You might know all of the health benefits of biking to work.
Now it's time to add a few extra gadgets and consider some high-end bikes to make it even more enjoyable and beneficial. I tested these gadgets on a daily commute into an office, making sure they all helped me get there in style and comfort. I included a "reality check" for each one to give you something to consider or an alternate opinion.
Raleigh Willard 4 ($1,400)
My top pick for summer rides this summer, the Raleigh Willard 4 is a smooth-pedaling monster--tough enough to handle gravel roads but powerful and fast on pavement. The disc brakes help you stop quickly, and the drivetrain propels you forward quickly. Reality check: For those who ride to work on all pavement, the thicker tires are not as glide-friendly.
Blackburn Design Dayblazer 1100 ($90)
Depending on when you leave in the morning, a front bike light is absolutely required. I'm a big fan of the Dayblazer line because the lights are more rugged and can withstand some abuse. The light shines at 1100 lumens and straps on quickly. Reality check: Walmart sells much cheaper front lights for commuters, but they are not nearly as bright or rugged.
Garmin Edge 520 Plus Bike Computer ($280)
Skip the phone when it comes to tracking your route and time. The Garmin Edge 520 Plus pops on and off the bike quickly, and it lasts much longer than any smartphone (I've used one for a week of commuting with no recharges). Reality check: Remember to power it down or you might find the Edge 520 goes dead much faster. It also tracks your route from the car.
Diamondback Catch 2 Mountain Bike ($2,500)
I also tested bike commuting in an off-road setting, taking trails no one else knows about. This Diamondback Catch 2 is the bike you want. With its full front and back suspension, you won't have to worry about dirt mounds. And the hydraulic brakes work much faster to stop you than most bikes. Reality check: It takes a bit to learn how to adjust the suspension, following an online video or the manual.
Sugoi Pulse Jersey ($85)
What's so handy about a jersey like this for bike commuting is that no one will even notice you biked into work. It's breathable, has extra zip pockets for a phone or wallet, and has an opening for ventilation. Reality check: $85 is a bit of change for a bike commuting shirt.
Terrex Trail Cross Curb ($130)
My favorite shoe for bike commuting, the Terrex Trail Cross Curb has a small bungie for holding your laces and the shoe is flat and comfortable for long rides. More importantly, you can wear these at the office and no one will think you're too casual. Reality check: The DSW brand also makes good everyday bike commuting shoes for a bit less.
Brooks England's The Pitfield ($200)
A brilliant commuting bag for laptop lovers, this satchel has a protected compartment to keep your Windows or Mac machine safe. There are plenty of zipper pouches for protecting your phone and other gadgets. One big bonus: In rain, the bag stays nice and dry inside. Reality check: There's no question a water-tight backpack makes sense, but $200 is not an impulse buy price.
Toad & Co. Cutler Shirt ($75)
What you wear on a bike commute is almost as important as your route or the bike you use. High-tech clothing from Toad & Co, like the Cutler Shirt, is made from a stretchy material to help as you pound the pavement, and there's a hidden zipper pocket. Reality check: The shirt is on sale for around $52, but that's still a long way from an Old Navy shirt sale.
Cero One ($2,890)
For those who want to get to work in the best way possible (skipping traffic jams and fender-benders), the Cero One is a slick option. It lasts for 93 miles on a charge, and has extra baskets on the front and back for stashing your gear. Reality check: Consider add-on packages like the MegaBrand 1000w at $230 for turning a normal bike into an electric.