Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

May 26, 2017

Ridley’s road and cyclo-cross bikes are now available at MEC. This one, the X Bow 10 Disc (unisex), is a cyclo-cross.

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A bike built for you?

Buyers brace yourselves: choosing what type of bike to buy is complicated business. You best know exactly where, when and how you plan to ride before you walk into that cycle shop.

For example, city, comfort and commuter bikes may sound like one in the same, but they’re each quite different. Start with the city bike: the European version is a utility two-wheeler used in bike-sharing programs, while its US counterpart is an urban mountain bike.

Ride a comfort bike, and you’ll be sitting on a wide seat with plenty of shock absorption. Comfort bikes are comfortable until you have to go up a hill or carry one up three flights of stairs.

The commuter bike is well equipped for early-morning and late-night travel to and from work in the city -- with good lights and basket holders. Then there are cruiser bicycles, also called beach cruisers, that have balloon tires, just one speed, but are very stylish. Fatbikes, if you didn’t know, are made exclusively for snow and sand.

So much for the utility and recreational two-wheelers. What about sports bikes? Thinking of trying out for the Tour de France? Then you’ll want a road bike. Everything is light and narrow. Expect to bend down low riding one of these.

But it doesn’t stop there. There are performance road bikes with shorter top tubes and longer head tubes, which let you sit slightly more upright. Crossroad bikes have wider wheels for some off-roading. Touring bikes are built for long hauls and for the back trails. Some people confuse touring bikes with mountains bikes. Silly them! The mountain bike has a serious bobbing, front-shock system, different sized wheels and hand position. It’s not built for cross-country trips.

If you’re planning on entering a race in Flanders, chances are it’ll be a cyclo-cross race on trails, grass, steep hills and past various obstructions that’ll require you to dismount and carry your bike. You’ll obviously need to invest in a cyclo-cross bike.

For those who aren’t sure what terrain they’ll be on, there’s none other than the hybrid bicycle, which blends characteristics from road bikes, touring and mountain bikes.

Unsure where you’ll want to pedal this summer? You may want to stick with the humble stationary bike. At last count, there are still only two basic types to hem and haw over: upright and recumbent.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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