Bicycling is emerging as a new way to commute and get exercise in our new normal. Besides the fact that a lot of people have spent the last couple of months on a stationary bike like the Echelon or Peloton, with the country slowly opening up, biking has started becoming more popular as it provides a fun, healthy way to spend time outdoors while keeping a safe distance from others.
We spoke with Tucson, Arizona-based professional cyclist Ellen Noble, a three-time Cyclo-cross World Cup winner about everything you need to start biking, from a bike to the all-important helmet, and what you need to know if it’s your first time out on the road in a while.
If you’re getting ready to buy a bike, it’s important to consider what kind of terrain you’re going to use it on. Will you be riding around your neighborhood, or hitting the trails?
“Match your bike to the terrain that you’re riding,” says Noble. “You wouldn’t want to ride a road bike off-road, depending on the tires and how it’s built. It could be a pretty rough ride.”
GT Men’s Aggressor Pro Mountain Bike ($479.99, originally $669.99; dickssportinggoods.com)
For those of you looking to take your bike off-road, this is an ideal entry-level mountain bike, according to hundreds of reviewers, who give it a 4-star rating. As one reviewer writes, “The bike has held up incredibly well to some aggressive terrain and more between 150-200 miles of single track thus far.”
Nishiki Women’s Pueblo 26” Mountain Bike ($279.99, originally $329.99; dickssportinggoods.com)
Another 4-star pick, this lightweight bike has strong front shocks to absorb all that the trails throw at you, and is great for petite riders.
Co-op Cycles DRT 3.2 Bike ($2,379.09, originally $2,799; rei.com)
This aluminum frame bike promises its front suspension will keep the ride smooth and its wheels glued to the trail. As one fan raves of the high-end bike, “You won’t find a better price on a bike with this component set up.”
Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1 Bike ($549; rei.com)
Far cheaper and similarly made for off-road adventures, this bike has 21 gears and special tektro hydraulic disc brakes that deliver reliable stopping power on or off-road in any weather condition.
Electra Townie 7D Bike ($539.95; rei.com)
Now if you’re looking to ride your bike on streets and around your neighborhood, these are the kids to look out for. With an average customer rating of 4.5 stars, this bike earns raves for how comfortable and easy it is to ride for countless miles.
Schwinn Signature Women’s Largo 7 26” Cruiser Bike ($399.99, originally $449.99; dickssportinggoods.com)