12 Pieces Of Bike Gear To Revolutionize Your Spring Commute
St. Paddy's Day has come and gone, which means that spring is just days away. Besides the emotional weight of winter being finally lifted off, the beginning of the warmer months means it's time to save a little gas money or put your MetroCard away and get on your bike. But before you head out, it's important to make sure you have the right stuff so you can stay dry and alive — and look cool.
Giro Air Attack- $200
You might look awesome as you're cruising at 25 mph with the wind blowing in your hair, but think about how your friends will feel when they get called to ID you in the morgue. If you're too cool to wear a helmet, the Giro Air Attack might be enough to get you to wear one. Though it looks like a skateboard helmet, it's actually designed to minimize drag for the pros and has seen some serious Tour de France action. It's also perfect for spring commuting due to its reduced ventilation, keeping your head warm. [Editor's Note: Cool as this one is, a $35 helmet will work in the name of protection as well so don't let the cash be a barrier to your safety.]
SealLine Urban Waterproof Backpack - $149
If you're frequently biking through the rain, you better have a pack that can handle it. For the Urban Waterproof Backpack, SealLine took their canoeing dry bag expertise and applied it to make the most of your commute. With waist, shoulder, and chest straps, an outer pocket, and a closure that allows one handed access to your gear, this is the ideal pack for damper days.
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Lock- $99
Most bike lock warranties are voided if you use it in New York City — that's how bad bike theft is there. So that should ease your mind when you lock up your baby with the Fahgettaboudit when cruising through just about any mean old city. While an angle grinder can cut through most u-locks, the Fahgettaboudit's 18 millimeters of manganese steel does a good job putting up a fight and has a better shot at surviving until the cutter's battery runs out. The other Kryptonite chains are even more secure, but let's draw the line at carrying 10 pounds of lock. This is heavy enough. Make sure to loop something through the wheels as well, and learn proper locking technique.
Rapha Marino Boxers- $65
Rapha has supplied the uniforms for the last two Tour de France winners, so it stands to reason that they have a thing or two for your 5-mile commute. Though half their collection has us amped, we're most impressed by their solution to a very invisible problem: comfort. The Merino Boxers with Pad feature a thin, contoured pad in the seat like a chamois so nothing gets sore or falls asleep.
Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Jacket- $325
A standard rain jacket (the Helly Hansen Loke is one of our favorites) will totally work for your commute, but if you feel like getting one designed for the task, this is about as good as they get. It's got full 360-degree reflectivity and an elongated back to accommodate your riding position. And if you're looking for something light, cheap, packable, and waterproof to have in an emergency? The O2 Original Cycling Jacket is hard to beat for $30.
Rapha Jeans- $245
When it's not pouring rain, Rapha Jeans are one of the most stylish go-tos to clothe your pistons. This abrasion-resistant Italian denim is cut for the bike — unlike your trusty Levi's — and feature offset seams to prevent chafing. Down to the right rear pocket reinforced to accommodate a D-lock, they've really thought of it all.
Makers and Riders NeoShell Pants- $179
The cold, wet days don't have to make your commute a nightmare — if you're appropriately prepared for them, that is. While you can totally jump into a pair of rain pants, we prefer to single-bag our legs. This Chicago-based company is doing some pretty cool stuff with soft shell tech, taking advantage of its breathability, and this five-pocket pant is made with Polartec NeoShell and has anti-sprocket leg openings so you don't get caught in the gears.
Rapha Leather Town Gloves- $245
We really appreciate that there's a bike glove that looks like something an Italian race car driver would wear. These durable gloves are made of African hair sheep leather and have the padding required to keep your hands comfy and protected
if when you go down. Because your hands always go out when you fall.
Giro Merino Wool Arm Warmers - $40
Yes, arm warmers look silly, but they really are one of the most useful things for the commute. If you're ashamed, wear them under a long-sleeve shirt. If you're chancing it with a t-shirt, ride with them rolled up at your wrists just in case the road turns into a refrigerated wind tunnel. At the very least, toss a pair into your bag; the extra warmth weighs nothing and can make all the difference.
Adidas Samba (Retrofitz Version) - $175
Bike shoes can look beautiful, but it's nice not compromising whatsoever. Retrofitz makes that possible by installing bike cleat mounting plates into any shoe of your choice, or grabbing one of the Chuck Taylors, Sambas, or Tiger Mexicos they have in stock.
SKS Raceblade- $60
Small seat-mounted fenders will work in a pinch, but if you're committing to the commute, you'd better get a comprehensive solution to a wet back and soiled pant legs. The SKS race blade will mount on practically anything without a tool, even if your bike doesn't have traditional eyelets for fenders.
CatEye Light Combo- $21
You might as well see right? Plus you won't get a ticket and your chances of being run over are significantly curbed.
And The Bike?
Ask that question to a room of cyclists and you'll end up more confused than when you started. It all depends on your commute terrain, travel speed, price range, design preferences, maintenance knowledge, and taste (the above Colnago Master definitely fits the bill, if we're dreaming). So take that question to the bike shop. And make sure you keep everything in good shape. There's nothing worse than reaching for your brakes and discovering they do not work.