Commuter Bike Equipment & Gear

by jpc_touring-bicycle

The value of fuel. Well being and health. Enjoyable. Local weather change. There are a whole lot of good causes for contemplating bike commuting as an alternative choice to your automobile and even mass transit. To get began, you may wish to take into account the bike itself plus a wide range of gear choices that vary from important to handy. Listed here are the issues to contemplate to your subsequent commute.


Selecting a Bike for Your Commute


Know Your Priorities

There is no one sort of bike that is greatest for commuting. It relies on the terrain, the street situations, the space, your private choice and aesthetics. (Hey, all of us wish to look good, even whereas pedaling.) The most effective bike is the one that you simply like and can journey. 

If you have already got bike that you have not ridden shortly, take into account taking it to your nearest REI bike store for a tune-up or to get recommendation on what you would possibly must get it in good working order. When you’re contemplating shopping for a motorbike for commuting, listed here are some issues to contemplate:

Commuter/city bike:

Professionals: Primarily based on mountain-bike geometry for a relaxed, upright driving place; alloy body to reduce weight and maximize power effectivity; usually contains rear rack for panniers or a rack trunk.
Issues: Will not be as rugged as a mountain bike nor as modern and lightweight as street bike, so you might want a second bike to take pleasure in both exercise.


Professionals:  Good commuting alternative for many who must deal with hilly routes, lengthy distances or the logistics of arriving sweaty at your vacation spot. Can carry heavier hundreds, making straightforward to haul groceries or run errands throughout the day. Clean, comfy journey.
Issues: Heavier weight makes it more difficult to hold up stairs if storage is a consideration; battery requires charging.

Street bike:

Professionals: Light-weight; slim tires for decreased rolling resistance; quick; appropriate for any size of commute.
Issues: Street tires are typically extra inclined to flats; stiff journey is energy-efficient however not as relaxed and comfy as some alternate options; not appropriate in case your commute entails driving on unpaved trails or singletrack.

Mountain bike:

Professionals: Wider tires for a secure, well-balanced journey; flat handlebars for extra comfy, upright driving place that is extra seen in visitors; tires are usually extra proof against flats than street tires; adapts simply to any street or off-road commuting situations.
Issues: Heavier, with larger rolling resistance than street bikes (that is extra of an element on lengthy commutes).


What to Put on to Bike Commute

a person biking in city


It is Good to Be Comfy

You do not want particular garments to be a motorbike commuter. But when your commute is lengthy, investing in some biking shorts with chamois padding could make the journey much more nice. Bike liner shorts are fashionable choices as a result of they are often worn beneath your avenue or work garments; they supply padding whereas serving to to regulate sweat. Shorts can be found in each the modern, body-hugging road-racing model or the looser, laid again mountain-bike model. A moisture-wicking prime can also be a sensible choice. It should assist preserve you cool and dry when it is heat.

Defend Your Head

By no means get in your bike with out first strapping on a helmet. Even essentially the most skilled rider can take an surprising spill. Your helmet could be the distinction between a number of scrapes and bruises and critical, even life-threatening, accidents.

A helmet liner provides a welcome layer of heat on chilly rides. It may possibly additionally create a extra comfy match to your helmet, preserve sweat from rolling into your eyes and supply UV safety.


Plan on Getting Moist

For many commuters, an funding in a water-resistant, breathable jacket and pants and neoprene shoe covers makes the journey to and from work an entire lot extra comfy (and more healthy). Even fair-weather-only bike commuters needs to be ready for a shock rain bathe.


Fingers and Ft

Biking gloves should not a style assertion. The padded palms take in street vibration, decreasing hand and arm fatigue. Additionally they shield your fingers from abrasion within the occasion of a fall. In heat climate, fingerless gloves are a preferred possibility. Because the climate cools, change to full-finger kinds, together with waterproof and insulated variations, when wanted.

