Ride to work in style and ef­fi­ciently de­pend­ing on dis­tance and ter­rain

Urban Cyclist - - Contents - Words: Jamie Beach

Your choice of bike for the ride to work will de­pend on your own tastes, the dis­tance, ter­rain and vary­ing sur­faces you’ll en­counter on the jour­ney. It’s also worth bear­ing in mind that the best bike for cy­cle com­mut­ing is of­ten the one you en­joy rid­ing the most. For longer tar­mac com­mutes, ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers tend to pre­fer drop-bar bikes of one sort or an­other for their ex­tra turn of speed. How­ever, many peo­ple find that the best bike for cy­cle com­mut­ing fea­tures a more up­right po­si­tion, which you get with a flat-bar road bike, fit­ted with slick tyres for smooth sur­faces. If your ride takes in some trails or un­sur­faced paths, then the fat­ter, grip­pier tyres of a moun­tain bike will help with traction. They can be overkill for many sit­u­a­tions, though, so don’t over­look the op­tion of fit­ting a flat-bar road bike with fat­ter rub­ber (there’s of­ten room for deeply-treaded 32mm or 37mm tyres). Typ­i­cal road bike gear­ing will work fine un­less you live some­where ex­traor­di­nar­ily hilly, while flat­landers can get away with fixed-gear bikes and other vari­ants on sim­ple trans­mis­sion sys­tems. Maybe even con­sider a tour­ing bike if you have some mon­ster hills to tackle. What­ever you choose, you’ll need a way of car­ry­ing your stuff – in a ruck­sack, courier bag or pan­niers. Pan­niers are the most com­fort­able op­tion, es­pe­cially for longer rides, so if you want to use them you’ll need to choose a bike with rack mounts. (We test eight of the most stylish and use­ful bags on page 36.) It’s also worth bear­ing in mind that the roads are of­ten wet even when it’s not rain­ing, so mud­guards are a handy ad­di­tion for bike com­muters. If your bike doesn’t have mounts for them, then clip-on guards are avail­able, but full-length mud­guards (fend­ers for our Amer­i­can read­ers) se­curely bolted to the bike are still the best way to avoid a muddy back­side. That’s the overview; now let’s take a closer look at your com­mut­ing bike op­tions...

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