I have been commuting by bicycle for 3 years through all the seasons NYC has to offer. Below are my 10 unique daily essential
1. A waterproof bag (life bag)
There is nothing more comforting than having a big, waterproof bag to carry whatever you want. I recommend a messenger bag. Personally, I have a Chrome Mini Metro . The bag can be carried on my back or strapped down to the rack if it gets too heavy. Sometimes it’s filled with my belongings and other I leave it empty incase I want to pick something up. Either way, I never leave home without my bag. There are a variety of other bags that work just as well which include panniers, roll tops, or duffels. Whatever tickles your fancy.
Warning: If you are a man you may be accused of having a man purse, but remind the haters that it is a life bag.
2. A Ziploc freezer bag
Always, and I mean always carry a large Ziploc freezer bag. I typically use them to store my dress shirts for my commute to work. I will iron the shirt, place it in the bag, blow the bag full of air, and Ziploc it. This allows a protective armor around the shirt so that it does not become wrinkled. However, the Ziploc has many other purposes. It’s perfect for that leaky water bottle or those sweaty gym clothes. Maybe you picked up a frozen bag of blueberries and do not want them to defrost on to your laptop. Perhaps you got soaked in the rain and want to put your wet clothes in your bag, but keep everything else dry. The Ziploc bag is an easy item to carry and always comes in handy.
This one is pretty self explanatory. You never know when you will step in a puddle, get splashed by a car, or sweat through your original pair of socks. Always make sure to have a fresh pair to throw on. If you don’t care about the stench of your feet, think about those around you.
Don’t leave home without your U Lock no matter where you are going. This is another self explanatory item. Although they add a lot of extra weight, it is better than having your most trusty companion stolen. I use the Ongaurd Bulldog, which is a great value at it’s price.
Do you get hungry? Of course you do! Make sure to always have snacks with you. We are humans and we need to eat, even if we are doing nothing. That means you will probably work up a decent appetite even on the slowest of rides. Throw some granola bars in your bag. Maybe some trail mix or pretzels. Actually, just carry whatever you like. There is nothing worse than being hungry on the bike. So go ahead and pack a snack.
I advocate for thermoses over water bottles. This is because they serve a dual purpose. Theycan carry both hot and cold liquids. If you are a container nerd like me, you will notice that there are many on the market.Spend some time researching a few to see which one you may like best. I use the Stanley Vacuum Sealed Mug. This was designed with the cyclist in mind as it fits perfectly into a standard bottle cage. Fill it up with your favorite brew in the morning and then rehydrate with some H20 later. Hey, you can even refill this at your local coffee shop if you need that second pick-me-up.
Riding with headphones is dangerous and, sometimes, illegal. However, riding in silence can be boring. I always make sure to have a bluetooth speaker with me to make sure I have just the right soundtrack for my mood. I highly recommend the Boombot Rex as it was designed for cyclists. Whether it’s Eminem or Justin Bieber, the speaker has got me covered.
A notepad is the most perfect way to ensure you retain important information. Some of my best thinking is done on the bike, but with the hustle and bustle of daily life, some of these ideas slip away. I have found it essential to carry my notebook with me to jot these things down. Whether it’s a grocery item or the next million dollar idea, I try to jot it down. The notebook has become one of my most important cycling accessories.
Another obvious one. Always carry your lights even if you are riding during the day. You never know how late you will be out. We have all been in that situation where you plan lunch with a friend and end up staying out all night. Let’s be prepared for night time riding. Carry your lights.
10. Bungee cords
Second to the life bag are my bungee cords. They cost so little and do so much. You never know what you are going to pick up on a ride. What if you see an amazing lamp on the side of the road, but it does not fit in your bag? You can’t just pass that up. With bungee cords you can just strap it down to your rack or bag. There have been countless times when I have had to strap items down to my rack. Each and every time, the bungees have been secure. Whether it be a bundle of firewood or a case of beer, your bungees have you covered.