Moreover, riding bicycles allows you to explore anything interesting en route and get a more local feel while connecting the major points of interest in any big city or neighborhood.
The question is: Which bicycle is best for you? Choosing a bike can be confusing, but we’ve narrowed it down to what kind of riding you plan to do, your lifestyle and your budget.
How to choose your bike
The most important thing to consider is the purpose of your rides. Are you planning to use your bike only to get to the supermarket or the station? Then perhaps a trusty mama-chari (mom’s bike) is the right bike for you. Regarding your lifestyle, road bikes are a better match if you’re looking to get more fit and cover longer distances.
Next, think about your budget. Second-hand shops in your area or Sayonara sales groups on Facebook might yield something reasonable, but this is usually a hit-or-miss situation. On the other hand, buying brand new gives you the luxury of choice. Mama-charis are the cheapest option, with single-speed bikes starting at ¥20,000. Depending on the brand, road bikes in Japan are around ¥80,000. Some of them are even on par with the price of a motorcycle.
Types of bikes
While there are tons of other types of bikes from single-speed city bikes to custom steel models, we round up the four of the most common types you’ll see on the road.
If you only plan to use your bike to ride short distances to your local supermarket or train station, consider a mama-chari. A mama-chari is Japanese slang for “mom’s bike,” which is basically who they’re built for. If you see a mom carting a kid around on a bicycle, it’s a mama-chari. It’s also one of the most common types of bikes you’ll see while walking the streets of Japan.
Mama-charis provide the convenience of carrying your groceries, helping you bring your kids to kindergarten and making short commutes. These bikes are popular because they are great for running errands. Typically equipped with a basket, they can be further customized to add up to two children’s seats.
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