In Praise Of The Upright Bike: The City Bikes

NBIKEorth American bike culture is changing. Fast. And a big part of that shift is in the type of bicycles people are choosing to ride. Traditional upright city bikes have seen an explosion in popularity in recent years, with real implications to the way we design and experience cities.

While this trend may have started with images of stylish cycling Scandinavians circulating on blogs and social media, it is becoming increasingly clear these machines aren’t just a style or passing fad. Urban bikes interact with the city environment in a notably different manner, broadening the way we provide citizens of all ages with healthier, happier, more social, and less expensive means of mobility.

First and foremost, it’s important to clarify what we mean by upright city bikes, and how they differentiate from other styles you may see. With their high, sweeping handlebars and sometimes step-through frames (which are not suggested to be gender-specific anywhere but in North America — just practical, comfortable design), they are designed for a different posture: riding in an upright position — rather than hunching over — taking all strain off your back, shoulders, forearms, wrists, and hands.

Not only are they designed for comfort, they’re sturdier and safer, making them ideal for cruising at slower speeds, providing opportunities for an intimate, unfiltered awareness and experience of the people and places around you. They’re not meant for long distances or off-roading, but are the perfect means for a short, slow, non-sweaty jaunt around your neighborhood.

The most important thing about the growth of sit-up cycling is that it facilitates getting more people on two wheels, changing our perception of how we can move around our cities, making cycling more appealing to demographics that were traditionally left on the sidelines. These bikes help take cycling beyond speed and sport, making it a much broader, inviting, inclusive activity.

Read full article by Brent Toderian and Chris Bruntlett here.