Is your bike ready for the short hop commute?

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It’s a well known fact in countries where bike commuting is more prevalent that you can ride to work on pretty much any bike, if your journey is fairly short and you’ve got no aspirations to break land speed records.

So if you’ve already got a bike, there might not be any need to buy a new one if you want to give commuting a try. There are, however a few things you can add to most bikes to make life a little easier and keep you safe:

Buying a new bike for practical, short-distance commuting


Go Dutch

The archetypal bike for short distance, leisurely commuting is a dedicated ‘Dutch’ town bike. Popular in the northern European cycling strongholds of Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Bruge, these bikes are fully equipped with mudguards, chainguards, racks and lights, making for a street-ready package. They’ll often have easy to operate ‘internal’ gears, making for a clean, low maintenance ride. Their upright riding positions give you a great view of the road ahead and encourage a sedate pace.


Best of British

Similar to the Dutch bike is the classic British roadster, which has been revived by makers such as Pashley and Bobbin. These bikes are fully equipped for daily commuting, with mudguards, racks and internal hub gears, with a classic, timeless look.


Uber Commuters

If you fancy something a little more sprightly, there are more lightweight urban commuting bikes models around which still have all the essential commuter fittings but with a less upright position, more sporty geometry and often a wider range of gears than the classic Dutch bike. These bikes are versatile too - great for longer leisure rides at the weekend as well as the daily commute. Some are equipped with high tech hub gears with up to 14 speeds, while others are equipped with clean, quiet, belt drives, doing away with the dreaded oily chain forever.


The Not-So Humble Hybrid

Hybrid bikes make great short haul commuters, with many manufacturers offering ‘fully equipped’ versions which come complete with racks and ‘guards. However, most hybrids will have fittings so you can mount these commuter essentials at a later date. Hybrids, so called because they combine the best of road and mountain bikes, come in many different guises, from cheap and cheerful roadster to flat barred road bike.


Join the Fold

If you’re strapped for space or are thinking of taking the train for part of your journey, then a folding bike is a killer option. The best folding bikes ride well, and fold up incredibly small, allowing you to tuck them into the luggage rack on the track and stash them beneath your desk at work.


Get Your Fix

Many short hop commuters swear by the simplicity of a stripped down fixed wheel or single speed bike. With just one gear, a fixie is lightweight, low maintenance and bulletproof. You need a fair amount of fitness and skill to ride a fixed wheel bike but those who master it often never go back to a normal bike.


With cycle commuting on the up, the commuter bike market has never been healthier, with manufacturers offering bikes to fill every niche. The best thing to do is to visit a quality bike shop that specialises in commuting bikes and see which machine fits the bill.