Friday Musings – Top 3 Must-Have Bike Commuting Accessories?

Well, well, well… the weekend is just around the corner, just in time for FRIDAY MUSINGS!  Or… just in time for you to get your Fandango tickets to the Hunger Shames.  Before the spring time blooms assault your sinuses with a full-on allergy attack, I wanted to get all sentimental and mushy-gushy over Bike Commuting like the leftover V-day chocos I found in my desk drawer at work.

Bike Commuting in Spring - Bring on the Sunshine!

We have posted a bajillion reviews on Bike Commuters accessories, gear, and products that range from frivolous to frugal over the past many moons.  The “basic needs” of each cycle monster for an enjoyable commute vary according to the rider and the location.  I’m the first to admit I have an emotional (let’s hope it’s not physical) attachment to my bikes – giving them names, identities, and custom makeovers… So that made me wonder, what about accessories?  If you could only take three items with you on your commute each day, what would you choose!?  (And your bike is a given….!  We could go on and on about what makes the perfect commuter bike, but I that’s a whole ‘nother love affair.)

Here’s my top three Must-Have Bike Commuting Accessories to get us started:

RL loves the Whitey Von, but any backpack will do!

1)  Any kind of backpack – I used to be all about the rack, but have switched back to the backpack in the past few years!  I love backpack.


So low-tech, but it WORKS!

2)  Watch face taped to my handlebars – So unimpressive and borderline ghetto, this watch is a must for me because it’s easy to read in the morning to determine how much time I have left to get to the office.  I taped it to the mount where I used to keep my wireless Cateye from the days of trying to be “fast” – clockin’ 12 mph baby!


I love BLINKY LIGHTS more than helmets, pants, or chalupas.

3)  Blinky Lights: One rear and one headlight, these are a must for me, I have several kinds around the house and will grab one red and one white everyday.  A must-have for me as I am a blinky addict.

So cycle ladies and gents, do you have any top three accessories that you can’t commute without?  Share with us, and in the spirit of Effie Trinket, “Happy Bike Commuting! And may the odds be ever in your favor!”

Enjoy your weekend, bike commuters!


  1. Emika_B

    As long as a no-brainer like a helmet are included, I’d say I must have:
    1. Lights – lots of lights. Blinky, solid, colored – gotta have lights.
    2. Reflective gear – vest (with blinky lights built in), wrist/ankle straps, tape on frame and saddle bags and helmet.
    3. Saddlebags – backpacks are hot, and my saddle bags allow me to carry a change of clothes, breakfast and lunch, and some purse contents.

  2. RL Policar!

    Deodorant is a Must have for any commute. I also bring body wash because I like to have sink baths at the office. Oh and I can’t forget about a small towel.

  3. Mike Myers

    Only three, eh? OK.

    1) Lights. The brighter the better, and I don’t think you can spend too much on them. Front and rear, and better to have multiples of both.

    2) Panniers/saddlebag. I have panniers on two bikes, and a Carradice saddlebag on one. I can carry more with them than a backpack or messenger bag, and it’s much cooler.

    3) Fenders. I live in an area which gets lots of rain, and riding home with no fenders means a mouthful of liquefying roadkill.

  4. Mir.I.Am (Post author)

    @Emika – Word on the helmet. Let’s count that with the bike.

    @Mike – Yes only three! Like if the Mayan Calendar ends and you only have time to grab three awesome bike accessories.

  5. John h

    The blinkys (I cant get enough of)and lights and helmet are all truly must haves but if helmets are counted with the bike maybe the lights should be too?
    Can we better define “must have”? As a “comfort thing” or “required for safety” category? And assuming current season riding conditions would be nice too.

  6. Scott Cramer

    1. Puncture resistant tires. My commute got hugely better after getting some Conti Gatorskins. And they retain air insanely great. Just have to top off once a week.

    2. Easy on, easy off pannier: Toto by Detour. Cheap, simple, useful. Just big enough to hold my clothes and toiletries for work.

