I ride to “work” almost every work day and I know how it feels to forget something or even have just way too much, that you are almost hauling around a lot of useless stuff.
For those of you who actually ride a bike to work or are considering it, I have put together this guide so that you take what is necessary and leave what isn’t, to make for a much more productive journey.
I am a blogger, so some of the things I carry or don’t carry might not be needed on your list, so do pick and choose what you deem necessary as we all require different tools to get through a ride and our place of work.
So before we get into any of the wants, let’s go over the absolute necessities that every biker should have, even if it isn’t the workplace that you are headed to.
1. A Helmet
I plan on crashing today, said no one ever.
I don’t care how much you think that you will not get into a bike accident, a helmet is a must, especially if you plan on riding to work.
This goes for any kind of bike and any kind of ride actually, so please protect that dome of yours.
If this is going to be your first time getting one, pick a helmet that is lightweight (they’re usually all pretty light) and one that allows for your head to breath really easy.
If you feel that you look like an idiot in a bike helmet, embrace the fact that you need one and be confident in wearing it.
And if you think that all helmets are ridiculous looking, you might want to checkout the Fox Flux, which is what I use to feel better about wearing a helmet.
2. Bike Lock
There’s no point in riding to work and you aren’t able to lock it somewhere without having to worry.
I remember when I went on my first ride and didn’t have a lock just yet and how I left it outside a store I decided to run into.
I could not stop going back and forth to make sure it was still there, even if I only ran in for a few minutes.
Definitely not the best idea and a nice lock would’ve been the simple solution.
There are so many different brands to choose from as well as different styles, so don’t feel stuck with the ones at your local bike shop.
Any of them will work just fine, so get a bike lock in your budget and one that you feel will suit your needs best.
3. A Nice Bag of Some Sort
Some of you might be fine with a messenger bag but I prefer more of a backpack.
Whatever you choose, make sure it has the space and necessary compartments to hold your daily carry.
Whether you are using a laptop or not, you might want to get a bag that fits one, just in case you decide to get one in the future.
Most bags come equipped with a laptop compartment but not all the time, so keep that in mind when shopping for your next bikepack.
4. Bike Repair Kit
I got my first flat on my first long ride and being that I was new to the biking world, I went about my journey without a repair kit.
All this did was teach me a valuable lesson and ended my ride a lot sooner than I wanted to.
Make sure this bike repair kit has EVERYTHING you need – bike wrench, extra inner tubes, tire lever, patches, pump, etc.
You can usually buy this on Amazon for less than $20 but you can always put together one of your own.
In most cases, you will find yourself adding to your bike repair kit, so don’t get too comfortable with the basics.
5. Some H2O
You might be wondering why this is kind of far down the list and that’s okay.
Water or any kind of liquid for that matter is necessary but a ride to work wouldn’t be one if you don’t have the previous items.
Besides, this is a no-brainer and you can always grab some on the go or at work if need be.
However, the reason for carrying some water is to of course hydrate but most especially for those times when you encounter a flat or other reasons that prolong your journey to work.
6. Proper Clothing
Besides the basics, you always need to be ready for the elements.
Just like crashing, we never expect it to rain but we need to be ready for it.
You don’t need to go out there looking like the woman above but get something that will work best for you.
Grab yourself a nice jacket that goes well with the weather in your area.
If you have somewhat of a colder climate, you can always get a raincoat/jacket to kill two birds with one stone.
If you live in a warmer climate like I do, you might do just fine with a regular old raincoat but do plan for the office if you work in one.
You can always leave a jacket at the office and use it there if need be.
Now if you’re a blogger or some type of online entrepreneur like me and you are constantly riding to different coffee shops, you might want to carry a jacket, just in case you get a little chilly.
Also consider some overshoes as I’m sure you don’t want to head into work with some soaked shoes.
Unless you have some shoes to change into at work, you want to keep your shoes as dry as possible.
Being seen is a big deal and it doesn’t mean only when you’re on your way to work.
At the very least, you should have the basic reflectors that come with every bike but definitely invest in some good lights.
Get some lights for the rear of your bike but also consider getting a nice headlight if your workday heads into the night.
There are some cheap bike lights out there, so don’t feel that you need to buy some fancy lights that aren’t necessary.
If you are quite the handyman, you can always rig up some stuff like I saw on this dude that I met on my evening ride the other day.
8. Rags/Baby Wipes
Depending on how hot and humid it is in your area, you will/might need a rag to wipe the sweat from when you get to your job site.
On top of that, you’ll never know when that flat is going to come around and something as simple as putting your chain back in line will leave your hands all greasy.
Try not having some rags or even baby wipes and you’ll be holding your hand out, looking at it, and thinking, “damn, I should’ve just threw those wipes in my backpack”.
Don’t let this happen and just add it to your everyday carry.
And if you aren’t a parent and you think that baby wipes are only for babies, you’ll be surprised at what these things can actually do.
Grab one of those portable type baby wipes in some nice little plastic container and you’re good to go.
9. Personal Hygiene Kit
I don’t know about you but I like to be clean no matter where I go and biking will most likely draw some sweat and you’ll never know when you’ll need to get cleaned up.
You know how those arm pits will be after your ride, so have some deo ready to go or you might not have anyone to talk to for the day.
Some of you might have the luxury of a shower at work, so all you need is a nice chamois type towel and the bare necessities.
For those of you not so lucky folks, you might be taking a bath out of the sink but that’s okay.
I’m sure you’ll do whatever it takes to be fresh, especially when your day just started.
10. First Aid Kit
This is last on the list but will come in handy if need be.
Imagine taking a spill and you just so happened to have a cut that could not stop bleeding.
Sure those extra rags could help but wouldn’t it make more sense to have the right equipment in any emergency situation?
Get a really small first aid kit that can sit in your everyday carry backpack, ready to take on any injuries that you or anyone around you might encounter.
Always have these items on your commute to work and don’t forget that safety always comes first.
Be mindful of those crazy drivers and know that you are just like any other vehicle out there.
You have your rights but don’t think that you can do whatever you want, just because you’re on a bike.
Remember that some drivers will not see you no matter how many lights you have on you, so use good judgment when crossing the street, even if the crosswalk says go.
Use this as a guide on your commute to work but give or take what is necessary for you as we all have different wants and needs.
Thanks for reading and happy biking!