At Culdesac, we love to experiment with new ways to boost the bike riding experience. From horns, and bells, to locks, and GPS tracking, we’ve seen it all and we’re ready to share some tips for both new riders and seasoned vets. Don’t have a bike yet? Head over to our ebike guide to find the one for you.
We all know about helmets and water bottles, but what will really level up your bike game are these must-have accessories that our team loves.
U-locks and chains are common sights on bike racks, but the ABUS folding lock is the way to go to frustrate would-be bike thieves. This lock is hard to break, lightweight, and can mount on the bike for storage. Over half of our team ebikes have this lock! Folding locks are also more versatile and easy to use than a U-lock for the same level of security. If you have a quick-release wheel, always make sure to lock that up with your frame.
Location tracking has become essential for recovering bikes. Apple AirTags are small Bluetooth tracking devices that you can attach to anything you don’t want to get lost. Culdesac’s resident bike mechanic, Jordan, has been putting AirTags in hard-to-find spots on all of our ebikes.
Headlights, taillights, and high-visibility gear:
When it comes to riding at night, being highly visible is a top priority. A bright white headlight and a flashing red tail light will allow you to be seen by everyone on the road.
Our team recommends light-colored clothing and this reflective tape for staying visible throughout the day and night. You can apply the tape to fenders, the back of your helmet, baskets, or backpack. If any light hits you at night you’ll shine back like a lighthouse.
Horns and bells:
The Loud Horn is a Culdesac favorite for bike horns. It’s 125 decibels (as loud as a car horn!) and completely weather-resistant. Even if you spend most of your time riding away from cars, this is a helpful tool to ensure you’re heard.
Rear rack and milk crate:
Rear racks can help carry groceries or other bulky items you may not want to put in a backpack. Milk crates fastened to the bike’s rear rack are our team’s favorite, least expensive, and most convenient method for easy storage on any bike. Jasmine from our team can carry 1 week of groceries for 2 people in her ebike crate storage. Here is a video of how to install a rear rack and here is a video on how to attach a milk crate.
Phone mounts are the key to safe, convenient, hands-free navigation while bike riding. When Sierra on our team started riding around Tempe, she realized that checking her phone for directions at every light was not only inconvenient but also distracted her from the road.
As you navigate a new (or even familiar) place, mounting your phone and turning on verbal directions makes getting around without getting lost easy and safe. This Quadlock mount is a team favorite.
Registering your bike increases the probability of a safe return if the bike is ever lost or stolen. Depending on where you live, registering can be done either through local government or through a national registry.
We recommend Project 529. Project 529 is a national bike registration service that uses crowdsourcing to ensure your bike is protected. When a user posts that their bike was stolen, all the bike shops in the area and the local police receive a notification with the bike’s description, last known location, and where to return the bike.
Preparing for Your Ride
Even road warriors sometimes forget to check on the basics to make sure they’re ready to ride. The ABC test is a simple way to remember these important steps before you head out.
Air: Give the tires a squeeze! Make sure those tires are pumped full of air and don't have any give. You can find the proper PSI (pounds per square inch) on the side of most bike tires which is the measure of air pressure for your tires.
Brakes: Check that your brake pads aren’t worn down and dried out from the summer sun. Pull the brakes tight and check that the cables are not degraded. When you pull your brakes tight, the wheels on your bike should not move.
Chain: Your chain should be clean and running smoothly without kinks. Check the entire chain for rust and spin the pedals to see if everything is moving smoothly.
If you encounter any issue that seems too complicated or dubious, contact your local bike shop. The bike shop will know how to get your bike up and running. At Culdesac Tempe we will have a local bike shop on-site to help with all your bike-related needs.
Along with the ABC test, check to see if your bike seat is at the right height. You should have a slight bend in your leg at full pedal extension. A quick check for the right height is to see if the seat is about level with your hips when standing next to the bike.
These tools and tips have improved our bike lives, and we hope they improve yours. Enjoy your adventure and happy riding!