Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world. ~ Grant Petersen
Yesterday we covered some of the positive affects of biking, concentrating on the economic portion. Today we’ll look at what "stuff" you’ll need to bike to work.
The following list are the items I would consider necessary and essential for biking to work.
- Bike. If you’re going to bike, you’re going to need one. This will likely be your most expensive item. There are several sources for bikes. If you’re new to biking, I would suggest a visit to a local bike shop. They’ll be able to help you determine what type of bike will best suit you. And they can help fit your new bike to you. However, there are other sources worth considering. Check garage sales, your local craigslist , friends, etc. You may find a good used bike through one of these sources, and at a considerable discount from the bike shop. However, be aware that buying used is at your discretion, and you’ll not be getting the service you’d get from a bike shop. The other option is one of the large discount stores (Wal Mart, Target, etc). I recommend not buying a bike at these stores, as they are selling cheap bikes, and not a bike fitted for you. Also worth noting in the bike thought process, is what kind of bike you want – road bike, mountain bike, comfort bike, or some sort of hybrid. Road bikes tend to be the most expensive, but lack comfort, or the ability to be taken off paved roads. The other bikes are more versatile, but will tend to be slower bikes. However, they are much more able to go wherever you want them to go.
- Bike helmet. As a kid, I never wore a helmet. What was I thinking? If you’re going to be out biking on roads (and for that matter – biking at all), a helmet should be considered a necessity. Your head is important, protect it! With this, you’ll want to buy new – no telling where a used helmet has been or how much abuse it has had. The large discount stores will have these, and they will work fine. If you want a nicer one, or to see more options, check your local bike store.
- Bike lock. Unless you really work someplace where you can trust everybody (even the people passing by), I highly recommend a bike lock. Many different styles exist, so choose one that you like.
- Storage. Some sort of pack you can attach to your bike to hold small items – keys, bike supplies, etc. Get this wherever you find something that you like.
- Spare tube. Carry a spare tube in case you have a flat. These fold up very small, and will easily fit into your storage case.
- Tire levers. Tire levers are used to remove the tire of your bike from the rim. A great assistance if you have to replace a tube due to a flat.
- Tire pump. Get a small tire pump that can be mounted on your bike. Now you’re all set if you have a flat and need to air up a tire.
- Multitool. Get a small bike multitool. Most bike shops will have these. These are great if something comes loose, or for minor repairs.
That’s what I recommend as your need items for biking. Optionally, I’d recommend:
- Patch kit. Used for repairing a flat tire as an option instead of replacing the tube. Note: not recommended on road bikes due to the high air pressure on these tubes. However, on other bikes this should work fine.
- Backpack. Something to carry any of the items you need for work. Maybe a change of clothes, lunch, etc.
- Mirror. If you want a little assurance that you can more easily see what is behind you, a mirror is a great addition
- Whatever else you think you might need. Get what works for you.
So there you have it. My list of what you need to start out biking. If some of these things sound daunting, just remember that you are just preparing yourself in the event that you’ll need some of these things (i.e. flat tire). Remember that these things don’t happen very often. I’ve had a flat once in well over one year of biking, and that can be contributed to a problem with the wheel. Once I fixed that, I have had no problems at all.
Costs to purchase these items can be anywhere from a few dollars (especially if you already have a bike and helmet) to several hundred dollars (depending upon the type of bike you buy – prices can vary substantially). But just think of all the benefits biking can provide , and you’ll see that it really is worth it!
Have fun out there!