The following are the most important things for a commuter. In my opinion there is no ranking—they are in alphabetical order. I simply do not ride if I do not have these item properly checked off.


In the northwest the most common comfort issue is cold and rain. At times I feel I carry more clothes than work items. Gloves, warm-ups, over boots and jackets; I always seem to have an extra set.



Open Finger (crocheted)

Hands and feet are my target zones. If they are cold, I am cold. In moderate to bad weather I have three pairs of gloves with me—Regular riding glove and a pair of Specialized SubZeros with liners


I use booties for both warmth and to keep out water. They cover the vents in your shoes. I like the Sugio because they are easiest to get on and off. Many do not like their Velcro strap under the shoe, but I have fond no problem with it. That could be since I wear a mountain bike shoe with a lot of room for the strap under my arch.

I will have on my booties long before I put on my leg warm-ups.


Leg and arm warm ups are also essential. They reduce what you have to carry and you can wear them in the morning and not in the afternoon... or take them off mid-ride. That is a lot easier than finding a place to change and carrying that change of clothes.


Unfortunately I have not found a good solution for 30°F in the morning and 50°F in the evening. This almost always takes two jackets, a heavier, even insulated and a light vented. I simply carry two with me.


So much has been said about helmets that I can not add any more. Get a good one and wear it (WITH THE CHIN STRAP TIGHTENED)


Planet Bike Blinkie (Click for movie)

I am truly a taillight convert. I have occasionally used them but now I ride day and night with one. No specific reason, other than common sense, made me do it, but I sure feel safe with it blinking away behind me. I never use it in the "solid" mode, I always set it to blink.


Click For Movie:Day and Night

For headlights I use the NiteRider MiNewt Duals. I am not trying to advertise them but I have been stopped many time by people asking what they were. I often say that people may accuse me of blinding them but they can't say they did not see me.

These have a 3.5 hour life on strobe or low beam which is enough for two days of commuting on a downtown ride. If I did this over again, I would probably buy two MiNewt Singles so they were totally independent.

The movies were both taken off-center since head-on over powered my camera and you saw even less. Go to a bike store and check them out. All the Bike Galleries have them on display.


I started using a mirror in 1978 on a trans-am ride and I have never stopped using one. I am sure that it has gotten me out of hundreds of pickles and kept me going straight. I really do not care how good a rider you are, if you turn your head/body to look behind you, your bike moves and all too often into the lane traffic you are trying to look at. Just the wrong thing.

I strongly recommend a helmet or glasses mount mirror, they are steadier and more versatile. A mirror, just like the one in your car, let's you stay aware of who is behind you. Once you are used to it (see below) you will find that you are less anxious and more comfortable riding. The area covered is similar to a car, by with the slightest movement of your head you can see anywhere.

From the front
From the back
An attempt to let you see the view

Caution: A mirror takes some time to get used to. I have gotten them for my wife and kids and I have to tell them, "Don't forget to look where you are going!" Seriously, until the novelty wears off, people look in their mirror too much and don't watch where they are going.