Bike to Work Week Tips: Clothing & Accessories

Congratulations, you’ve made it through an entire work week of my posts about commuting! Hopefully, you’ve gotten some useful information about recommended gear. Seeing as how it’s Friday, which is payday for many folks, I’m going to go ahead and briefly go over some of the items that aren’t exactly necessary for a commute, but can make your life easier. Besides, we all need to spend a little on ourselves every once in a while.

First and foremost, spandex is not for everyone. Don’t despair though. Spandex shorts are not the only ones with a nice chamois (or synthetic variation) to protect your most tender parts from your bicycle seat. You can also purchase baggy MTB-style shorts that are less conspicuous, while still offering the advantages of padding and moisture wicking that a regular cycling short does. Or throw a pair of cargo shorts over your spandex shorts. Keep in mind that this may cause some unwanted bunching, so do a test run before heading out on a long ride. And while cargo shorts do have handy pockets, pack them lightly if you must, to avoid having phones, tools, and loose change bangin’ and clangin’ down the road.

Cycling-specific shoes can give you a more efficient pedal stroke, and when paired with clipless pedals, help you maintain proper foot/knee alignment. The downside is that unless you go with the type that have a recessed cleat, walking in them is not fun, so make sure to either carry another pair of shoes, or keep some at work. If you decide to go clipless, do yourself a favor and visit your local bike shop. Buying shoes over the internet is not always a great idea, and your local shop can make sure that your cleats are properly aligned. Your knees will thank you. Helpful hint: quality socks make any shoe more comfortable. Do a search of the site for my sock reviews. Since they vary in thickness, consider choosing a sock before selecting your shoes in order to get the best fit.

If your destination doesn’t offer secure facilities, consider a good lock as cheap insurance. Given the time and criminal inclination, all locks can be defeated. But a reasonably robust lock can deter the opportunistic theft. When I worked in a bike shop, a customer purchased a bike for roughly $800, then asked if we had any locks in the $10 range. What? If you happen to have a homeowners/renters policy that even covers your bicycle, you’re still looking at a deductible of at least $250. Locks don’t wear out, so get a decent one. And learn how to secure your bike based on where it’s locked up. Some locations call for nothing more than running your lock through the rear triangle/wheel and then to something immovable. Other circumstances may require removing the front wheel, and running the lock through it and the rear triangle/wheel. All over school campuses, you’ll find front wheels securely locked to a rack, with the rest of the bike missing. Don’t let that be you, it can happen anywhere.

Depending on the length of your commute, you may need a water bottle or two, or even a hydration pack. Some have been covered on this site, so feel free to do a search. It should have been mentioned sooner, but a pump or CO2 powered inflator is much handier than hoping to find a gas station with a compressor that works. Computers are another item that are not a necessity, but do provide valuable information for those that don’t have a GPS enabled phone. Basic ones give you speed and distance, along with average speed, time, and a few other functions. Advanced models offer cadence (your pedaling RPM) as well as heart rate. Wireless models are easier to install, but require two batteries. Wired models are usually less expensive, but the wires need to be routed carefully, and can be damaged fairly easily. They are less susceptible to radio interference though. Tool kits and maintenance items may be on your shopping list, unless you prefer to have a shop do the work, which is perfectly fine. Mechanics and shop owners need to eat too. Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from harmful rays, but also flying insects and all manner of stuff thrown up by passing vehicles. Gloves can provide a bit of cushion in the palm, and the terrycloth backs are great for wiping sweat from your brow.

For more ideas on cycling gear, visit your local bike shop. We’re also including these links to websites, so you can shop online when you should be working: Modern Bike |JensonUSA |Bikesomewhere

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API Camps

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