The idea of hopping on your bike to work is liberating in so many ways. Yet, doing so spontaneously without proper preparation might find you in more of a quandary than you might expect. Here is a quick guide to the critical things to pack for your two-wheeled commute to work, compiled by former Care2 researcher Stephanie Mandell based on her own experience.
The best lock: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-lock. If you live in a high crime area, or ride a very expensive buy, this is the top lock on the market, based on tests that use hacksaws, bolt cutters and power tools. The lock weighs almost 5 pounds and costs $75.
Intermediate choice: Less expensive U-locks. U-locks with a double bolt design (both ends of the “U” shackle are locked into the straight bar) are more effective than locks with a single bolt design.
Locks to avoid: Cable locks. They can be easily cut with a pair of bolt cutters. Chain locks can be cut with bolt cutters too.
Spare Batteries for Lights
Even if this isn’t the law in your area, riding with lights is crucial for your own safety. Wear a headlight and attach a rear light to your bicycle. For extra visibility, use flashing red LED lights for the rear and flashing white LED lights for the headlight. Remember to bring spare batteries so you don’t get stuck in the dark.
To be able to make repairs on the road, keep the following items handy:
Folding set of Allen keys.
Basic Allen wrench kit, which will enable you to tighten most points on your bike and adjust the handlebars and saddle.
Bike pump (small ones that can attach to your bike’s frame are sold).
Preferably two, but at least one spare inner tubes that matches the diameter, width and valves of the tubes on your bike.
Bike tire patch kit to repair punctured tubes.
Tire lever to remove flat tires.
Repair link for your chain.
Lube for the chain.
Latex gloves to be able to make repairs without getting your hands dirty.
To economize on space, buy a mini tool kit, which contains Allen wrenches, regular and Philips screwdrivers and a chain tool. Mini-tools vary. Buy one that has the tools you’ll need for your bike.
Waterproof Clothes and Bag
Keep a waterproof jacket and pants in your commuting bag in case it starts raining while you’re at work or school. Your commuting bag should be waterproof too.
Your clothes and shoes to change into at work
And, because no one’s memory is perfect, it’s a good idea to keep a spare set of clothes (including underwear and socks!) at work in case you forget to bring your clothes one day. If you want to regularly carry suits or other nice clothes to work, you may want to buy a bike garment bag.
It’s important to stay hydrated during any physical activity.