Because I am a fair weather biker, I adore spring and summer. Aside from the occasional easy-to-dodge afternoon thunderstorm, the temperatures are moderate and the sun is shining, which gives me to perfect reason to ride just about everywhere. As the frequency of my rides has increased, I have learned that being prepared and safe on a bike is just as important as looking good while riding (everyone is a little vain, right?). Having the right gear is essential if you are planning on logging more miles on two wheels than four, and thanks to some pretty sweet products, you do not have to give up style to stay safe on the road.
Keep It Contained
United by Blue’s Darby Tier Pack is your go-to farmers market and picnic pack for summer. This backpack is large enough to hold everything from your picnic dinner to extra rain gear. It’s waxed canvas exterior can withstand a surprise rain storm and it’s hipster style will keep you looking cool, even if you are sweating it out in the Colorado sunshine. This pack is also an ideal companion for that summer concert series or festival you’ve been dying to attend. Even better, United By Blue will remove one pound of trash from our waterways for every product purchased so you can feel proud of your purchase during all of your summer excursions. www.unitedbyblue.com
Finding the right purse is already a chore and adding that to the challenge of bike commuting seems almost impossible. After spending months using a variety of bags that were either too big, too small, or just not right, a friend of mine introduced me to Po Campo. So many bike bags loose their stylish edge when becoming waterproof and functional, but Po Campo has nailed it with their Logan Bike Trunk. This bag is not only hearty enough to live on your bike, but it is pretty enough to use as a purse when you arrive at your destination. The clever strap system keeps the bag in place on your rear rack while riding through town and the pockets inside and out, give you plenty of options for storing bike lights, locks, a phone, and of course some lip gloss. I love this bag so much that I also use it when I am not riding a bike. Gone are the days when I had to switch purses constantly—now I can use one bag for practically everything, and that significantly reduces the chances of me forgetting crucial gear. www.pocampo.com
Buy The Shoes
Biking in a dress can sometimes be a challenge, but even more challenging is finding a pair of shoes that not only work with your dress, but also work with your bike. Confession: I bike in my $2.50 flip flops all of the time, but I can’t say it’s a habit I am proud of. Lucky for me, I discovered a couple of shoes that have not only made biking easier, but have also made summer dressing easier.
Because my sailing experience is next to nothing and I did not grow up on Nantucket, I never quite felt that I had enough clout to rock Sperry’s quintessential “boat shoe”. Lucky for me, Sperry has a ton of other options for the rest of us. The Sperry SON-R Flex slip-on shoe has become my go-to closed toe shoe. Summer in Colorado doesn’t always mean warmth and sometimes you have to (reluctantly) cover your toes. Not only is the shoe comfortable, but its simple design makes it ideal for just about anything. This shoe packs up tiny (and has its own bag) so it is also perfect for travelling. Is it washable, breathable, flexible, extremely resilient, and pretty cute by my standards. www.sperry.com
Chaco’s Dorra Sandal is a fantastic option for days when you just can’t bear to keep your feet covered. This shoe looks great with a dress and Chaco has done a good job partnering their traditional LUVSEAT PU footbed with a design that is not completely devoid of style. The slender straps help give a feminine balance to the beefy sole and the support of this shoe is perfect for biking and urban exploring. This shoe is strong enough to withstand some unexpected off trail jaunts and pretty enough for a casual night on the town, making it the perfect shoe for an all day adventure. www.chacos.com
I know I am not alone when I complain about the ridiculous amount of riders who bike at night without lights—it makes me crazy! I believe bikers should do everything possible to make sure they are illuminated to avoid unfortunate collisions. When riding at night, I would honestly be most comfortable having the Disney Electrical Parade escort me home—I am slightly paranoid. However, the Light & Motion Urban Commuter light is the next best thing. This light is awesome and gives me the security I need when out past sunset. The light is fully waterproof, has three brightness settings (with peripheral illumination for side visibility), and a pulse setting for more defensive traffic riding. It charges via USB and comes in a ton of colors (and lumens) so you can pick the perfect complimentary color for your bike. The highest setting almost feels like a car headlight and gives me the security and confidence I need to feel comfortable riding at night. www.lightandmotion.com
Finally, there is nothing worse than investing in a bike and having it stolen. Bike locks play a big role in protecting your investment and there are a ton on the market. Sometimes I tote my toddler behind me when riding, which means I need a lock big enough to weave its way through a bike and bike trailer. Coghlan’s Gear Lock keeps my bike and anything else safe and sound. The simple design is effective and easy to store. As a keyless combination lock, its simple design is effective and easy to store, thanks to its coiling. My favorite feature is the illuminated combination pad—another feature that makes evening rides a breeze. www.coghlans.com
While I am fairly new to riding, I am grateful to all of the veteran riders before me who have spent their time and experience creating some pretty great gear. Thanks for taking the guesswork out of the gear!