    3. Helmet light. LightNMotion 360. A real necessity for my pre-dawn commute. My one piece of gear that motorists and other cyclists stop and ask me about.

  7. Mir.I.Am (Post author)

    @John H – each riders three item list is different! For instance, since my commute dropped from 1 hour one way to 10 minutes, I just drink water upon arrival at my destination! Water is OFF list, but is a must-have for you and you bumpy rides…

    @Scott – puncture resistant tires, good one! I’ve never tried any before.

  8. Ghost Rider

    Sunglasses, water and good tires.

  9. Ghost Rider

    By the way, Mir — drop the ghetto watch face and get one of these: Or maybe we’ll hook you up for Christmas if you’re a good girl.

  10. Raiyn

    1) Lights and reflective gear
    2) Helmet
    3) Great tires.

    I’ve got so many cargo options going on right now I wouldn’t want to narrow it down as everyone is different.

    I often regret not getting fenders sooner, as they’ve really enhanced my capabilities, but I did without for many years with few real ill effects.

  11. BluesCat

    1. My Vaude Egger Computer Pannier; it’s a pannier, no, it’s a briefcase, no, no, IT’S TWO BAGS IN ONE! Switching to bike commuting mode just got ridiculously easy: I just unzip the cover on the back of my “briefcase,” clip the locking, quick-release hooks onto the the rear wheel rack … and the car stays parked!

    2. Water. In the summer in Phoenix, I carry three, ice cube filled 24oz bottles on my 16 mile round trip commute.

    3. My helmet mounted rear-view mirror; even though I’ve modified my route to get off the busier roadways, I’ve still seen enough Horror Shows coming up behind me — and taken evasive action — to make me believe my mirror has saved my life.

  12. Keebies

    How about I talk about three things I will hide in my backpack when I ride my bike to the Hunger Shames this weekend? Dare I say, the ride of SHAME?
    1) tuna fish sandwich
    2) chocolates
    3) coffee (if it’s a matinee), wine (if I catch the late show).

    Hmm, that’s all food/beverage. PRIORITIZIN!

  13. Yes

    1. Airzound
    2. Airzound
    3. Fenders

  14. 2whls3spds

    1. Coffee
    2. Fenders
    3. Blinkie

    Everything else is optional… :-0


  15. John h

    Ok, a commute to work, on a post dawn, clear warm idealic day(wouldn’t that be like heaven?…) 1)Cell phone, because if the weather is this, nice something else is bound to go wrong, and you may need to call the boss… 2)Brightly colored back-pack with blinky attached and full of other stuffs not listed. 3)Sun glasses so dark they wont even know your name. Or a disguise so you can play hooky from work and not get caught. =) LOL

  16. Mir.I.Am (Post author)

    @ghost rider the whip – i like my ghetto watch face! but the STEM CAPTAIN looks pro!
    @keebies…. chocos and coffee! how bout a tuna melt? meet me at the MALLL! It’s goin’ DOWN!

  17. illiniwu

    1. helmet, i feel weird and paranoid not wearing one. 2. handtowel to dry off sweat. 3. bungees (i’m surprised no one listed this, but i guess most people don’t have a rack). some of the my other must-haves have already been named (mirror, fenders, and bag/backpack).

  18. Elizabeth

    Now that I’m back from my DC travels at the National Bike Summit, I can honestly note:

    1) helmet (with blinkies attached) = it went with me to DC
    2) backpack/purse = made commuting in DC doable without a rack and panniers
    3) my hi-vis jacket (just in case the weather drops/block the wind or light rain)

  19. Ordinary Bob

    1. Fenders
    2. Mirror
    3. Positive attitude

  20. Dan

    My three:

    1. Sunglasses
    2. Briefcase pannier – for all my stuff
    3. Pant cuff strap – Keeps my khakis out of the chain

    I usually try to wear a natty hat of some sort as well.

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