The 10 essentials, minus a few

Living in the Pacific Northwest, most of us are familiar with the 10 essentials you should take with you on every journey into the mountains (map, headlamp, titanium espresso maker, etc.)

Fortunately, bicycling around town can be a much simpler proposition. Most trips require only three essentials:

1. A bike. The most essential feature in a bicycle is that you simply love it.

  • Your bicycle should be in good working order and fit you properly.
  • If you’re dusting off an old bike, take it in for a safety check and tune-up before you ride.
  • If you are in the market for a new ride, head to your local bike shop to find out what size and style of bike fits you and your riding needs.

2. A helmet. Helmets are essential to protect your most valuable asset: your brain. Like the bicycle itself, helmets are available in a wide variety of styles and sizes.  Customization highly encouraged.

  • Helmets are one-hit wonders. Replace your helmet immediately after a crash or significant impact.
  • Helmet prices vary wildly, but they are all equally safe. Cascade sells $15 helmets at our office and community events.
  • Don’t blame the helmet; a good hairdresser can execute a helmet-friendly style.

3. A Lock. A quality bike lock protects your other asset….that bike that you love so much.

  • Invest in a U-lock. Even the burliest cable locks can be severed in seconds.
  • Secure your bike frame and front wheel to the bike rack.
  • Park your bike in a highly visible location to deter would-be thieves.

Of course, there are myriad bicycle accessories that serve very real purposes. At some point, you may discover that you really do need panniers, mirrors, fenders, lights, tools and an entire line of specialty clothing.  Or not. After all, 40 percent of all trips we make in our daily lives are two miles or less.

Keep it simple and you may find bicycling simply irresistible for more and more of your trips around town.