It’s very easy to get used to the familiarity of your own bike – perhaps you’ve had it for many years, and you’re good friends, or maybe your bike is brand new, and you’re still in the honeymoon period. Regardless what stage of “loved up” you’re in with your own bike (or maybe it’s love/hate?) – sometimes it’s fun to try something different.
Here’s a look at 5 bikes you should try riding…
We’ve all seen pictures of people on really little bikes – we particularly like this one we found on SpicyTec.com:
You probably won’t get all that far on a little bike, but it will demonstrate to you exactly how important a proper ‘bike fit’ is, or, better still, will make your own bike feel like it fits as well as Cinderalla’s glass slipper.
The Penny Farthing was actually the first machine to be called a ‘bicycle’ – the name Penny Farthing comes from the fact that a penny and farthing placed next to each other form a shape similar to the bike.
The larger front wheel is said to make the Penny Farthing smoother over cobbles and rough roads, so it could be a handy accompaniment on some of London’s cycle routes. The downside to this style of bike is that the rider’s body weight is placed over the front axle, meaning that a severe lump in the road could throw them off the bike, onto their head. This was known as “taking a header” and though some styles of riding cam limit the risk, it’s still a major flaw in the design.
If you’d like to see Penny Farthing’s raced around Smithfield Market, check out the London Nocturne races:
(Image: pedalconsumption.com )
Perhaps you ride one regularly, but if not, this is a must try. Boris Bikes are made to be durable, and as unbreakable as possible – they’re sturdy, and with that heavy, and no amount of sprinting is going to make a Boris wobbly. The chunky blue machines include some cool features – like those cool metal baskets on the front, and their total adjustability. However, on the whole, they’re mainly great because they’ll make your own bike feel like a thoroughbread race bike. And they’ll never get stolen.
Of course, if you fancy a real challenge, you could always ride one up Mount Ventoux:
Riding a Fixed Gear bike is said to be really fantastic for your riding skills, and depending upon the gearing you select, your leg strength over hills, or your cadence. A lot of really impressive cyclists ride a fixie over winter for this reason – taking away the “get out” option of using your gears. Without nifty shifters to help you out, you’ll either need to pedal faster, or pedal harder, depending upon the terrain.
Fixie bikes are pretty popular round town – they look attractive, they’re lighter (due to fewer components), and require less cleaning.
If you want to try riding a Fixie in total simplicity, eg, without brakes- the track is the place to go. At Herne Hill velodrome, you can attend taster lesson before taking part in group coached skills sessions. If you fancy the wooden boards, check out Lee Valley Velodrome, which can now be hired out for sessions.
Time Trial Bike
Riding a time trial bike, on a flat surface, is a bit like flying. Arms outstretched, fingers on the gears, flicking through them with your hands nowhere near the brakes – what could go wrong? Though trickier to negotiate around twisty courses, and a tad heavier next to a comparable road bike, time trial bikes are a blast.
Time trialling history is littered with alterations and bike geekery, the riding is all about going as fast as you can, and using physics to help. If you’re looking for the pinnacle of all time trial innovation, the very best story in all time trial bike design history has to be that of Obree and his Old Faithful.
If you want a go at time trialling, check out our recent post, Cycling Time Trials Decoded.
Have we missed your favourite ‘out of the ordinary’ bike? Tell us in the comments…
Join 9,241 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter
Sign up for our free newsletter to get...
- Advice on the best cycling gear
- A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
- Exclusive content not available on the blog
Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)
*No spam, ever!
As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.