Whether it's you or your kids heading back to school or college soon, there are a number of priorities that go hand-in-hand with riding to class: safety, visibility, comfort, convenience, security, and looking cool (maybe not in that order).
The BikeRoar team has put together a list of essentials to make the transition back to school a little bit easier.
Good quality helmets don't have to cost the earth - here are a couple that will look after your brain without breaking the bank:
With school starting as the days get shorter in fall, this innovative helmet from ABUS has you protected with an integrated rear LED light, a built-in rain cover which you pull from the back and over the helmet, and 15 air inlets with 6 air outlets. These features are particularly handy when the rider gets caught in the rain or dark unprepared - a summer storm or an unexpected late lecture can disrupt your day, but at least you'll be safe and dry with the ABUS Pedelec.
This gnarly skate style/urban commuter helmet will protect you no matter the terrain. The in-mold construction has the outer shell and inner layers constructed together to form a lighter piece that does not compromise on protection, and the fit can be customized with the extra set of pads that are included. Vents on top, in front and at the rear feed air into the interior channels to help keep the head cooler.
Lock It Up
Be sure your bike is waiting for you after class with these quality bike locks:
The Hiplok is the world's first bicycle lock developed specifically to be worn on the body. Its hardened steel chain is covered with an impact resistant, super-tough nylon casing that loops around the waist with a Velcro strip.
Comfortable, strong, and easy to use, the Hiplok is fully adjustable to fit all size riders, and is adorned with a large 3M reflective logo for added nighttime visibility.
The foldable Bordo lock uses a unique, clever link construction that provides maximum flexibility when securing a bike to a bike rack or railing. The ingenious design allows the Bordo to fold right up into its own compact frame mountable case - easy to stash into a backpack when not in use.
Speaking of backpacks...
Backpacks With Style
Backpacks need to be functional, comfortable, and durable, and also have to protect whatever is inside them. Here are two that will do the job beautifully:
The Syncro lets you hit the road fully prepared for the day ahead. The load is supported at the base of the back with a hip-fin at each side to add stability and comfort, and the AirSpeed™ suspension and BioStretch™ ventilated harness maximize breathability, keeping the rider cool and comfortable all day long. If the weather turns nasty, the built in high-visibility raincover ensures protection and the reflective graphics and LED light attachment make it easy to be seen.
If a larger backpack is what you need, we recommend the Dakine Campus. This 33 liters of textbook-toting excellence features a padded laptop sleeve that can fit up to 15" laptops, and a fleece lined sunglass pocket to safely stow your shades. It also features an insulated compartment designed to keep food and drinks cool.
Weather can be fickle, and what started off as a beautiful day can turn nasty by the time classes are over. Stay one step ahead of the weather with these easy-to-pack rain jackets:
This highly packable jacket allows you to stuff water and wind resistance into a small jersey pocket or hydration pack. Should the skies open up, the lightweight fabric with DWR treatment repels wind and rain, keeping you dry and warm for miles of hassle-free riding. A strategically placed rear ventilation panel ensures fresh air flows through, reducing any chance of overheating. A high collar, drop tail, and reflective highlights enhance visibility in low-light conditions.
For protection from more serious rain, the Calhoun is the answer. Fully waterproof, breathable, and lightweight, the fully taped internal seams shield you from the elements while Pit Zips allow for breathable venting. The O2 Calhoun is form fitting and features a Napoleon pocket to protect your valuables.
SAVE YOUR ASS when the weather gets worse. The Ass Saver is a clip-on rear mudguard that attaches to your saddle rails to protect the rider from road spray - it clips on in seconds and requires no tools. Prevent that embarrasing strip of muddy water up your back and clip one on.
Protect Your Tech
Smartphones are part of everyday life now, and often play a part in our daily commute. These ride cases will make sure your phone arrives in one piece.
Whether it be for Strava, music, or just staying in touch, bringing a phone along on a bike ride for some has become a necessity. Protect and secure your device with a Topeak Ridecase. The case uses a protective composite fiber panel that integrates with the high-grade plastic exoskeleton for a secure hold of your precious electronic riding companion. It includes a fully adjustable mount allowing for a landscape or portrait view, can be removed with ease, and weighs in a tiny 32 grams or 1.13 ounces.
The Banjo Brothers Phone Wallet has room for your smart phone, your key, a credit card, and a few coins. What more do you need? It's water repellent, too, and weighs in at just 45 grams or 1.6 ounces.
See and Be Seen
A good set of lights can save your life and brighten the gloomiest day - check out these two front-and-rear light sets:
The Knog Blinder 1 Twin Pack bundles together front and rear lights for a reliable, high-powered, surface-mounted, LED light combo. Powered by USB rechargeable lithium polymer batteries, Blinder 1 lights provide an efficient 20 lumen output from the front light and 11 lumens from the rear light. Using efficient LEDs designed to provide maximum brightness level for up to 90% of the battery burn time, the Blinder 1's brightness does not slowly deteriorate during use. The Twin Pack includes a silicone strap and clip mounts which require absolutely no tools for attaching to either handlebars or frame.
These uniquely designed Strip Drive lights pack 5 LED lights into a compact and durable co-molded body. The clever little strip-design mounts perfectly around seatposts and handlebars, keeping the lights tucked safely out of the way. The high-output LEDs deliver 120 lumens for the front light and 25 lumens for the rear light, and the Side Visibility lenses ensure 180-degree illumination, making you highly visible and safe.
And the Bike Itself...
All this cool gear and accessories are pointless without a bike - here's a couple of great machines to get you to class on time, every time:
If you're looking for a versatile bike that you can pedal to school and get out on the weekends, the Liv Alight 1 2016 makes an excellent choice. The Alight 1 features the Giant LIV 3F ("Fit, Form, Function") design philosophy which provides a much lower standover height for easy handling in varied terrain. Tailored specifically for women, the ALUXX aluminum frame ensures a durable and lightweight ride while a 3x9-speed Shimano drivetrain transfers power to wheels seamlessly.
The 2016 version of this iconic bike is perfect for commuting, touring, and loading up with books, laptops, and anything else that will fit in a backpack or pannier. The comfortable, durable frame is also complemented with plenty of extra braze-ons for fenders, a rear rack, and water bottles, and the front fork can also support a front rack and is eyeleted for fenders. Coupled with a simple, yet reliable, Shimano Tiagra/Sora 3x9 drivetrain, this bike is designed to take plenty of punishment and has the reputation of never letting the rider down.