Are hybrid bikes good for long distance cycling? The simple answer is yes. That said, you do not want to try and conquer an around the world cycle on a $100 hybrid bought from a supermarket.
That is not to say the bike would not make it. It probably won’t but it could. If it did make it, you would probably have had to carry out many repairs on it. The journey would also be pretty uncomfortable.
One of the best things about hybrids is that as they often come set up for commuters, with features that can be great for long distance riding or touring. Often, hybrids will come with fenders and panniers racks, and if they don’t, they will have the mounts for them.
Defending Your Honor
Fenders make cycling so much more enjoyable. If it is raining, you are only getting soaked from above. Spray from the road is being caught by your fenders. Your toes will appreciate this. Without fenders, you will be amazed how quickly your toes get cold and wet.
The fenders will also be saving your bike from spray. Your headset and bottom bracket will be relieved by this. They are the two most common bearings to get damaged by water ingress, especially your lower headset bearing. Your headset bearings are the parts at the front of your bike frame that the fork passes through to connect with your stem. Your bottom bracket is the area where your pedals pass through.
Losing Your Bearings
Headset bearings are very small and will quickly rust over, ruining a trip almost overnight. Fenders are worth their weight in gold to save you from the hassle of rusty bearings. Something you always want from a hybrid bike is reliability.
The other thing you want from a hybrid bike is comfort. That is certainly something you will get over a road bike. A road bike takes time to get acclimated to. Your hybrid bike is almost a case of just jump on and go. Comfort is the factor that makes them great for the majority of people who want to do long distance.
The reason they are comfortable is that they put you in a much more upright position than you would get on a road bike and even a touring bike. Sitting upright allows you to relax as your ride as you are not in a stressed position. Your lower back is going to enjoy a hybrid bike than a road bike way more.
The upright position also allows you to see the world. Surely seeing the world around you on your journey is more important than being in a “fast” position like on a road bike. By sitting upright, you will not be missing those small moments that tell a lifetime of tales.
Adventure Is Just Bad Planning
Seeing the world means you can look down that little road as you came to it and decided whether to venture off your trail. All adventures start with these small decisions, and it is easier to make at a more sedate pace. You should also be more visible to car drivers, and we all want a bit of safety.
As well as the comfortable position, hybrid bikes can also fit wider tires than you get with road bikes. Wider tires not only offer you increased grip but they also hold more volume. This volume brings you shock-absorbing qualities.
You will feel much less road buzz with a good set of wide hybrid tires. If you want a little more comfort and can sacrifice speed, then let some air out and feel the difference as you ride. The bike will feel great as rolls over chattery ground, your wrists and hands feeling none of it.
Tired of the Road
These tires will also generally let you go slightly off-road as well. If you see that nice gravel road, old railway line, or rickety path, you can feel free to let your sense of adventure take you off down a new route. You might also experience less traffic on these rougher routes. The road less traveled so to speak.
The pannier racks I mentioned earlier are also great. It means you can fit pannier bags to your bike, the bags that look like little briefcases you will have seen stuck on commuters’ bikes. These racks mean that you can carry a lot of items with you.
There should be no need to go home because you forgot something. You can literally take the kitchen sink with you. You can take a tent, clothes, tools, food, even a laptop. Hybrids are constructed to carry all of this weight.
Hybrid bike construction also means they tend to favor bombproof parts over the latest fashion trend in cycling. You can be sure everything on your bike will be reliable.
More Reliable Than Public Transport
Reliability is more likely to allow you to enjoy your adventure than the latest piece of carbon fiber wizardry. Trust me, you don’t want to be standing in the middle of nowhere with a broken rear mech. You want your bike to be strong and last long distances.
Sometimes this means you will not have the ‘coolest looking’ bike. You will get some nodding of heads from people who do not care about fashion but just want to ride bikes. At the end of the day that is the fun part: riding bikes.
That is why a hybrid is fantastic for long distance riding. Hybrids are reliable, they are affordable, and they are comfortable. These are the basic requirements you need for cycling long distances. Don’t worry about the naysayers. Jump on your trusty steed and go see every corner of the glorious country where you live.