Buying Bikes for Commuting

If you’re planning on commuting by bike, there are several items you may need or at least a few things to think about. Here’s a quick introduction to the tools of the bike commuting.

Commuter Bikes
The best choice for bike commuting is a mountain bike adapted with smooth, fat-tires. You can purchase new tires at any bicycle shop for around $30 each and the shop should be able to make the tire replacement for you. A racing style frame is less suitable for urban riding because the thin tires are too hard and vulnerable for rough roads. It’s also difficult to watch traffic in the head-down racing position.

Beater Bike
If you’re only using your bike to ride to and from a transit station or you don’t have far to ride, you may want to go with an inexpensive or used “beater” bike. Beater bikes may not impress your friends, but they’re less vulnerable to theft.

Folding Bikes
Folding bikes are a relatively new trend and literally fold up so they can be carried onto buses and trains that otherwise prohibit bikes during peak commute hours (check with the transit agency for their specific bike restrictions.) If you’re serious about biking to work and you need to take transit, this could be a great choice. Make sure that the folding bike you choose is light-weight or that you are able to carry it. They’re also not always suitable for recreational riding.

Commuter Gear
Regular commuting needs include fenders, rack, pannier (saddle bags), headlamp and taillight, tire repair kit and pump. A good bike lock is essential, especially if you’re parking your bike at a transit station where thieves regularly steal bikes to sell their parts. You may want to even purchase a secondary chain lock to secure your bike even more and take your bike seat with you. The harder you make your bike to steal, the less likely it will disappear!

You don’t need to purchase the latest trends in spandex to ride your bike to work, especially if your ride is short and there isn’t a place to shower or change at your job. You will want to wear comfortable clothing though and have an ankle band to prevent your pants from getting caught in the chain. If you’re going to be riding after dark, it’s important to wear something bright, such as a bright, lime-green color jacket, plus a reflective triangle, to help make you visible. You may also want to wear gloves to protect your handsand keep a poncho in your bag in case it rains.

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