Commuting essentials: the cute, the quirky and the functional
When Verita Stewart signed onto Ella, she probably didn’t know she was would become our in-house fashion and accessory expert. Her first piece on her favourite women’s cycling kit generated lots of chatter, so she followed up with a piece on socks. Everyone has an opinion on socks, and we loved that so many of you showed us your socks with a #sockselfie in the comments. This time Verita talks about the commuting essentials that make her ride to work safe, enjoyable and fun.
I loved the response to my latest commuting piece. Apparently there are a lot of commuters reading Ella – which is great news! I thought I would share my favourite cool, quirky and handy commuting essentials here – and hope you might do the same in the comments.
Beep Bicycle Bells
Bells aren’t the most popular accessory for the road cyclist, but these are pretty cute! Bells are a way to alert other cyclists and pedestrians of your presence.
What they say: “Beep Bicycle Bells is a small, independent bicycle accessory company proudly based in Australia. Beep was created because we believe cycling does make the world a better place and that everyone should be able enjoy their ride in unique style. We combine our expert knowledge of cycling with our love of art and good design.”
Ass Savers – Mudguard
These little plastic mudguards will keep your dry. They’re small enough to put in your backpack, and they’re recyclable too!
What they say: “We were definitely not the first to have the idea of attaching something to the saddle to protect ourselves from the worst road spray. The concept is as old as rain and bikes without mudguards but where others have failed, we succeeded through the relentless development of literally hundreds of prototypes, a deep knowledge of sustainable manufacturing and passion for brands that resonates with it’s followers.”
Rapha – Jeans
These jeans are designed for commuting with a higher waist than your regular jean to keep you modest. They also have a reflective strip on the leg, which will ensure you are seen without getting your jeans caught in the chain. They are also pretty stylish.
What they say: “Jeans to keep up with you yet designed to move .A mid-rise, skinny jean made from a proprietary, pioneering denim and created specifically for city riders. The jeans are cut for comfort and style on and off the bike and are abrasion and stain resistant.”
Specialized – Flux Lights
These sleek lights will ensure that you are seen when commuting around the city or out training. The front light is powerful enough to shed light on the darkest road during early morning or late night adventures. CyclingTips’ very own Wade Wallace reviewed the FLUX Lights last month. Extra reading here!
What they say: “The ability to be seen easily while out on your bike—in fog, rain, overcast conditions, whether day or night—brings peace of mind to any cyclist. Bright and stylish, Flux lights by Specialized help you see, and be seen, no matter the conditions.”
Knog – Bouncer Locks
This is the cutest, most sturdy lock I’ve come across. It is small enough to carry around with you without weighing you down.
What they say: “The Bouncer is just like one of those crazy little designer dogs. Dress him up like a sailor, dangle him out of your handbag at parties and bitch to him as if he is your bestest friend.”
MAAP – caps
Caps are great for preventing water getting in your eyes when it’s raining. You may be dripping wet, but at least your hair is dry! Caps are somewhat of a fashion item and often seen worn off the bike (be sure to get your luft right).
What they say: “Created and designed in Melbourne Australia, and distributed through select Australian and European cycling stores, we produce premium cycling apparel for men and women who appreciate quality, design and art. Our philosophy is all about creating cycling staples with longevity; combining timeless style with premium quality and performance fabrics. Our products are proven on the road, in real life. Our socks are proudly made in Australia, and our apparel is made in Italy.”
Hey Reflecto – reflective gear
Not your typical hi-vis vest. These are quirky and fun.
What they say: “Hey Reflect’o reflective vests are designed to make you stand out. Whether it’s cycling, jogging, horse riding, or whatever it is you need to be seen doing, at any hour of the day, you will not go unnoticed. Australian made, handmade, superior quality, it has many ticks. The vests are lighter and more breathable than ever before and there is now a super handy pocket.”
The bag of choice by thousands of cyclists, now with so many designs to choose from.
What they say: “It’s 1992. A young man sits hunched over his grandmother’s old sewing machine in a shed in Ballarat, Australia. He’s trying to get the machine to sew through a truck tarp, so he can make a bag strong enough to carry a slab of beer home on his bike.”
Creux Cycling – apparel
Cute clothes by Creux for the everyday commuter. Creux is popular amongst bike messengers due to their functional design for days on the bike. Their tees are longer at the back, which makes them comfortable when wearing on the bike.
What they say: “Whether you’re commuting to work, heading to the pub or just riding around town, our clothing is designed to meet the demands of everyday cyclists.”
DeFeet – gloves
Commuters will know that a set of warm gloves is very important. These will keep your mitts warm and come in heaps of colours to match your outfit.
What they say: “DeFeet was born in 1992. The first product was a totally customizable, open mesh weave airflow sock. The world’s top endurance athletes took notice immediately. The characteristics of those early designs are evident throughout the DeFeet line, today. Elegant, simple, useful and built to last.”
What essentials do you swear by for your commute? As always, share them in the comments.
About the author
The tagline to Verita Stewart’s personal blog reads: “Not a professional cyclist, yet” and it’s the “yet” that’s most telling. Verita is a Melbourne-based cyclist riding for Specialized Securitor. New to the sport, she’s quickly made the jump from commuting to recreational riding to racing.
She now juggles full-time work with full-time NRS racing and hopes to make the leap to the big-leagues sometime soon. Verita is full of stories and smiles and snark – and will bring all three to you on Ella. Follow Verita on twitter and instagram and strava.