You need several things if you plan on cycling to work, and you might want to get them before hopping on your bike.
I ride to “work” almost every day, and I know how it feels to forget something or even have just way too much that you are nearly hauling around a lot of useless stuff.
For those who actually ride a bike to work or are considering it, I have put together this guide so that you take what is necessary and leave what isn’t to make for a much more productive journey.
I work online, so some things I carry or don’t carry might not be needed on your list.
Do pick and choose what you deem necessary, as we all require different tools to get through a ride and our place of work.
So before we get into any of the wants, let’s go over the absolute necessities that every biker should have, even if it isn’t the workplace that you are headed to.
Table of Contents
Things You Need if You Plan on Cycling to Work
If you haven’t already, you might want to pick a bike that is best for commuting.
Using the wrong bike can make or break your decision to continue cycling to work.
Once you have that down, you can look for other necessary things if you plan to cycle to work.
Remember to take what you need and try not to bring unnecessary things.
Besides that, here are what you need if you plan to cycle to work.
1. A Helmet
I plan on crashing today, said no one ever.
I don’t care how much you think you will not get into a bike accident.
You should always wear a helmet, especially if you plan on riding to work.
This goes for any bike and any kind of ride, so please protect that dome of yours.
If this is going to be your first time getting one, pick a helmet that is lightweight (they’re usually all pretty light) and one that allows your head to breathe easily.
If you feel like an idiot in a bike helmet, embrace the need and be confident in wearing it.
And if you think that all helmets are ridiculous looking, you might want to check out the Fox Flux, which is what I used to feel better about wearing a helmet.
2. Bike Lock
There’s no point in riding to work, and you can’t lock it somewhere without worrying.
I remember when I went on my first ride and didn’t have a lock yet.
I left it outside a store and decided to run in to grab a few things.
I could not stop going back and forth to ensure it was still there, even if I only ran in for a few minutes.
Not the best idea and a nice lock would’ve been the simple solution.
There are so many different brands to choose from and other styles, so don’t feel stuck with the ones at your local bike shop.
Any of them will work fine, so get a bike lock in your budget and one that suits your needs best.
3. A Nice Bag of Some Sort
Some of you might be fine with a messenger bag, but I prefer more of a backpack.
Whatever you choose, make sure it has the space and necessary compartments to hold your daily carry.
Whether you are using a laptop or not, you might want to get a bag that fits one, just in case you decide to get one.
Most bags come equipped with a laptop compartment but not all the time, so keep that in mind when shopping for your next bikepack.
4. Bike Repair Kit
I got my first flat on my first long ride, and being that I was new to the biking world, I went about my journey without a repair kit.
All this did was teach me a valuable lesson and end my ride much sooner than I wanted.
Make sure this bike repair kit has EVERYTHING you need – a bike wrench, extra inner tubes, tire lever, patches, pump, etc.
You can usually buy this on Amazon for less than $20, but you can always assemble one of your own.
You will most likely find yourself adding to your bike repair kit, so don’t get too comfortable with the basics.
5. Some H2O
You might wonder why this is far down the list, and that’s okay.
Water, or any liquid, is necessary, but a ride to work wouldn’t be one if you don’t have the previous items.
Besides, this is a no-brainer, and you can always grab some on the go or at work.
However, the reason for carrying some water is to hydrate, especially when you encounter a flat tire or other reasons that prolong your journey to work.
6. Proper Clothing
Besides the basics, you always need to be ready for the elements.
Like crashing, we never expect it to rain, but we must be ready for it.
You don’t need to go out there looking like the woman above but get something that will work best for you.
Grab yourself a nice jacket that goes well with the weather in your area.
If you have somewhat of a colder climate, you can always get a raincoat/jacket to kill two birds with one stone.
If you live in a warmer climate as I do, you might do fine with a regular old raincoat but do plan for the office if you work in one.
You can always leave a jacket at the office and use it there.
Now, if you’re a blogger or some type of online entrepreneur like me and you are constantly riding to different coffee shops, you might want to carry a jacket in case you get a little chilly.
Also, consider some overshoes, as you don’t want to head to work with soaked shoes.
Unless you have some shoes to change into at work, you want to keep your shoes as dry as possible.
Being seen is a big deal; it doesn’t mean only when you’re on your way to work.
At the very least, you should have the primary reflectors with every bike but invest in some good lights.
Get some lights for the rear of your bike, but also consider getting a nice headlight if your workday heads into the night.
There are some cheap bike lights out there, so don’t feel that you need to buy some fancy lights that aren’t necessary.
If you are quite the handyman, you can always rig up some stuff, as I saw on this dude I met on my evening ride the other day.
8. Rags/Baby Wipes
Depending on how hot and humid it is in your area, you might need a rag to wipe your sweaty forehead.
On top of that, you’ll never know when that flat tire will come around, and something as simple as putting your chain back in line will leave your hands all greasy.
Try not having some rags or baby wipes, and you’ll be holding your hand out, looking at it, and thinking, “damn, I should’ve just thrown those wipes in my backpack.”
Don’t let this happen, and add it to your everyday carry.
And if you aren’t a parent and think baby wipes are only for babies, you’ll be surprised at what these things can do.
Grab one of those portable baby wipes in a nice little plastic container, and you’re ready.
And, if you want to get fancy, Dudewipes is always an option.
9. Personal Hygiene Kit
I don’t know about you, but I like to be clean no matter where I go, and biking will most likely draw some sweat, and you’ll never know when you’ll need to get cleaned up.
You know how those armpits will be after your ride, so have some deo ready to go, or you might not have anyone to talk to for the day.
Some of you might have the luxury of a shower at work, so all you need is a nice chamois-type towel and the bare necessities.
For those of you not-so-lucky folks, you might be taking a bath out of the sink, but that’s okay.
I’m sure you’ll do whatever it takes to be fresh, especially when your day just started.
10. First Aid Kit
This is last on the list but will be helpful if needed.
With 50% of all crashes being single bicycle accidents, you most likely won’t have any immediate help if you get into one.
Imagine taking a spill, and you just had a cut that could not stop bleeding.
Those extra rags could help, but wouldn’t have the right equipment in any emergency make more sense?
Get a minimal first aid kit that can sit in your everyday carry backpack, ready to take on any injuries you or anyone around you might encounter.
Always have these items on your commute to work, and don’t forget that safety always comes first.
Although there are many reasons you should bike to work, there are still those crazy drivers that you need to look out for and know you are just like any other vehicle.
You have your rights but don’t think you can do whatever you want just because you’re on a bike.
Remember that some drivers will not see you no matter how many lights you have on you, so use good judgment when crossing the street, even if the crosswalk says go.
Use this as a guide on your commute to work but give or take what is necessary for you as we all have different wants and needs.
Thanks for reading, and happy biking!