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    Two Wheel Gear Bike to Work Guide

    The Two Wheel Gear Bike to Work Guide 

    It's no secret that we think everyone should bike to work. This guide was put together with a mix of information from Two Wheel Gear survey data and our own experiences to help bike commuters getting started. For a deeper dive into bike resources, take a cruise through our commuter resources. Pedal forward with confidence.

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    1. Choose Your Bike

    Top Choice: Hybrid Commuter Bike


    For commuting, the majority of people start with a hybrid bike.

    Our Pick: Specialized CrossTrail These are a blend of road, touring and mountain bikes and offer front shocks for a smoother ride. Hybrids have all around attributes for weather and road conditions and are well set up with rack, bottle, and fender mounts.

    Electric Bikes


    Perfect for longer, hilly commutes. More fun than you can imagine.

    Our Pick: High quality components, long lasting batteries with pedal assist technology from OHM Electric Bikes. One of the best commuting Ebike companies on the market (and they are perfectly setup for our bags...)

    Road Bikes


    Light and fast.

    Our Pick: Check out our local Vancouver pals, Brodie Bikes

    A "road bike" is a general term but typically means a bike meant for travelling on paved surfaces at speed. They don't have shocks or anything that would typically slow the rider down. Usually they will have drop bars, loads of gears and are considerably lighter than other bikes on the market.

    Folding Bikes


    Multi-modal and easy to stow.

    Our Pick: Tern Link D8. Follow Two Wheel Gear Ambassador, Aldrin Pelicano, @MNLMoves to learn about commuting on a folding bike through Manila, Philippines (pictured).

    COMMUTER TIP:

    Regular Tune Ups

    There are few sweeter pleasures than riding a freshly-tuned commuting machine. Take care of your chain, brakes, tire pressure, spokes, gears, headsets and wheels. Show your bike some love with a professional tune up ($30-$75) or do it yourself for free regularly throughout the season.

    2. Get the Right Gear

    What accessories do I need for my bike?

    Everyone will have different preferences for gizmos, gadgets and gear, but here are some of the essentials:

    • Front light - White
    • Back light - Red
    • Bell - It’s the law in most of the world, check your local laws
    • Bike lock - No cable locks (Invest in a U-Lock or Bordo)
    • Water bottle cage
    • Bicycle rear rack (highly recommended)
    • Fenders (optional)
    Two Wheel Gear - Female Bike Commuter clothing

    What Clothes Should I Wear?

    People like to get hung up on this. But the truth is, you really don’t need anything special. A pair of comfortable shorts, tights or jeans that stretch (we recommend DU/ER), solid sole shoes, helmet, and perhaps some sunglasses is a good start.

    If you want to add in some light gloves, a wind breaker or rain shell, waterproof pants and possibly a reflective vest when the days get shorter.

    Two Wheel Gear - Bike Commuter in the Fall
    Two Wheel Gear - Pannier Laptop Messenger Bag

    What is a Pannier?

    A pannier is a bike bag that attaches to either your front or rear bike rack. You need to have a bike rack installed to use panniers but they are a relatively inexpensive and simple accessory to add to most bikes. Panniers carry the load and free the rider from a sore, sweaty back. A Two Wheel Gear pannier is designed to convert for easy carry when your off your bike as well.

    Here is how the Two Wheel Gear Pannier Laptop Messenger Bag Works.

    Two Wheel Gear - Pannier and Messenger Bag

    What pannier is best for me?

    Two Wheel Gear specializes in bags and panniers for bike commuters. Here are a few of our convertible panniers and what they were specifically created for carrying.

    Pannier Backpack Convertible


    Best Used For: All around bike commuting

    Converts between pannier and backpack for quick and easy carrying. Organized with pockets that protect your laptop and gear. This bag makes you ready for anything.

    Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible - Graphite - Bike Commuter
    Two Wheel Gear - Garment Pannier - Bike to work

    Garment Pannier


    Best Used For: Commuting with clothes

    The business professional's bike bag. A cross between a traditional travel garment bag and a double sided pannier. Keeps clothes wrinkle-free and organizes everything from laptops to shower gear. Explore all garment panniers.

    Pannier Laptop Messenger


    Best Used For: Laptops

    A ready to roll business bag with 4 sections. The pannier attachments zip away turning it into a hybrid messenger bag for the office. Attaches to any standard bike rack.

    Two Wheel Gear - Pannier Laptop Messenger - Bike Bag

    I don't have a bike rack. What bike bag should I get?

    Commute Backpack


    Best Used For: All Trips

    The perfect A to Beyond commuter bag. The streamlined design and airmesh backflow make it perfect for your ride or daily hustle. The side laptop access simply makes your life better.

    Two Wheel Gear - Bike Backpack - Graphite and Black
    Two Wheel Gear - Bike Commuter Bag

    Dayliner Box Bag


    Best Used For: Commuting, Errands, Sports

    This bag is in it's own category. A trunk bag that can be attached to a front or rear rack, your handlebar bars or carried like a messenger bag. This large waterproof roll top lets you over pack when you get too much.

