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12 cool urban bicycles ready to replace your car

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Bikes are tough to beat in terms of urban transportation: They’re reliable, emissions-free, small, healthy, and cheap to operate. Check out our picks.
By Chris Baskind

We’re big bicycle fans here at Lighter Footstep. Bikes are tough to beat in terms of urban transportation: they’re reliable, emissions-free, take up very little parking space, and cost almost nothing to operate. Depending on your commute or the length of your errand, it’s possible that a bicycle will get you where you’re going faster than an automobile. And they’re great for your health.

For many people, a bicycle could replace a car (or a second vehicle). Even if putting your auto out to pasture isn’t a realistic option, having a bicycle on hand can substantially lower your monthly transportation costs and environmental footprint.

What is an urban bike, anyway?
You can commute, get some fresh air, or fetch groceries on pretty much any bike that rolls. But urban bicycles are a developing class of bike which falls between skinny tired, racing-style bicycles and their burly offroad cousins, the mountain bike. They’re known by a lot of trade names: city bikes, commuters, town bicycles and hybrids. Generally speaking, urban bikes are optimized for reliable city travel.

Features vary from bike to bike and manufacturer to manufacturer. Most urban bikes are built with a comfortable, upright riding position for better visibility in traffic. They may be equipped with one or more of the following: cargo racks; fenders and mudflaps; a light set; chain guard; wider, puncture-resistant tires; and a kickstand. Almost all urban bikes are multispeed, and many feature low-maintenance internal gearing.

About the bikes we’ve selected
We’ve chosen a dozen examples of purpose-built urban bicycles that would make worthy, full-time transportation. The cheapest retails for just over $500, and most are in the $1,000 class. Some cost more.

Why such expensive bicycles? Our philosophy in picking this bunch is that we’re looking for automobile replacements. Even the most expensive of our choices is a bargain compared to a scooter, motorcycle or used car. You’ll be getting quality components and a great frameset, which is the heart of a bicycle. Most models come with accessories which would cost more, if purchased separately. With reasonable care, any of these bikes could last a decade or longer — even under heavy use.

We’ve also stuck to bicycles from manufacturers with strong reputations. Most of these models should be available wherever you live, or can be purchased online. We’ll list our choices alphabetically. Let’s ride!

Author: barenose

Have a look at my web site for ideas about the work I've done. I look forward to hearing from you about your next project, the Internet, the environment, or life. www.barenose.com

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