I can’t begin to count the number of hours I’ve spent in a bike saddle over the past decade — but I can tell you that my most recent rides have been a whole different level of fun.
It all started this spring in Venice, Calif., when I flew out for a media day with Cannondale as they released their newest bike: The Treadwell.
It’s not a cruiser, and it’s not a roadie. With a super lightweight but durable frame, wide, grippy tires, and 9-speed Shimano shifters, it falls somewhere in between.
That’s by design. This bike was created to be the perfect choice for any day, anywhere, as part of anyone’s healthy, active life. You can take it on an easy cruise with a group of friends down the boardwalk to Santa Monica for lunch (which we did), and it’ll give you a smooth, stable, enjoyable ride on all kinds of terrain. But, if you’re looking for a pony that can really take you places — and maybe take the place of your car on occasion — it’s totally up to the task as a commuter bike that’ll cover serious ground with speed and comfort and responsiveness to spare.
And you can trust me when I say that, because I’ve been testing out the Treadwell EQ at home. My plan is to dedicate a month in the near future to biking rather than driving, but given the heat and daily thunderstorms we have all summer long here in Florida, I’ve opted to do that a little later in the year — and if you’re a dedicated bike commuter, I’d love and and all tips you care to share!
But, in the meantime, let me tell you a little bit more about the Treadwell, because, you know the way it felt to ride a bike when you were a kid? All fun and free and full of possibility? That’s what this bike evokes, and I’m loving it.
Lightweight durability: The frame is lightweight aluminum, which makes riding it up even the steepest hill a breeze, and picking it up? No problem whatsoever. But you don’t sacrifice a bit of sturdiness for it, so riding it on rough surfaces is no big deal — not something I’d say about my road bike.
Easy-ride geometry: You know how some bikes have you sitting straight up, while others feel like you’ve gotta bend way over? Cannondale took care to combine a low standover height with an easy reach to the handlebars (which have a great grip, btw), so that both new and advanced cyclists will feel comfortable hopping on and taking off.
Wheel sensor and Cannondale app: Listen up, because this is SUPER cool. The Treadwell comes with a wheel sensor, which tracks every ride automatically. It also features a new Intellimount stem so that you can mount your phone, which, when you connect it to the sensor using the Cannondale app, gives you a live dashboard showing your speed, distance, calories burned, and even carbon emissions saved.
But wait — that’s not even my favorite part! The app and sensor also work together to track maintenance needs, so when it’s time for a tune up, you’ll get an alert telling you exactly what needs doing. Not only is that great in terms of helping you to actually keep your bike in great shape, but if you’re not completely comfortable with bike lingo, it’ll also enable you to go into your local bike shop and feel confident you know exactly what you need. Plus, it has all your manuals pre-loaded, including curated video content on things like changing out flat, as well as a virtual tool to give you more insight into their tech.
Three models, three sizes, two frame options, loads of colors: There are three Treadwell options ranging from $635 (for the Treadwell 3) to $735 (for the Treadwell 2) up to $950 (for the Treadwell EQ, which includes extras like alloy fenders and a front rack with bamboo deck). I’m riding the Treadwell EQ at home — the fenders are key when you’re in an area that gets as much rain as I do, and since I’m using it so often to commute, having that front rack available to hold a couple of bags is a huge help. But I got to experience the Treadwell 3 in Venice, and I adored it — not only because of the sparkly red color, although that might’ve been a factor.
Considering most of us would like to live an active life while doing our part for the environment, doesn’t it make sense to have a bike that makes choosing to cycle as fun (and safe) as possible? I’m the first to admit that this is a bit of a splurge, but after riding the Treadwell, I don’t know how I could go back to something less comfortable or stable as my go-to commuter. I’m ruined! —Kristen