Comfort and steeze are what riding a bike should be about. The idea that riding a bicycle requires being hunched over at the waist so you have to crane your neck to see where you’re going and placing much of your weight on your hands and shoulders is crazy.
For the small minority who are competitive racers (either on mountain or road bikes), the tuck position may be just fine. But for most of the rest of us, getting on a bicycle shouldn’t mean being uncomfortable.
Also, we aren’t going to warn you about buying bikes from discount department stores: Just don’t do it. Having your bike assembled by someone who just builds bikes and knows all about them is invaluable. Your local, independent bike store will have many to choose from and can help you trick it out with cool accessories.
What follows are our Yellow Scene bicycle picks, from cheap to pricey. These are bikes you’ll actually enjoy and look good riding and they’re also functional. You don’t need a full suspension rig or have to balance your butt on a black leather potato chip. Grab a helmet and let’s go!
Yes, they do exist (at Walmart, mostly), but you’ll spend at least twice that much fixing the cheap parts that break. Better to find something used on Craigslist for a hundred bucks.
Now we’re talkin’! The Trek Cruiser Classic (for men and women) is just that: a basic one-speed with fat tires, comfy seat, coaster brake, sweeping handlebars and beefy steel frame. It comes in matte black, red and green/cream. These babies are just begging to be accessorized with baskets, bells, lights and mirrors. They’re comfortable to ride, virtually maintenance free and durable. But best of all, you get to ride upright so you can easily see traffic and avoid the pain in the neck. Check them out at Bicycle Village in Westminster.
Moving up just a couple hundred bucks adds all sorts of goodies to the classic cruiser. The Electra Townie sports a suspension fork, hand brakes, posh seat, Shimano trigger shifters and a slightly recumbent riding position that lets you keep full leg extension and easily put your feet down when you’re at a stop. If hills are an issue, or you just can’t get enough top-end speed with a single speed cruiser, this is the ride for you. And women, they even have a dandy step-through model. Available at Derby Bicycles in Thornton.
Commuter (under $1,000)
If you’re serious about riding to work and are putting in more than 10 miles each way, the Novara Fusion is the bomb. It’s lightweight aluminum frame cuts the weight, hand brakes have a built-in bell, the front Alfine Dynamo hub powers the headlight (which is always on while moving) and can be switched to stare-at-the-sun bright for nighttime riding. Puncture resistant tires, disk brakes, kickstand and a rear rack ready for panniers or bags for carrying groceries or clothes. Check it out at REI.
Road (Sky’s the limit)
If you put serious miles on a bike and do laps on the Peak to Peak highway from your home in Broomfield to train for next year’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, you want a Specialized Roubaix Expert. The composit frame is feather light but responsive. The stock components are top of the line and the seat is a gel number to which you’ll never give a second thought. The forgiving 72-degree head angle and long chainstays help smooth out that rough chip-sealed road chatter. See this work of art at Louisville Cyclery.