Choosing a Bike and Accessories

08.6.12
Bike

You can commute on any bike so get one with a comfortable seat which allows you to sit in a reasonably upright posture. Cycling with your head somewhere below the handlebars may be alright for the Tour de France but it’s not recommended for commuting. Any bike with accessible gears and brakes on flat bars – are great and the simpler, the better. A commuter bike needs to be a reliable and comfortable and have mudguards and a chainguard which protect your clothes.

It’s also worth getting a back carrier or front basket so you can carry bags,  groceries etc..

Lock

Get a good lock. It cannot be overstated how much it is worth your investment. Such a lock will typically cost between €40-€75. Although locks all may look the same to you a thief will know the difference and will target a cheaper lock as it will be a lot easier to force open.

Lights

When cycling in the dark, it is not only a legal requirement but crazy not to have a white front light and back red light. Again invest in high quality reliable options.

Clothing

For most commutes your regular clothing is fine. Layering breathable gear is a good way to arrive fresh but a good jacket will only work well if there are breathable layers worn underneath it. Wear something reflective if you plan to cycle in the dusk and dark. Try either a Sam Browne belt (around waist and over shoulder) or a tabbard/gilet/vest. Invest in good rain gear (jacket and pants) for the rainy days, once you have it on you can cycle happily through the wet.

Helmet

The Road Safety Authority strongly recommends wearing a helmet but it is not a legal requirement so it’s up to you to make the choice. Whatever you do, try as many on as possible before you buy and make sure you get help in your bike shop. An incorrectly fitted helmet is a waste of time.

How often does it rain?

Surveys show the likelihood of getting caught in the rain while walking or cycling is much less than most people think.

“The general impression is that it rains quite a lot of the time in Ireland but in fact two out of three hourly observations will not report any measurable rainfall” – Met Eireann

Remember before you jump in the car on a rainy day that everyone else is having the same idea so traffic gets even worse. Get good rain gear for days when you might get caught in a shower. Of course, no-one says you have to cycle every day, so if you’re worried about a particularly ugly looking cloud lurking on the horizon maybe just get the bus in that day.

On average it rains in Dublin during 8-9am and 5-6pm less than 12% of days. That’s less than 1.5 days a month! (NTA report on rainfall 2003-2008).

Read more details on Ireland’s rainfall from Met Eireann.