I am a female who commutes to work via bicyclem approximately 11 miles each way. I have a Motobecane Jubilee, which I have had for many years. I am looking for a new bicycle, something lighter. Any suggestions?
This guy recommends a touring bike, and has several good reasons why.
Some good info on what to look for and what you don't want.
Nice breakdonw of different styles of bikes
Nice article about commuting in general
Good for you that you are already commuting to work. Is this what you currently ride? Or something like this?
They describe it as a comfort bike, I refer to them as trail bikes. Nice for flat, paved multi-use trails. Heavy enough that they will take a beating, like dropping off curbs, or hitting pot holes, etc. Not very fast. How long does it take you to commute currently? What is the terrain / topography and overall trail or street conditions? Couple of things to keep in mind, the lighter the bike, the faster you go. When it rains, fenders keep water out of your face and off your back. A rear rack with a pack mounted to it is nice for hauling lunch, or change of clothes. I don't like recommending one brand over another.
Thank you for your prompt response. I do have a rack on my bike. Most of my ride is a main road with a lot of lights, I get most of the traffic in the p.m.; the a.m. is pretty light. It takes me about 40 to 45 minutes depending on the lights. I do go through a residential area and up a bridge. Thank you again, I will check the sites you suggested. Enjoy and take care of you.
Hi gmavmcl, there are many things to consider when getting a commuter bike. The first post was fantastic and provided lots of information, I thought I would offer my opinion on some specific bikes to look at as examples of different styles of bikes to consider.
If you are looking for a very traditional commuter bike consider this one from Bianchi- http://www.bianchiusa.com/09_xt_valle.html
for a little less money consider something like this one from Specialized- http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=40433&eid=178
Or if you would like something faster and lighter consider something like this road bike from specialized- http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?sid=09Sequoia&eid=117
This fantastic higher end commuter from Trek- http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/portland/portland/
I personally like a road bike for commuting for there light weight, "flight deck" shifting, and drop handle bars. The down side to most road bikes is they are somewhat harder to outfit for carrying things. Most road bikes dont have the braze-ons to attach racks to. However there are people that make racks that attach to the quick release skewer on the rear wheel (check out Tubus racks)
Also, consider clipless pedals for your pedals. They will change your life, the amount of power you gain from them is remarkable. You also benifit from your feet locked in to the proper position. Go to any bike shop and ask for a lesson in clipless pedals, learn about the different kind of clipless pedals and the different shoes you can use.
Thank you strangerthanfit. I looked at all the sites you posted, and the TREK is a beauty. I also looked into the clipless pedal, interesting. I will look into that. Thank you sooo much. Your response was extremely helpful.
I've commuted for years on a variety of bikes in all weather (in Boston). I currently use a steel Serotta road bike which I love; however, what I'd really like is a cyclocross bike with full fenders and the ability to add a rack (I use a messenger bag now and it works well). The cyclocross bike would allow me to use studded or just more aggressive tires in bad weather while using road tires in good weather. It would also provide more clearance between the tire and fenders or frame for snow. In my ideal world, the cyclocross bike would be as agressive, light, and fast as the Serotta on sunny days
Each person is different. I'm comfortable riding 20+ mph in traffic and claiming my lane. You may have different needs.
I searched high and low when I had to buy a new bike to commute, and got a Bianchi Volpe which has been everything I hoped it would be. I live in Seattle, and we have lots of wet, so I wanted good fenders. I have a major hill to climb and my joints are getting old, so the 29 (I think) speeds provides me with the very low gear I need. The high gears are great too, and if I had a safer place to bike I could go like stink. I'm not sure if it's as light as you might want, but I view that as benefitting my excercise. It's a joy to ride, even in the dark, cold and rain, so that's saying a lot, and it was worth every penny. ps- I'm female.
