Between the Bike Cult Show—Brooklyn Bike Jumble’s annual exhibition of hand-built bicycles—coming up in Queens a couple weeks from now and the Bicyclists’ Ball being put on by Transportation Alternatives on Aug. 14, we’re definitely in a two-wheeled state of mind. Even without these upcoming events, summer in general is a busy time for cycling, and by this time every year, our two-wheelers start looking a little road weary. Here are five gear upgrades to help our bikes (and ourselves) go the extra mile.
Since Greenpoint designer Jonathan Sabutis talked about Ringtool as part of our Meet Your Makers series last summer, the keychain-friendly fix-all has become our go-to bike gadget—and not just because it’s fashioned with a beer-bottle opener. The circular tool is made of tempered stainless steel and outfitted with 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm and 8 mm hex heads; flathead, Phillips and torx head T25 screwdriver bits; and wrenches for both 3.30mm and 3.45 mm spoke nipples. It makes bike adjustments on the go a lot easier to do on my own (and has come in handy helping me assemble Ikea furniture on more than one occasion). Best of all, Sabutis offers a lifetime warranty on his invention, making the $28 a no brainer in my book.
The No. 1 accessory for every bike I’ve ever owned has always been a basket. I can’t really imagine riding around without one, and this one from Surname Goods Co. has me considering upgrading my wire-framed front bucket for one of the wood variety. Made of reclaimed wood and finished with natural beeswax, this bike basket is both beautiful and eco-friendly, and at 14” x 11” x 2.5” in size, it’s big enough to carry both your bag and whatever else you happen to be pedaling. I also like that the $110 carryall sits lower than the average front basket because I’ve upped my bike accessories game with a coffee cup holder as of late, which isn’t ergonomically ideal for a higher basket. The Porteur Crate comes in eight finishes, including, redwood, walnut, oak and pine, as well as a Brazilian hardwood called Ipe pictured above.
Double O Light
When Fast Company first featured this set of LED bike lights back in March, they called it quite possibly the “cleverest bike light ever,” and I would agree. It’s likely most of us are the proud owner of at least a couple pairs dead bike lights we’ve gotten for cheap at a bike shop or Celebrate Brooklyn! show and just never bothered to replace the batteries once their little lights stopped shining. London-based designer Paul Cocksedge knows all about our backlog of bike lights, and his solution was to create a pair of round, rechargeable ones with 12 LED bulbs each that are magnetic and can slide on a standard U-lock for easy storage when not in use. Not only is his design easy on the eyes, it gives off a greater glow than the single cluster of blinking bulbs most bike lights come with nowadays, and the USB chargeable devices offer up to 10 hours of run time. Cocksedge successfully funded his Kickstarter campaign at the end of April and Double O Lights are expected to cost about $115 a set when they become available this fall. You can get on a preorder list for a pair by leaving your email here.
CB2’s Wood Bike Storage
Square footage in NYC is too precious to let your bike take too much of it indoors. Investing in a way to get your wheels up off the ground when you get home makes sense, and this wood bike rack, which doubles as a storage box for your bike-related gear, is cool and inconspicuous enough to fit in with your wall decor even on its own. Handcrafted from sustainably grown shesham wood, it costs $49.95 and comes with a cut out on which to balance the crossbar of your bike and all the hardware for an easy, do-it-your-self installation—just make sure you’re securing it into wall studs to ensure the wall mount can hold the weight of your bike. Depending on your type of bike and where you plan to put it, this rack can also turn your two-wheeler into a work of art when you’re not using it.
Little Black Bike Dress
The LBD is a staple part of pretty much every woman’s wardrobe at this point, but cyclists should really consider making some room in their closets of Nona Varnado’s LBBD. Riding in summer can feel like living inside a soup bowl thanks to the sweat and humidity, but unless you plan on becoming one of those naked cyclists who cropped up in Williamsburg a couple years ago, you’re still going to have to find something to wear when you go out, even in this weather. Varnado’s Little Black Bike Dress costs $90 and wicks away sweat to keep cyclists cool. It’s also quick drying to help you avoid those awkward moments when you’ve just dismounted and feel the need to apologize to the person you’re greeting for why they are about to become so familiar with your bodily fluids—can we just all agree that there should be an embargo on hugging in August?