Cycling day trips are now officially on the agenda as lockdown measures are slowly lifted. If this is a summer of winding down the banks of rivers and stumbling upon hidden lakes in lesser-known corners on a bicycle, then so be it.
Scrolling endlessly for the perfect bicycle can be exhausting, so we’ve done the work for you by carefully curating a selection of the best bikes based on design, aesthetic, speed and practicality. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to acquire all four so keep your main needs in mind. Whilst commuters are more able to prioritise aesthetic, hardcore outdoorsy types might have to make some sort of a sacrifice in this area the same way a Dutch commuter won’t ever make it up Vanbrugh Hill in Greenwich (if you know, you know). Either way, these bicycles will do just the job depending on your needs.
On that note, the bike racks have made a comeback, the beers and sandwiches are in a cool bag in the boot and we’re raring to go.
Design and Aesthetic: City Bikes
Imagine pedalling along the back streets of Broadway Market, pausing for a coffee and popping into Aesop. This is a portrait of the typical Tokyo Bike owner, effortlessly cool and elegant. The small, independent bicycle company was founded in 2002 in the quiet Tokyo suburb of Yanaka, Japan and the bikes are a real pleasure to ride in the city. Lovers of design will relish in the tokyobike Classic Sport (CS), a simple, lightweight city bike with 8 speeds. Tip: this is a classic commuter so steer clear from major hills and stick to flat land.
The VanMoof S3 is sleek, seamless and futuristic in design. Built for urban landscapes, it has electronic gear shifting and integrated anti-theft tech which means it’s essentially the Tesla of bikes. There’s an app for lock security and electrical assistance to power ahead. The evolution of e-bikes has made it easier to commute by bike and combat greater distances or hilly terrain. Some say electrical assistance is cheating, others call it efficiency.
If the classic vintage look is more your cup of tea, Diamant bicycles are a sturdy and stylish option fit for Parisian cobbled streets or Venice’s winding alleys. The Diamant Juna+ offers a swooping step-through frame and an upright seating position. This style is made for a laid-back and gentle amble along the Seine on a trip to the fromagerie at the edge of the Marais.
Pashley’s ‘Poppy’ bicycle is a city bike suited to short hops around town or meandering along country roads in the Médoc region on a tour of the sun-dappled vineyards and oyster farms. Even for a weightier Dutch design, the Poppy can tackle minor hills and the hub brakes ensure confident stopping in all types of weather.
Two words: peachy and practical. The Molly by Creme is smaller and lighter than a traditional “Dutch” and comes with a retro wicker basket. It’s made for balmy summer nights, preferably pictured against a scenic backdrop at sunset. Prepare for leisurely riverside rides, a bottle of Chablis tucked inside the basket.
Practicality: Hybrid Bikes
The Cannondale Quick 1 is a lightweight and nippy number that guarantees speed. The focus is more on functionality, making it a versatile all-rounder for enjoying a workout or a casual commute. A hybrid bike in a nutshell sits somewhere in between a road bike and mountain bike. Whether you’re cycling to the local supermarket or venturing a bit further out of town for a day trip, this could quite well be your go-to mode of transport for years to come.
A comfy saddle and a lightweight frame are just some of the many sleek components that make this bicycle a delightful and suave cruise to the farmer’s market and back. Plus, the sporty disc brakes and wide range of gears are an added bonus if getting fit is part of your summer vision. Pop a vintage pannier rack on the back for picnics and you’re good to go.
If you’re really serious about cycling and fitness, then the Specialized Sirrus 2.0 is a sturdy and adaptable option. Mini-adventures to waterfall grottos are likely to include the occasional hill or two but are worth the spectacular sunsets and holiday-worthy picnics. And when the world opens up, a Bavarian beer ride through the Aisch Valley.
Speed: Road Bikes
Engineered specifically for female riders, Liv has established itself as a renowned and trusted brand for women’s hybrid bikes. The Liv Avail SL Disc is made for epic solo adventures across the UK’s superb rural roads and remote villages, or more challenging group trips to laid-back reservoirs just outside the city.
The Cannondale Synapse is a necessity for, say, a London to Bath excursion. Endurance and some mighty tough components are part of the package and the race geometry places you in the ideal neutral position to ride harder for longer. Your legs and abs will thank you later.
The Allez has been a go-to for all types of riders for its smooth performance and improved geometry. A lighter bike can feel like floating, even when battling Bristol’s hellish hills. This bicycle is ideal for experienced riders who want an affordable training bike or fast commuter, or entry level riders who are looking for a bike that will take their riding to the next level. Allez-y !
A Dutch style step-through with a twist. The twist being a hidden Samsung battery that can take you up to 36-56 miles (58-90 km) to make riding effortless. If style and ease are a top priority, then this retro-inspired bicycle can be defined as a savvy and sophisticated investment.
Headgear, baskets, lights, panniers are just as important for the sartorial cyclist. Bobbin helmets are streamlined and lightweight, with a nod to all things retro. The rounded shape and adjustable dial at the back ensure ultimate comfort and fit. Helmets are primarily for protection but cycle chic brand Pure Electric has managed to converge safety with a signature 1960s look made from recyclable materials.