This Canadian winter was one of the warmest and driest since Environment Canada started keeping track some 65 years ago. For doomsayers, the unseasonably warm temperatures were proof of global warming: catastrophic climate change caused, in part, by carbon emissions from fossil-fuel burning cars. For others, the promise of year round warm weather, meant only one thing: a never-ending cycling season.
That’s not a debate that we’d touch with a rooster-shaped weather vane, but with spring in full swing, there is no better time to park the car. Whether you are a weekend warrior, a crazy commuter or a busy parental peddler, splash out on one of these slick rides, you’ll burn some of that pesky winter belly fat, save a few bucks, and who knows, you might even save the planet.
For the Downhill Daredevil: Trek 9.9
A lack of snow is a drag for skiers, but not so for downhill mountain bike enthusiasts. Every summer, when ski hills transform into dirt tracks, fearless mountain bikers hit big air over boulders and navigate hidden stumps and switchbacks, in a death-defying race against the clock. Weighing in at a mere 35lbs, this carbon-framed Trek 9.9 is the lightest off-the-shelf downhill bike available, and has the moxie to get you to the bottom in record time. $8 930
For the City Commuter: Brompton
Don’t be turned off by its strange appearance, this West London built Brompton is the ultimate ride for the city commuter. The inspired design allows you to fold it up in seconds to roll it on and off public transit, store under the table when popping in for a pint on a patio and keep safely out of out of reach of devious bike thieves. $1 230
For the Fashion Forward: Linus Roadster Classic
American bike company Linus says French and Italian cinema from the ’50s and ’60s inspired the design of its Roadster Classic. We’re not sure what that means, but this affordable single-speed cruiser is the perfect accessory for skinny-jean-wearing hipsters who want a ride that is both simple and stylish. $550
For The Cargo Carrier: The Big Babboe
The problem with being cyclist is that every time you want to go to big-box store, you have to rent a car. The Big Babboe — built in Holland, of course — is the SUV of bicycles. The three-wheeled ride features a front bucket sturdy enough to transport groceries, flat-packed Swedish furniture and up to four pint-sized passengers. It’s not cheap, but with world-wide gas shortage predicted to top $1.50 per liter this summer, a cargo bike such as the Big Babboe is a wise investment. $2 300
For the Jedi Knight: Prius X Parlee (PXP) (pictured)
When Toyota tapped bicycle builder Bob Parlee to design a ride that encapsulates the spirit of its Prius line of cars, his response was the groundbreaking PXP. The lightweight racing bike features Parlee’s signature aerodynamic and eco-friendly design, but changes the game with an innovative gearing system.
It works like this. Riders don a helmet equipped with neuro-headset that links to an iPhone app that uses “thought-sensitive” technology to control the derailleur; the rider simply thinks about shifting gears, and the bike responds. It’s futuristic stuff and the PXP is a few years away from mass production, but when it was unveiled at this year’s SXSW conference in Austin Texas, Toyota and Parlee proved that when intelligent humans collaborate for the greater good, anything is possible. Priceless
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Image courtesy of Toyota.