May is bike-to-work month -- have you gotten in the saddle yet? If the biggest obstacle is that beat-up, Reagan-era Schwinn collecting rust in your garage, read on. A shiny new bicycle or a reliable used one could be just what you need to make your daily commute cheaper and healthier. We asked the editors of Bicycling magazine for their suggestions for the best commuter bikes.
A reliable pre-owned bicycle
A used pair of wheels can provide a practical and financially sound commute across town. Bicycling magazine Gear Editor Andrew Bernstein says garage sales, flea markets and online classified listings are great places to search for a bike that won't deflate your wallet. If you own a "classic," regardless of its condition, take it to your local bike shop. Most bike mechanics will take clunkers in exchange for shop credit. Once you find a fit, Bernstein says, check the bike for damage like cracks in the frame, missing or broken brakes, and bent wheels. If everything looks good, take the bike out for a test spin to ensure it's comfortable and matches the kind of riding you want to do, Bernstein advises. After you buy a used bike, have your local bike shop inspect its brakes and tune-up its drivetrain. "Then," Bernstein says, "you'll be ready to ride."