Everywhere you look on the road today, you can see different types of bikes. Whether you’re looking for blazing speed, simplicity, off-road toughness, or stability, there is something out there for you.
The world record for the highest speed attained on a human powered vehicle is just over 86 mph set on September 09, 2015 by Todd Reichert. To reach such a speed requires a recumbent design, which is without a doubt the fastest type of human powered vehicle on the road, and among the most comfortable. Banned from bicycle races since 1934 because of their edge in speed, recumbents are a sure-fire way to get somewhere in a hurry. The key to their speed is aerodynamics. Simply put, the lower the profile of the rider, the less wind there is to resist, and less wind resistance means more speed. Today, recumbent designs provide an easy way to travel fast in comfort.
While speed can be fun, for carrying capacity and stability an adult tricycle can’t be beat. Forget the image of a single big plastic wheel; today’s trikes are fashionable and reliable. Whether outfitted as a pedicab or simply a three-wheeled conveyance with a big basket in the back, trikes use the unbeatable stability that three wheels provide to create the ability to carry cargo without a trailer. Trips to the local grocery store become a way to get exercise when taken on a trike, and riders who might fear keeping their balance on a more traditional frame can pedal in peace.
As more people ride to work on two wheels, commuter cycles, or hybrid cycles, have become popular. Combining the traditional road cycle and the mountain bike, commuters ride in an upright position on a lightweight frame meant to make the trip quick and easy. Thin, smooth tires mean a higher speed with less exertion, and lightweight durable frames now often come with storage options built in.
Since their emergence in the 1980’s, mountain cycles have combined form with function, providing a rugged frame capable of absorbing shocks with wide tires necessary for traction on uneven surfaces. If you’re the type that likes to combine fresh air and exercise with adventure and scenery, riding your local trails can be a great way to do it all. Riding in a more upright position than on a traditional roadster, the cyclist is in a good position to see every twist and turn of the road ahead.
The ancestor of the mountain cycle is, of course, the BMX. Built for use on dirt, the BMX is now the favorite of freestyle racers who push the envelope of what can be done on two wheels. A favorite among children, BMX bikes are versatile and fun to ride.
The newest development in two-wheeled transportation is the use of “fat wheels.” Originally developed for use on snow, tires with widths of up to four inches provide plenty of traction for dealing with soft or loose terrain, and lots of cushion for riding over pot-holed city streets. Of course, fat wheels need special frames, and for the fashion-oriented rider, fat wheels may prove an irresistible attraction.
These are just some of the types of bikes available today. As more manufacturers compete to fill the growing demand, there are many variations being developed. Be it on the road or off, fast or slow, whatever it is that you’re looking for, you can find it on the road today. Just remember to wear a helmet!