Remember when you were a kid and you’d ride your bike to a friend’s house and then he’d get his bike and you’d just mob around town all day? At some point along the way, most people shift away from that simple pleasure of getting from Point A to Point B, and it’s too bad. May is National Bike Month, and this Friday, the 19th, is Bike-To-Work Day. But the real reason to hop on a bicycle and embrace pedal power isn’t about a calendar event, it’s because it’s so damn fun.
If you were measure the happiness levels of people who ride bikes to work versus those who commute via public transportation or cars, I guarantee you the cyclist would be the one with the biggest grin on his face. There is just something about being active and outdoors to start and end your day that makes whatever happens at your desk more manageable.
Then there is the efficiency layer. When you factor in sitting in traffic and looking for a parking space or waiting for a subway train, riding a bike oftentimes ends up being not only the more enjoyable way to get to work, but also the fastest.
We are also living in a new golden age of bicycle design, where you can find a bike to suit whatever design or ride aesthetic you desire. From single speed track stars to state of the art e-bikes, these 7 bicycles are your ticket to ride.
1. THE SIMPSONS X STATE
At first glance, this appears to be simple single-speed bike with a Tour de France-esque yellow paint job. But upon closer inspection you see that the steel frame features line drawings of characters from The Simpsons. It’s impossible not to arrive to work without a smile on your face when your bike is adorned with Springfield’s finest.
2. TREK SUPER COMMUTER+ 8S
I was guilty of thinking electric bikes were the exclusive domain of delivery guys until I had a chance to hop aboard Trek’s new Super Commuter+ 8S. The 350-watt motor boosts the power of a rider’s pedaling, propelling him to sustained speeeds of 28 miles per hour. Riding up hills is ridiculously easy, meaning you don’t arrive at work a sweaty mess. And the battery and motor are seamlessly integrated into the frame so that it still looks and feels like a bike.
3. TOKYOBIKE X CALICO WALLPAPER
For Tokyobike’s first Designer Series reached far beyond the field of bicycles for collaborators. Case in point: Calico Wallpaper, the brainchild of Nick and Rachel Cope. They applied an adaptation of their ombre Aurora wallpaper to a bike modeled after the ones ridden in France in the 1930s, complete with leather saddle and handlebar grips. The colors on the frameset reflect an endless transition from dusk to dawn.
4. RALEIGH PORT TOWNSEND
The Port Townsend looks good and rides easy, which is really all you can ask from a commuter bike. It has a Shimano Sora 9-speed drive train so you won’t need to be mashing pedals up any hills on your way to work. The matching fenders keep you as clean when you walk into the office as when you walked out of your house. And the front rack is built to hold a 12-pack so you can blow off some steam with co-workers after the day is done.
5. VANHAWKS VALOUR
From $1,299, vanhawks.com
As everything in our lives becomes more connected to our phones, so too do our bikes. The Vanhawks Valour isn’t just a bicycle, it’s also an app that allows the bike to talk to your phone. Instead of having to manage the tricky balancing act (literally) of fishing a device out of your pocket to get directions, the Valour has LED lights integrated into the handlebars that illuminate when it’s time to turn right or left. That may not be the most useful if you ride the same route to work everyday, but definitely comes in handy for riders who like to explore.
6. PRIORITY CLASSIC PLUS
The nicest thing about Priority bikes is that they pack in only the tech you need and none of what you don’t. That enables the bicycles to maintain a clean and minimal design while still being a pleasure to ride. The carbon belt drive replaces a chain so your hands don’t get covered in grease if you have to do any repairs. And the 3-speed internal hub provides just the right amount of gearing in an easy-to-manage package. As for the matte black frame with contrasting brown tires? They just look awesome.
7. BUDNITZ NO. 3
The best word to describe the Budnitz No. 3 is “sleek.” The bike cuts a streamlined figure without any overt branding for a handcrafted feel. It also has all the performance characteristics you need, from an 11-speed drivetrain to mile-gobbling 29-inch wheels. This is a bike that serve you well not only on your commute, but really anywhere else you want to ride it.