What I love about the Elemnt Roam is the navigation features. Other bike computers offer a similar choose-your-own-adventure feature that allows you to build—or copy from other cyclists—turn-by-turn routes right into the bike computer, but nothing compares to Wahoo. Think: Google Maps, but for cycling. It makes exploring new roads for new cyclists easy. You don’t have to pull out your phone every three miles, the computer just tells you when to turn.
The Safest Rear Light
Garmin “Varia” light
I often get a kink in my neck from constantly checking over my shoulder for lunatics in pickup trucks who hate cyclists. The Varia changed that. It’s your standard blinking red tail light to give you visibility, but it doubles as a radar. It beeps and alerts you once cars are within a little more than 400 feet. The beeping changes depending on how fast the car is approaching. It sounds annoying, but it’s not. The Varia is extremely useful on country roads where the bike infrastructure is non-existent and drivers are hostile.
Big Honking Sunglasses
100% “S2” sunglasses
You cannot become a cyclist without a pair of truly ridiculous performance sunglasses. Oakley made this a rule, not me. Upstart brand 100% carries on in the tradition of “performs extremely well, looks even more insane” sunglasses. You’ll see the S2 in the professional peloton and on local roads. They’re lightweight and comfy. And they come with a clear lens for overcast days or rainy commutes.
A Bikepacking Tent
Big Agnes “Copper Spur 3” tent
I know what you’re thinking: bike packing? Yes, bike packing. One fully crosses the rubicon into insane cyclist when they take their first bike packing trip. And, well, folks: it’s a blast.
You can get access to untouched public lands that aren’t accessible by car. For city dwellers without cars, you can hop on your bike and be to a campsite before happy hour. The Copper Spur hangs comfortably from your handlebars so you can load up your panniers with wine, snacks, and dry clothes. It’s not for everyone, but there is a certain person this is perfect for—you’ll know.
The Cadillac of Racks
Handmade in Tokyo, these things will last forever. Also: it will hold all your shit in a basket: laptop, beer, workout gear for outdoor workouts in 2022 when we’re all still wearing masks. Dad pull his trusty Raleigh out of the garage and start bike commuting during quarantine? Rivendell is the gift for him.
The reason I’ve always gravitated towards Rivendell’s gear is how handsome it is. They make classic-looking bike equipment that’s built to last. So many bike manufacturers are obsessed with weight these days. Rivendell is obsessed with making the best tool for the job. In this case that is a very sturdy metal rack.
The Best Bike Commuting Pants
Outlier “Strong Darts” pants
These are the best, period. They’re insanely durable. We won’t bore you with all the various names of proprietary fabrics Outlier touts and simply tell you: this shit lasts. They’re cut to be comfortable on the bike and water resistant, but the durability is the main thing. I’ve owned multiple pairs of Outlier pants over the last five years and they’re all still intact. Whereas my beloved selvage jeans have had the crotch re-patched multiple times—because it blew out from regular bike commuting.
Gloves for Truly Cold Days
Pearl Izumi lobster gloves
Gotta keep your digits warm. Pearl Izumi has been making their legendary lobster gloves (they own the trademark—every other company calls them “split-finger gloves”) for decades. And with good reason: they last forever, keep your fingers warm, and are as functional at a tailgate as they are on a bike commute. Also: you get to make lots of incredible stupid Live Long And Prosper jokes.
A Well-Designed Jacket
Cafe du Cycliste “Albertine” jacket
Cafe du Cucliste
Nice-based Cafe du Cycliste makes some of the cleanest silhouettes in cycling. They release limited capsule collections and make simple clothes that stands out. This jacket doesn’t doesn’t look like cycling kit, but on the bike, it performs exceptionally well: the front, where the wind hits, is beefy and warm; the merino polar fleece back wicks and breathes easily (I could see steam was coming off my back on a 40-degree ride).
The Best Panniers
Bushwhacker Omaha panniers
That’s French for the bags that hook onto your bike, and these are the best panniers I’ve ever owned. They’re open-topped, so extremely convenient—you can pack them full of everything. For a long time I was partial to much more inconvenient closed design, but despite my initial fears, nothing flies out. No need for bungie cords. Eggs make it home safely from the farmers market every Saturday.
The Best Gear for the Pandemic Cycling Boom
Seven high-mileage guys share their favorite piece of cycling gear (that isn’t a bike).