Welcome my fellow Urban Cyclist
Have You ever struggled with trying to figure out what gear You need for Urban Cycling. I know I was, so I dug deep scouring through the net, asking all my friends, fellow bike mechanic, and local shops just that question.
In this series, I want to help ensure that you have all the “Urban Cycling Gear” needed (plus some optional ones) to start riding safe, comfortable, and more efficiently on your commute. Should it be riding to work, the store, local flea market, farmer’s market, or just a comfy cruise. Whatever it may be, this gear is going to help you not just be safe but help you enjoy your ride and look good doing it.
I have found that there are four main categories that all your gear will fall under, I know there will be gear not listed on here because of the vast amounts of options out there in the cycling world. This is intended to be a starters guide.
Here in part one I am going to be helping you get the gear you need to be safe, while looking stylish during your urban cycling adventures. Make sure to check out part two where I am going to be reviewing what apparel and gear you will need to be comfortable and confident in the saddle.
While building up your commuter you can go as basic or extreme as you would like. Just make your bike represent your personality with functionality at the top of the list, I would love to see what you all are doing with your UDC (Urban daily Commuter).
With that said let’s get into the first item of Urban Cycling Gear.
Safety – The most important of all your gear!
Helmet / Lids
To stay reasonably safe on your ride you will need to start by protecting that brain. I know helmets suck, they’re ugly, bulky, and “None of us want to look like Steve Correl in the 40-Year-Old Virgin.”. Luckily helmets have come a long way in terms of fashion and comfort. Not to mention all the awesome new technology incorporated into some new helmets, like built in speakers and mics, turn signals that can link to your mobile device, to name a couple of my favorites. With all this you can rock a new lid like a boss.
Next you will need some lights so that motorist can see you, make sure that they blink(motorist and pedestrian alike are more likely to see flashing lights than solid). This is a great opportunity to really let your personality shine if you are looking to really trick out your UDC, there are loads of options out there from frame light strips, bar end lights, lights that project designs on the ground (in front, behind, and beside you), rim lights (that create moving objects on your rim as you ride to your basic light sets. The internet is full of amazing lighting systems for your bike, so shine on (bad pun I know but it worked).
Bells / Horns
Another annoying but very useful addition to your bike is a horn or bell (ding ding as my daughter’s used to call them). (It is important to notify others when you are approaching so that they don’t jump out in front of you). This is another item that has made some amazing movements when it comes to style and tech over the years. Some tech in new Horns incorporate navigation from your Bluetooth device using vibration and lights to notify you of upcoming turns on your route check out Halo. When it comes to style there are also some bells that don’t even really look like a bell, they look like a ring for your bike and come with many patterns. They are also super lightweight, these bells tend to sound way less annoying than traditional bells and horns.
One thing I never really thought about was the importance of mirrors. I always assumed (you know what assuming does) they were bulky and pointless, until the other day.
I was riding and almost got swiped by a car. I am thankful that I was riding my friends tricked out urban commuter. His mirror was so unnoticeable (it was fixed to his bar end holes, such a clean look) I didn’t realize his bike even had one till about six blocks before I almost became one with the pavement. After I noticed it I started using it on accident. This tiny little mirror saved me from that car.
It’s way safer to be able to just glance down to see what’s behind you than to look over your shoulder, making lane changes is much safer, and faster (more speed more fun am I right?). The picture above-right is one just like his it is by a company called Cork.
Have you ever or someone you know ever had your bike stolen, either because they didn’t have a lock or they bought the wrong type? I want to make sure that never happens to you and if it does. I want to make sure you are covered and can get back in the saddle as fast as possible.
How you might be asking? By informing you how to protect yourself. If you ever want to know more about locks and how you should lock your bike up, check out my other blog Essential Bicycle Accessories, I show you my recommendation on how to lock your bike up and describe each of the three main types of locks that most cyclist use.
What are some ways to protect yourself if your bike is stolen? Great question, my friends at my local riding community helped me find out these three ways to do just that.
- Most reputable bike lock companies (like kryptonite or on guard) offer an anti-theft protection if your bike is stolen while using there lock ( if you want to know more about how it works just click either name brand.). You can even get a lock that has an alarm feature, some with phone notification via an app and GPS tracking of your bike.
- Your homeowners/renters policy may cover your bike even when you are away from home, contact your local agent to find out and if it’s not then I would add it.
- You can even buy cycling insurance.
- Bonus, your auto policy may have a clause under the uninsured motorist portion of your policy covering you and your bike in the case of an accident.
First AID Kit
Most people would say ya kinda common sense right? Not this guy. You know how many times I have needed this and said as soon as I get home I’m going to be putting one together and place it in my tool kit.
Just yesterday I finally put mine together. Honestly You can make this kit as extensive or simple as you would like, in mine I have;
- a couple different sized Band-Aids
- Gauze pack
- Medical tape(wrapped flat)
- Homemade saline spray for cleansing
- and ointment
You can even buy a cyclist first aid kit on Amazon if you want to. Either way You choose, I really recommend having it, you will thank yourself later when you find yourself in need of it.
Ride safe, Be stylish!
I hope you found this article informative, and are going to apply some, if not all of this to your Urban Cycling Gear. If you enjoyed my article stay tuned for part two, Comfort & Confidence in Your Saddle…One subject I will be going over is my favorite saddle, the Infinity Saddle.
To know what your essential took kit should have in it, check out my article Essential Bicycle Accessories – Everything You ever need to start riding
If you have any suggestions to what you want to see in future articles, comments about this blog or things I should add(It would be very helpful to myself and other readers), if you put them in the comments section below.
If you haven’t already today, get out and take a ride…
See you in part 2 “Comfort and Confidence in Your Saddle“…
Founder Bicycle Bob’s CyclEssentials