2014-07-26

Let's make biking to work for everyone

I live in the city and generally take public transit to work.  But commuting via bicycle is always an option.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the bikes on the market aren't suitable for commuting.  They  require that you dress in "biking clothes" and take on a life style called Urban Biker.  No other form of commuting requires special garb.  It is one of the tremendous failures of every single US-based bike manufacturer:  Sales are paltry.  And so manufacturers focus on "cool fragility" and not the "useful".

Unacceptable bikes do the following:
  • Spray mud on your butt and back
  • Get grease on your pants
  • Are too fragile to leave outdoors
That's garbage, and the Europeans know it.  They have tons of city bikes, which are much like the bikes we used to have here in the states.  They are designed to help anyone of any age get around the city - to work, the grocery, or the library.

So in this article I list out what I want from a NOT FAKE Commuting City Bike.  Bike manufactures, do your best!  You're almost there.  There is money in this stuff if you can think and act like Steve Jobs did.

So that I can dress for work and not get slopped up
  • Step through frame
  • Effective fenders
  • Skirt guards
  • Sealed drivetrain (such as a full chain case)
  • Upright seating
So that I don't have to worry about my bike
  • Weatherproof for leaving outdoors (no rust, please)
  • Built-in security locks or locking points
  • Reasonably priced - should be much cheaper than a fair used car
  • Small enough to lug indoors
So that I can carry stuff
  • Reasonable baskets
  • Luggage racks
So that I can ride safely
  • Built-in, automatic lights
  • Reflective surfaces
  • Built-in bell
So that I can pedal
  • Some gearing for some minor hills, erring towards granny
  • Platform pedals
  • Reasonable weight
  • Low rolling-resistance tires
So that I can minimize maintenance
  • Puncture-resistant tires
  • Sealed drivetrain
  • Designed to be left in the rain/snow/sun
  • Appropriately robust
These are just good ideas, but some great ideas may obviate the need for some of my line items.

OK folks, tell me what fits the bill in the comments, or tell me what else YOU would like to see in a great commuting city bike.

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