5 Ways to Cycle Safely in the City

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.
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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 on the next page for more bicycling information.

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