This is not really a list of bicycles. It is a list of the roles that bicycles need to play. Each bicycle will provide many of the below functions.
For example, my fixed-gear bicycle provides me with roles 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, and of course 13. My Univega cargo bike plays roles 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
I started thinking about this back when we started searching for a proper touring bike for me. Something that will allow us to take vacations, using our own power; which is to say, 4, 5, and 12. And it made me think of what I want from that bike, and what roles bicycles need to play. More on the touring bike later, of course! For now here is a list of bicycle functions to ponder.
1. Bicycle to haul a heavy-duty trailer and heavy loads.
2. Bicycle to haul a light-duty trailer containing children and/or pets.
3. Bicycle to carry children and/or pets, safely, in the rain, to a close destination. Like the vet’s.
4. Bicycle to go on long-distance trips, either with a destination (“vacation”) or just to ride for a long time (“bike touring”).
5. Bicycle to go bike-camping with (short, two-to-three day jaunts)
6. Bicycle to go to the library.
7. Bicycle to ride in the rain.
8. Bicycle that I can ride in regular shoes, for going to work, meetings, hikes, etc.
9. Bicycle that can be locked up for a long time in a high-crime area without looking too expensive and without being so expensive that it would be a terrible tragedy if it were in fact stolen. (“Beloved” not being equivalent to expensive.)
10. Bicycle to go to the grocery store/run errands when a trailer is not necessary.
11. Bicycle to go on day rides (20-100(+?) mi) for recreation/exercise/light errands. Light and fast.
12. Bicycle which can withstand dirt-road riding on certain long-distance trips and bike camping.
13. Bicycle equipped with a fixed-gear drivetrain.
What can your bike do? Is there something you need from a bicycle that is not listed here?