In Bicycling, Technology

2014-02-25-4370Let’s talk commuter accessories – those extra bits that let you enjoy your work life on the bike. At only two miles, it’s easy for me to bike in work clothes without overheating, especially in winter. Pictured hanging from the handlebar is helmet, safety glasses with rearview mirror, plus a reflective velcro leg band.

A handlebar bag is held with a quick release system, and is large enough for planner and personal effects, along with a small first aid kit and snacks – it has a shoulder strap and functions as a briefcase. We won’t talk about all the extra “stuff” that ends up rattling around in there. The same quick release system is on all my bikes, with several compatible bags and backpacks that can be attached.

Permanently attached to the back rack is a lockable plastic trunk box – both the handlebar bag and trunk box are dry in a rainstorm, and the box is large enough to hold dress shoes and the helmet. Inside the trunk box is a saddle bag (off my road bike), with spare tube, foldable tire and multi-tool, lives in the box along with a tire pump and bike lock. The pump can move to the handlebar bag if it’s rattling around too much in back.

The platform pedals don’t require special bike shoes, and this very cold and snowy winter I’ve enjoyed nice warm dry feet, thanks to rubber-covered neoprene shoes. If it’s dry and not too cold the dress shoes are OK to bike in.

Layers are key to commuting comfort – single digit temperatures or wet conditions bring out the rain pants, while a weather-proof shell parka and fleece mid-layer keeps the cold at bay. You can fine tune your comfort by having a variety of knit caps of different thicknesses (for under the helmet), as well as a waterproof helmet cover for rain. For your hands, the running companies make fleece liners and stretchy shell fabric mittens, which can then be used inside a larger waterproof mitten shell for very cold conditions. Bright colors and reflective trim add visibility on the road, a plus for outer layers.

In the next post we’ll look at how to handle winter conditions on your commute.

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