Commuter Gear Basics

Picking a bike

  • You can commute on any bike as long as it is good working order
  • Road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, cross or touring bikes all work great
  • The bike should reflect your riding style; relax on a 3 speed or hammer a road bike

    Carrying capacity

  • A rear rack and panniers, a basket in front or a backpack all work well
  • Panniers are most expensive but usually waterproof
  • Baskets don't carry much and backpacks can make you sweat through your clothing


  • Full fenders are recommended; use quick release or standard bolt-on style
  • The roadways can be wet from other things besides rain
  • Fenders also keep dirt and mud off of your clothes


  • Headlights are mandatory at night; white in front with a reflector in back
  • A red light on the rear of the bike increases visibility at night
  • Check batteries and replace them as soon as the light begins to dim


  • Always wear a helmet while riding your bike no matter what
  • This is your last line of defense against injury in an accident
  • Prevent injury by knowing the rules of the road and acting predictably


  • Bring only tools that you know how to use; a pump is a necessity
  • Prepare for breakdowns with regular inspections of your bike
  • Carry a multi-tool with allen wrenches, screwdriver, chain tool; know how to use them

    Spare parts

  • Carry a spare tube and patch kit at all times; keep another spare at work
  • Know the condition of your bike and its parts by inspecting it regularly
  • Keep a few spare parts that need regular replacement at work


  • Use a high-security U-lock; don't wait until your bike is stolen to investin a good lock
  • Lock your bike to an immovable object in a highly visible area
  • Secure both wheels and other components if they can be easily removed

    Flat prevention

  • Tire liners and flat resistant tires go a long way to help decrease flat tire occurrence
  • Replace tires when they are worn out; check pressure with a gauge
  • Familiarize yourself with how much air your tires lose each week


  • Make sure that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians can see you at night
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing; apply reflective tape to helmet and bike
  • Ankle straps keep pant legs out
    [Why Commute] [How to Commute] [Bike Commuting Gear] [Support Bike Commuting]
    [Bike Week 2000] [Bike to Work Day 2000]

    The League of American Bicyclists promotes cycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and work through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. For more information, contact them at
    1612 K Street, NW, Suite 401; Washington, DC 20006
    phone: 202/822-1333; fax: 202/822-1334
    web site:;