Now that spring is here, many of us are starting to think about how we can bring our fitness regimens outdoors. A great way to do that is with the low-impact exercise of bike riding, as it provides an excellent muscle workout while allowing you to get outside and explore your community. It can also be a creative way to run errands or commute to work. The only problem is deciding what kind of bike is best for you. To aid in your decision, first consider what type of terrain you will be riding on and then take a look over the following list and descriptions of the most commonly used bikes. Happy trails!
Cruiser (also known as beach cruiser or boulevardier): with a very heavy frame and curved back handlebars, the cruiser also includes padded seats and balloon tires for a comfortable ride. They are an appropriate choice for someone who wants to explore paved, flat roads while carrying heavier loads at a slower pace.
Cyclocross: a special type of road bike made for mixed surfaces such as pavement, gravel and grass, they have drop handlebars and wider, off-road tires. They make the perfect bike for those looking to commute because of their terrain versatility and ability to carry light loads.
Flat-Bar (often called fitness or performance hybrid): these have a lightweight frame and narrow tires, and can make effective commuter bikes with the addition of cargo racks. They are a suitable solution for anyone looking for a light, high-performance bicycle without the drop-handlebar riding position of a regular road bike.
Hybrid (sometimes referred to as city or urban): with large, padded seats and upright handlebars that provide a comfortable riding position, hybrids can be ridden on both paved roads and unpaved bike trails. They are best for the casual rider who want to run errands around town, bike short distances or explore their neighborhood.
Mountain: designed for rough, off-road trails, these feature durable frames and cross-wise handlebars that resist sudden jolts. They are ideal for riders who want to spend the majority of their time exploring rugged terrain.
Racing: built for speed, racing bicycles include minimal accessories, drop handlebars for powerful aerodynamics and lightweight frames. This type of bike is beneficial for anyone looking to enter triathlons and the sport of competitive road racing.
Road: this type of bike includes lightweight construction, skinny tires, drop handlebars, a high seat, and are made to be ridden fast on smooth pavement. They are generally not capable of carrying heavy loads and are a fit for someone who wants to race down paved streets.
Touring: another type of road bike, these are meant to be ridden on pavement, but support long-distance riding. They have a relaxed frame design to keep the rider more upright and comfortable, can handle heavy loads and include mounting bolts for cargo racks and fenders. These would be the right fit for longer commutes or long distance bike trips.