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Two Wheel Town: Best Bikes for Cruising In (And Out Of) The City

photo by meligrosa / bikesandthecity.com

Three recommendations if a fixie isn't the ride for you.

The Road Bike - Surly Cross-Check

Who’s Riding?
The road bike is the de facto choice for everyone from messengers to commuters because of its speed, simplicity and comfort.

Where to Buy

Pacific Bicycle has a varied selection and excellent customer service. 345 Fourth St., 415-928-8466, pacbikes.com

Whether or not you buy your bike at Valencia Cyclery, you can still stop in for a tune-up at its repair shop. 1077 Valencia St., 415-550-6600, valenciacyclery.com

Get custom single-speeds with colorful components at Mission Bicycle Company. 766 Valencia St., 415-683-6166, missionbicycle.com

Best Routes
49-mile city loop, Paradise Drive (Tiburon)

Must-have Accessories
Stay safe with Knog beetle lights ($18 at Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant St., 415-575-3000, sportsbasement.com). Swrve cycling knickers have lots of pockets and are cut higher in back to prevent exposure ($90 at Pushbike, 3045 24th St., 415-647-7222, pushbikesf.com).


The Touring Bike - Box Dog Pelican

Who’s Riding?
If you’ve always wanted to ride and camp or just leave your car behind when grocery shopping, a touring bike, designed for stability, utility and long-distance rides, will take the load off your back.

Where to Buy
Box Dog Bikes is the exclusive distributor of the Pelican, but also carries other reasonably priced tourers as well as a selection of used bikes. 494 14th St., 415-431-9627, boxdogbikes.com
American Cyclery & American Cyclery Too specialize in all-around high-end and custom bikes. 510 Frederick St. and 858 Stanyan St., 415-664-4545, americancyclery.com

Best Routes
The Wiggle (flattest route from the Mission to the Haight; see a map at sf.wikispot.org/the_wiggle)

Must-have Accessories
Like rucksacks of yore, the colorful Ortlieb panniers carry loads of gear (starting at $143 at REI, 840 Brannan St., 415-934-1938, rei.com). A stack of books or a bag of groceries would fit quite nicely on the Pass & Stow racks. Handmade in SF, they will have you lugging in style and comfort (from $250 at passstow.com).

The Off-Road Bike - Yeti ASR 05 Carbon Pro

Who’s Riding?
Whether bombing down mountains or carrying bikes uphill through mud in a cyclo-cross race, off-road cyclists love getting dirty and need bikes designed to take a beating.

Where to Buy

Big Swingin' Cycles sponsors the annual Lion of Fairfax cyclo-cross race; race proceeds go to local schools. 2260 Van Ness Ave., 415-441-6294, bigswingincycles.com
Roaring Mouse Cycles is great for CX bikes (and touring, too) and has its own cyclo-cross team. 1352 Irving St., 415-753-6272, roaringmousecycles.com

Best Routes
Mount Sutro (SF), China Camp (Marin, where the mountain bike was born), Joaquin Miller Park (Oakland)

Must-have accessories
You need that brain of yours, so don’t go out riding without a serious helmet, like the Giro Rift. You’ll also want to pack the Park Tool Patch Kit for unforeseen trailside troubles ($47 and $1.50, respectively, at Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant St., 415-575-3000, sportsbasement.com).