Most varieties of bike are available on the cycle to work scheme. Here are some of the most popular to help you decide.
Sometimes referred to as a racing bike, this is your fastest way to ride to work, but not the most comfortable! Road bikes are designed purely for efficiency and speed on tarmac. They are very light and aerodynamic but unforgiving on rough or unmetalled roads. If you want your commute to be fast and the roads in your area are in great condition, a road bike is for you.
A hybrid is a cross between a mountain bike and a touring bike. They have smooth tyres for high speed on road but are comfortable and strong enough for gravel cycle paths and green lanes. Hybrids have a more upright riding position; great for visibility and control. If your commute is mainly on road but with some cycle trail action, this is what you’re looking for.
For tough off road riding, mountain bikes are king. They are great commuters because of low gears and an upright riding position. They are slower on road because of chunky tyres and suspension, but will inspire confidence on unpaved roads or gravel paths. A mountain bike is ideal if your commute is on rough roads with slippery cycle paths.
If you carry a bike on the tube, or you need to take a bike into the office itself, your life will be made simpler with a folding bike. By their very nature, folding bikes are light and easily portable, but due to their small size they don’t lend themselves to very long journeys or especially tall riders. If your building doesn’t have a bike park or you need to carry your bike on public transport, folding bikes are for you.
Touring bikes are designed for long distances on road. They look similar to road bikes but are tougher with a more relaxed riding position. Touring bikes also have mounts for panniers and mudguards, whereas most road bikes do not. They also have the extra strength needed to deal with heavy panniers or a journey around the world. If you’re after a practical alternative to a road-racing bike then get yourself a tourer.
Single Speed/Fixed Wheel Bikes
These bikes are the ultimate in durability and simplicity. With no gears to go wrong and a reduction in moving parts, these bikes are cheap to buy and maintain. But be warned; these bikes are very difficult to ride up hill! Unless your ride to work is relatively flat, or you have a high level of physical fitness, you may want to try a cyclocross bike or hybrid instead!
Cyclocross bikes are designed for muddy off-road riding, but are surprisingly commuter-friendly. At first glance, they look like a road bike, but in reality they are much tougher and far more manoeuvrable. They are generally lighter than mountain bikes, and faster on road because of skinnier tyres and drop handlebars. If you’re after a bike that is fast on road, but tough enough for rough tracks, you need a cyclocross bike.
If you carry heavy loads on your commute or would benefit from a boost on steep hills then electric bikes are perfect for you. They are heavier and bulkier than a standard bicycle but the surge of power at your fingertips mean that they are quick and user friendly. Electric bikes cost pence to charge and are much cheaper to run than motorised vehicles as you don’t need tax or insurance. Electric bikes are a clean, green and efficient form of transport.
There are a growing number of bikes available on the market that are specifically designed for women. These bikes have a shorter top tube with a slope on it to enable an easier reach to the handlebars. They also come with a female specific saddle; these have been specially developed to stop you getting uncomfortable with numbness or pains in your sit bones. Due to the growing demand for these bikes, the variety of style and price is now better than ever.