Why do you ride a bicycle? And what kind of bike do you ride?

Different people have different reasons for bicycling. Some people ride exclusively on paved roads, while others put their bikes on a car-rack and drive their bikes to an off-road park. Some people ride to save money, while others ride because they can’t afford alternatives. Some people ride competitively, while others ride for transportation. Some people ride to maintain peak health, while others ride to improve poor health. Some people ride because it’s “green”, while others ride because it’s fun. All of these reasons, and more reasons than I can think of by myself, motivate people in New Zealand, and all around the world, to ride bicycles; And all of these people call themselves bicyclists.

There are just as many different types of bicycles as there are reasons for riding them: bikes with fat tires and bikes with skinny tires; bikes with no suspension and bikes with full suspension; bikes with clip-in pedals and bikes with panniers bags; bikes that were found in a skip and bikes that cost more than cars; bikes that are wind-tunnel-tested and bikes with streamers on the handlebars.

What I want to know, is: Why do you ride? What kind of bike (or bikes) do you ride?

It’s only fair that I go first: I mostly ride a hybrid commuter bike primarily for transportation, and also because it’s good exercise and great fun. Riding saves money, saves times, saves natural resources, keeps me in reasonably good physical health and keeps me feeling good. This bike has panniers that regularly hold everything from groceries to a yoga mat. My last two cars were station wagons, and I think of this as my two-wheeled station wagon. I’ve also got a TT/tri bike (weighing in at about 9.5kg with carbon-fiber front-fork, Adamo saddle and Zero pedals) but my triathlon plans are on hold until I can sort out some problems with running.



9 thoughts on “Why do you ride a bicycle? And what kind of bike do you ride?

  1. Hi patrick,
    We loved the bicycle culture in Japan when we were last there in ’08’.
    I ride one of 6 available bikes. I ride either a belt driven Avanti 8-speed as my daily commuter – or – my Giant (worn out) XTC2 MTB.
    I laso have available my training Giant Innova / Surly LHT for touring and lucky, lucky, a carbon Avanti Cadent 1 for when I am stupid and go road racing.
    Why I ride? I always have. It is good for my head, for my health and keeps me in contact with the earth.
    I ride to enjoy the smile the process allows me to wear. :-)))
    Cheers – Barry.


  2. Chris

    I began riding again 2 years ago. My friends in Taupo had started mtb riding at Craters. My first time out was on a borrowed 15 year old hardtail with terrible brakes and 3 working gears. I loved it! I went and bought a GT Avalanche for Xmas and rode it everywhere.
    After moving to Wellington and realizing I no longer needed a car, the car was sold and cycling became my chief mode of transport. Since then I have bought a full suspension Giant Trance and an Orbea hardtail for my novice partner.
    I commute by bike and ride off road as often as possible. I have competed in a few xc races which are awesome fun. If we move further from the CBD I will probably get a commuter bike of some sort.
    I ride because I enjoy riding, it keeps me fit and saves money 🙂


  3. HillBilly MTB

    I ride bicycles for nothing more than thrill of body in motion, everything else is a consequence i.e. commuting, health, saving money, getting a tan etc etc.

    The bike I ride the most is a full suspension DH bike (no cleats), heavy, spongy and impracticable but soooooooooooo much fun to ride.


  4. Simon Kennett

    I commute by bike because it’s so convenient. Luckily it is also cheap, fast, fun, and good for me and the environment.
    I love exloring, so do a bit of cycle touring and some racing (on and off road).

    Up until the age of 30, one or two bikes seemed enough, but then I settled down and had a bit more storage space. Now things are getting a little out of control…

    Fully rigid Schwinn MTB, for all terrain commuting.
    29er Cannondale MTB, for long distance on & off-road trips
    Dahon folding bike, for integrated transport
    Beat-up (theft-repellant) black Diamond Back MTB, for leaving at train stations, etc.
    Lemond road bike, for road races
    Giant NRS full-suspension MTB, for gnarly MTB rides and races
    Ibis Tandem, for bonding sessions with my better half, or scaring friends
    Reiker Triple, for special occasions with my bros, or scaring friends
    Bauer MTB, circa 1992, XTR equipped – only $200 on TradeMe – what was I to do?
    Bates 1967 road racer, for retro rides (also only $200 and in great condition)
    Circa 1960 Canadian ‘Sports Bike’ complete with dynamo lights and blue tyres, just incase I ever start a museum (or have a flat commute).
    DBR carbon MTB, formerly the touring and commuting workhorse – this one might be surplus to requirements.


