Green Scene Gear: Novara Carema Pro

a fast, stable commuter perfect for bike to work month
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a fast, stable commuter perfect for bike to work month

As May is National Bike Month, and there are a couple of days this month that are being called National Bike to Work Day (there seems to be some disagreement as to which day it is), this week in Green Scene gear, we're profiling at an outstanding commuter ride. REI's Novara Strada (men's) and Carema Pro (women's) are performance commuter bikes--stable, swift, and solid at speed or when you're stopping and starting. Some aluminum frames can feel zippy at first, but after 20, 50 or 100 miles can be jolting. Not these bikes. The carbon fiber fork is stiff enough that you can get up to speed fast even from a dead stop at a traffic light, and the fork transfers energy when you're climbing, but it also absorbs road shock, which means no sore shoulders at the end of the day. Shimano 105 shifters, brakes, derailleurs and 10-cog cassette and FSA Vero triple crankset are reliable, dependable, and precise even when you're shifting on a steep climb. The Strada/Carema Pro has eyelets welded into the frame for fenders or a racks depending on the weather you anticipate and what you need to transport. On the road, its smooth, and it hugs the road in a way that will make even new riders feel confident. It's not the fastest bike on the market, but an exceptional choice for bike to workers who also want to click off miles on weekend or after work rides. Unfortunately, the only thing that's green about this bike is that you'll be riding not driving. Though there are bamboo bikes, we haven't had a chance to ride one, and so far, we haven't heard of any bikes made from recycled aluminum. New to bike commuting? REI's Bike your Drive page has loads of tips . Novara Strada and Carema Pro, $1149, rei.com.

-Berne Broudy