Biking Tips and Safety

Starting to bike can be difficult for someone new to the experience. This page is meant to serve as a resource for the inexperienced biker. To get started, you will just need a few essential accessories. These items will keep you commuting safely and comfortably for years.


Today's helmets are light, airy, and comfortable. Most importantly, they reduce risk of head injury by 85 percent. Investment: $30-$160
A front head light and rear red reflector are required by law when riding at night. Be safe and make sure you have a working light and working batteries. Investment: $20-$100
Use a U-shaped lock and lock your bike every time, even if you only plan to be away for minute. Lock your bike wheel and frame to a bike rack when possible to deter theft. Refrain from kickstand parking, as your bike can easily be carried away. Investment: $40-$100


Tires need air, so get a frame pump for on-the-road flats. Checking air pressure before each ride can deter flats and ensure a smooth ride. Investment: $20-$60
A patch kit ($5), a spare inner tube ($5), and a mini multiuse tool ($30), are handy to have. Put them in a seat bag ($15), or your jacket pockets. Investment: $10-$40
Bike Clothes
A bright colored vest or jacket can make you more visible. Moisture wicking jerseys keep you warm and dry without bunching or flapping. Shorts with a built-in padded chamois liner keep you from getting sore and prevent chafing. Today's shorts come in baggy and female-specific "skort" styles, so you don't have to pedal in tight-fitting Lycra if you don't want to. Investment: $30-$100
Bottles and Cages
Staying hydrated is important. Grab two bottles and bottle cages for easy access to water. Investment: $15
Palm padding cushions your hands and protects your skin should you fall. Investment: $10-$40
Carry all your extra things in a backpack, basket or bag that clips to the bike rack and that are waterproof or weather resistant. It is dangerous to carry things in your hands while riding, as you always need to maintain control of your bike and be prepared for surprises, such avoiding a pothole or debris in the roadway. Investment: $30-$200
The Bike
Bikes range from entry-level bikes to get you around campus, to commuter-style bikes for longer distances, all the way up to high-end road racing bikes. Bikes can last almost a lifetime if maintained and serviced, so think of it as a long-term investment. We recommend you visit a local independent bicycle retailer whom can provide expert advice on what type of bike you need, has knowledgeable sales staff and mechanics, and offers full-service repairs and a warranty for your purchase.

Special thanks to our friends at the League of American Bicyclists and Stanford University for providing this information.