, coloured chains, aero wheel discs etc.
Some use purpose built hybrids with mountain-bike style frames, often front suspension and larger than 26″ wheels with skinny tyres.
Some choose Dutch-style town bikes, usually with a basket somewhere and sometimes with backward pedalling brakes.
And some choose old mountain bikes, that have probably never seen a mountain…
I fall into this latter category and, for the most part, rode old, ugly mountain bikes to
death work for much of the last 8 years…
I have had the good fortune to commute in countries where public transport is efficient and cheap, so cost was never a motivator.
For me the main incentive was that I enjoy riding, that it got me to work faster than public transport and that a little bit of exercise doesn’t do you any harm.
Cycle commuting is something that takes a little time to get used to. And in that time, one probably changes the route taken, clothes worn, equipment used, the bike itself and the attitude to other road users.
For me these choices were generally driven by the principle of “I don’t want to die”. Crashes aren’t nice. Everyone has had one (or more), and would like to avoid them as much as possible.
For a time, I commuted by 1980s road bike. It was exhilarating and fast, but it didn’t take long before I had enough close shaves to figure out it wasn’t sustainable. Also I find the dropped position on the handlebars limits visibility and comfort (on the neck), high-pressure 23mm tyres on cobble-stones are like riding a pneumatic drill, and 30 year old brakes and drop handlebars aren’t the best way to avoid getting splatted.
So while a 90s MTB isn’t the coolest way to get to work, it’s safe, comfortable and bulletproof.
That said, if you’re going to spend a lot of time riding, you may as well enjoy it. So maybe spend a bit of cash and get something decent looking instead…
So I’d say, whatever you’re riding, keep safe, and enjoy your commute.
What do you guys and girls commute on? What do you enjoy most about your ride?