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Top Accessories for Bike Commuters

Nifty Items to Make Your Ride More Fun Comfortable and Safe

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Bike commuters know about traffic. You know about potholes and rain. You know about the joy of a traffic jam because it lets you actually beat the cars to work. You have the satisfaction of waving a dollar bill at Exxon and shouting "Can't have it!" But why should the ability to enjoy a hot cup of coffee or take an important phone call on the way to work be limited to those unfortunate people still stuck in cars? That's why we offer you the top accessories to cushify your daily commute.

1. Quick Release Fenders

Topeak Air Fender
(c) Topeak

So you don't want fenders on your bike all the time. But you ride enough to know that you're bound to get caught out in the rain, no matter how close you watch the weather. So what's the answer? How about quick release fenders by Topeak? Keep 'em at home when it's sunny out and pop 'em on when it looks like rain. The quick-release attachments on these fenders mean they install in seconds, keeping the spray and road grime off your backside.

Coolest of all is Topeak's Air Fender. This smartly-designed fender tucks in your seatpack when not in use. When you need it, just a few puffs from your bike pump inflates it to provide all the coverage you need. When finished, deflate and roll up, then put away the AirFender. Easy as that.

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2. PDA/Cell Phone Holder

Arkon Bicycle Phone Mount
(c) Arkon Resources
Being on a bike for your commute doesn't make it any less critical for you to take those important calls that may come in. So equip yourself with a bike-mounted PDA/cell phone carrier that keeps your phone within reach so that you can hear it ring and answer it easily. Arkon Resources makes PDA/phone mounts that allow you to see your phone's display so you can track the time, watch incoming email and text messages and decide if you really want to take the call or not.

Other cell phone and PDA cases, such as those offered by Topeak or Timbuk2 offer several mounting options that keep your phone protected from the elements and securely strapped away, but with a tradeoff that you can't always see the display.

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3. Bike Mirror

Cycleaware Mirror
(c) Cycleaware

If you haven't used one before, a handy tool for the bicycle commuter is a mirror. Whether mounted on your handlebar or a attached to your helmet, having the ability to see what's coming behind you is a plus.

Cyclists are pretty evenly divided on preference. Helmet-mounted mirrors can take some getting used to, but may provide better field of vision. The reverse is true for handlebar mounts: they can offer a more limited field of view, but the mirror mounted on your handlebar (or bar end) is easy to get used to and stays out of the way.

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4. Insulated Bike Travel Mug

Contigo West Loop Mug
(c) Contigo
A morning commuter, regardless of vehicle, is gonna need coffee. Being on a bike is no exception. If you're a java junkie like me, Contigo makes a couple of insulated mugs that you should check out because they work really well for bikes and will fit your bottle cage. The West Loop auto-seal mug has a built-in button that opens the drink hole, so you can chug away anytime. Release and the mug is automatically sealed. For a more leisurely ride with stops every once in a while, the Contigo Extreme Mug is nice, too. It has a handle and a flip lid and vacuum seal that keeps the hot coffee in the mug and not splashing on you. It does require two hands to use though, so don't try to get a drink while you're actually in motion.
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5. Knickers

Chrome Shins knickers
(c) Chrome Transport

Commuter outfits vary quite a bit. Maybe you ride to work or school in the same clothes you wear all day. Maybe you get decked out in a complete kit like you're racing in the Tour de France and change once you get there. Knickers are another option and are classic bike attire worth checking out.

With shorter legs (to keep them out of your chain) and a special cut so they fit right and feel right when you're on the bike, knickers are functional and cool at the very same time. Check out these bike messenger-style knickers made by Chrome Transport, or take a look at some with a more athletic cut. For cooler temps, you might try out the Boure Elite Thermo Knickers which keep you warm even when it's cold outside.

6. Cup Holder

Bar Hopper Drink Holder
Top Line Manufacturing
Another nifty feature is a cup holder for your bike that'll keep your soda or latte within close reach for when you're feeling thirsty. The Bar Hopper Drink Holder is a handlebar-mounted cup holder that is designed to fit the most common sizes of to-go tapered wall drink cups. Made of brushed stainless steel, it holds your beverage securely, yet allows easy access to your drink. From Top Line Manufacturing, the cup holder mounts and un-mounts easily with no tools required for installation.
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7. Big Brass Bicycle Bell

(c) Mirrycle Corporation
Want to feel retro-ishly cool? Then get yourself a bike bell that you can jingle and jangle at people as you are cruising along. Somebody up ahead on the path? A little ring of your bell lets 'em know you're coming so they're not spooked as you swoosh by. Or, let's say you see a cute somebody while you're out that you want to say hey to. This is a great way - non-threatening and cheery - to do it without having to say a word.
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