This means that it's been two months since I sold my car, during which time I've been moving across the country, starting my new internship, and commuting by bike!
I wear a Bern helmet. There's some debate as to whether or not you're statistically safer on a bicycle when you're wearing a helmet, but I'd rather have an extra layer of protection for my brain just in case something unexpected happens.
I've bonked my (helmeted) head on the ground during unscheduled bike/horse dismounts, and I am convinced that a helmet is a wise investment. Make sure it fits correctly, and replace it if you fall on it or drop it from a significant height.
Ohhhh you guys fenders are going to make you so happy when it's raining. With fenders, your wheels won't throw muddy water up onto your clothes. Enough said.
I have a rear rack. Some people have a front rack. Some people have a front rack and a rear rack. You can tie and/or hang shit on your rack(s) so you don't have to stuff it awkwardly in a backpack.
Some people prefer the backpack, though. You do you.
You know what's cool about gloves? They keep your hands warm when it's chilly (unless you get the fingerless ones). They look awesome. And...if you ever fall onto pavement or gravel, you'll tear up your gloves instead of your palms.
5. Rain pants.
Arriving at your destination mostly dry > arriving at your destination with rainwater running into your underwear.
6. Rain jacket/poncho.
See above, re: rainwater running into your underwear.
7. Waterproof/water resistant shoes.
It's pretty amazing how thoroughly wet you can get when you're riding your bike in the rain. Don't neglect your footwear, or you'll be squelching for the better part of your day.
8. Bike locks.
Locking your bike is a whole separate subject for another day, but for starters, I use two locks of different types (U-lock and chain lock) to lock my bike. Both keys go on my key chain, and both locks nestle in one pannier when I'm riding.
A pannier is a pretty sweet receptacle for whatever you might need to carry with you throughout the day. I have a pair of waterproof Ortlieb panniers that attach to my rear rack, and so far they've done a solid job of carrying:
- Stacks of journal articles
- Extra scrubs
- Extra jacket
I like that my panniers are easy to detach and carry around, and they can carry absurdly large volumes of stuff before the balance of my bike starts to feel weird.
10. Bike lights.
Bike lights help 1) you see in the dark and 2) other people see you in the dark. Both of these should happen as often as possible. Safety!