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Beach Cruiser Bicycles - Choices and a Little History

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Do you ever get to the beach and think about how nice it is to take a bike ride.  Having a pleasurable ride on a Beach Cruiser Bicycle is a fine way to explore the beach front.  Or do you have a bit of nostalgia and remember those cruisers from when you were a kid.  Let's take a look at the latest cruiser bicycles out there.


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A Little History


Cruiser Bicycles have had a bit of an up and down and up history.


Was this an early tandem cruiser?


They took off in the 1930’s and 1940's, becoming quite popular for general use.  Names like Schwinn and Mead Cycle Company were well known with these style bikes.  Their popularity escalated in the 1950's with many competing manufacturers emerging.  The cruiser’s popularity though was on a steep decline starting in the late 1950’s with coming of multi-geared bikes along with lighter materials that offered different styles of riding.

Music in the Wind


In the 1960's they became relegated to the beach and became embraced by the beach crowd in the 1970’s.  After somewhat of a lull, past reminiscence and new designs brought the cruisers on the up again with and with more variations such as low riders, motorcycle style, and more recently the offshoot comfort bike.


Cruiser Styles


Generally, the cruiser is characterized by balloon tires, large and comfortable seat, single gear, and upright seating.  They can be quite stylish reflecting the local scene.  New Cruisers are also advertised with the multi-speed option, but still have the look of the originals.  Cruisers come either with back pedal braking or with hand brakes.

Courtesy Tony Alter


Cruisers are usually a heavier bike, they typically weigh from 30 to 40 lbs, but after putting on accessories you can quickly add another 10 lbs or so.  As they are not designed for racing, you likely won’t notice those few extra pounds on a relatively flat surface.  Same won’t be true for an uphill climb, that’s when the multi-speed is really needed.


Many of these bikes come with fenders, and that sure is nice to have if going over a wet area.  My road bike doesn’t have fenders and some days I’ll have a nice streak up my back after a wet ride.

Some also have rear frames for putting on panniers, saddle bags, or carrying a bulky item or two.





What is a great thing about cruisers is they are priced from aournd $100 on up.  There is great variety and cruisers, especially in the single gear with back pedal braking, are a low maintenance item.  26” and 24” frame sizes are readily available, and even up to 32” are out there for the tall rider.




Just what the name implies, beach cruisers are wonderful for adding accessories such as baskets, carry bags, speakers, drink holders, lights - back and front, bike racks, bike covers, smart phone and  digital device holders, air pumps, and bells/ringers.   



As with any bike, good maintenance will ensure years of enjoyment and safe travels.  As many of the bikes have steel or thin chrome plating that may be subject to rust, drying them off after a ride helps keep the appearance.  Keep chains lubricated, tires inflated, check brakes for wear and make sure any battery powered lights have batteries and working bulbs or diodes.


The Beach Cruiser


If you are older, go back and enjoy life on a cruiser and if your younger, experience the fun of a beach cruiser ride.  Its meant, as the name implies, for cruising and having a pleasurable outing.  And if you don’t have one, and are not ready to get one, consider renting one, especially at the beach.

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