- Bike to Work month (May) might be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to put the white-walled wheeler away. Here are 10 essentials that might inspire you to keep pedaling. - Ali Carr Troxell
Outlier Women’s Daily Riding PantIf I owned one pair of pants as a bike commuter, it would be these. The uber-stretchy Outlier Women’s Daily Riding Pant, cut from a durable, breathable, abrasion-resistant softshell fabric, never felt restrictive on my daily seven-mile jaunt to and from my office. They breathed when the sun was out but also insulated when the morning’s were chilly. Drizzling? No problem—water beaded off of these thanks to a “self-cleaning Nanosphere treatment”, leaving me dry underneath. The best part is the fabric and fit—a twill-like face fabric dresses them up for the office as does the slim, narrow-leg fit, so I can wear them straight from the bike to the office. ($225)
Chrome Merino PashaSimilar to the Outlier pants, the Chrome Merino Pasha hoody is a piece I could live in all the time. It might look like just another merino zip-up—it’s by far the softest one I’ve worn—but it’s equipped with cycling-specific bells and whistles that come in handy. The torso is longer in the back as are the arms to keep you covered while riding, thumb loops block out wind from your sleeves, a zippered pocket on the lower back gives you a place to store an ID and money, while a small pocket on the wrist stashes your keys. Plus, it naturally has all of the benefits of wool—heat-regulation, wicking capabilities, and odor-resistance. And, the fit is flattering through the waist. ($160)
Shinola Bixby BikeThere isn’t more beautiful a mode of transportation than the bicycle, and the Shinola Women’s Bixby is its perfect mascot. The Bixby’s elegant lines, classy colors, and carefully-curated details make it more a museum piece than a road warrior, but once we got it rolling, we were otherwise convinced. It handled much more nimbly than its cruiser-inspired shape implies and its three-speed Shimano hub was much smoother than other commuter bikes we tested. Our favorite part: the bikes steel frame and fork are born in a Wisconsin factory where they’re soulfully handcrafted before being shipped to Detroit for assembly. ($1,950)
Bern Lenox HelmetBern will warn you that the hardest part about the Lenox helmet is keeping it away from your boyfriend. Case in point: as soon as I had mine, my husband was whining about wanting one just like it. That’s because it has a stylish profile, complete with hard brim and funky colors, and fulfills all of your safety needs. The Lenox is burly enough for skiing, biking and skateboarding. While it sometimes feel a little large and in charge on my head (it’s nothing I’d wear while spandex-clad on my road bike), I know I’m protected from vehicle traffic during heavy commuting hours. And, it goes with pretty much everything. ($60)
DZR JetlagNot every bike commuter wants to wear his or her high-performance cycling shoes from the bike rack to the office locker room. Or, as I do on my commute, riding the public bus. Enter the DZR Jetlag slip-ons. Designed similarly to classic Vans slip-ons, the Jetlags also have a nifty feature: they’re SPD-compatible so you can use them with clipless pedals. This means better power transfer than regular shoes but the ability to stay stylish. They don’t offer as much structure as a high-performance cycling shoe, but they did make me more efficient getting to and from the office than riding with a regular sneaker. Look for them in grey, called the Pigeon, soon. ($95)
Shimano PR-T420 Click’R PedalsIf you’re like me, you like to commute on your bike and also use it for cruising around your neighborhood whether going for groceries or heading out to dinner with friends. This makes my footwear choices a challenge based on the fact that I like to clip into my pedals. Not all clip-in shoes are, well, acceptable in restaurants (or with the outfits I wear to said restaurants). Coming later this year, Shimano is releasing the PR-T420 pedal, which is flat on one side and SPD-compatible on the other side making it the perfect solution to my conundrum. It’s a part of Shimano’s new Click’r system, which employs a lighter spring that the original SPD pedals, making getting in and out of the pedals 60% easier. This pedal will be more inviting to cyclists looking to clip in for the first time—and more appealing to my shoe closet. ($TBD)
Knog Blinder Road Front and Rear lightsMy only fear with the Knog Blinder Road Front and Rear lights is that I’m going to blind oncoming bicycle traffic along my commute. The Front and Rear lights are so bright—at 200 and 70 lumens, respectively—that I could see them lighting up road signs well ahead in the distance. That means, these lights do more than just signal your presence to traffic, they also work to illuminate the road in front of you at night. Rechargeable by USB (no wasted batteries!), waterproof, and easy to put on, the Blinder Road Front and Rear lights are no brainers. ($80 and $60)
Road ID Reflective WristRiding in a city makes you want to get creative with all of the ways you can increase your visibility to cars. Enter the Road ID Reflective Wrist and Ankle bands. These neon yellow elastic bands feature an ultra-reflective strip of 3M Scotchlite, making you safer on the street by day and night. ($10 per pair)
Brooks B17-SNothing tells truth like time. The Brooks B17 Standard saddle—the women’s-specific version of Brooks England’s flagship model is the B17-S—has been on the market for over 100 years. While leather can seem hard at first, after breaking it in, it’s more comfortable and durable than non-leather saddles. Plus, it’s easy on the eyes. ($90)
Linus The Sac PannierThe Linus Sac may just look like another canvas tote, but pannier hooks on the backside of it make it perfect for clipping to your rack. It’s voluminous and slouchy, which means it was big enough to hold my clothes for work, a lock, and my bulky wallet, make-up bag, keys, phone and more. The best part: It comes with a messenger-style over-the-shoulder strap so I can carry it into work without it looking like a wonky pannier. The canvas fabric isn’t waterproof but its fended off more than a handful of drizzles and even one hard rain. A magnet keeps it closed and, if you don’t want to remove it from your rack, an included lock lets you store it safely on your bike. ($60)
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