If you’re in the market for a commuter bicycle, be on the lookout for the collapsible, theft-deterrent Biomega Boston. The Biomega Boston features a cable that locks into place as a structural part of the frame. In order for the bicycle to function, a key is inserted into a lock that keeps the cable taut and firm; without the key, the cable is slack and the frame collapses. The bike, once the cable is slack, can be folded for easy storage in the office or at home. (If a would-be thief cuts the cable, the bicycle is rendered unrideable via collapsing frame. For the owner of the bicycle, though, the cable can be replaced to restore function — although the ease of repair and theftproofness is debatable.)
The design of the Biomega Boston is so cool and innovative that it’s on display in the current San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exhibit 246 and Counting: Recent Architecture + Design Acquisitions. (When I came across it during a recent museum trip, the key was in the lock and I was half-tempted to grab the bike off the open display board and ride away. I’m guessing, though, that I might not have made it very far — and my museum membership would most certainly have been revoked!)
Biomega offers other lightweight but sturdy models that are popular with commuters and bicycle design aficionados. Keep in mind, though, that in aggressively hilly cities like San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, the limited number of gears typically on a commuter bicycle may not be enough (unless you enjoy consistently walking your bike up steep hills). If your commute involves a lot of ups and downs, I recommend investing in a bike with at least 18 speeds, and practice shifting gears effectively to ascend and descend those hills with ease.