We’re going to start this one off with a disclaimer: we know everyone has their own personal preferences that work for their specific needs and commute, so please don’t shout at us in the comments if you prefer something different to what we suggest. Saying that, we know Glasgow and we know bikes, so this is our guide to building the ideal Glasgow commuter bike.
One of the questions we get asked a lot is “what is the best type of bike for commuting?”. Now this can be a really personal question, as depending on the route and distance you commute, your body’s dimensions, and your budget, the type of bike that’s best for your commute is very specific to you. In general, we don’t actually mind what type of bike you choose, but we would recommend you stay away from something with really skinny tyres, as they generally don’t cope well with the rough Glasgow roads (read: potholes!). Make sure that whatever bike you choose, it fits well and you feel comfortable with it, as you’re not going to ride a bike you don’t find comfortable.
Let’s state the obvious here – it rains a lot in Glasgow. Even when its not actually raining, the road surface is often wet in the city, so good mudguards are absolutely essential to keep your bum dry! We recommend fitting full-length mudguards (either plastic or metal is fine), ideally with flaps, which should fit close to the tyre to reduce spray.
We recommend a simple drivetrain on your chosen bike, as this tends to last longer and is cheaper to maintain. An 8-speed chain and cassette is a good choice for commuting, or a single speed chain with an internal gear hub can also be a sensible option as this is a simple system and so tends to last longer without need for maintenance.
We’re coming out of winter now and leaving the long dark nights behind (for now), but it is still really important that you have good lights on your bike. There is a lot of choice around types of lights, integrated or clip-on, battery operated or USB-chargeable. Whatever you choose, make sure they are bright and visible, and that you always have enough charge in them to get you home. Consider having a secondary light, particularly on the rear, as a back-up. Please do not ever use helmet lights as your only source of illumination when riding! Currently we are loving the Kryptonite F250 light, our Fiona has been using it all winter to commute on country back roads and we can confirm that it is hella bright! We have a range of Kryptonite lighting systems available in stock at Glasgow Bike Hive.
Hopefully you found this guide to building your Glasgow commuter bike useful! If you have anything you’d like to add, or questions you’d like to ask, feel free to do so in the comments (please be civil about it though!). Happy cycling!