If you think you have to spend a fortune to deck out your bike with safety gear, you’re wrong. And if you avoid such measures for fear of straining your wallet, put down your $8 craft beer and listen up.
Safe riders make safer streets possible—sometimes it’s as simple as learning how to use what you already have. (Like those hideous, fluorescent socks your aunt gave you for Christmas years ago? Hello, safety via visibility!) Fit worked with local bike shops Trek and roll: to compile the ultimate gathering of safety gear—from the basics to the pricey. You don’t have to purchase or utilize all of these items, but having at least a few is a good start.
Vest Arguably the best clothing item this time of year to comfortably ride during the cool evenings and brisk mornings—plus they almost always include reflective features on the front, sides and back.
Pump If your tires are not properly inflated, you’re riding unsafely. And your tires lose five to 10 psi a day, even if they are just sitting—betcha didn’t know that. Floor pumps are pretty standard, but from personal experience, anything less than $30 is going to die on you pretty fast.
Helmets Basic helmets start around $45 at most bike shops, and while any helmet is better than no helmet, you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to weight and ventilation. While this Giro helmet is mostly black, the sides and rear have reflective features. It’s also one of few helmets with MIPS technology, which reduces rotational impact should something happen. The Bontrager helmet has obvious benefits—the all-around highlighter-yellow is designed to keep you visible dawn to dusk. Also, if your helmet isn’t the correct size or worn properly, your head won’t be protected—so visit your local bike store to check your fit.
Bells They aren’t just for cruisers or girly bikes with baskets—they are a must-have for any commuter or roadie. Picking one is usually a personal preference, but the sturdier, the better. It’s just more polite than screaming, “On your left!”
The Orb is a special gadget that combines the functions of both, a bell and light in one. The front light isn’t the brightest out there, but it’ll get the job done, and you have two bell options: one is cheery, and the other is … well, not so subtle.
Essentials Toolkit You can purchase these items separately or together, and you’ll probably save a bit of money by going with the latter. Either way, never be without: an allen wrench, patch kit, tire lever, CO2 and installer, spare tube (not pictured) and a bag to carry it all.
Lights An obvious equipment upgrade, and you’re likely inundated with options. The thing to keep in mind: do you want to see or be seen? The Superflash is the brightest rear light on the market, and will run you about $30. Or you can get a two-in-one (a front and a rear) for about $45.
Socks You might not think of socks when it comes to safety, but a little bit of color and reflectivity can go a long way. These funky socks are a great example; they’re made by ICNY—an aesthetic brand that began when a designer was struck by a car while riding his bike—which focuses on stylish, reflective apparel.
Lock A different form of safety, yes, but as bike technology advances, your options for protection from thieves becomes cooler, too. This chain lock from Abus, for example, is covered with a material that will get tangled in whatever sharp device a thief might use to cut it.