Bicycles,  Folding Bicycles,  Transportation

Best Bicycle For Commuting

Bicycles Have Evolved

Over the last six years I’ve went through a lot of bicycles. When I started bicycling again, I automatically went with what I was use to. I built up a single speed chromoly BMX. As a kid this is all that I rode, because then, there weren’t many choices available. You were either stuck with a heavy BMX or a crappy ten speed road bike. I had no idea what the best bicycle for commuting was, because I had no idea how things have changed since I left the big bad bicycle world.


The Hybrid Bicycle Changed Everything

The BMX was modern and light, but rode horribly. There wasn’t much leg room, even with the extended seat post. And the fat tires had massive amounts of rolling resistance. Hills and winds made it feel like trying to cycle on fly paper. I’d barely go a mile, and was already out of breath and sweating. Plus my legs were burning like hell. This madness went on for a couple of years until I woke up and did something about it.


My 24 speed Raleigh hybrid bicycle.
My 24 speed Raleigh hybrid bicycle.


When I discovered hybrid bicycles, it was the equivalent of cavemen discovering fire. Everything changed for the better. No more barely being able to walk after a ride. I not only had leg room, but also wasn’t out of breath. The hybrid had gears to help fight through wind and up hills. And on the flats, I was able to switch to higher gears for speed. Instead of tapping out after a mile or two, I felt like I could keep riding forever.


The Raleigh hybrid had a lot of great features. It had 24 gears making it able to tackle any type of terrain. 700c wheels with puncture resistant tires. And an aluminum frame that was weather resistant against rain and snow. No matter what type of conditions I threw at this bicycle, it was able to conquer it.


This bicycle was my reliable, faithful companion for over a few years. We went everywhere together. Everyday we commuted to and from work. Battled major thunderstorms and even one snow storm. Ate at restaurants and went grocery shopping. And had one amazing journey to Spencerport and back, along the Erie Canal.

Problems With The Hybrid Bicycle

While the hybrid bicycle was great, it brought it’s own problems. The first one was storage. The hybrid bicycle was great while I was riding it. But when I wasn’t, I had nowhere to put it. It ended up in the back room right in front of the door. Every time I tried to get past the bulky hybrid, I had to carefully navigate around it. And bringing groceries in was an all out chore.


Locking the hybrid bicycle up when going places was another big pain. There was never a rack available to lock it, such as the time when I went to Wegman’s. And when I did find one, had to take everything off to prevent theft. Lights, portable air pump, and panniers all had to go with me. Bringing everything into the store was such a nuisance.


Going out to lunch on Park Avenue was the same type of issue. There was absolutely no place to lock the hybrid bicycle. I ended up locking it to some random street sign. And had to run over every time someone parked near it, to prevent them from dooring it.


Transporting it was also impossible. Not once was I able to accept a ride. The hybrid bicycle was just too darn big to fit into a car trunk. And even though the wheels had quick releases, taking them off and putting back on was a hassle. One time I had a flat tire, and had to walk over a few miles to Bike Zone in Greece, to get a new tube.


Finally, even though I missed the hybrid bicycle, I gave it away to a good friend. I knew she’d take very good care of it, just like I did.


Then Came The Folding Bicycle

The day I won a Citizen Folding Bicycle everything changed. I never saw a folding bicycle before, and had no idea they’ve been around for many years. The more I used this unique bicycle, the more I discovered it’s benefits. At home I was able to store it in a corner, out-of-the-way. If the weather got bad, no problem. I’d just hop on the bus or accept a ride home. And when going to restaurants or grocery stores, just bring it inside with me.


Citizen Tokyo folding bicycle with 16 inch wheels.
Citizen Tokyo folding bicycle with 16 inch wheels.


I did end up selling the Citizen and replacing it with a Brompton. The Brompton is much lighter and compact. Plus it has a whole bunch of accessories and replacement parts available.


Green Brompton folding bicycle
Green Brompton folding bicycle

The Best Bicycle For Commuting Conclusion

When I was an amateur bicycle commuter I had no idea how to pick the right type of bicycle. To me, they all looked the same. They had two wheels, a frame, and seat. And I had no idea what types of accessories were necessary. As I got more experienced at commuting, I learned a lot of hard lessons.


I learned that a bicycle made for proper commuting was necessary. BMX bikes are great for tricks and stunts. But are lousy for daily commuting. A proper bicycle provides the right fit and plenty of leg room. This allows you to ride without pain and the ability to go up hills. You also want to be able to add fenders to keep you clean and dry. Plus a rack for carrying things is a must, with lights to give extra safety at night.


And if you don’t have much room at home, folding bicycles are an excellent choice. You can store them anywhere. Put them in the trunk of your car. And bring them onto public transportation. Plus you never need to worry about theft. That’s because you can bring them inside wherever you go.


At first you’ll probably be just like me. I thought folding bicycles wouldn’t be durable. Wouldn’t be that fast or capable of climbing hills. And would be completely uncomfortable. Of course I was wrong, and the very reason why I no longer needed the hybrid bicycle.



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