The kind of footwear you choose relies on the sort of bike you are driving, and whether or not it has clipless pedals, toe clips or platform pedals. If in case you have platform (flat) pedals, you may put on no matter footwear you need. Sneakers designed for biking have inflexible or semi-rigid soles. This ensures that the power of your leg stroke drives cleanly via the pedal. (Mushy-soled footwear diffuse that power, contributing to foot and leg fatigue.)

For extra info, see the REI Skilled Recommendation article, How you can Select Bike Sneakers.


Eye Safety

Relying on climate and commute occasions, your journey to work might current completely different gentle situations than your journey residence. Sun shades with interchangeable lenses allow you to modify accordingly and preserve an optimum view of the route forward. Lighter-colored lenses assist to reinforce distinction when its cloudy, and within the low gentle of daybreak or nightfall. Darker polarized lenses cut back solar glare and eye pressure.


Important Commuting Gear

person putting laptop in bike pannier


Tire Restore Gear

When you journey lengthy sufficient, you are finally going to have a flat tire. So learn to change or restore a tube and at all times carry the next:

Spare tube or tubes (and/or patch equipment)
Mini-pump (or CO2 cylinder)
Tire levers
Biking multi-tool (with Allen wrenches)

For tube-changing directions, see the REI Skilled Recommendation article and video, How you can Repair a Flat Tire on Your Bike.


Packs and Panniers

Except your commute is brief and your work surroundings informal, you might want to hold a set of garments, perhaps a towel and any work-related supplies that come and go along with you. Your gear-carrying choices:


Professionals: Most capability; the only option should you journey a couple of bike (it goes with you, with none {hardware}); least irritating on bike and driving mechanics; accessible in hydration fashions.
Cons: Can improve your sweating, although some kinds are designed to reduce this; messenger-style packs do not at all times keep behind you, inflicting shifting weight. Carrying weight in your physique, versus the bike body, can improve fatigue.

Handlebar bag and rack trunks:

Professionals: Simply accessible; they preserve again and shoulders free from any weight.
Cons: Restricted capability; handlebar luggage can hinder different equipment, reminiscent of a light-weight, bike laptop or GPS unit. Carrying weight on the entrance can impact the dealing with of the bike.


Professionals: They preserve again and shoulders free from any weight. You possibly can take them with you into the workplace. They’re going to usually preserve the burden of your stuff decrease on the middle gravity of the bike for extra stability.
Cons: Smaller capability than backpacks; added weight and stress on rear wheel; can impede your pedal stroke; mixture of rear rack and pannier luggage improve wind drag.

Underseat Bag:

Professionals: A handy solution to carry spare tube, patches and restore instruments. For minimalist commuting, add your keys, telephone and pockets; bigger luggage can maintain a light-weight rain shell; decreased wind drag.
Cons: Very restricted capability; cannot carry a change of garments or different gadgets; pump would must be hooked up to bike individually.


Lights and Reflectors

Lights (entrance and rear) are invaluable at evening and advisable on wet days or different marginable-light conditions. For brief distances alongside brightly lit streets, a cheap gentle system might serve your wants. However should you journey a larger distance or the place lighting is poor or variable, then a high-quality halogen system is nicely well worth the funding.

Along with entrance, again and facet reflectors, put a reflective band in your helmet and put on reflective clothes. The extra seen you might be in low-light situations, the safer you may be.


Bike Locks

Except your office offers safe storage to your bicycle, carry a lock. In case your bike is well accessible to the general public, select a high-quality U-style lock that is troublesome to select or reduce. Contemplate a locking skewer, a tool that secures your wheels to your body, so you may solely fear about locking the body up. One other safety measure: Register your bike and serial quantity with a registry such because the nonprofit Bike Index.  



Together with waterproof outerwear (jacket and pants), fenders are a should for anybody commuting in moist climate. The choice is to get to work with a grimy moist stripe up your again. Select the sort that absolutely covers the tires. You and your bike will keep cleaner and drier.


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