Long gone may be the days you could pull off having playing cards in the spokes of your tires. Nevertheless, every bicycle commuter still needs the right bicycle commuting gear so you feel comfortable and safe for the ride.
Whether you’re commuting for the health benefits, to save money on gas, or time looking for a parking space, a happy ride starts with the basics. These may vary by the bike or trike you ride and your route. Keep in mind whether your commute is on a road bike, mountain bike, cruiser, recumbent, or trike…your choice of cycle may determine which bicycle commuting gear is most important for you.
The basic bicycle commuting gear “kit” includes:
- a helmet,
- water bottle, and
- reflective clothing and/or lights to ensure safety and visibility on the road. If you are on a trike or recumbent bicycle that sits lower to the ground, you may want to consider getting a flag to increase your visibility.
right clothing will make the experience more pleasant and feasible to do. The top three considerations when selecting clothing are:
Will it keep me warm and/or cool?
Will it keep me dry?
Will I be seen?
The level of warmth you are seeking will vary by climate and external conditions. It’s best to consider layering clothing as you will probably warm up from exerting effort during the ride.
4. Layering will help keep your core body temperature consistent. The three typical components of layering consist of:
Always be safe by wearing a bicycle helmet. Choose one that’s comfortable and fits you correctly so you’ll want to wear it.
- A close-to-skin layer that will wick away moisture. Visit a quality sporting goods store for suggestions.
- An insulating middle layer
- Waterproof or wind breaking outer layer to shield from additional elements
- If you’re not sure about the forecast, it’s best to go with a breathable waterproof or wind resistant jacket for your outer layer. Many pants are now made of a similar material, but can double as dressier clothes, and can be zipped off into shorts or short sleeves. Cycling- specific jackets often have sleeves cut for forward riding or lean, and have a large hood that can fit over a helmet.
- Bright, easily visible outer layer. It’s very important that you be seen, so wear a bright (florescent yellow/orange/green, or red, yellow, orange) outer layer – either a shell or a vest will do the job.
- A pant strap helps keep your cuffs out of the bicycle gears. They are relatively inexpensive and can save a pair of pants
- shoes and socks are equally important. Nothing feels worse than being stuck with uncomfortable feet for the day. Wool socks are surprisingly versatile for winter and summer riding as they wick away sweat and moisture, dry quickly, and insulate from the cold, even when wet. There is a large variety of cycling shoes on the market today. For the commuter or casual rider, consider a hybrid style that acts as cycling shoe but looks more like a “street shoe” that can be worn walking around outside or in the office. However, “fancy” biking shoes are not necessary for effective, efficient cycle commuting.5. fenders are the final accessory for a bicycle commuter who plans to ride in all sorts of weather. Fenders are wheel covers that prevent your tires from kicking up water, mud or anything else in your path. Fender sizes are listed in relation to your wheel size in the form of diameter x width.6. cargo carrying capacity – Your commute will likely involve some additional cargo carrying, whether it’s a portfolio, lunch, laptop, or change of clothes. A quality backpack or messenger bag can be used for lighter loads. A set of panniers can do the trick, too. With panniers, it’s important to try to balance your load, or, at least, be ready to manage the bike or trike based on how the panniers are weighted. Then, of course, if you want a boost AND be able to carry cargo, the Ridekick power trailer is an excellent solution!7. basic set of bike tools will help keep you going if anything breaks down along the way. These can include wrenches, tire levers, a patch kit, etc. and can be purchased prepackaged for you. Whether you carry a patch kit or spare tube, you will want to get air back in your flat tire, so we recommend having a small frame pump that can easily fit in a bag.8. The last and probably most essential bicycle commuting gear is a set of toothpicks. “Toothpicks?” you may ask, and any Ridekick team member will tell you, “Of course! To pick out the bugs from your smile!” There are many benefits you can enjoy when you commute by bike. The average person will lose 13 pounds in the first year of riding to work, gain 3-14 months of life, and, of course, the joy that comes from leading a happier, healthier life.