    Dayliner Mini Handlebar Bag


    Best Used For: Your "Purse" on a Bike

    Easy to use handlebar attachments with a removable shoulder strap. The roll top closure with zipper and internal pockets make this perfect for your small errands.

    Two Wheel Gear - Dayliner Mini Handlebar Bag - Black

    Seat Pack


    Best Used For: Tools, Jacket, Gloves

    Extra storage space that is out of the way and easy to access. Perfect for all your on-the-road maintenance tools and extra layer when your not sure if the weather will hold out.

    Two Wheel Gear - Bike Commute Seat Bag
    Two Wheel Gear - Bike Top Tube Bag

    Top Tube Bag


    Best Used For: Phone, Wallet, Keys, Miscellaneous

    The centre console of your bike. Keep items you need handy like your phone, wallet, and keys close at hand.

    3. Plan Your Route

    How far is the typical bike ride to work?

    According to our research, the average Two Wheel Gear commuter rides about 8 miles (12.8 km) one way to work.

    Bike to Work Commute Distance One-Way - Two Wheel Gear Survey

    How long does it take to ride 8 miles (12.8 km) on a bike?

    Every rider, route and bike is different. But on average you can expect 8 miles to take about 40-45 mins on your bike.

    How to plan the best bike route?

    Maps & Tech

    • Google Maps - Map it! Select the bike icon in the top bar for bike friendly routes  
    • Strava - Track it! Keep stats on your rides, follow friends and track your progress  
    Bike to work - Map - Strava

    4. Pack Your Bag
    What to pack when biking to work?

    Depending on your dress code and job, the nitty gritty might change, but for the most part, every Two Wheel Gear commuter will tell you they have an assortment of the following in their bag:

    Two Wheel Gear - Bike to work items
    • Work clothes - Full suit or simple change, Shoes (Tip: just keep your work shoes under your desk), Accessories (tie, belt, cufflinks, jewelry), Socks / Underwear (Tip: keep extra set in your desk), Towel, toiletry kit, makeup (anything you need to spruce up), Laptop, charger, Keys, Wallet, Phone, FOB/Key card, Lunch, Bike lock  
    Two Wheel Gear - Bike to work items backpack

    Bike Commuter 101:

    What are the essential bike tools to have handy?

    • - Tire pump / mini hand pump  
    • - Spare inner tube or patch kit  
    • - Multi tool (screwdriver, hex wrenches, tire levers)
    Two Wheel Gear - Essential Bike Tools

    5. Plan Your Arrival

    Where should I park my bike?

    Ideally, you may have access to bike parking in your building’s parkade. Find out! Invest in an annual bike stall if possible. Bring your bike into your office or park outside in a public place. For tips on parking your bike check out the Bike to Work Blog.

    Bike to Work - Park Your Bike

    Biking to work with no shower?

    If your workplace doesn’t offer shower and change room facilities, you still have options for getting cleaned up once you hit the office.  

    Bike to work - Commuter in Suit

    1. Find a gym nearby your workplace that does. A lot of commuters stop at their local YMCA or gym before work. You can shower and sometimes even lock your bike there for the day. Then casually stroll over to the office feeling like a million. Many cities are also starting to offer cycling centers that boast bike lockers, repair centers and shower facilities that can be joined for various membership periods. Google search your city!

    2. The showerless wipe down. This one is self explanatory. You can pack a small towel or wet wipes to give yourself a spruce up in the bathroom.  

    3. Multi-Modal Transit. Investigate if you can take your bike on the train or bus for a portion of the ride. This significantly cuts down on the amount of work (and sweat) required to complete the trip. You might even be able to wear your work clothes on the commute.

    Bike Commuting by the Numbers (Example)

    While its certainly different for everyone, tracking your stats on your commute is great way to measure your progress and the impact your having by choosing your bicycle. An example from Jason Ditzenberger gives you a good overview of the impact created by riding your bike to work (most days).

    Bike to work - commuter bike

    Jason's Bike commuting stats for a typical month:

    • 18 days commuting via bicycle
    • 4 days commuting by car
    • 324 Miles not driven
    • 18 gallons of gasoline not used
    • 360 pounds of carbon dioxide not emitted
    • $54 not spent on gas
    • $216 not spent on parking

    What about riding in the winter?

    Bike to work - winter bike commuter

    We've wrote several blog posts about how best to hack your winter commute:

    Frostbike by commuting fanatic, Tom Babin - Shifter Blog will make you want to get out there and take in the crisp, fresh, winter air. Full of commuting inspiration, historic Alaskan bike races, fat bikes, and the most winter bike-friendly city in the world. Recommended read for any dedicated commuter. Buy it on Amazon ($20): Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling

    Where can I find more answers to commuting questions?

    Here are a few more articles on commuter blog that might be helpful:

     

    You can also check out our commuter resources page or search the following bike community forums. If your question isn’t listed...ask it!

    •   Stack Exchange - Research until your fingers go numb  
    •   Reddit - Endless bike commuting questions and answers
    •   Bike Forums - Serious commuter conversations

    Have something to add? Email us at info@twowheelgear.com