Getting in gear for cycling

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Spring is around the corner and is a great opportunity for avid cyclists to get out and enjoy the open road and for new riders or returning riders to get their wheels rolling.  For those who are considering dusting off their old two-wheeler for the ride, or renting or buying a bike for the event, here are some guidelines from Joshua Vick, Product Manager for Schwinn, to help choose the right bike to cruise in comfort.

 

Let’s cruise

 

Cruiser bikes are becoming increasingly popular for the casual rider.  A cruiser is designed for hard packed surfaces and flat to moderate inclines and declines, which is why they are seen so often in LA’s beach cities, where natives and tourists rent them to tour the bike paths along the shore.

 

A cruiser is suitable for rides of all lengths, depending on the rider’s fitness ability and style of cruiser they own; and while cruisers can be used to race or ride longer distances, they are mostly used for shorter, leisurely jaunts.

 

Today’s cruisers also are built to conform to today’s average body geometry and designed with a more slack seat tube to allow a lower saddle with a longer leg extension, closer to the ground saddle position and an upright handle bar to keep the bike comfortable, yet efficient.  Most cruisers are single-speed, though 7-speed models are also common.

 

A bicycle built like two

 

A hybrid bike is general-purpose, casual bike like a cruiser but a bit more specialized. A hybrid, as the name implies, is a combination of bike styles, namely a comfort bike and a mountain bike, with a little touch of road bike.  The hybrid is versatile and ideal for trekking around town or fitness.  It is more nimble and quicker than a cruiser, and it can go on or off road.  Because they are comfortable and easy to use, they are popular with children and beginner cyclists, casual riders and commuters.

Hybrids typically have upright seating posture like a mountain bike, but they have thinner wheels and smoother tires than a mountain bike, so they are faster and take less exertion to ride on paved surfaces.

 

Take it off road

A mountain bike is a bicycle created for riding off-road, typically on mountain trails, fire roads, and other unpaved paths. The heavy, fat tires of a mountain bike are made to handle rough terrain and steep inclines and declines and can ride over rocks, through streams, dirt, gravel, and roots.

Often mountain bikes have suspension systems that aid in hopping over rocks, logs and other obstacles.  Mountain bikes also have more powerful brakes, and lower gear ratios needed for steep grades.

While mountain bikes were designed for off-roading, many city riders like their durability for navigating the urban jungle, though when up against a road bike or even a hybrid the mountain bike will pull up the rear, as its knobby tires are built for adventure not speed.

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