Must-carry items for the daily bike commuter

by Anne-Marije Rook


It’s early on a weekday morning and I’m looking out the window gauging the weather.

I zip up my jacket, roll up my pant legs, slip on some gloves and close my helmet strap — the routine of bicycle commuter.

I have been bike commuting for most of my life, ever since I was six years old and learned how to ride a bike safely and without training wheels.

The bicycle makes for excellent transportation. Getting around town on two wheels is convenient, easy, quick, inexpensive and more than anything, fun.

One of the best aspects is its simplicity; you really don’t need much to get started and anyone can do it.

With that said, there are a few items that every bike commuter should carry with them:

The obvious:

  • Fix-a-flat items: Be prepared. Carry a pump or Co2 cartridges, a new tube, some patches and tire levers.
  • Lights: See and be seen! Many cities have laws in place requiring a white headlight and, at the least, a red rear reflector though a rear blinky light is recommended. Really, you can never be too visible—the more lights the better!
  • A lock: You never know where the day might take you and what stops you’ll make along the way. U-locks are among the safest on the market.
  • Your smartphone: in case you get lost and for instagramming of course!

The “come-in-handy” items

  • Rain and wind protection:  Investing in quality rain gear is investing in comfort. I personally don’t go anywhere without my waterproof bag. A lightweight rain or wind jacket takes up only little space in your bag but can provide a lot of comfort.
  • Mini first-aid kit: Carry a few bandages, some antibiotic ointment and an emergency blanket just in case.
  • Zip ties: You just  never know. I have used zip ties to keep a broken fender in place.
  • Bungee cords: Sometimes you stop by the grocery store on your way home and simply come out with too many items. A bungee cord can help close your overfilled bag or attach a shopping bag to your backpack.
  • A back-up plan: It never hurts to carry a public trasnport pass in case of inclement weather or mechanical mishaps.

For the Lycra-clad commuter:

Do you wear your kit while riding into work? These are some items you’re going to forget at least once (trust me….)

  • Underwear and bra: Wearing a sweaty bra all day is not great and neither is going commando when you’re wearing skirt….
  • Dry socks: When a shower catches you by surprise, it’s nice to have a dry pair of socks to wear throughput the day or on your way home.
  • Touch-up items: Biking to a meeting? Carrying a travel-size hair brush, powder and facial wipes allows you to quickly touch up in a bath- or changing room and look your best.

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