If having the right bike is keeping you from taking the leap to bike commuting, then that ends today (or at least soon)! You don’t even need to spend a lot of money to get a good commuter bike, since all those steel road bikes from the 80s and 90s are actually awesome ways to get to/from work!
Picking a Bike:
Select a budget, and decide what’s most important - do you want to carry lots of stuff on your bike (or is a backpack sufficient)? Do you favor comfort, or speed? Armed with the answer to those two questions, it’s time to visit some shops!
Go to 2 bike shops (if possible), and if you have a used bike shop in your area visit that too! More shops means a bit more time, but you’ll always be glad you did - finding a shop that treats you well will make a big difference in how easy it is to get things fixed, and how much you enjoy riding. We’ve put together a quick bike shop locator to get you started.
Here are a few of our favorite bike shops:
Try riding as many bikes as you can. See one you like? Try it. Even if it’s out of your budget, the experience will help you figure out what you should best use your budget. Sometimes you think you want speed, but then it turns out you love comfort!
Sleep on it. Let the experience percolate, and try more bikes if you haven’t fallen in love with one. Remember, if you really love your bike it’ll be another force motivating you to get out and ride, especially if the weather isn’t ideal or you’re feeling a bit grouchy.
Love a bike? Then you’ve made the right choice. Now get out there and ride!
Setting up a Bike for Commuting:
Almost any bike (well, most bikes!) can make for good commuters if you change a few things to suit your commute.
If you have a hilly commute, you'll appreciate things like a lighter bike and a more stable frame.
If you commute while it's dark (which is basically all of us come winter), get yourself a decent set of lights - you don't need something expensive or overpowered, but you do want something that makes it easy to see you and maybe even see the road by. Get a front and rear light - not just one or the other.
Attire is great - if you want to commute in lycra/spandex that's cool, but it's not for everyone. We favor wearing normal clothing that has a bit of stretch in it.
Good jacket/layers - Pick yourself out a nice jacket to suit your climate, something that you can layer on with other items to make it easy to adjust to temperature.
Ask your local bike shop about any other accessories they'd recommend!