Bicycles are amazing machine. They please us with the speed and freedom of taking us wherever we want and they do it while giving us a good workout. All this in a very low environmental footprint machine that you can store in your apartment.
However, most of the bikes that come from the factory are ready for a normal Sunday ride, not much else. If you want to set up your bike to haul groceries or get to the office, you’ll need some extra accessories to make those rides comfortable and fun. Luckily for you, most bikes are highly customizable and easy to customize, and there’s at least a mountain of gear to choose from.
The picks we’ve gathered below were tested with older pedal bikes, but nearly all of them will work for both electric and non-electric (acoustic) bikes. Take a look at ours Guide to Ebike Classes and Best Ebikes for more of our thoughts and e-bike explainers as well.
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These days a lot of things are a pain in the back. Your bike ride doesn’t have to be one of them. Changing out the handlebars, seats, and even the seat posts are some of the easiest modifications you can make to dramatically improve your ride.
- Better handlebar grip. Poor wrist posture can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or cyclist’s palsy, where you’re putting pressure on your median and medial nerves. Ergonomics Ergon GA3 ($35) are my favorite grips because they have small wings that help correct your wrist posture to prevent these conditions.
- Bicycle seat. Upgrading your saddle (also known as a saddle) can make a big difference in your riding comfort. The Brooks B17 ($94) is an age-old myth for good reason. Even though it’s made of tough leather, I still find it extremely comfortable after impact. These saddles are also very sturdy; they usually last for a decade or more. If you don’t “make” leather, Brooks will be vegan nylon option ($130). I haven’t found the aftermarket saddles to be cheap or heavily gelled, if at all, to be an improvement over the ones that come with newer bikes.
- Post hanging chair. For a little more gliding feel, you can add rear suspension to a stationary hardtail bike by swapping out the position of the suspension seats. The Cirrus Kinekt ($270) can be customized for riders of different weights by swapping the coil springs. On unpaved, bumpy, or pothole-only roads, having some cushion under your mattress can really make for a smoother ride.
- Padded bra. Even in the most comfortable saddle, you’re bound to notice the effects of sitting for hours and days on end. This REI Co-op Link Padded Shorts ($35) is an easy way to add an extra layer of softness between driver and machine on longer journeys. That link is for women’s style, but version for men available for the same price.
Very few bikes come with the accessories needed to haul errands and run groceries. Sure, you can use a backpack, and I usually do when I’m in a hurry or test ride a bike without a cargo gear, but a backpack can make your back sweat. and limit the amount of stuff you can bring with you. I recommend using pannier instead. This style of bag attaches to a luggage rack that you mount on the rear wheel (your bike may already have it). The Pannier clips onto the rack and hangs down the back of your foot, off and low to the ground, helping to keep your bike stable under load.