These tips are provided by Matt Long, a long time expert bicycle mechanic and commuter and Sales Manager at the Denver Bicycle Cafe Bike Shop.
“I’ve been commuting by bike for a while now and I’m ready to take it to the next level, but I don’t know what to do.”
Improving your bicycle commuting game is an easy enough thing to do, and can be very rewarding, making your commute easier, faster, and more enjoyable.
Top Ten Commuting Improvements (in no particular order)
- Fenders – You ride in all weather conditions and when the road’s wet you end up with a stripe up your back that you’ve got to explain to everyone you meet. Fenders don’t add much weight, and they increase comfort and functionality.
- Rack – You need to carry stuff with you, but that backpack or messenger bag puts extra weight on you and you get to work with a sweaty back. As an added bonus, you can now use your bike for touring or bike camping. Racks make it possible to add bags or panniers.
- Saddle – Your saddle, which you used to think was comfortable, chafes like none other now. Putting in many more miles than you used to can cause discomfort to be amplified, and ill-fitting saddles are the number one culprit. A better fitting saddle will let you ride longer and more often with less discomfort. Check out the saddle test program at the Bike Shop
- Cycling Shorts – Maybe you’ve got your dream saddle, but you ride so many miles now that by Thursday morning you’re not looking forward to that commute anymore. A pair of padded cycling shorts will help with discomfort and chafing.
- Chamois Cream – Sold by many different brand names, this cream or gel gets applied to your cycling shorts and reduces friction, which causes chafing and blisters. A must if you’re wearing cycling shorts for notable distances. We carry Chamois Butt’r at the Bike Shop
- Lights – You’ve been riding longer and later, and sometimes you can’t make it home by dark. Your lightweight front light doesn’t allow you to see the road ahead and sometimes you ride on dark back or side roads. A dynamo lighting system is also an option.
- Clothing – Sometimes your clothing doesn’t quite match the conditions, you’re either too warm, too cold, or end up wet – either from precipitation or perspiration. Appropriate clothing – moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid layers, and windproof outer layers will make your cycling experience more comfortable.
- Helmet Cover – You now love riding so much that it takes serious blizzard conditions to keep you home. A helmet cover keeps your head warm and dry and typically has reflective strips or may be made out of high-visibility fabrics. You can also try a skull cap or “beanie” style under you helmet.
- New Tires – Tires to match your riding conditions. Your commute doesn’t take you off-road up the side of a mountain, so why are you riding fat, knobby tires? There’s a tire for almost every kind of bike and almost every kind of terrain.
- Maintenance – Your bike needs lovin’ too! With all those miles under your tires, your bike may have some hidden issues that need addressing. The friendly mechanics at the Denver Bicycle Cafe would be more than happy to give your bicycle a complimentary evaluation for proper adjustment and functionality before those little problems become big problems.