Pedal away in style with essential bike accessories
Cycling is a great way to get exercise and enjoy the time you spend in nature, but it can also be an efficient and Earth-friendly way to get where you need to go. Our selection of bike accessories like bike car and trunk racks, bike seats, kids seats, speedometers, bike mirrors, covers, and locks can make your time on the road easier. From storage systems to tools you can use for on-the-go repairs, there's a lot that can help you out. Here's what to know about choosing your essential bike accessories.
From backpack-style bags and zippered pouches to convenient baskets, you have a variety of options for storage systems that attach to your bike. These accessories make it easy to run errands, tote items to work, and even stow camping gear on a longer ride.
- Saddlebags mount directly to your bike frame under the seat. They're convenient for storing tools and essential supplies for repairing your bike or performing maintenance on the road.
- Baskets install across your handlebars and are open-topped for easy storage. They're best for use in nicer weather and for carrying items you use often on the road. If you aren't accustomed to steering your bike with a handlebar basket, it can take some time to get used to balancing. Items in the basket add weight to the front of your bike.
- Frame packs attach to your bike's frame or racks using bungee cords or Velcro straps. These are typically made of durable fabric and can store larger or smaller items, depending on the size you choose. Bring along smaller supplies, like your phone and wallet, or a picnic lunch in these packs.
- Panniers are large, saddle-type bags that hang down over your bike's back tire. They're large and are ideal for storing clothes, shoes, and other bigger essentials for longer trips.
Do you have lots of gear to bring along on a trip or a young passenger who isn't big enough for a bike yet? A bike trailer provides a convenient and comfortable space for kids and pets to ride along or for you to tow things like camping tents without unbalancing your bicycle. They're ideal if you don't like the feeling of extra weight on your bike frame. Much like larger trailers that attach to trucks, bike trailers hook up to hitches that you can extend from the back of your bike. For ultimate ease, choose a trailer that comes with the trailer tongue already attached and a hitch ball for quick installation.
Consider your purposes for getting a trailer as you make your selection. If you're planning on taking a child or pet along for a ride, choose a passenger trailer. Typically made of durable fabric, these trailers feature vented panels for airflow and resemble small tents. They keep your rider protected from rain and shaded in warmer weather.
Cargo trailers make it easy to bring gear along. They're typically open-topped for easy loading, but some designs are covered in case you want to protect what's inside. Go for an open-topped trailer if you're towing waterproof items, such as other bicycles or hard-sided luggage. Covered trailers are ideal for larger grocery hauls and for packing along soft-sided duffels and camping supplies.
Want to know where you're going or how far you've gone on your trip? A bike computer can help. The most basic models of these digital devices can track your distance and tell you how fast you're going. However, GPS-style models also exist to help you map out routes and learn about nearby landmarks. Look for a water-resistant design with a bright, color screen to get the most from your bike computer. If you're a big fitness enthusiast, go for a computer that pairs with your smartwatch or smartphone to track calories burned and other exercise stats. One last consideration? Battery life. If you're planning to use the computer on longer trips, look for a unit with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 20 hours.
Bike lights are essential for helping you stay safe and visible on the road. Look for an LED-powered light for the best visibility. It's also important to consider whether you primarily want to add lights so people can see you or so you can see. General front, side, and rear safety lights are ideal for helping other drivers on the road see you and keep their distance. If you need to see better for night rides, choose a bright white light for the front of your bike. Check lumen ratings as you shop; these tell you how bright the light is. Ratings of at least 100 lumens for the rear light and 500 lumens for the front light are ideal. Check your local laws, too; your state may have requirements about the distances at which your lights need to be visible.
Lights aren't the only safety accessories to consider. Bike locks can prevent would-be thieves from pedaling away with your trusty cycle. There are several different types, as well as brands like Kryptonite, that may work well for your needs.
- U-locks, like their name implies, are solid, horseshoe-shaped locks. Look for a smaller lock that can fit tightly around your bike's frame and the security rack. This makes it harder for thieves to pry the lock off.
- Chain locks are lengths of heavy-duty metal chain that thieves have trouble cutting through. You'll need to buy a padlock to secure the chain, so it's important to make sure you choose an equally durable lock.
- Cable locks are lengths of woven cable that, like chains, can secure a bike to a rack. They're lighter than chain though, so they're easier to transport in one of your bike packs. They often have locking mechanisms already attached, so you may not need to purchase a padlock separately.