Find the right ride for you (and tote your stuff in style)
If you: Have a two-part commute that combines a bike plus a train (or subway), ferry, or car ride
You need: A folding bike that rolls and handles well, whether over city streets or into a car trunk or an empty corner of a morning commuter train.
One to try: The Tikit Model T ($999) comes from Oregon-based Bike Friday, a leader in the folding-bike industry. The Model T compacts in about 6 seconds, has 8 speeds, and, at 24 pounds, is light enough to maneuver easily.
If you: Ride long distances on paved roads
You need: Something sleek and spare that’s built to arrow over the road and up and down hills.
One to try: Santa Fe’s Luna Cycles are made by women for women who ride. Consider the Eclipse (from $3,075) an investment in your fitness: The lightweight steel machine is custom-built to your dimensions.
If you: Ride any distance on rugged roads or trails
You need: A mountain bike capable of sure-footed escapes down dirt trails. Good models have suspension and can stop on a dime.
One to try: Specialized’s Myka HT Sport Disc ($610) features front suspension, as well as carlike disc brakes that are unfazed by mud. The swoopy aluminum frame feels athletic under you.
If you: Don’t want to leave the kids behind
You need: A bicycle that makes it easy to tow a trailer.
One to try: Marin Bikes builds plenty of hauling capability into its 24-speed San Anselmo ($700), and it can be fit with fenders to keep the road spray off you and your little ones. Hook up the Burley D’lite ST trailer ($599), which carries two children, converts into a stroller, and comes in two color schemes.
If you: Don’t have a car
You need: A bicycle that thinks it’s a station wagon.
One to try: Oakland’s Xtracycle’s Radish ($1,199) indeed looks like no other two-wheeler. It’s about a foot longer than a regular bike, with room on the back for accessories ― from a rack and bags to a kayak hauler. Chauffeur a kid, pick up your pizza, or roll home with three potted plants.
Field-tripping with Fido: The European Market Basket ($57) from Cynthia’s Twigs carries what you and your dog need.
The basket has a 20-pound capacity and can be outfitted with a pooch-friendly pillow ($11), harness ($11), and liner ($19).
Scoring bargain buys: Garage sales and the Carrie bicycle basket ($69) go well together.
The classy-kitsch plastic-and-metal container easily detaches from your handlebars, and incorporates a shoulder strap for hands-free shopping. zincdetails.com
Lugging your stuff: The San Francisco–designed Timbuk2 Limited Edition SF Grid Classic Messenger ($135 for medium) easily stows a coffee mug, books, and gym clothes.
Foraging at the farmers' market: The Wald 582 rear folding baskets (from $44 per pair) can collapse snugly when you’re riding without a load.
Pedaling to a picnic: Constructed of leather, waxed-cotton, and brass, the Nigel Smythe Big Box ($235) looks great on any blanket and provides plenty of room for sandwich fixings and wine. rivbike.com