Top Accessories for Bike Commuters

Nifty Items to Make Your Ride More Fun Comfortable and Safe

We bike commuters know about traffic. We know about potholes and rain. We know about the joy of a traffic jam because it lets you actually beat the cars to work. We have the satisfaction of waving a fistful of dollars at Exxon and shouting "Can't have it!" But why should the ability to enjoy a hot cup of coffee or take an important phone call on the way to work be limited to those unfortunate people still stuck in cars? That's why we offer you the top accessories to justify your daily commute.

So you don't want fenders on your bike all the time. But you ride enough to know that you're bound to get caught out in the rain, no matter how close you watch the weather. So what's the answer? How about quick release fenders for your bike? Keep 'em at home when it's sunny out and pop 'em on when it looks like rain. The quick-release attachments on these fenders mean they install in seconds, keeping the spray and road grime off your backside.

Coolest of all is Topeak's Air Fender. This smartly-designed fender tucks in your seatback when not in use. When you need it, just a few puffs from your bike pump inflates it to provide all the coverage you need. When finished, deflate and roll up, then put away the AirFender. Easy as that.

Being on a bike for your commute doesn't make it any less critical for you to take those important calls that may come in. So equip yourself with a bike-mounted PDA/cell phone carrier that keeps your phone within reach so that you can hear it ring and answer it easily. A number of manufacturers make quality PDA/phone mounts that allow you to see your phone's display so you can track the time, watch incoming email and text messages and decide if you really want to take the call or not.

Other manufacturers of cell phone and PDA cases, such as Topeak or Rokform offer mounting options that keep your phone securely strapped down yet still accessible.

If you haven't used one before, a handy tool for the bicycle commuter is a mirror. Whether mounted on your handlebar or attached to your helmet, having the ability to see what's coming behind you is a plus.

Cyclists are pretty evenly divided on preference. Helmet-mounted mirrors can take some getting used to but may provide ​a better field of vision. The reverse is true for handlebar mounts: they can offer a more limited field of view, but the mirror mounted on your handlebars is easy to get used to and stays out of the way.

A morning commuter, regardless of vehicle, is gonna need coffee. Being on a bike is no exception. If you're a java junkie like me, Contigo makes a couple of insulated mugs that you should check out because they work really well for bikes and will fit your bottle cage. The West Loop auto-seal mug has a built-in button that opens the drink hole, so you can chug away anytime. Release and the mug is automatically sealed. For a more leisurely ride with stops every once in a while, the Contigo Extreme Mug is nice, too. It has a handle and a flip lid and vacuum seal that keeps the hot coffee in the mug and not splashing on you. It does require two hands to use, though, so don't try to get a drink while you're actually in motion.

Another nifty feature is a cup holder for your bike that'll keep your soda or latte within close reach for when you're feeling thirsty. The Bar Hopper Drink Holder is a handlebar-mounted cup holder that is designed to fit the most common sizes of to-go tapered wall drink cups. Made of brushed stainless steel, it holds your beverage securely, yet allows easy access to your drink. From Top Line Manufacturing, the cup holder mounts and un-mounts easily with no tools required for installation.

Want to feel retro cool? Then get yourself a big ol' bike bell that you can jingle and jangle at people as you are cruising along. Somebody up ahead on the path? A little ring of your bell lets 'em know you're coming so they're not spooked as you swoosh by. Or, let's say you see a cute somebody while you're out that you want to say hey to. This is a great way - non-threatening and cheery - to do it without having to say a word.