Commuting. It’s rarely the best part of your day. And if you live or work in a highly congested city like New York, it can be downright dreadful. Packed subways, impenetrable traffic, expensive fares, the sweat…oh, the sweat. However, with an increase of 50 percent more people commuting to work by bicycle from 2000 (according to the US Census), maybe your commute doesn’t need to be all that bad…perhaps enjoyable even.
Speaking on the matter from first-hand experience, I can say with confidence that I do enjoy my commute to work, and depending on the day, it can even be the best part of my day (don’t tell my boss or girlfriend). You see, I have been commuting to my place of work on two wheels for over five years now and I can say with absolutely certainty, pending any dehabilitating injuries [finds piece of wood and knocks loudly], I will continue in this fashion for as long as I am physically able.
Why do you ask? It is hands down the fastest way to get from point A to point B in a congested city for distances under four miles. To put this in perspective, the commute from my apartment by subway takes 25 minutes door-to-door. My bike? Four min. No joke. It’s also incredibly fun, very cost effective (if free works for you), provides you with some exercise, and, thanks to the constant breeze, you won’t sweat nearly as much as you would if you walked or took the subway. Again, first hand experience talking here (and I sweat…a lot. TMI).
But I’m not here to sell you on commuting by bicycle, despite my best efforts. What I am here to do is guide you on the best bike for said commute. Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a bike expert. I don’t really know (or care for that matter) about the differences between brands, components, or setups. I’m just an average guy who rides a bike to work every day and occasionally on longer rides for exercise purposes. So if you’re looking for technical jargon and specifications, go and visit Chris Levesque at Sid’s Bikes on 19th Street in Manhattan. He is the best and will answer any question you throw at him.
I simply set out to find a bike that was going to be reliable, easy to ride on all road conditions, and light enough to carry up a few flights of stairs to my apartment. After trying a number of styles from pure road-race bikes to hard-core mountain bikes, I landed on a hybrid, again thanks to the experts over at Sid’s. And no, not that kind of hybrid. A hybrid bicycle combines the best features of both road bikes and mountain bikes to produce a bicycle that is both fast and sturdy and is capable of handling a wide variety of road surfaces.
And after spending a seemingly endless number of hours digging into the seemingly endless number of hybrid bicycles out there, I found the Sirrus line of bicycles from Specialized. If you’re unfamiliar, Specialized is one of, if not the most, well-known and respected bike manufacturer in the world. Walk blindfolded into any bike shop and in all likelihood you’ll bump into (or knock over rather) a Specialized first.
While the Sirrus line offers up seven different models, from the entry level Sirrus ($520) to the top of the line Sirrus Limited ($2,200), the function is the same throughout: to provide the rider with a bike that they can feel equally comfortable and confident weaving in and out of traffic as they would on a 25-mile race circuit.
I opted for the Sirrus Comp ($1,100), which falls directly in the middle and I can say that I couldn’t be happier. The shifts are quick, the brakes responsive, the steering is tight, and the frame is light. So much so that I’m able to haul it up 3 flights to my apartment with out breaking a sweat (and if you recall, I sweat).
To say that the Sirrus is more than capable of handling the most grueling of commutes would be a serious understatement, and unless you’re biking 3+ miles each way daily, most bikes should be able to get your from your home to office with out much trouble. But when it comes to long distance riding, or even the casual race, most non-road bikes will fall seriously short. But not the Sirrus. I’ve personally tackled multiple Central Park loops (6.1 miles) in a single shot with my legs giving out way before any sort of discomfort from the bike setting in. Oh, and did I mention it’s fast? I managed to clock a shockingly fast 43mph (on a slight decline) with full confidence and zero wobble.
Think of the Specialized Sirrus as the Porsche 911 of the bicycle world. Comfortable and easy enough to use as your daily driver, but more than capable of running hot laps when the time and occasion calls for it. And all for about $119,000 less and no cost to fill it up.
Start looking forward to your commute by visiting the Specialized Sirrus site here to select which model is right for you or visit your local bike shop (if you’re in New York, this rider recommends Sid’s Bikes).