This is what I carry with me on my ride to work every day. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of crap for being a “poser” with my Timbuk2 bag, sickness but seriously, this bag holds everything, is waterproof, and has a nice array of pockets and such to hold all manner of things including lunch and a change of clothes. I can’t think of anything bad to say about it! Plus, it’s made in the USA!
I should say a quick word about the “what if I get sweaty?” issue. I’ve never really had a problem with this (although you should ask my co-workers first, I suppose!) I wear a lightweight t-shirt while I’m riding and I’ll pack another shirt to change into when I get there. I’ve used this method in 110 degree weather and it’s worked out fine, so that’s what I go by. A lot of offices actually have showering facilities and if you’re lucky enough for that, then there’s really no problem. A stick of deodorant in your office drawer is probably a safe idea, too.
Back to the gear; a lock goes without saying. No one wants to come out and find their ride stolen. I hear U-Locks are the best bet now that they can’t be opened with a ballpoint pen! I carry a cable lock and a u-lock to lock both wheels up. Plus, I can sling it over my shoulder when I’m riding. Also, a helmet is pretty much mandatory. It’ll take about a day to get over feeling like a dork and it’s worth the $30 to not be in a coma for the rest of your life.
The three small items shown here: 1) bike light which is really helpful for seeing at night, but also so cars can see you, 2) velcro pant leg straps. I hate carrying an extra pair of pants to work, so these just hold them in place so they don’t get caught in your chain. This is especially important if you’re on a fixed gear bike. More on that later… 3) A bike multi-tool. This has all manner of wrenches and screwdrivers to help you out if you have a chainring bolt come loose (like I did in the middle of 40 mph traffic!)
Here’s the machine that actually gets me around. I own a geared road bike and a mountain bike as well, but this is the guy that’s my main commuter. It’s a fixed gear bike and that’s a whole post in itself, but it’s a lot of fun and it hasn’t let me down yet. If you’re looking to start commuting, any bike will do. A couple of things I’d recommend:
- Fenders: Even if it’s not raining, you might be forced into a puddle some day and you’ll be really glad you have these. The ones I have just clip on, so they’re really easy to deal with.
- Toe Clips: I like these because it helps me feel “locked in” with the bike. Plus, you can really use all of your peddling motion to go FAST. And for me, that’s the goal.
Here’s a helpful tip, keep a plastic bag stuffed under your saddle to pull out if it rains. You never know when a rain storm will roll in and at least this way, you won’t have to ride home on a wet seat! A rear tail light is good to have, too. Again, anything that helps you get seen by cars is a good idea!
Also, here’s a tip from Naz Hamid: use the new “street view” in Google Maps to check a location for bike racks!