Go Ride a Bike!
When I was young I knew about two kinds of bikes: a two-wheeler and a three-wheeler! Now there are dozens of different bikes to choose from, depending on what kind of biking you want to do.
Here’s a quick primer to get you started:
Trail bikes, or light-duty mountain bikes. These have 26” wheels, (20” and 24” wheels for kids) and 21-24 gears. Not as rugged as mountain bikes, but they have a similar look.
Comfort bikes. 26” wheels, 7-24 gears. Similar to mountain bikes, but with more upright seating. What makes them more comfortable is that they have shock-absorbing seats and some have shock absorbing handlebar stems, and wider, softer saddles, and wide pedals.
Mountain Bikes: 26” wheels, 21-27 gears, very rugged. Knobby, fat tires for more traction. Good for the “off-road” experience on a bike.
Road and Touring Bikes. 27” wheels, 14-27 gears. Built specifically for pavement riding. Made for higher speed, longer distances.
Hybrid Bikes. 27” wheels, 21-24 gears. Combines mountain bike seating and handle bar position with wider tires on road bike diameter wheels. Can be ridden on both pavement and dirt trails.
Cruisers. 26” wheels, 1-7 gears. Also known as beach bikes, or fat tire bikes. Heavier, can have foot or hand brakes. Has that “retro” look and feel.
Recumbents. Most have 20” or 24” wheels, 21 to over 100 gears! These bikes allow riders to sit in a reclining position and pedal with feet forward. Seats are like lounge chairs, with less leaning forward. Reduced fanny pressure, and may be more comfortable for your back. Sits lower to the ground.
Tandems. 26” wheels. These are the “Bicycles built for two.” Two seats, handlebars and pedal sets, longer wheelbase. Available as mountain, hybrid, road and recumbent bikes.
Electric Assist Bikes. A variety of wheel sizes, up to 21 gears. Usually equipped with a rechargeable electrically powered motor that reduces pedaling effort. A good commuter bike.
Adult Three-Wheelers. Most have 24” wheels, 1-3 gears. Most have foot operated coaster brakes with front hand brake. Good for physically challenged or older riders who want more stability than is offered on two wheels.
Juvenile. Wide tires on 12”, 16”, 20” or 24” wheels, 1 gear. General purpose bikes for kids from ages 2-10.
BMX and Dirt Bikes. 20” wheels, 1 gear Mostly used as general purpose bikes, dirt riding and racing.
Free Style or Trick Bikes. 20” wheels, 1 gear. Name comes from the acrobatic stunts and trucks done on these bikes.
Jumping Bikes. 20” wheels, 1 gear. Made to withstand wheel and frame stresses of jumping.
What kind of bike do you ride?