Wacky headline, yes, but it’s true. As the Financial Times reports about Graham Robb’s new book The Discovery of France, “the sale of 4 million bicycles before the first world war had a striking impact on French society.” See, the bike allowed men to travel much further—and find new, relatively exotic mates, which made their offspring less inbred, and taller. These days, dating apps serve much the same purpose. And yet, biking still rocks. More than half othe US population lives within five miles of their workplace, which is reason enough to get psyched about cycling. But in case you need some extra incentive, here are the latest badass bikes and pedaling pieces to get you going in style. Photo: iStock/bernardbodo
1. Expressway 1 (Giant, $600): Folding bikes are a city dweller's saving grace, and this one has everything you need to make sure you've got an uncomplicated commute. Its wide-range 8-speed Shimano trigger shifting and 20-inch wheels will help you weed through stop-and-go urban traffic, and its aluminum frame is lightweight enough to pick up and carry along in the train.
2. Epoch Collection Nordic Wood Helmet (Thousand, $115): Thousand tracks its green alternative materials back to their origins and only works with ethical manufacturers. The result: this rubberized matte finish nordic wood helmet with a moto trim and Secret PopLock magnetic locking system to stow your helmet with your parked bike. This one boasts a clean design that'll look as good as it feels snug on your head.
3. Priority Continuum Onyx (Priority, $999): The original silver Continuum sold out, so Priority came back to us with the next generation, upgraded Onyx edition—now available for pre-order, though it will begin shipping in late July. What's the hype all about? This bike marries style, simplicity and safety with a seamlessly shifting NuVinci rear hub, a Gates Carbon Drive belt that won't stain your clothes and Tektro Hydraulic disc brakes that allow you to start and stop smoothly. Plus, this edition boasts a front dynamo hub that will illuminate you at night without the need for batteries or recharging, 360-degree reflective logos and a USB-rechargeable rear light to increase visibility even more. This all-weather, all day-and-night ride makes for an easy roll through town.
4. DSP 1.8 mm Bar Tape (Lizard Skins, $42): Need a better grip? Feel the superior comfort of Lizard Skin's popular DSP tape in a 1.8 mm thickness. You'll get 82-inch rolls, which will be enough to wrap any handlebar. Plus, it weighs only 50 grams per set (including plugs), so it's the lightest tape on the market. No more sweaty slippage.
5. The Simpsons X State Bicycle Co. Color Block Bike (State, $499): You might expect an official bike paying tribute to The Simpsons to be completely over the top—but this 22-pound steel Simpsons X State Bicycle Co. color block bike is something else entirely. Its simple design boasts color block depictions of the main family members. For example, the top tube has blue, yellow, blue, red, yellow, white and yellow blocks representing Bart Simpson. It's equal parts clever and iconic.
6. Citizen Messenger Bag (Chrome, $140): This original, medium-sized messenger bag is big enough to store all of the random crap you lug to and from the office. Plus, it's equipped with a quick-release seatbelt buckle to easily slip it on and off. Besides, you really should be buckling up for your ride.
7. The Delite Tour E-Bike (Riese & Müller, about $6,200): Not all e-bikes are as badass as this one—equipped with a Bosch Performance CX motor and lightweight Shimano Deore XT 11-speed derailleur gear. The Control Technology with full suspension and the hydraulic Shimano disc brakes make for maximum safety whether you're riding through some fields or the concrete jungle.
8. Ovis Sneakers (DZR, $129): You never knew how badly you needed these sheepskin leather, mid-top sneakers in your life. They're designed to be simultaneously timeless and modern and, though they look nothing like your average cycling shoe, the Variable Flex shank technology and an elastic lace catch to keep laces away from your bike chain allow for some fancy footwork.
9. Raleigh Tourist Bike (Raleigh, $650): This utilitarian design is one of Raleigh's finest. Featuring a classic steel frame with heritage-style copper handlebars and a vintage coil sprung leather saddle, the Tourist is a step up from your everyday commuter—it's a nod to Raleigh bikes of the '40s, '50s and '60s. But its 3-speed Surmey Archer gearing and disc breaks will make sure it rides like a modern dime, through any conditions.