Think you need to break the bank to get into bicycle commuting? Think again! Most people already have a bike sitting in their garage, so as long as it’s in proper working order, it’ll certainly do the trick. Then, add a few key items to make your ride to work a safe and enjoyable one, and you’re all set!
Below is a no-nonsense list of all the equipment you’ll need. Depending on the length of your commute, you may only need a few things listed or you may need them all. Whatever you needs, make sure you get yourself the first three on the list – we consider them must-haves when hitting the street on your bike.
1. Helmet – Likely the most important piece of cycling equipment you’ll ever buy, helmets are a no brainer. Don’t take chances with your head; it’s just not worth it, especially since today’s helmets are very inexpensive, fit great, and look good too!
2. Lock – Most people don’t have the luxury of parking their bike inside while at work or school, so good lock is a must. Unfortunately, bicycle theft is a problem that isn’t going away, so protecting your bike with a secure lock is a great idea. Locks come in all different shapes and sizes, with combination or keyed locks. And for prices as low as $9.99, buying one is a pretty easy choice.
3. Lights – With commutes sometimes starting in the early morning hours and ending when the sun is setting, keeping yourself visible is a must! At the minimum, riders should have a white blinking light at the front of their bikes with a red flashing light in the back. Headlights are a inexpensive add-on, and greatly increase visibility while riding in darker conditions.
4. Fenders – Don’t let a little rain stop you from hitting the road in the morning on your bike. Fenders do an amazing job of keeping water and road grime off you and your bike. With prices starting as low as $10, fenders are an easy add-on that go a long way to making your ride to work loads more enjoyable.
5. Basic tool kit – Just like cars, bikes sometimes break down. Unlike cars though, fixing your bike is usually quick and easy when you have the right tools. A simple multi-tool, flat tire kit (tube, patch kit, tire levers), and pump/co2 pump are usually all you need to get your bike back up and running.
6. Rain gear – Like a bike, most people have a rain jacket in the closet. Perfect! Use that! There’s no need to purchase bike specific outerwear for a short commute. As long as what you wear fits snuggly and doesn’t impede your ability to ride a bike, it’ll be great.
7. Backpack / bike bag – Almost everyone has stuff they need to bring to work, and finding a way to carry it all on your bike is actually pretty easy. There are hundreds of different bags, racks, or packs you can outfit your bike or yourself with to get your personal items to work. Our shop mechanic Pete even found a bag to carry home his weekly selections of new vinyl records from the Inner Sleeve! From lunches to laptops to business suits, theres a bag out there to carry your items while on your bike.