The days are long past when bike commuting was something only done by hipster baristas and those with suspended licenses. With re-invented city living, modern healthy lifestyle trends, and just plain acceptance for more eco-friendly commuting (even among CEOs), biking to work can be an everyday thing.
But it can be hard to figure out what to wear. You don’t want to be one of those spandex-wearing Lance Armstrong wannabes, and you can’t just hop on a bike in your regular work clothes — especially if it’s raining — and hope to show up looking good.
So we asked our friend Jonas Jackel, owner of San Francisco’s Huckleberry Bicycles, for his take on the best gear for the daily bike commute. Here are his recommendations/
1. Protect Your Slacks
You don’t want your favorite work pants to get ruined by being caught in the bike chain. Keep your pants safe with this handsome trouser strap by Brooks England. According to Jonas, rolling your pants leg “works okay but bands work better.”
Brooks England Trouser Strap – $24.00
2. Rack the Briefcase
Carry a messenger bag if you like the way it looks — but don’t feel like your new ride obligates you to use a shoulder bag. If you’re the type of guy who likes a briefcase (or simply doesn’t want to carry a bag on your back while you bike in) Jonas recommends the front mounted Porteur rack from Soma Fab.
Deluxe Porteur Rack from Soma Fab – $199.00
3. Prepare for Weather
Above all else, having the right layering options is probably the most important part of making your daily bike commute doable. To strike the functional balance between keeping you warm and dry without weighing you down, Jonas recommends a packable wind-breaker that fits nicely in your bag. We like the Patagonia Houdini for its fit. Also, it folds down into a small, wallet-sized zip pouch to carry.
4. Wear an Undershirt
If you’re riding, there’s a good chance you’ll be sweating, at least a little bit. And that means you should be wearing an undershirt to protect your dress shirt. For daily wear, we recommend bamboo undershirts: The fabric is naturally moisture-wicking and antibacterial (so there’s less smell) and it is also very soft and light. There are lots of options but we’ve heard great things about Mr. Davis’s line.
Mr. Davis VIP Bamboo Undershirts – $22.00
5. Freshen Up
With the right gear, your perspiration should be pretty limited. That said, it never hurts to keep a backup deodorant at the office for post-commute freshening up. Avoid the 9th grade locker room sprays and opt instead for a light, high quality cream fit for professionals.
6. Stay Kempt
A comb is a comb but regardless which you ‘pick’, we recommend always having one around to tidy up when you take your helmet off. For style points, we like the legendary Chicago Combs Model 1. Pair it with one of the company’s beautiful leather cases to make it last a lifetime.
Chicago Combs Model No. 1 Titanium – $55.00
7. Deflect the Spray
It’s inevitable that you’ll be hitting puddles eventually. Even wet pavement can produce a black, spattered stripe up your backside. Avoid a wardrobe-ruining street-grime shower with proper fenders. Jonas recommends these awesome hammered-metal, snakeskin-styled fenders from Velo Orange.
8. Pick the Right Bike
Jonas tells us that the Faraday Electric bike “can make your commute a whole lot easier. You’ll show up fresh to your meeting without having to circle for parking. And a Handsome Fredward 3-speed is a great alternative if you’re on a budget.”
Faraday Bikes Porteur Electric – $3499.00
9. Keep the Rhythm
While not at all an outfit protection suggestion, one final product we recommend you check out for your daily commute is the Boombotix wireless speaker. These are incredibly loud, stylishly designed, and come in some awesome color combinations. After all, it can’t hurt to have a little music on your ride — and you definitely don’t want to be listening through headphones, which can prevent you from hearing cars sneaking up on you.
Boombotix Red Black – $59.00
On a final note, we asked Jonas to tell us if there were any weather situations where he’d simply recommend finding another transportation option over biking. Not really, he told us: “With the right bike and wardrobe, every day can be ‘Bike to Work Day.'”
Very special thanks to Jonas of Huckleberry Bicycles for his input on this guide to bicycle commuting. If you live in the San Francisco area, be sure to stop in and check out his full service shop at 1073 Market Street.
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