Ever Thought About Biking To Work? Here's What You Need

Photographed by Ashley Batz.
This week is bike-to-work week. Whether you’ve got an old set of wheels gathering dust in the basement, or you’re growing tired of your daily commute (the L train’s delayed, again), there has never been a better time to start pedaling to the office. But, hitting the streets on two wheels can feel intimidating if you’re not prepared.

You can ride with confidence if you know you’re visible (to cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists), if you know where you’re headed, and if you know your bike isn’t going to get nabbed while you make a pit stop at your favorite coffee shop.

Riding your bike has been proven to make you happier and can be a great way to meet that special someone. Here's what you need to kick-start your latest healthy habit. 
1 of 8
Photo: Courtesy Vilano.
Bike
If you don’t have a bike, well, that’s the first thing you need. It’s the perfect time to pick one up, with sunny summer weather up ahead. Feeling the air whoosh through your hair as you pedal to work is way better than being stuck like a sardine in a sauna on public transit.

Vilano Women's Classic Urban Commuter
If you don't need any bells and whistles — and if you'll mostly be biking on flat surfaces — try the $200 Vilano Women's Classic Urban Commuter. It requires some assembly, so you may want to take it to a local bike shop for them to put it together for you (unless you or a friend have some experience with building bikes). It comes in a lovely mint-pearl color, and at 41 pounds, it's hefty but light enough to carry up a flight of stairs if you need to.
Advertisement
2 of 8
Photo: Courtesy Faraday Bikes.
Faraday Porteur
If your budget is larger and/or you have hills to contend with, you need something a little more than a single speed. Even the laziest of us can hop on two wheels these days with the Faraday Porteur, a cute eight-speed townie that’s actually an electric bike. Starting at $3,500 (yeah, pricey), you can customize it with a front rack if you want to tote grocery and shopping bags on your jaunts. It also has integrated front and rear LEDs, so you don’t need to purchase extra lights for your ride. It uses a belt drive, rather than a traditional metal bike chain, which is great for two reasons: It won’t rust, and it won’t get bike grease on your pants. Bamboo fenders protect you from puddles.

As for the “electric” part, it’s got a 250W motor that delivers up to 20 miles of pedal-assist riding. That is, you’re pedaling, but going significantly faster than if you were using your legs alone. To charge it, you plug it into a standard outlet, and it reaches full charge within three hours. The bike weighs 39 pounds, which isn’t too bad considering that built-in motor and battery.
3 of 8
Photo: Courtesy Giro.
Helmet
Yeah, it might mess up your perfect hairstyle, but wearing a helmet is a small price to pay for protecting your noggin from a run-in with a distracted driver or a surprise pothole.

Giro Trinity
The $40 Giro Trinity is about as sleek and simple as helmets come. It’s available in seven different color combos, including a head-turning fluorescent yellow and a handsome, matte, titanium-and-white combo. Giro has a sizing guide on its website, so you can order a lid online that will properly fit your head. Once you get it, you’ll want to adjust the dial on back to ensure it fits snugly, and tighten the chin straps; a helmet is no good if, in the event of a crash, it slips off your head. Also, make sure you’re not wearing it backwards.
4 of 8
Photo: Courtesy Bell
Bell Strut
Also $40 (about as cheap as you can go for a quality helmet), the Bell Strut is ponytail-compatible. It comes in three colors (mint, silver, and purple) and has a snap-on visor if you prefer a little extra shade on your face. On the rear of the helmet, there's a dial you can slide for a comfortable, stable fit.
5 of 8
Photo: Courtesy Kryptonite.
Bike Lock
Bike theft is a very real issue. There’s nothing more crushing than heading outside to hop on your beloved bike and discovering it’s nowhere to be found. A quality bike lock (and proper locking technique) can help ensure you don’t end up in that situation.

Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2
Kryptonite is a trusted name in bike locks, and the Series 2 lock ($44) is one of the best you can get for the price. It’s comprised of a steel U-lock and a four-foot cable. You still need to lock your bike up properly, ideally in a place that’s not a hotbed for bike theft, but having a thick U-lock combined with a cable makes your bike a less-attractive option to steal.

Lifehacker has a great guide for how to properly lock up your bike here. Basically: It’s most important to make sure you lock up both the rear wheel and the bike frame to the bike post; then, use the cable (or a second U-lock) to secure the front wheel, too.
6 of 8
Photo: Courtesy Fly6.
Fly6
At $170, the Fly6 taillight is definitely pricey. But, it’s not just a light: It also has a built-in 720p camera for recording video and audio. Why would you need video? If you’re not doing epic bike journeys, it’s a safeguard against accidents: If a car hits you, now you’ve got video proof as to your side of the case, and that’s powerful evidence in court. And, speaking of powerful, it’s also insanely bright, putting out up to 30 lumens. On a single charge, it can last up to six hours — both shooting video and shining its light (and when it does need to charge, you just plug it in via micro USB). Video is stored on an 8 GB microSD card, which you can easily plug into your MacBook with an SD card adapter.
7 of 8
Photo: Courtesy Lezyne.
Lezyne Femto Drive
Alright, you don’t need a fancy camera; you just want a light. Lezyne’s $15 Femto Drive tail light outputs 7 lumens, and because of its design, it gives you visibility from the sides as well as from behind. Its cylindrical aluminum body comes in seven different colors, so you can choose one that matches or complements your steed. It’s powered by a standard watch battery, which can last up to 60 hours of use depending on whether you keep it flashing, pulsing, or non-blinking. A matching $15 front light outputs 15 lumens, and you can grab the pair for $28.
8 of 8
Photo: Courtesy Runtastic.
Runtastic
Don't let the name fool you. If you want to start tracking your rides, and the calories you burn on them, you can use an app like Runtastic (Free on iOS and Android). Runtastic lets you log your rides, and, if you have specific fitness goals, can also help you stay focused to achieve them. You can monitor all sorts of fitness activities with this app, including runs, swims, and skiing — it has an Apple Watch app version, too.
Advertisement