Just getting started with your commuter bike? There are a lot of options for accessories but here we give you a list of the most essential and safe items to consider when purchasing your bike.
The most valuable asset you will have while riding your bike. They are constructed of polystyrene foam and a polycarbonate covering. This material specifically absorbs impact and saves your noggin and more importantly your life. When choosing a helmet, you should consider comfort, a secure fit, and substantial ventilation. The Schwinn Thrasher is a great helmet to start with. After that it’s pretty much what color you like most!
Just like cars, you’re going to need to ride safely after the sun goes down. Most headlights aren’t bright enough to utilize during the day for safety reasons, but are integral when riding at night or in poor visibility. Even though you may think you’ll only be riding during the day, the days will get shorter or you may find yourself staying at the office a bit later than usual. Always have your light installed and fresh batteries on hand. The Xtreme Bright LED bike light provides plenty of light that can be focused or spread how you prefer.
Bikes are required to come with reflectors on the wheels, spokes, front headstock, and seat post. One great way to increase your safety is by replacing your rear reflector with a blinking type reflector. Typically they have several blink patterns that distinguish a bike rider from a motorcyclist or car. Planet Bike offers a simple, affordable, and safe rear reflector.
When you’re toting around your files or packages, you’re going to need somewhere safe to carry them. Racks are wonderful tools that securely fasten to your rear tire—or sometimes your front fork—and provide a long and wide surface for locking down your belongings. If you’re looking for a bit more space, racks also allow for panniers to be attached. This solid rack from Ibera provides plenty of support on top as well as the sides.
Similar to the cargo boxes on a motorcycle, panniers provide ample space for storage on either side of your bike. If you’ve ever ridden with grocery bags on your handlebars you’re familiar with the control you lose having weight on the outside. The same goes for panniers. You should always distribute the contents evenly on either side and refrain from sudden movements. Try the Topeak MTX, pictured to the right.
The last storage accessory we recommend is a basket. These provide you with easy access to the contents you’re transporting. It’s often a good alternative if you find yourself with odd shaped or oversized packages. Having the load centered will also help in maintaining your control in the event that you have to turn quickly or swerve. Sunlite offers a solid basket in 13 color options!
You will experience a flat tire. Stock tubes, no rim liners, and rough streets will eventually cause your tire to develop a leak. Being so small, you should always have a vulcanizing tire repair kit on-hand as well as 2-3 tire levers for removal. After removing the tire and locating the hole, kits will typically seal the hole up in a few minutes. The most difficult part will be getting the tire on/off so you may want to practice once or twice at home with a tire lever before taking your bike out. The Remo vulcanizing tire repair kit is a popular purchase.
These little gems now come in sizes small enough to fit on your seat tube. While they don’t have the power that a floor pump has, they’ll get you out of a pickle. And even if you don’t get a blown tire, a slow leak can ruin your day. For a few extra bucks, have that peace of mind strapped to your bike frame. Best of all, they don’t add on much weight or drag. Vibrelli has a lightweight frame-mount pump that fits both Schrader and Presta valves.
Most variations of this tool will allow you to adjust practically anything on your bike. Loose handlebars or a wobbly seat can really take a toll on your posture, not to mention your safety. Allen keys in both metric and standard will get your bike back into shape until you get home safe. Schwinn’s 18-piece multi-tool is a wonderful combination kit that fits in your seat bag.
Be careful when choosing a lock. You’ll find that security level can be directly related to the size and weight of these things. Coated 12mm chains are the most powerful, but also the most heavy. If you have a very nice bike then don’t think twice about purchasing this type. Alternatives are the U-lock, which is relatively lightweight but awkwardly shaped, or a cable lock, which has less security but is very light and small. While not immune to bolt cutters, this Kryptonite Kryptoflex is a solid bike lock that will stop most thieves.