The concept of commuting by bike is simple – the logistics on the other hand can become overwhelming. We’re here to help.
If you’re headed to work or school, chances are you’ll need to carry some gear. This is where a backpack or pannier rack system is helpful. First, you’ll need to decide whether you want to carry the weight on your back or on your bike. If you choose to go with the rack option, check to see if your bike has rack mounts. This will help you determine which rack will work best. Most pannier bags connect to the rack in the same way, so any pannier bag should work with just about any pannier-specific rack.
There are two types of bike lights: lights that help you see, and lights that help you be seen. A rear blinking light normally works well as a “be seen” light, while a higher lumen front light will help you see where you’re going. Lumen count, mount attachment, and battery style (recharge vs. replaceable) are all things to consider when deciding on a light system.
Here’s a tough lesson that you never want to learn the hard way. Bringing a lock, and more importantly, using it correctly could be the difference between riding and walking home. Be sure to lock your bike to something stable. The most secure option is a U-lock through the frame and a cable lock looping through the front wheel.
Commuting is not a race. You might as well make the ride as comfortable as possible by choosing the right bike for the job. Consider how much you’re willing to invest in a workhorse bike that can be leaned on and locked to objects and left alone for hours at a time. Just remember, comfortable doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank.
Depending on how far and treacherous the ride into work is, you may want to consider bringing and extra set of clothes. Chances are you already have riding clothes, but it’s likely that they’re more technical than necessary. You can keep it casual on the bike while also staying comfortable. A good starting point is a well-ventilated helmet, a liner short, a set of baggy shorts, and a moisture-wicking shirt.