  5. I think I’ve done an adequate job of describing my bike already 😀 http://vital.org.nz/entry/title/the_nearideal_wellington_commuting_bike

    If I had the storage space and the budget I’d like another bike that’s stripped down and lighter, just for riding for pleasure, but the current bike is the best compromise I can make.

    I ride to work and back because it’s in the sweet spot of being cheaper than driving or the bus, and faster than walking (faster than the bus or car sometimes too!). It’s also good for my health, I think. It’s good to not be a polluter too. This are kind of post-hoc rationalisations though — I’ve got around by bike most of the time since i was a teenager. It’s a way of life.

    Recently I’ve started enjoying the odd leisurely ride around the city for no purpose but having a spin, too. Always good for the soul to ride slowly and look around.


  6. Claire

    I ride cause now I’m addicted and I’m too impatient for any other mode of transport. My bike collection has also expanded in the last few years:

    Avanti Blade hybrid – if I was to only have one it would be this trusty stead.
    Avanti something else road bike – riding with Revolve on Saturday morning and places I can go fast.
    White and rainbow tandem (sorry Sam, can’t remember its name) – cause my colleague Sam was selling it and how often does a white and rainbow tandem come on offer? Have dreams of touring on it. Anyone keen?
    1944 BSA – found it in my Poppa’s neighbours garage and thought it would be great for Frocks events.
    Mamachari – cause a friend told me I didn’t look cool enough on my Avanti Blade. While it usually makes me grin, you won’t find me grinning when I’m riding it up inclines with no gears.
    GT mountain bike – just babysitting this one for six months.


  7. I have an truly awesome folding Dahon eco C7. It’s got me back into cycling because i don’t have to commit to cycling home again, or even cycling the whole way. I can fold it up and get on bus/train/taxi/carpool as the weather changes or i get tired, or i have one too many whiskys after work.


  8. I ride a bright blue ten speed from the 1980s with a step through frame, moustache handlebars, mudguards, a front basket and lots of bells. To get anywhere I want to be, at any time, in a matter of minutes, cut down fossil fuel use and to stay sane — nothing like fresh air and a bit of exercise to clear the mental cobwebs.


  9. I alternate between two bikes. In winter, I tend to favour my old MTB – it’s a 2001 Specialized hardtail, though over the years most of the bits have worn out, broken, or fallen off. It’s mainly commutered-up at the mo, with a rack and panniers (I was given the panniers as a present, so kind of had to put a rack on one of my bikes). I keep meaning to replace the forks with rigid forks to make it a bit more commuter-friendly, but otherwise it’s a good road beast. I favoured this bike when I lived in Newlands, because it meant that I could take the interesting route home up the old Wakely Gully track. Nothing like getting a couple of k’s of offroad descent/ascent at one end of your commute, and doing a fast descent with panniers is hilarious fun.
    My road bike is one I put together when I was in the UK. It’s basically a road frame (Planet X Kaffenback) set up for fast touring/audax riding. I’ve made it a bit more sensible by putting on some cyclocross-style secondary brake levers, so I can brake from the tops of the bars – very handy for riding in traffic. I’ve put full mudguards on, as this was a requirement for some of the audax rides I did in the UK; plus, it makes rainy commutes much more fun, and is a useful place to put stickers. It’s great for fast commutes, and for longer days out – the most I’ve done on it in a day was a 210k randonee, and it’s been around Taupo a couple of times. Luggage is taken care off via a Carradice saddlebag – it’s 8ltrs, which is enough space for my change of clothes, not enough space that I get tempted to lug hug amounts of crap around. So if you see a blue bike with a green saddlebag, that’s me, say hi.


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