5 Ways to Cycle Safely in the City


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Ride a Bike Built for the City
While a fixed gear bike may look cool, it's way more practical to have one with a variety of gears.
While a fixed gear bike may look cool, it's way more practical to have one with a variety of gears.
Blake Sinclair/Workbook Stock/Getty Images

All the safety tips in the world aren't worth much without a solid set of wheels. There are plenty of street-ready bikes to choose from; here are a few things to keep in mind when narrowing down the options.

Fixed gear bikes are for bike messengers and posers. There are no exceptions to this rule. Few if any cities in this country are completely flat, so you're going to want those gears when you're staring down a San Francisco-style hill. Most riders find brakes helpful as well [source: Sorrel].

Beginners should look for something that's low maintenance, weatherproof and offers an upright riding position that sits riders high and tall to see and be seen in traffic. Be aware that traveling a city by bike means taking on a diverse terrain: Changes in grade, surface and weather elements require versatile wheels. Tires should be skinny enough for speed, but wide enough to handle life on the street [source: Bicycling.com].

Bikes with internal gear hubs are popular among city cyclists, many of whom like the reliability that comes with having all bike gears contained inside the hub, where they are protected from weather and other damage. These bikes are also easier to maintain in that the gears don't require regular cleaning [source: Montague Bikes].

Once you selected a chariot, the only thing left to do is accessorize. If you've read this far, you already know that you'll need some lights, reflectors and maybe a bell. A cup holder and a rack are also popular additions to city cycles. If you're planning on biking to work, don't forget a chain guard. It will keep those pleated khakis grease-free.

Not yet ready to hit the street? Check out the links below for more bicycling information.

Author's Note: 5 Ways to Cycle Safely in the City

If there is any truth to the rumor that Paul Reubens is working on a new Pee-wee Herman film with Judd Apatow, well...then...it appears there's nothing that the man in red bow tie can do wrong. A couple of embarrassing arrests on the 'ol criminal record? Chalk it up to artistic eccentricity; go underground for awhile and it will all blow over. That's Pee-wee: eccentric. So it should come as no surprise that in the seminal American bicycling film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Reubens hops aboard his shiny red bike without a helmet. Me, I prefer to protect my noggin when I'm cruising the street. Then again, I think Reubens has a different idea of cruising.

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Sources

  • Bicycling.com. "6 Great Bikes for the City." (Aug. 26, 2012) http://fitbie.msn.com/get-fitter/tips/6-great-bikes-city/tip/2
  • California Department of Motor Vehicles. "Sharing the Road." (Aug. 26, 2012). http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl37.htm
  • Centers for Disease Control. "Bicycle Related Injuries." (Aug. 26, 2012) http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/bikeinjuries.html
  • Crain's New York. "Stats & The City." (Aug. 26, 2012) http://www.crainsnewyork.com/gallery/20120610/ECONOMY/610009999/4
  • Montague Bikes. "Why Use an Internal Gear Hub?" May 26, 2011. (Aug. 26, 2012). http://www.montaguebikes.com/folding-bikes-blog/2011/05/why-use-an-internal-gear-hub
  • New York City Department of Transportation. "Bicyclists: Don't Be A Jerk." (Aug. 26, 2012) http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/dontbeajerk.shtml
  • New York City Department of Transportation. "Bike Smart: The Official Guide to Cycling in New York City." Spring 2011 (Aug. 26, 2012) http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/dot_bikesmart_brochure.pdf
  • Portland Bureau of Transportation. "Riding in the Rain and Night Riding Tips." (Aug. 26, 2012)http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/58172
  • REI. "How to Choose a Headlamp." (Aug. 26, 2012) http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/headlamp.html
  • REI. "How to Choose a Headlamp." (Aug. 26, 2012) http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/headlamp.html
  • Sapp, Dona. "Bicycle Collisions in Indiana." May 2012. (Aug. 26, 2012) http://bicycleindiana.org/educate/crashreport.php
  • Sorrel, Charlie. "5 Inexplicable Fixie Fashions." Wired. April 15, 2009 (Aug. 26, 2012). http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/04/five-inexplicab
  • Transportation Alternatives. "Biking Rules Street Code." (Aug. 26, 2012). http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl37.htm

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