Stuff We Love: Cruiser Bikes
Posted by Toni in Sports + Recreation,Stuff We Love
Bikes have never been cuter - or more comfortable! (Image by ubrayj02)

From remakes of old skool flicks (including the recent redo of A Nightmare on Elm Street) to the return of skinny jeans and ballet flats, it seems everything old really is new again. Sometimes, as in the case of the latest trend in bicycling, this is a very good thing. Search for "retro" or "cruiser" and "bike," and your browser will display a two-wheeled blast from the past. I don't know about you, but my first thoughts when I first saw Tee's Craisglist score of an Electra "Twiggy" was: that seat looks COMFY!

Before I began bicycling regularly, I dreaded that first ride of the season because my butt would be sore afterward (even though I always recovered by the second or third ride). According to Tee, this isn't as much of an issue with the wider, springier (literally) cruiser bike seat. That was a big deal for her because getting back on a bike after many years can easily be discouraging if your butt is sore all the time. This style of seat also mitigates the "butt overflow" factor common with today's standard bike seats -- a nice boost for both comfort and self esteem.

Because road bikes tend to feel flimsy and intimidating to girls who haven't been on a bike in a long time, cruisers offer a bit of brawn to support a big girl who wants a leisurely riding experience. Cruiser bikes marvelously mesh mountain bike sturdiness with road bike agility while allowing riders to sit upright instead of hunching or leaning forward as riders do on more athletic styles. Plus, they look both cool and stylishly cute and come in fun, flirty colors like ivory, pink, and powder blue - and we know it never hurts to look adorable, even while bicycling.

Designed for recreational riding, cruisers are also less complicated to operate than bikes designed for distance or rugged terrain. They can handle city streets and a gravel country road equally well, making them a good transitional bike for those who want to move on to more athletic models at some point. There tend to be fewer gears and some models come with pedal braking systems, which might feel more familiar for more tentative riders to operate. Most major manufacturers like Schwinn and Trek and outfitters like REI offer cruisers in a range of prices, but don't forget to check Craigslist for gently used bikes - Tee found hers for a fraction of the retail price. Big box retailers like Target and Walmart also carry cruisers at lower prices, so there's something for just about any budget out there.

Tee says she loves all of the great comments she gets when she rides around the streets and trails of Reno. "Everywhere I go, people LOVE this bike and smile and wave and comment on it, which ends up feeling a lot better than the 'fat girl on a bike' looks I expected I might get." This is the perfect time of year for a leisurely ride and for getting out and looking cute - and cruisers offer us fat girls the perfect excuse to ride in safety and style. If you've been hesitant to try bicycling for a while, consider testing out a cruiser and seeing if you won't love one, too.

Girls, have you embraced the retro cruiser bike trend? Tell us what you think in comments. And if you find yourself jonesing for a new bike, check out the Fat Girl's Guide to Cycling for tips on getting started.