Summer is in full swing and that means I’m biking constantly, often to a remote office or a coffee shop across town to work on a laptop. This year I decided to try the latest add-ons, clothing, and two bikes during my commute and put them through a serious road test.
1. Arc'teryx Solano Hoody ($229)
On multiple commutes I tested this warm and flexible jacket, even in the pouring rain, and never felt cold or wet. The Solano Hoody weighs only 12.3 ounces, and the material is permeable--it lets air out as you bike but won’t let rain in so you stay warm.
2. BioLite Headlamp 330 ($50)
One of the first rules of commuting on a bike is be ready with good lighting--both on your bike and on yourself. I liked the BioLite Headlamp because it’s light and it tilts easily. It also lasts about 40 hours on one charge. You can recharge it using a normal USB cable (no batteries needed).
3. Garmin Edge 530 ($300)
Another handy accessory to clamp to your bike for daily rides, the Garmin Edge 530 tracks all of the typical variables like speed and distance but goes much further. You can send an alert if you’re in an accident or a perilous situation. It also has a bike alarm and lasts 20 hours.
4. Osprey Syncro 20 ($150)
My pick for a bike commuting bag with hydration, the Syncro 20 is small enough to fit comfortably on my back for long rides but holds 2.5 liters of water. There’s a latch for your helmet, plus plenty of pockets for gear and lights.
5. Satechi Pro RideMate Bike Mount ($40)
My favorite feature on this phone mount is that it can withstand serious rain and withstand a blast of 100 liters of water per minute. The waterproof, see-through pouch is durable and rotates easily. I liked how quickly it clamps down to the handlebars.
6. Terrano XT ($289)
If you bike with other commuters to work, this communication device--which attaches to your bike helmet--is a must own. It plays music and can send two-way messages to other riders. The device lasts a full week on one charge.
7. Mission Workshop The Spar ($220)
If you don’t need a bag with hydration, this Mission Workshop model is ideal. First of all, it has a handy iPad compartment and there’s a front pocket with a key clip holder. The entire bag is weatherproof and small enough that you won’t feel weighed down.
8. ABUS Bordo Centium ($150)
What impressed me about this bike lock is how easy it is to attach to your bike using the included clamps. The 5mm hardened steel bars in the lock are extra durable. Because the lock uses a key you can quickly secure your bike and unlock quickly.
9. Raleigh Tamland 2 ($2,400)
An absolute joy to ride, the Raleigh Tamland 2 has that extra kick you need for fast acceleration (mostly due to the lightweight construction and the powerful drivetrain). My favorite feature has to do with biking on any terrain. I biked to work partially on a gravel road without any problems.
10. Blackburn Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll and Dry Bag ($160)
Another obvious addition for a commute, this cycling bag attaches to the front of the bike and compresses into a smaller size. There’s a dry bag that will keep valuables totally dry. I liked how easily the bag attaches using the harness system.
11. Pearl Izumi Summit Shell Jacket ($100)
I wasn’t quite expecting this jacket to work so well. It’s intended for everyday commuting in rain or shine. For commuting early in the morning it kept me warm and dry. On the ride home, it was thin enough to handle the wind but wasn’t overly hot even on a sunny day.
12. Diamondback Haanjo 3 ($999)
Another commuting bike that has a double purpose, the Diamondback Haanjo 3 is perfect for sidewalks and paved trails but can also handle some light off-roading. I loved how the steering on the bike felt much more precise than some of my previous tests.