Bike commuting is an essential part of life for anybody who likes to save money and the environment while exercising. Driving an average vehicle to work or the grocery store can cost about half of a dollar per mile. A reliable sturdy bike such as my 2010 Trek 700 will only cost you about $300-350 at your local bike shop. Mine has spent most of its life outside and is still going strong. The only additional costs to the bike itself have been a replacement set of brake pads at $7 for a pair. At these rates, you will pay off your bike in just 600-700 miles of commuting. Of course there are additional costs to commuting and the more that you want to do on your bike, the more gear you will need. Below are 10 essential items (besides the bike) that you will need to properly bike commute.
1. Fenders: Some commuting bikes come with fenders and they are a necessity if your area receives any precipitation. The last thing you want is a line of muddy water soaking your whole backside.
2. Lights: A flashing red tail light is the minimum needed to assure that cars can see you. Many car-bike accidents are caused by lack of visibility.
3. Rack(s): A rear rack is all that I need to carry most anything. A few bungee cords or a crate attached to your rack can aid greatly in carrying items.
4. Proper clothing: No matter where you live, you are bound to bike in adverse weather conditions sometime. If it is cold, you will need warm clothing, especially gloves or mittens and a hat. If it rains often, you will need something to stay dry or at least a chain of clothes in your bag. If it is warm then breathable material is best.
5. Chain guard- Chains are greasy and grease doesn’t come out of your slacks very easily. You will need a chain guard or something to keep your pants away from your chain.
6. Knowledge- A working knowledge of your city’s streets and bike paths will aid you in getting to your destination quickly and safely. Google maps has recently added features to help you if you aren’t already familiar. While bike paths are best, wide roads with designated bike lanes are more common and work well.
7. Helmet- In the case of an accident, this will protect your head.
8. Lock- Combination locks are best as it is easier to remember a combo then it is to keep track of a key.