The Bike Shed Blog Three: Commuter Bike Essentials & Tips | Folding Bike Race!
Commuting by bike is one of the best ways to wake up in the morning, de-stress after work or fit in your exercise around a busy schedule. Peter and Devan both regularly commute to work and have some amazing recommendations.
Deciding on your bike
Picking the perfect bike to commute on is dependent on terrain, time and what you will need to carry. You will need to take into account whether you will be jumping over gutters, riding through dirt or purely on the pavement.
If you are commuting primarily on smooth tarmac roads with minimal bumps then a road bike will be more efficient but, it may not be the most comfortable. A gravel bike will be more comfortable on rougher terrain, longer rides and will also be able to have more packs loaded onto it. We highly recommend the Marin Gestalt for people looking to commute on a drop-bar bike.
We understand that all commuters don’t want to ride drop bar bikes all the time. If you want the perfect blend of efficiency, comfort and durability a flat bar road bike or Hybrid will suit you to a tee. The Polygon Heist is the perfect bike if you want to speed around town quickly and comfortably.
A gravel bike will also be sufficient for loose terrains like fire roads or hardpack dirt tracks but, they will struggle when it gets steep, rough and rocky. When the terrain starts to get rowdy a mountain bike will suit your commute better. Often, 29-inch hardtails are the bike of choice as they are efficient, light and robust. Polygon’s Xtrada range will thrive when the commute leaves the blacktop and heads off into the wilderness.
E-Bikes are quickly taking over the commuter world as they make light work of the hills, require less effort when loaded and make riding home after a tough day a breeze. You can get any bike that will suit your needs perfectly in the electric versions. The Path-E blends speed, comfort and a motor to get you where you need to be on time and in style.
Kit to make commuting easy
The biggest part of commuting is getting from point “A” to point “B” so, we want to make sure you get to where you need to go. That is where a good pump spare tube and multi-tool come into play. A flat can ruin a ride while preventing you from getting where you need to be on time. Carrying a spare tube and pump will get you back onto your bike in minutes.
A good multitool will help you fix issues like broken chains, twisted bars or out-of-tune gears on the fly. They pack a whole toolbox into your pocket and get you out of trouble. The Topeak Mini 18 plus tool has everything you could ever need to fix a mechanical trailside.
While commuting is extremely fun and great for your health, it can also be dangerous as you travel down busy roads. We strongly advise that you purchase a high-quality helmet to ensure you are protected from injury as well as possible. High-quality helmets also breathe more and are often more comfortable so you will want to wear them more often. A brightly coloured helmet will also make you more visible to other commuters and out of harm's way.
Now that we have mentioned visibility we need to talk about lights, they don't just make the path visible to you but they make you more visible to those around you. A good front light should range between 500 and 1000 lumens to effectively illuminate the path ahead of you. The rear light should be bright and attract attention so you can be easily noticed. The Entity HL800 Front Light + Entity RL35 Rear Light Combo is the ultimate way to get your lighting needs to be sorted in one easy purchase.
Lastly, there is no such thing as poor weather, just poor preparation. A good quality lightweight Jacket offers you protection from the rain or chilling wind. Cycling jackets can pack down into a tiny package ready to be stored in a small jersey pocket or at the bottom of your bag.