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Whether it’s something durable and thick to something light and comfy, there are many bike commuter clothes and gear to choose from. While riding your bike, you’ll notice how your performance is affected by various factors like the weather, soreness, blisters, and sweat.
Riding your bike to work while battling these factors can be challenging, particularly in normal clothes. That’s why bike commuter clothes are popular. These clothes help you ride comfortably, allowing you to stay focused on the road. So if you want to commute to work by bike, here’s what you need to wear.
What to Wear to Bike Commute?
Whether you’re a daily rider or just like cruising around the neighborhood, commuting by bike is one of the best ways to exercise and save on gas. But aside from having the right bike, you should also wear the right bike commuting clothing. Well, it all depends on the kind of bike and commute you have.
For example, if you have a short commute and an upright bike with chain guards, fenders, and flat pedals, you can wear whatever you like. But if you’re going to wear your work outfit, it’s a good idea to invest in pannier bags and trouser straps. Whether you like it or not, you’re going to get sweaty when riding a bike to work. Thus, you should wear clothes that you won’t mind getting wet or dirty.
For instance, you can wear a shirt and shorts during summer. And during winter, you can wear long-sleeved tops, tracksuit bottoms, thick socks, and gloves. And if it’s raining, you can wear a pair of cycling rain pants or a rain jacket over the work clothing. Regardless of your clothing choice, try to wear reflective clothing whenever possible so that you’ll stay visible on the road.
Essential Commuting Gear:
Aside from wearing comfortable commuter cycling clothing, you also need to have the following commuting gear to keep you safe at all times. Make sure that you have these commuting essentials before going out.
Laws regarding helmets differ from one country to another. For instance, in Australia, all cyclists are required to wear a helmet. In the UK, cyclists can use their bikes without wearing a helmet at all. But for your safety, it’s always a good idea to wear a helmet when riding your bike. Helmets are available in three sizes – large, medium, and small. When choosing a helmet, pick one that fits comfortably around the head.
You need a good headlight and tailight to stay visible on the road, especially at night. Get a red light for the rear and a white one for the front. Aside from bike lights, having a bike bell is a good idea as well. It will alert other riders or pedestrians that you are approaching.
But if you don’t have a bike bell, you can use your voice to alert others of your presence. You may also want to get fenders to prepare for the rainy season. It will keep you dry and clean throughout the ride.
If you’re planning to bring your work essentials like your laptop or lunch by bike, it’s a good idea to get a backpack or pannier where you can store your belongings. A pannier is a good option for those who are trying to stay sweat-free as it transfers the weight onto the bike.
If your bike doesn’t have a rack, you can install one on the rear or front. Make sure that it’s compatible with the bike. You place your pannier and other belongings in your bike rack so that you can focus on the road.
Goggles and Glasses:
A pair of glasses or goggles will protect your eyes from bugs, wind, and dirt. So these items are a must-have if you want to ride faster or fly downhills. A pair of sunglasses will also protect your eyes if you’re riding in bright conditions or summer.
The best pair of shoes depends on the pedals of your bike. For instance, flat pedals don’t need cleats. You also need to consider the sole. Shoes with a carbon sole are stiffer and lighter than other models. This kind of cycling shoe is ideal for powerhouse cyclists because the sole won’t bend even when they’re putting force onto the bike pedals.
However, it has some drawbacks too. For instance, it’s not very comfortable to use especially for beginners. So if you want something powerful and comfortable to wear, consider getting a pair of shoes with carbon and nylon soles.
A bike lock will prevent thieves from stealing your bike. You can choose from U-locks, cable locks, locking skewers, and chain locks. U-locks have a bulky locking mechanism that resists chisels, hammers, crowbars, or anything that thieves can use to pop the lock apart. Cable locks offer less deterrence compared to U-locks, but they’re adaptable and versatile.
You can also use them together with U-locks to secure parts that are easily removed such as the seat. Chain locks are suitable for areas with a high crime rate because they can resist chisels and hacksaws. Locking skewers can be used to secure quick-release seat posts and wheels.
Roadside Repair Kit:
When you have a roadside repair kit, you don’t need to worry about getting stuck on the side of the road. Your kit should have tire levers, missing links, inner tube, multi-tool, patch kit, and pump. Some people prefer a CO2 canister, but it’s still a good idea to bring a mini pump so that you can inflate the tires easily.
You need to do basic maintenance as well. This could include washing the bike with a degreaser to remove the gunk from the drivetrain and applying a lubricant to the chain. Moreover, washing the bike allows you to discover potential issues early.
For instance, you can use basic Allen or hex keys to check the bolt’s tightness. A torque wrench is not necessary, but it’s still a good idea to have one because some bike parts need precise torque settings. By doing basic maintenance, you can extend your bike’s lifespan as well.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Your safety is very important. That’s why we made this FAQ section to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about bike commuting. Whether it’s about the right bike commuting clothes or rules you need to observe, we’re going to answer some of your questions right here, right now.
What rules should you observe when riding a bike?
Obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals. Wear your helmet even if you’re just going for a short ride. You have to be predictable as well. Ride so that other cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers can predict and see your movements. Also, make sure that your lights are working properly. You should also wear reflective clothes so that you’re visible all the time. And use hand signals or use your voice to indicate your travel direction to other drivers.
Do you need special commuter bike clothing?
You can wear your work outfit if it’s just a short commute. But avoid riding in a dress or skirt with long or loose fabric or heels. If you’re wearing pants, consider using a pant-leg band. That way, your pants won’t get caught in the chain. But if you’re riding longer distances, consider wearing a jersey and bike pants or bike shorts that will keep you dry throughout the ride. Wear proper footwear as well.
How can you tell if you need a new helmet?
Inspect your helmet before going for a ride. The foam should have no dents, cracks, or signs of crumbling or degrading. If there is, it’s a sign that you need a new helmet. The average lifespan of helmets is three years. However, you should consider replacing your helmet if you dropped it. The helmet should cover your forehead as well.
Is it safe to use an old bike?
It depends on the condition of your bike. Don’t assume that your bike is in good condition just because you haven’t used it for a long time. For your peace of mind, take the bike to a bike shop in your area for a safety check. They will tell you if it’s safe to use or needs additional maintenance.
What kind of shoes should you wear?
You can use trainers if you’re traveling a short distance. But if it’s a long journey, it’s a good idea to wear a pair of biking shoes with cleats. This kind of shoe allows the rider to push and pull the pedals, thereby improving efficiency and allowing them to cycle further.
The best bike commuting clothing depends on your personal preferences, season, and length of commute. Thus, it can change daily depending on these factors. Whatever you wear, though, make sure that it will keep you visible at all times.