It seems that more and more of us have decided to skip the ram packed train carriages and bottlenecked roads by opting to cycle on our commute to town. I recently decided to take advantage of the ‘better’ weather and get myself a new commuter bike. Having a car is very handy but I have come to realise that I’d been relying on it far too much so my aim going forward is to ditch it for all of my shorter journeys and to jump on the bike instead.
I already have a far more technical road bike so I wanted a new city bike that I could use for my shorter journeys to the locals shops and to town and back. After a bit of mooching online I discovered the British brand Mango Bikes who produce a great range of customisable design-led frame styles – just what I was after.
I opted for Mango Bikes Haden Riser frame (in black of course) as it offers the flexibility of 18 speed gears without the need to sacrifice on design. The matte black finished steel frame is topped with a brown leather embroidered saddle, which thankfully seems pretty comfortable so far! It’s really lightweight too, which makes it ideal for carrying up stairs or taking on the train if required.
My everyday commuter style
It’s all about being comfortable and practical. I know that might sound like something your grandma would say but it is true. The last thing you want is to get half way to your destination and realise the jeans you have on are rubbing like hell or that the jacket you thought was water-resistant is nothing of the kind.
My everyday go to look is a just a plain pocket t-shirt and jeans anyway so when it comes to commuting not much changes. It’s a good idea to chuck on a lightweight cotton sweatshirt and jacket too though as you can quickly ditch them if you get too hot. A summer weight quilted coat is perfect and is offers a smart casual edge to the look.
When it comes to the bottom half it is best to avoid any trousers that are too baggy at the bottom as these can get in the way of the pedals an essentially just be a bit on the annoying side. I tend go for a pair of dark wash tapered jeans with a little give in them, like these from the French Connection SS17 collection. If the rain does come on (unlucky you) then the darker colour won’t show the inevitable splashes as obviously as something a bit lighter would.
I know that I’m pretty fortunate that I don’t have a 9 til 5 office job so I can get away with dressing fairly casual from day-to-day. If you are not in my boat then it is still easy to dress comfortably and appropriately for the commute as loads of brands are offering special ‘commuter’ collections now that feature shorts, trousers and coats that have been adapted with cycling in mind. Otherwise just stick your trousers in your bag and change when you hit the office.
Don’t forget a bag
Lastly make sure you get yourself a decent backpack. It sounds obvious but I suddenly learnt when I started cycling that you can’t carry anything with you so a bag is majorly essential. You can of course opt for bike panniers but they are not exactly trendy looking additions to the bike are they? Avoid going for anything too sporty though as you want to be able to hop off the bike and go right into your meeting without looking like you just came from the gym.
My Smith & Canova flapover backpack that I got recently has come in pretty handy for using on the bike. It’s fastening is secure enough but quick to get in and out of too if I need something in a hurry.
Prepare for the worst
In the event you are extremely unlucky and take a dive off the bike into a puddle (or worse) it is worse having a spare change of clothes in your backpack. Don’t forget a pump, a lock and some water too. All that forward planning and I wasn’t even in the scouts!
If you are already a seasoned bike commuter please share your tips in the comments section below.