I'm a female who commutes 8 miles to work. I started off with a "commuter" bike, the Giant Tran Send, and hated it because it seemed clunky and slow. I'm happiest commuting on a road bike - one of my Giant OCRs, with at least a carbon seatpost and fork and Ultegra components. A road bike and my Timbuk2 messenger bag, and I'm ready to roll. I just got a TCR and plan to try that on the commute!
I hope you find what works for you. The right bike makes commuting a great experience!
There are neat bikes out there and some great advice. Check out the Portland from Trek. It is meant to be a commuter, is not particularly heavy, has easy on/off fenders for use when you need them and is neat looking.
I too recommend what I call "step in pedals." Buy a helmet with a visor for the night commute home to keep headlight glare out of your eyes and rain or drizzle off your glasses. You are wearing glasses aren't you? Never ride without them. While a helmet is obvious, the opportunity for an eye injury is huge. Also, consider a mouthguard when riding. Sound silly? It decreases the obvious risk to tooth damage but also decreases the risk for concussion in the event of a fall/head impact, helps your power stroke as your alignment is improved and, get this, is warmer!
Have fun too.
Message was edited by: MotiveForcer
I have a bike that has a small battery electric assist. I made the mistake of going onto Blanding Blvd. after gaining 40 #'s and being too off balance. I fell off and hurt myself very badly right after buying it. I've found that I do not seem to be able to "get back on the horse." I am going on group fun rides on one of my regular bikes, instead. With my new weight and older age problem, I think I'll stay on the trail rides and off the roads. Nothing on the bike, except a little tear on the handle cover, was injured. If you live near Orange Park or Jacksonville, call me at 772-8982 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
11 miles is a pretty good commute. I strongly recommend a road bike. Mountain bikes or cruisers just aren't designed for any appreciable distance on the road. The Bianchi Volpe suggested above is a great idea - I have been commuting for years on a Bianchi Brava with a rack on the back. The Brava is Bianchi's low end road bike but it's a solid steel frame and I have been riding it for 10 years without any problems (most parts have been replaced over time but nothing out of the ordinary). The only thing missing is fenders but for the three times a year it actually rains in Austin I can live without them.
I've been commuting by bike 31 years! Starting in Seattle with my hair in rollers at 19 years old! Now I live in South Carolina and commute to Augusta, GA which is 15 or so miles round trip, including a few hills and a traffic. I have commuted on several bikes, including road, hybrid and a mountain bike; but for the past year Iv'e been riding a fixed gear which is just the best. I get a great workout, there is virtually no maintenance, and it's just a very hip feeling to be in such sync with your surroundings. I've found that dedicating a bike to commuting works the best; save the best bike for the group rides!
I commute ~15 miles each way to work. I ride a Surly Crosscheck built up as a single speed (w/freewheel because fixies are just unnecessarily dangerous for commuting and should be saved for training or track riding), although I would not necessarily suggest the single speed route for everyone. I just like the low maintenance and the fact that there're fewer components to break and leave me stranded beside the road. I use a rack and highly recommend one for your length of commute. Riding that distance daily with my messenger bag really starts to hurt after a while. I have a great rack/bag setup (I think it's a topeak?) The rack has a rail on top that the bag slides into, and it releases with the push of a button.
I'm in agreement. Skip the fixie and get a freewheeler. One or two run ins with squirrels or cats not to mention rolling balls into the road, and your safety is compromised. I would not go so far as to outlaw fixed gear bikes as they can be ridden with skill but I keep mine on our velodrome.
I forgot in my previous email and everyone else ddi too but it was probably addressed in the reading list provided, that you should consider a bike with Disc brakes. The Portland has them. Disc brakes are considered better in wet conditions and if you are dedicated to commuting then there might be a time that riding in the mist or rain comes into play. Wear those glasses, and lights for your bike. Sigma makes a neat light called the KARMA Pro. Super light weght and not requiring daily recharges and get a rear blinker or three as well. Also I like blinkers on the spokes for side viewing. There are tires which have reflective striping on the sides which really helps. Challenge makes some I know.
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