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May 10, 2022  |  Sports & Fitness

Everything you need to bike to work

What you need to commute by bike

With fuel costs rising, it only makes sense to bike to work if you’re able to, but it can seem daunting for anyone who’s never commuted this way before. You’ll have a smoother experience if you consider how best to commute by bike and what complications may arise.

Cycling to your workplace takes a little more planning than cycling just for fun. You’ll need to get there in a relatively presentable manner or change once you arrive. However, if you get everything you need to bike to work, you’ll arrive safely and ready for the day. 

Should you bike to work? 

Pros of cycling to work

  • Saves money: Compared to the cost of gas or public transport, you'll save money by cycling to work, even if you have an initial outlay for a bike and other gear.
  • Can save time: If you usually walk to work or live somewhere with terrible traffic, you'll get to work faster by cycling. 
  • Good exercise: Cycling is a great form of exercise, so if you bike to work, you can combine your commute with your daily cardio. 

Cons of cycling to work

  • Can arrive dirty: Sweat and dirt from the road can make you less presentable than you'd like to be when you arrive at work. It's not such a big deal if you can easily shower or at least change your clothes, but this isn't possible in all workplaces.
  • Not great in some weather conditions: When it's extremely hot, extremely cold, wet, snowy or icy, cycling to work doesn't seem as appealing. 


What you need to bike to work

Bike

Naturally, you’ll need a bike if you want to cycle to work. Those who already have a bike can move on, but anyone looking to buy a bike to commute on might be wondering what the best type is. Unless you have shower facilities at work, taking a reasonably relaxed pace on your commute is advisable, so a versatile hybrid is a better choice than a road bike. 

Helmet

Wherever you’re cycling, you should always wear a helmet to reduce the risk of serious head injury if you fall off or get into an accident. Commuter helmets are specifically designed for people commuting by bike. They’re lightweight with plenty of ventilation to keep your head from getting too sweaty. You might need to restyle your hair when you get to work to avoid a case of helmet hair, but it’s not worth running the risk of cycling without a helmet. 

Fenders

Fenders

If you need to commute by bike while wearing your work clothes, it’s important to keep them as clean as possible. Fenders keep mud, dirty water and other road dirt from flying off the tire and hitting the rider. If your bicycle doesn’t already have fenders, you can buy them separately to fit most bikes. The longer the fenders, the cleaner they’re likely to keep you. 

Packable jacket

On days when the weather’s inconsistent, you should cycle with a packable rain jacket that you can easily get out of your pack and wear if rain starts to fall. Packable jackets are ideal not only because they pack down to a smile size but also because they’re lightweight, so they won’t feel too hot on a warm but rainy day. 

Bike lock

Once you get to work, you’ll need to secure your bike. Even if your work has a dedicated bicycle parking area, it’s still wise to lock it up just in case. Plus, having a bike lock with you will make it easier if you want to stop for groceries on your way home or cycle to get food on your lunch break. Look for one that’s durable and able to resist bolt cutters and tools. 

Pannier

A pannier is a bag that fits on the back of your bike. When cycling to work, it’s a better choice than wearing a backpack, which can cause your back to get sweaty. What’s more, a pair of bike panniers is roomier than a backpack, so you can fit more work essentials inside. 

Lights

If you’re planning to commute by bike year-round, in the winter months, you’ll likely be leaving before the sun has risen fully and heading home once it has set again. Other road users need to see you, so bike lights are essential. You need at least one white light on the front of your bike and one red light on the rear of your bike when cycling in low light. 

Change of clothes

Many people choose to take a change of clothes with them when cycling to work, especially if their workplace has shower facilities. While you certainly can commute in your work clothes if you’re careful not to get too dirty or sweaty, some people prefer not to risk it and just change at work. 

FAQ

Q. How far is too far to bike to work? 

A. This depends on how physically fit you are, how far you’re used to cycling, how fast you cycle and how long you’re prepared to spend commuting. For experienced cyclists, a 20-mile ride might seem completely reasonable, while people who haven’t spent much time biking may not want to ride more than a couple of miles. 

Q. Is biking to work a workout? 

A. Cycling is a great cardio workout, plus it strengthens many muscles in the lower half of the body. Just because you’re using your bike as a form of transport, it doesn’t make it any less of a workout, so you can skip the gym on days you cycle to work. 

What you need to buy for biking to work

Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike

Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike

With its comfortable upright riding position and extended fenders to keep road dirt off your clothes, it’s an excellent choice for commuting. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet

Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet

This lightweight yet durable helmet helps keep wearers safe in the event of an accident. It won’t cause your head to overheat on the way to work, thanks to its 20 ventilation holes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Hount Lightweight Packable Rain Jacket

Hount Lightweight Packable Rain Jacket

On rainy days or days when the sky is threatening rain, this hooded waterproof jacket is perfect for cycling to work. You can put it on if it’s raining or easily carry it around in its packed down form if not. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Kryptonite Evolution Bicycle U-Lock

Kryptonite Evolution Bicycle U-Lock

Once you get to work, you’ll need to secure your bike. With this impressive lock that resists tools and bolt cutters, you can rest assured your bicycle will still be waiting for you at the end of the day.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Rockbros Waterproof Bike Pannier

Rockbros Waterproof Bike Pannier 

Whatever you need to bring to work, from important paperwork to your brown bag lunch, this waterproof pannier will keep it dry. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Ascher USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set

Ascher USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set

Visibility is hugely important in low light. This set of USB rechargeable front and rear lights is what you need to help keep you safe on your commute. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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