My gear list for cycling to work.

I often get asked what gear is needed for cycling to work. Below is my gear list and a few tips for cycling to work. I take a fairly minimalist approach. I have separated the list into what I do each “Weekend”, what I do the “Night” before, what clothes I put on in the “Morning”, and what I grab on my “Way Out”. I also have a list of what is “Already at Work”.

Weekend

Clean Bike.
Maintain Bike.
Inflate Tires.
Lube Chain.

Night

Charge Lights.
Charge Camera.
Pack Tools in dry bag in rucksack. ( Multi-tool / Levers / CO2 Inflator & Canisters / Inner Tube / Pump )
Pack Clothes in dry bag in rucksack. ( Boxers / Socks / T-Shirt / Jeans ( Monday Only ) )
Pack Personal items in rucksack. ( Wallet / Keys / Passes / Phone / Prescription Eyewear )
Pack Lunch in rucksack.

Morning…

Cycling Socks.
Cycling Legwear.
Cycling Shirt.

Way out…

Bike.
Helmet.
Lights.
Camera.
Cycling Shoes.
Cycling High Viz Soft Shell.
Gloves.
Buff / Balaclava.
Cycling Glasses.
Cycling Bottle.

Already at work…

Lock.
Shower Gel.
Microfiber Towel.
Deodorant.
Hair Brush.
Hair Spray.
Belt.
Footwear.
Jeans. ( taken Monday )

A few cycle to work tips…

Clean and maintain your bike. Clean your bike, lube the chain and inflate the tires if required every week for efficiency, safety and longevity. Learn how to do basic maintenance on your bike, especially fixing punctures, most cities now have free regular cycle maintenance workshops.

Buy tires with puncture protection. I was averaging a puncture every 200 miles until I swapped to Schwalbe’s Mountain Marathon Plus range. Since then I have done over 1500 miles and still no puncture. The inconvenience of changing punctured tires in bad weather can be demoralising.

Leave stuff at work. Don’t carry a heavy lock to and from work, buy a separate lock to keep at work. If like me you wear the same jeans all week, take them in on Monday and taken them home Friday. Don’t carry cosmetics into work every day, just leave a batch at work. I use a micro fibre towel at work like those from outdoor shops for travelling, it dries quickly and can be washed at work. Leave a pair of shoes or trainers at work too.

Spend wisely. Your hard earned cash is best spent on things like tyres with puncture protection, decent lights, quality tools and of course a bike with longer lasting higher quality components. These things will save you time, your life, and money in the long run.

Weatherproof yourself and the bike. Fit mudguards to your regular commuting bike. Or if that is too uncool try crud catchers. They not only keep you clean but also help keep your bike clean and protect parts from the horrific mixture of water, oil, mud, leaves, grit and corrosive salt that our roads are covered in during the winter months. Decent gloves, balaclavas and buffs keep your commute enjoyable in winter. Overshoes are also worth investing in for winter for the same reasons. Protective glasses both clear and tinted are in my opinion essential at all times of the year. And don’t forget sun cream during the summer if your commute is long and you don’t sun stroke or those lines on your legs.

Backup Lights. Buy yourself a pair of Knog Frog Strobe lights and leave them on your bike, they are tiny, discreet, surprisingly effective and cheap. One day you will forget your lights or run out of power and these will save you.

Use Common Sense. Wear a helmet. Use decent lights. Make yourself seen. Always be ready for anything to happen at any time. Don’t run red lights. Don’t cycle down the side of vehicles as approaching junctions, instead slow until you are between them. The vehicle that is now just behind you can see you and if the one that is now just in front of you makes a sudden manoeuvre you will be ready. Don’t listen to music.

Almost doored by car door on cycle home.

I almost got “Doored” whilst cycling home the other night. I approached a car that looked like it was only temporarily parked. I guessed this as its left indicator was on and engine running. Luckily my experience told me to look over my shoulder, check my surroundings and approach with caution as I know from experience that temporarily parked cars can suddenly pull out or their occupants open doors. As I approached the car I slowed down slightly and checked there was a gap in the traffic for me to manoeuvre into if I had to suddenly. Thank god I did. It meant I was able to safely swing out into the road and avoid the door that opened into the cycle lane. Had it happened at the same time the white car was passing and I lacked the experience or concentration, I hate to think what could have happened. I hope that by reading this both fellow cyclists and fellow drivers will think about this scenario in future. Cyclists should always be aware of the possibility of this happening and motorist should always be aware of the possibility of a cyclist passing, especially on a road like this with an obvious cycle lane. I read an interesting article recently about the “Dutch Reach”. Learner drivers in the Netherlands are taught to open their car doors with their right hand. This means that their body has to swing around giving them a view of any cyclists that may be passing. Brilliant idea that will hopefully make more drivers think before they open their car door. Try it yourselves the next time you open your car door. Though obviously in our country it would be a case of opening your drivers door with your left hand. Have you ever been doored or have any advice for drivers or cyclist on how to avoid being doored? If so let us know by commenting below…