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Bicycles: What's My Type?
By Elizabeth McMillian

Where will you ride? That is the first question one major bike manufacturer puts to its customers when choosing a bike. However, many know exactly what they want. Either they're racers, neighborhood cruisers or mountain bikers. Then, there are some of us who haven't gotten a clue in our quest for this as a new means of exercise or a new adventure.

It is true that one of the most important questions you should consider is "Where will I ride?" You can always ante up in the future from streets to mountains, but where will you start? Perhaps it is with a mountain bike because you have friends to join in their off-track regime, or perhaps you want a comfy hybrid for city cycling to get your morning latte. So, first, consider which road and which experience you want.

And did you know that different bicycles will work different muscles? So, next, you want to refine your search to those details of exercise, as well as of posture, body angle and comfort.

With many types of bicycles to choose from, see if any of these bikes fit your needs and aspirations:

Cruiser Bicycles

This is your basic bike. One of the earliest bike manufacturers, Schwinn, popularized this classic in the 1930s. It has parts that are easy to reassemble and replace. By the 1950s, it was the typical recreational and errand bike in the average American home. It was the gift you found parked by the tree on Christmas morning. By the 1960s, the trend began for off-beat looks, especially in the frame design when the triangular frame changed into curved and rounded shapes, sometimes with one of the iron bars missing.

The cruiser is best for riding on paved roads and streets, but at the end of the 1950s it was used for sports too. Cruiser bicycles are often known to be powerful sports two-wheelers. Although sports bikes are different in terms of behavior, the latest BMW cruiser models improvise their transmission levels for higher speeds and rival sports models.

Mountain Bicycles

These are designed to go up and down mountains, hills and trails. The tires are chunky and thick with wheels that are 26- or 29-inches thick. The larger wheels and fat tires help these bikes roll over rocks and boulders with ease. Wheels with these larger diameters improve revolving weight and steady the rider in acceleration. The suspension is efficient enough to absorb the jarring bumps of off-road cycling as these bicycles offer extra grip and shock-absorbing capabilities. In fact, full front-and-rear suspension has become common with most mountain bikes.

Mountain bicycles have very effective brakes and many gears, and they are comfortable enough to ride in the city. They have flat handlebars and some are fitted with bar ends on the handlebars, although the trend of using handlebars and extensions are losing popularity.

Road Bicycles

The road bicycles are a type designed to ride on smooth surfaces at high speeds. The bike is lightweight and the tires are pumped up to minimize friction. Compared to mountain bikes, road bikes are prone to tire punctures. The handlebars are dropped to accommodate a posture designed to lessen friction and achieve speed. Those using road bicycles have to sit in a hunched position. This may not be comfortable if you have back problems. If so, you might want to rethink your goal to compete in the Tour de France where road bikes are required.

Touring Bicycles

This is similar to the road bike but a more comfortable version of it. The touring bike is lightweight and designed to ride at high speeds on smooth surfaces. The wheelbase of touring bicycles is longer compared to road bikes and mountain bikes. Touring bikes are designed with mudguards, drop handlebars and luggage racks.

BMX Bicycles

BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross. Originally denoting a bicycle intended for motocross bike racing, the term "BMX bike" is now used to encompass race bikes for smooth surfaces, as well as those used for the dirt, vert, park, street, flatland and freestyle disciplines of BMX racing. To achieve a light weight for racing speed, BMX frames are made of various types of steel, and aluminum for those in the racing category. Cheaper bikes are usually made of steel. Mid range bikes are mostly chromoly or high tensile steel. High-performance BMX bikes use lightweight 4130 chromoly, or generation 3 chromoly, both of which are lightweight but strong steel. Experts differ over the choice of aluminum or chromoly for racing BMX bikes.

Hybrid Bicycles

Combining mountain bike and road bike features, hybrid bicycles offer all the pros and cons of both types. While designed to look like mountain bikes, hybrid bicycles have slimmer wheels and tires. The great benefit of the hybrid bicycle is the rider can sit upright and it is perfect for city riding. Hybrid bicycles are referred to as "comfort" bikes.

Folding Bicycles

Practical folding bicycles are useful for putting on public transport and for the first and the last legs of a commuter's journey. Many of the folding bikes do not include pedals, but they can be purchased separately.

Which type was your top choice? Do you want great exercise, a practical means of neighborhood transportation, an adventurous experience of the great outdoors, a long-distance tour of roads in picturesque foreign countries or the start of a new career in competitive sports? After defining your choices and reviewing the characteristics of different bicycles, you should have an enjoyable bike-buying experience and a bike which suits your needs and expectations.

(c) 2012 Elizabeth McMillian

Elizabeth McMillian enjoys writing about her personal interests, including exercise and cycling. She is an architectural historian, a former editor at Architectural Digest, and the author of five books and numerous articles. To make cycling a more comfortable and safe experience, the right athletic shoe is as necessary as your helmet. If you plan to become a racer or long distance cyclist, you will learn the critical value of a good cycling shoe for grip and endurance. To find out more about the appropriate shoes you need, see http//

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How to Choose the Best Type of Bicycle for You

This video will talk about the different types of bicycles and there intended uses, so you can choose the best type of bicycle for you.


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Some of the Best High-Tech Biking Accessories
By Jordan Perch

Technology is present in almost every aspect of our lives nowadays, in one way or another. A lot of things that used to be simple and seemed like they didn't need technology to be better, have gotten sophisticated, and a bit more complicated along the way. Riding a bike is one of those things. Biking has changed quite a bit over the course of time, and even more so during the last couple of years. Now, there are all sorts of biking accessories, ranging from conventional accessories, such as helmets and other protective gear, bells, or some ordinary bike lights, to some pretty high-tech stuff.

Dahon USB Charger

Since there are various devices that can be mounted on a bike and used while riding, such as a cell phone, a GPS device or an MP3 player, bikers could get a lot of use of something that would charge those devices while riding. That's what the Dahon USB Charger is designed to do. The charger can be used on all sorts of bikes that have dynamo hubs on them. The charger is connected to the dynamo and uses the power that is being stored in it while you ride your bike. You have to connect the charger to the device you want to recharge through a USB port, so you don't have to stop or wait while you get home to do it. The Dahon USB charger is available for $120.

Turtle Shell Speakers

The Turtle Shell Speakers made by Outdoor Technology are a very practical and useful accessory, and can come in pretty handy when you go on long bike rides or for off-road cycling. They are small, compact speakers, that can be attached to your bike's handlebars, and connected to an MP3 player, or a smartphone via Bluetooth, and get excellent sound ten straight hours before it needs to be recharged. You can use it in all sorts of weather conditions, as it's resistant to water and dust. The Turtle Shell speakers can be yours for $149.95.

Nite Hawk K2 Digital Emitter Headlight

This is one of the most sophisticated high-tech biking accessories, incorporating some of the latest inventions in lighting technology. It has Total Internal Reflection Optical Lens, with 3 power settings. It's made of durable aluminum and the emitter has a 100,000 hours lifespan. It's water-resistant, and it costs $200.

It's worth mentioning the gadgets that are used in both cars and bikes, including the different navigation devices, LED screens, cameras, such as the iON Speed Pro Action Camera, sensors and so on.

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