Bike Commuter Journal – Accessorizing the Commuter Bike

Friday, March 14 by JerryFoster

Commuter Bike AccessoriesLet?s talk commuter accessories ? those extra bits that let you enjoy your work life on the bike. At only two miles, it?s easy for me to bike in work clothes without overheating, especially in winter. Pictured hanging from the handlebar is helmet, safety glasses with rearview mirror, plus a reflective velcro leg band.

A handlebar bag is held with a quick release system, and is large enough for planner and personal effects, along with a small first aid kit and snacks ? it has a shoulder strap and functions as a briefcase. We won?t talk about all the extra ?stuff? that ends up rattling around in there. The same quick release system is on all my bikes, with several compatible bags and backpacks that can be attached.

Permanently attached to the back rack is a lockable plastic trunk box ? both the handlebar bag and trunk box are dry in a rainstorm, and the box is large enough to hold dress shoes and the helmet. Inside the trunk box is a saddle bag (off my road bike), with spare tube, foldable tire and multi-tool, which lives in the box along with a tire pump and bike lock. The pump can move to the handlebar bag if it?s rattling around too much in back.

The platform pedals don?t require special bike shoes, and this very cold and snowy winter I?ve enjoyed nice warm dry feet, thanks to rubber-covered neoprene shoes. If it?s dry and not too cold the dress shoes are OK to bike in.

Layers are key to commuting comfort ? single digit temperatures or wet conditions bring out the rain pants, while a weather-proof shell parka and fleece mid-layer keeps the cold at bay. You can fine tune your comfort by having a variety of knit caps of different thicknesses (for under the helmet), as well as a waterproof helmet cover for rain. For your hands, the running companies make fleece liners and stretchy shell fabric mittens, which can then be used inside a larger waterproof mitten shell for very cold conditions. Bright colors and reflective trim add visibility on the road, a plus for outer layers.

This post also appeared in On the Move, the blog for Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association.

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Bikeways and Master Plans

Tuesday, December 7 by silvia

Two New Jersey towns are working on some big bicycle-friendly improvements.

New Brunswick is close to building a 1.9-mile bikeway. As WalkBikeJersey explains, it should help residents of Highland Park reach the train station and will connect Rutgers’ Douglas campus with downtown, among other things. The bikeway will go from the intersection of Lafayette Street and College Avenue near the Route 18 John Lynch Bridge at its western terminus, to George Street and Bishop Street at the edge of the Douglas Campus to the east. From Lafayette Street, the bikeway would run on College Avenue to Huntington Street, then down George St to Albany St (NJ Rt 27). At Albany, there will be a spur that will run south to the train station while the main route would head north to Neilson Street. Then the bikeway would head east along the entire length of Neilson Street to Bishop Street, where it will turn right for a few hundred feet back to George St. This is more than just paint on the road, and one feature will be on-street, contra-flow bike lanes. See BikeWalkJersey’s blog for more details.

Hoboken is developing a bicycle and pedestrian master plan that includes narrowing extra-wide car lanes as a way to calm traffic and adding bike boxes, which put cyclists in front of cars at a red light for safety reasons. There also would be more police enforcement of speed limits and of laws requiring motorists to yield to pedestrians. The plan is now open to public comment. Read more on Streetsblog.

The WWBPA will be watching developments in both communities with interest and to see what might work in West Windsor.

Finally, an idea from Pennsylvania that can be easily copied: writing to our elected officials in Trenton and Washington asking for effective legislation to ensure that those motorists who injure, maim or kill pedestrians and cyclists are properly punished. This letter notes that all too often, they don’t face criminal charges.

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