Urban Cycling – Ultimate Guide to Biking in the City

Living in a fast-paced city is one of the leading factors contributing to the poor health reports that have surfaced recently. Health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are now far more prevalent than in the past. But it needs to be that way any more thanks to urban cycling developments. 

Urban cycling is a great and embraced way to stay healthy in fast-paced cities like Boston. Through urban biking, you get the much-needed exercise required by your body and save yourself thousands in traveling expenses. However, before you get into it, there are a few things you need to know that we'll be covering:

What is Urban Cycling?

Urban Cycling is merely using a bicycle as a means of transportation in any city. Commuting is a natural part of today's society; however, most persons prefer to commute bike cars, trains, or buses. Urban cycling takes away the hassle of traffic, packed trains, and high fuel costs and car payments as it is a much cheaper method of transportation.

Urban Cycling has been known to have quite a few benefits:

  • It improves your overall health by providing a means of exercise.
  • Urban biking helps reduce stress and gives you time to think while you commute to your destination.
  • It aids in keeping the environment green since one less traveling by a motorized vehicle reduces pollution and slows global warming.
  • Urban Cycling is one of the fastest and most affordable means of getting around. 

There are many benefits to urban cycling, and we encourage you to commute by bike. However, before that, there are quite a few things you need to consider before you start urban cycling. It is crucial that you first learn about which bike to ride, your safety, security, and gear. 

What is the best bike for Urban Cycling?

Biking in a city can be done on just about any bike. However, since you might be new to urban cycling, we suggest getting a good bike for beginners. If you've ridden bikes before or need to learn to ride, there are resources on this site to help you get started. 

In general, cycling in cities is best done on bikes that you find comfortable to ride. Our top recommendations are to either go for a hybrid bike or one of the best comfort bikes. It doesn't matter which bike brand you choose either.

How to Carry Stuff

One of the most convenient parts of commuting by a car or bus is being able to carry just about anything in it. For urban cycling, most people assume that you won't be able to carry items. Or that it will be very inconvenient to carry items while on a bike. However, there are many great ways to make carrying stuff on a bike easy and hassle-free. We've listed some of the best ways below:

Install a Bike Rack on your bike

Front bike racks are a great addition to any type of bicycle. They effectively enable you to haul a wide variety of items just like you would in a car. If you opted to buy a hybrid or comfort bike, you might already have a bike basket equipped on your bike. However, if you don't already have a rear rack on your bike, you can always install one later.

Do note that some bikes don't have eyelets to mount a rack. So you will need to buy a special type of Seatpost bike racks.

Add a Front or Rear Bike Basket

Bike baskets sometimes work hand in hand with racks on a bicycle. However, you can always get some really good bike basket that you can mount without having a rack on your bike. 

Get yourself a messenger bag

Messenger bags are very cheap and easy to sling over your shoulders to take for quick runs around town or grocery stores. They are portable and, in most cases, have lots of space to store your important items. Moreover, they will serve as an excellent way to bring a bike lock to secure your bike when you get to your destination. 

Get a Bike Trailer

If you need far more space than a bike basket or rack will offer, you can opt to get yourself a bike cargo trailer. These trailers are attached to the bike's back and make hauling a lot of items much easier. Plus, they aren't very expensive and will last quite some time.

Securing Your Bike

One of the most common issues cyclists face is theft. However, this isn't isolated to bikes alone as there are tonnes of car theft reports in the US each year. As such, taking precautions with your car or bike is something we all should do.

Bike security isn't hard, nor is it much any more expensive than securing a car. There are a few things you can do to secure your bike:

Park Securely

Make sure your bike is parked in the designated bike parking spots. These spots are often more secure than just leaving your bike anywhere, as in most cases, there is CCTV present or security. However, in cases where there isn't, it is good to park your bike in a visible area. 

If you plan to bike to work and don't have anywhere to park your bike, you could easily speak with your employer to see if they have any provisions to store a bike that you could make use of.

Use Safety locks & GPS.

Buying a bike GPS tracker or a safety lock is an easy way to secure your bike. They are pretty cheap, and you can find a wide variety of options online. 

Are there any special clothes or gear required for Urban Cycling?

Biking in the city can be done in just about any type of clothing, and you don't need any particular gear. With that said, there are quite many clothing items and gear for biking that we recommend city bike riders buying to enhance their riding experience. 

Shoes

Best Bicycle Touring shoes

While cycling with regular shoes is normal and has no negative impact on your experience. Owning a good pair of shoes that you wear when you go commuting is always welcomed. They are just as comfortable, and some can help make your pedaling easier and safer.

Pants

You can ride a bike in any type of clothes. However, it is much easier to ride in pants. We recommend pants that aren't very tight so that you will be able to pedal correctly.

Smart Watches & Heart Trackers

If you have any health conditions, owning a smartwatch or heart rate tracker is important while cycling. They will help you keep track of your heart rate and serve as a great way to measure how far you've ridden. You can also opt to add a bike computer to your bike to calculate how far you ride during your commutes.

Rain Coats or Jackets

Bad weather is a part of life whether you commute by car or any other means. As such, you can expect to have days with terrible weather while biking in the city. So we always recommend owning a waterproof or leather jacket. You can also remember to pack a good biking raincoat inside your bag for the days you plan to commute by bike. 

Pay Attention to your Personal Safety

Urban bike riding, like any other means of transportation, comes with risks that you must pay attention to avoid. We've written more about bike safety in a more detailed post. However, the main things to keep in mind are as follows:

Always be Visible

Make sure when you bike at nights and in cases where the visibility is poor that your bike is adequately illuminated. You can get bike lights or reflectors that will improve your visibility. Or you can wear reflective clothes or bright-colored clothing that are easy to see from afar.

Wear the required biking gear

In almost all states and countries, it is a requirement for cyclists to wear a helmet. They are essential, and might one day protect your life. So always remember to wear a good bike helmet before you get on your bike. 

If you hate big bulky helmets, there are a few special helmets that you can check out like these collapsible and folding helmets.

Follow the rules of the road.

Biking in the city comes with its own set of rules, much like driving a car does. You can find all the required resources to bike in the city by searching for your cities road codes. However, the main thing to do is to observe all the conventional rules, such as staying in the bike lane, looking out for pedestrians, and observing road signs. 

Bike Maintenance

Just like you would maintain a car, you also need to do regular maintenance on your bike. We have quite a few guides that share great advice to maintain your bikes. They cover almost all aspects of a bike and are easy to follow.