So we have finally convinced you that riding your bike to work or going on that long awaited bike tour is going to become reality this year. Problem is that you don't have a "compatible" bike to take you on that trip to work or on the tour of the Great Lakes - so how do you solve this problem?
Well first off for commuting to work your current bike is just fine for riding back and forth to work. It might not be rack or fender compatible but it will still carry you to the office or the store just fine. Fenders and racks today are adaptable and we would be able to find you something that would work on your current bike if that is the route you would like to explore first.
When I first started commuting I purposely went and found an inexpensive Single Speed bike that had fender and rack mounts on it already. I figured I was going to go head first into commuting I might as well pick up a bike that does the job for me so it is more comfortable and, therefore, more likely to continue on after the first week (and it has!).
You might ask why I went with a Single Speed and the reason is that reliability was the key issue for me. I live in the southtowns and spend a lot of time climbing up Chestnut Ridge and all the other surrounding hills in the area, but lack of mechanical issues swayed me more than gear selection going uphill.
The above image is from the blog - Let's Go Ride a Bike and she is based out of Chicago, IL. That is the bike she generally commutes on and the clothing she wears while doing so. You don't have to wear lycra and wicking gear - you just need to be comfortable first and foremost! If you have a short and flat commute this bike would be ideal for the commute for ladies. It is step-through and actually has 3 gears in an Internal Geared Hub for slight inclines. You might not see this type of bike at Tom's but we could find one for you if you want to go this direction with no problem.
The above picture has a good caption - Bicycle Commuter Essentials. The only essential is the willingness to ride to work and the ability to carry food and water on the bike. A lot of commuters take one day a week and drive to work with clothes for the week so they don't have to worry about that part of being able to look professional upon arrival to the office.
I keep a spare set of clothes in my desk just in case I forget something or my food spills in my backpack/pannier. I have forgotten items but fortunately have not had a problem with food spillage (yet!)
Now this a Touring Bike and it looks ready to roll. You will see front panniers, handlebar bag, rear panniers and some gearing on the rear rack as well. Your typical road bike cannot be fitted out like this and the only way you could pull a tour off with a road bike is having a SAG wagon carry your gear for you and you just carry your credit card and repair kit and pretend you are out for a daily training rides.
If you are contemplating touring then you are better off going with a bike that is manufactured specifically for touring. You will have mounts for racks and fenders and gearing and geometry set up for long distance on bikes carrying a lot of weight.
To get some ideas on bikes, equipment, routes, or anything else pertaining to touring or commuting stop by the shop, give us a call, or send us an e-mail. We may specialize in race bikes but we are very knowledgeable when it comes to this type of riding as well.