7 Essential Items for the Daily Commute to Work

There's nothing worse than forgetting an essential item or to realize you forgot something when you need it most. This checklist is the bare minimum of what I carry on my daily commute to work. No more, no less. My commute is approximately 18 miles each way. The water bottle is empty on the way to work given cooler temps in the morning. Plus there tends to be less climbing than on the way home in the evening. Key Tip: Leave a change of clothes, shower items, and a pair of shoes in the office. Hauling extra weight around can be unpleasant, especially in warmer weather. Key Tip: Alternatively, don't leave a change of clothes, shower items, and a pair of shoes in the office and do carry extra weight on the ride to work to get stronger!

7 Essential Items for the Daily Commute to Work

  1. Spare tube. Out of the box and rubber banded to keep it compact.
  1. Tire levers. I carry a set of three but only two are needed. Certain levers are designed to snap together which would be ideal for always carrying a pair.
  1. CO2 pump. It took me a few years to get comfortable carrying a CO2 pump instead of a traditional hand pump. If riding alone and not in the vicinity of your local bike shop, better to carry two cartridges, otherwise, be ready to phone in your ride.
  1. Lights for safety and visibility by others. USB front and rear lights set to flash mode for daytime visibility. These at are a must, not just for peace of mind, but greatly improves visibility and overall sense of safety for the commute. For me, these lights are the one item that I actually feel naked without - more so than nutrition and hydration, gloves, and perhaps only next to a helmet. Commuter traffic is stressful enough and having these lights provide a huge peace of mind. Key Tip: Stick to sidewalks on uphill segments when possible where autos tend to travel at high speeds. Though the legality of riding on sidewalks in certain counties may vary - there's no denying that a few feet of additional separation feels much safer. Also, find the routes that either go against the flow of am/pm commuter traffic and consider residential routes where cars are generally travelling slower.
  1. Post-ride breakfast and hydration. Some say that not eating before a ride is a good way to burn off stored calories. I've found that I tend to consume less on days that I commute overall (less of an appetite). Not having a car to drive to a local eatery during the lunch break and having to pack a day in advance or having to walk to lunch also helps.
  1. Helmet. Be sure to wash the liner every so often since it can get kinda steamy in there!
  1. A phone in the event that items 1 thru 3 do not work as intended.
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