Getting Started:

  • Start with a manageable distance. An errand, a friend’s home, or short trip.
  • Any gear is the right gear.  IF clothing or equipment becomes an issue, realize that at some point in the future, you can afford that extra item- pannier, basket, or clothing item. 
  • Be visible- wear visible clothing, use bright tail lights, and use bright colors.
  • Put some extra clothes, shoes, or other items in a spot at work to help you stay clean, odor free, and if you forget something, you have a back up.

Hauling“stuff”:

  • Backpacks can work. Ideally, add a basket or panniers. A “rack” is needed to carry panniers (Saddle type bags) or baskets. Racks can be attached to just about any bike. The weight you plan to carry will determine the kind of rack to buy.
  • Cargo bikes may be the ticket if you plan to carry kids and goods at the same time. 
  • Baskets designed for grocery bags work well for a variety of items. Some will fold up when not in use.
  • Front baskets come in a variety of styles. Check with a local bike store for options. Lift-off style make the basket useful to go shopping and then easily hook back on to the bike.

Gear Options:

  • Rain pants increases your options for when you can ride. Look for WATERPROOF clothing rather than water resistant.
  • Rain jackets help also. Ponchos work well if you use a backpack. A good bicycle rain jacket has a longer tail on the back for when you bend while pedaling.  
  • Footwear – good leather boots work well. Insulated boots can be used. Insulated bike boots cover over bike shoes, usually mt. bike shoes leaving the clip or cleat exposed. Waterproof booties can be used for warmer weather travel. 
  • Helmet covers work for both rain and wind. You can wear a helmet cover in cooler weather to cut down on the wind drafting through the helmet vents.
  • Gloves- full fingered waterproof gloves can be used at both warmer and cold temperatures. Look for Gore-tex for breathable materials. Lobster gloves, a type of hybrid with two fingers and a thumb, will be the warmest win the winter. 
  • 100 Polartec makes for a great second layer between coat and shirt. Wear a bike jersey underneath to your destination if you need to be less casual. Add a thermal layer under the bike shirt to keep breathable material next to your skin. Add a rain jacket or thicker out shell for more extreme cold.
  • Lights – Plenty available. A front light is a must to be legal and safe, even during the daylight rides. Brightness comes in levels of LUMENS. Power sources include USB or batteries. Batteries are not as long term sustainable, but can easily be changed if your light runs out.
  • Fenders –  Most people consider fenders only necessary for rain. They also keep road debris, dirt, stones, and particles form kicking up onto the rider. Fenders can be purchased in high quality plastic, aluminum, and steel. You can put fenders on any bike that the frame allows room. Check with your local bike shop to be sure of size and application.
  • Fat bike- Fat bikes allow for more options to ride especially in snow and rain. Fat bikes ride well, can lower tire pressure to 5 lbs. for snow and ice conditions. Fun option!
  • Locking your bike – the current standard for lockup includes both cable and U-Lock. The other option form a U-Lock that is not as cumbersome, tough, and secure is a Duty Link Plate Lock. The cable locks up the front wheel to the U-Lock which is locked to the frame and parking rack. Just as important as the lock is licensing your bike. Does not usually cost much at a local bike shop or police station.
  • Noise makers – bells, horns, and bluetooth audio speakers do the job of alerting others you come across. In some cities, bells legally must be on a bike. Some people respond better to a horn or bell rather than “Bike back!”
  • Baby wipes – for the chain problem, tire issue, or just to clean up a little when you arrive at your destination, keep a small pack of wipes in your bike pack.
  • Pump- keeping a small amount of tools helps for emergencies. A pump or CO2 cartridge applicator is necessary for airing up a new tube replacing a flat tube. You need two tire levers to take off the tire. Small hand held pumps work. A dual pump and CO2 can be the best way to go but are a bit more pricier.
  • Your best tool to have is a multi tool- a triple allen wrench and socket tool will pretty much do any job you need on the fly. If you  have bolt on wheels, keep a small crescent wrench in the kit.
  • Many commuters keep a trunk pack on the top of the rear rack for the tools, extra tube, and accessories such as a cable lock, gloves, wipes, etc.  Ortlieb makes a great lockable trunk pack that is also waterproof.

RIDING Tips:

  • Consider the route for low traffic volume, parallel roads to arterial routes.
  • Cyclists stop at stop signs about as bad as car drivers. Consider doing an Idaho stop. Treat Stop lights as stop signs and stop signs as yield.Learn to scan and signal properly.
  • Look for the eyes of a driver that might be turning in your path.
  • The more you act like you are driving a car, the more safer you will be.