Which Type of New Bike Should You Get?

evelyn murcia event and outreach coordinator arlington county
Evelyn Murcia Tweet Us @bikearlington@bikearlington August 28, 2019

Evelyn Murcia is the Events and Outreach Coordinator for Active Transportation. She enjoys riding her bike year round on Arlington’s trails and streets. She also enjoys wrenching on bikes from time to time.

Facebook Tweet us @BikeArlington

When you think of a bicycle what do you picture? See it? Erase that image in your mind and open your eyes to a bunch of human powered vehicles riding around in all shapes and sizes. There is no limit to what a person on any kind of bike can do or where they can go!

Curious about what kind of bicycles are out in the world? Want to ride something different and expand your skills or even just figure out what kind of bike you want to get, be it your first or even fifth? Read on to learn about the different types of bikes and their uses. 

We’ll start off with the kind of bike most people are familiar with:  

Hybrid Bike 

A hybrid bike is a mix between a road and mountain bike. It has flat handlebars and semi-slick tires that aren’t as thin as road tires and not as thick or knobby as mountain tires but a comfortable width. It’s great to use for commuting and can easily accommodate a rack and fenders for when it rains. It’s also a great starter bike. 

Road Bike 

It’s easy to tell a road bike apart from other types of bikes by its characterizing drop bar handlebars and sleek frame design as well as its thin, smooth tires. Much like its name entails, a road bike is great for riding on the road or multi-use trails due to its lighter weight. You can use these bikes to commute to work, go out for a ride, and even race! 

Gravel/Cyclocross Bike 

These bikes look very similar to road bikes in the sense that they usually have drop bars and generally have similar wheel sizes as road bikes. The main difference is in the frame geometry which will allow for wider tires that are useful for riding on rough terrain. These are also great for commuting as you could add a rack or other accessories to help you get around, especially if your route includes some off-road trails 

Mountain Bike  

A mountain bike is mainly characterized by its knobby tires and suspension features located at the front of the bike in the fork or in the rear triangle part of the frame. Mountain bikes are extremely useful to ride on dirt trails. They’re usually more energy consuming than hybrids or road bikes because of the tires and suspension that cushion the ride on an unpaved multi-surface trail, so they’re not as suitable for commuting (unless you have a little bit of an electric push, which brings us to…). 


Electric pedal-assist bikes are getting more and more popular especially in hilly areas like Arlington where it becomes convenient to have that extra push up a hillE-bikes come in many different styles and are great if you want to start commuting to work but don’t want to break too much of a sweat. You can see them on a variety of bikes such as the Yellow Submarine pictured below, mountain, and hybrids. They’re also amazing for people who don’t ride because of factors such as distance or age. 

Folding Bikes 

Have you seen any of these cute bikes rolling around? They may look a little weird because of their small wheels and small frame but can be quite comfortable and accessible, especially if you don’t have a lot of room to store a bike at home/office or are combining other modes of transport such as metro/bus during your commute since it has the ability to fold into itself and save space.

Cargo Bike 

Need a cargo bike in your life to help you haul some stuff like kids, groceries, pets, etc.? They come in all sorts of different styles and are a blast to ride. There are two main types: a longtail cargo bike and a front basket type like BikeArlington’s Yellow Submarine. Some even have 3 wheels. They’re great to have if you want to start living car-free and can be accommodated to include electric-assist since they can get pretty heavy once they’re fully loaded.


Capital Bikeshare 

Capital Bikeshare bikes are the red bikes that you see on the streets and in their special docks that are available to the public to share. They’re great to use if you don’t have a bike and want to start biking, or if you do have one but are out and about and need to get around townCapital Bikeshare bikes are already equipped for a great ride, as they come complete with fenders, lights, and a front basket. 

If you have any questions or want to get on a bike to see how it feels, head to a local bike shop where they’ll be able to point you to your dream bike or get on a Capital Bikeshare bike and ride like the wind. Check out our map of Arlington bike shops to find one near you or click to learn more about Capital Bikeshare and find a Capital Bikeshare station near you.

And once you have your bike join us for one of our fun rides in Arlington!



Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/Kittner.com

Comments are closed here.

To prevent spam, comments will be approved before appearing on the post. If you have a comment or question, but do not want it to be published, please email BikeArlington.