Editors: This story was originally published in Issue 159 of our quarterly Tube Times magazine, one of many perks of membership in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
You don’t need anything but a bicycle to get rolling. That said, there are accessories that can help you get around if you’re looking to bike all times of day, in all sorts of weather and for all types of trips. Here are some of the basics to get you going.
Helmets are required by law for those under the age of 18 and recommended for adults. Make sure your lid is snug and comfortable before you worry about its style points.
Fenders for your front and rear wheel will catch road spray to keep you clean and dry when it’s wet out. For extra weatherproofing, wear a waterproof jacket and pants.
A hardened steel U-lock will allow you to park your bike securely on the street. For extra security, add a cable and secure your wheels as well. Locking skewers, which replace quick-release levers, can give you extra peace of mind.
Whether you’re hauling groceries, books or bike parts, a front or rear rack (or both!) can help lighten the load. You can add additional capacity by attaching bungee cords, a milk crate or a set of panniers, which are bags designed to clip right onto your racks.
State law mandates a white front light, red rear reflector or red light, and yellow or white reflectors on sides and/or pedals (reflective whitewalls count). A set of lights will light up the road and make you visible to other road-users when it’s dark. Reflective or light-colored clothing can also enhance visibility.
A few simple tools can make basic repairs a breeze. Tire levers and a patch kit will get you out of your next flat, a bottle of lube will keep your chain spinning effortlessly and a multi-tool with Allen keys will help you stay on top of any loose nuts and bolts.
Not sure how to fix a flat or when to grease your chain? Check out our Chain of Events for an upcoming maintenance class at one of our partner organizations: sfbike.org/events.
The Tube Times is published quarterly as one of the many benefits to members of the SF Bicycle Coalition. For a complete list of membership benefits, or to join/renew today, click here.