Is Your Bicycle Ready to Go to Work?

Baskets or Panniers
Make the bike carry your stuff. A bicycle without carrying capacity is not a convenient way to get to work. A sturdy rear rack is a must. You can strap your briefcase on with bungee cords or add a basket, panniers, or a plastic crate. Carrying capacity will also come in handy for shopping or errands on the way home.

Fenders (Mudguards)
Fenders will keep you clean and dry in all weather. Even if it’s not raining you can get dirty from mud and moisture on the road. You can make your own fenders out of stuff like two-liter pop bottles, or purchase an inexpensive set at a bike shop.

Your bike is 24-hour transportation. Commuters must be prepared to ride after dark. At the least, you need a white light in front and a reflector in back to make you visible and show which direction you’re going. We also recommend a rear red light to increase your visibility. In poorly lit suburban and rural areas, you need a headlight that clearly lights the road in front of you.

Helmet (Headguard)
Protect a very precious asset. Nobody expects to fall, but it happens to everyone. When you do, you must have head protection since serious head injuries cause 75 percent of the 1,000 annual deaths from bicycle crashes.

If you cannot maintain your bike yourself, take it to a bicycle shop for regular tune ups. Good maintenance is critical to commuting because you rely on it to get you to work on time. Keep the chain and moving parts lubricated. Flats can be prevented by using Kevlar-belted tires or tire liners and by keeping the tires well-inflated.

Avoid bicycle theft. Don’t wait to get a bike stolen before you get a decent lock. Secure your bike to a solid object with a good U-lock in a well-traveled place. Quick-release components are easy to steal; replace the quick-release portion of the components with regular nuts and bolts or anti-scam cams, secure the components with cables, or remove them when you park. If your bike is too valuable to leave outside, get a second, less expensive bike for transportation.