05-14-09 RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Sure, biking is a great way to cut down on carbon emissions and weight gain, and now it’s possible to get an $80 tax credit just for pedaling to work. But are you doing it?
If you’re having a hard time getting motivated, try it just for one day—like tomorrow, National Bike to Work Day. To help you get the wheels moving, we’ve compiled a list of five must-haves for every bike commuter, with a little help from the editors of Bicycling magazine, so you can save a little gas and look good doing it.
1. Commuting bike. It’s probably a given, but you’ve got to have a bicycle to commute with one. If you’re in the market for a new bike to ride to work, consider a model designed for commuting or short jaunts around town. These models are designed so you sit upright, which may not seem like a big deal, but it prevents you from going too fast and sweating too much. Shop for a bike that is lightweight (in case you need to carry it up or down stairs), that has fenders to keep mud from spraying your clothes, and that has a rack for carrying your briefcase or work bag. The Royal Dutch Gazelle Toer Populair is so chic it recently caught the eye of New York Times fashion photographers, but as trendy as Dutch bikes have become recently, “they aren’t really practical outside of flat, flat Amsterdam,” says Emily Furia, senior editor at Bicycling. If you love the look but want something more suited to a changing terrain, she recommends the Breezer Uptown 8, which Bicycling recently named an Editor’s Choice in the commuter category.
2. A good helmet. If you’re smart enough to see the advantage of bike commuting, you’ll want something protect that clever brain of yours. The Bell Citi helmet was another top pick from Bicycling because, they write, “it pairs better with khakis than Lance’s helmet,” and it comes with an optional rearview mirror and rear flashing light for enhanced safety.
3. Head and tail lights. Speaking of safety, outfitting your bike with a headlight and a flashing taillight is a good move on all fronts. Some bikes come with them installed, but if yours didn’t, Furia recommends Planet Bike Blaze 1W headlight and Planet Bike Superflash taillight, which won Bicycling’s Editor’s Choice Award last year. They allow for plenty of visibility, and you can even get a discount if you buy the pair together.