Equipment for Safe Bike Commuting
Helmets, Lights, Bells, and More
by John Salerno
In order to fully outfit your bike for commuting to work, you’ll need essential equipment like a helmut, lights, and a bell.
Don’t Forget Your Helmet!
As far as putting safety first, buy a helmet and use it every time you ride. It could save you from a serious and expensive head injury should you crash. Helmets also are useful in winter commuting since you can plug up the vent holes with stryofoam and stretch on a wind/rain resistant cover. Warm “helmet hats” and a balaclava fit well underneath the helmet and are comfortable commuting in the winter.
Light the Way & Be Visible Too
Lights are also a must, as it is illegal in many towns like Fairfield to ride at night without a well-powered taillight and headlight. Recent advances in LED bulb/lithium battery technology have made bike lighting systems better than ever at considerably less cost than several years ago.
Protect Your Eyes
Cycling eyeglasses protect your eyes from bugs and flying debris. In colder weather, I also use ski goggles since they protect a good portion of your face, almost like a little windshield. Mirrors are also important to your overall safety on the open road or city street. I recommend attaching a small mirror to your glasses which, in my experience, is the most useful location.
Bells & Locks
Another important item to include on your bike is a bell. Use it as a courteous way to let pedestrians and other bikers know you are approaching, especially if you are on a trail.
Locks for securing your bike are more important for the serious commuter than the recreational or casual rider, since the commuter often leaves the bike outside for many hours. I like the smallest and lightest cable lock for low-security situations when I won’t be leaving the bike for a long period, but for maximum security, I prefer the mini-U lock, which is often half the weight of the full size U-lock yet more difficult for a thief to defeat.
Bike commuter John Salerno logs 2,000 miles a year riding back and forth to work.
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