Fixed-gear bikes are cool and all, but for an everyday thing, most of us would prefer a bicycle that's a little more rider-friendly—you know, like one with brakes. Enter the hybrid bike (a.k.a. "cross" bike), which is the fastest-growing segment of bicycle sales in the U.S. (Why do we love the word "hybrid" so much, anyway?) Hybrid bikes are essentially a cross between mountain bikes and road bikes, meaning rugged and smoove. Kind of like our recent Chain Gang bike-fashion story, actually. Plug alert!
To get the scoop on buying a hybrid, we consulted bicycle-education expert and producer of Ready to Pedal, Ray Keener. Read on for more about hybrid bikes, the best hybrid bikes on the market, and general buying tips...
THE DNA OF A HYBRID BIKE
• Stronger wheels and wider tires than a road bike
• Durable on bumpy urban pavement and mellow gravel trails
• Much lighter and responsive than a mountain bike with a similar wide gear range for any terrain
• Comfortable flat bars and the upright seating position are preferred by most cyclists
Click here to Buy It Now at Raleigh USA, $500
GENERAL RIDING TIPS from Complex Expert Ray Keener:
1. Wear cycling gloves. Gloves are underrated. They protect your palms in any accident and cushion your ulnar nerves on every ride.
2. Pedal faster. The world's best cyclists spin at 80-120 RPM. Most casual riders are pushing hard at 50-60 RPM, which wears out your quads quicker and stresses your knees. Whatever gear you're comfortable in, try one lower. You'll go faster and farther!
3. Stay hydrated. Cyclists need a quart of fluid an hour. You're constantly moving through the air so your sweat evaporates quickly. Dehydration will creep up on you. Carry a bottle around and drink it down when you get home.
4. Strong core, relaxed arms. Seasoned riders support their upper body with their core and relax their arms to reduce tension. In doing so you would have better shock absorption, less lactic acid buildup, and feel fresher when you're done.