How to transform your bike into a super commuter

6 ways to upgrade your ride to work

This is a sponsored article in association with Red Bull

Commuting by bike is a great idea, but in order to maximise your enjoyment and live a simpler life it’s important to have a bike that’s equipped well for the task.

The following upgrades will help ensure that you commute to and from your workplace with a smile.
  • UK readers, can you go the extra mile this summer? By running or cycling to work you can be a part of Red Bull’s UK-wide Million Mile Commute challenge this July. To sign up, visit Red Bull Million Mile Commute, follow the steps on how to register and start logging your miles via the Strava app, ensuring to tag your activities as a ‘commute’. More miles recorded mean more prizes, from Osprey backpacks to a Marin Fairfax bike, and be sure to grab your limited edition Red Bull 250ml Energy or Sugarfree can — a code under the ring pull unlocks 30 days of Strava Premium. Don’t forget to share your commutes by tagging @RedBullUK and #MillionMileCommute

1. Time for some tough tyres

The Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II has been a stalwart clincher for years
The Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II has been a stalwart clincher for years

Bad tyres can not only spoil the ride-feel of your bike, but they can also leave you deflated in more ways than one.

A commuting tyre should provide ample grip across a wide range of temperatures, weather conditions and surfaces, but perhaps even more important is its resistance to punctures.

Spending more money on a decent tyre will usually introduce options with more supple casings, which will offer an improved ride quality.

Good commuter tyres are available from most bicycle tyre manufacturers, but Schwalbe and Continental really excel here, with tyres such as the Schwalbe Marathon Racer and Continental Contact Plus proving very popular.

Other commuters stick to hardy and dependable road bike rubber, such as Continental’s somewhat legendary Grand Prix 4000 SII.

2. Guard yourself

Guard yourself
Guard yourself

Mudguards are considered to be an essential bit of commuting kit by most people who ride to work. Riding through puddles and not getting soaked is not only a good feeling, but it also helps keep you and your bike clean.

Full-length mudguards offer the best protection, but not every bike will have the correct fittings required to attach them.

Luckily there are lots of clip-on options for both the front and rear of pretty much any bike, with products such as SKS’s Raceblades proving very popular.

3. Panniers might be the answer

Panniers might be the answer
Panniers might be the answer

A lot of people choose to commute to work wearing a backpack, but for improved comfort and convenience it can be worthwhile fitting racks and pannier bags instead.

We’ve had a lot of success using racks and panniers from Blackburn, but waterproof bags from the likes of Ortlieb are designed specifically to keep your clothes and possessions from getting spoiled in the rain.

4. A bell is a good idea

You can ring my bell
You can ring my bell

Perfect for alerting pedestrians and other road users of your presence, the humble bell is a surprisingly useful accessory, particularly for those who frequently use cycle paths.

Simple bells will cost only a few pounds but — as with most things in cycling — it’s possible to spend big dosh on something that’s nicely engineered and built to last.

5. Don’t skimp on security

Abus Granit Extreme 59
Abus Granit Extreme 59

Bike thefts are unfortunately common and decent security is the only preventable measure that most of us can take to protect ourselves from becoming a victim.

Take a look through our best bike locks article for a selection of different locks available, with everything from wearable options to bulky chains.

6. Don’t forget lights

An important part of remaining safe on a bicycle is making sure that you're seen, and we think you should consider running lights during daytime hours to enhance your visibility.

 Knog's PWR lights are changeable
Knog's PWR lights are changeable

Alpkit Tau rear light
Alpkit Tau rear light

Be sure to check our buyer's guide to road bike lights for some solid recommendations.

Oli Woodman

Section Editor, UK
With more than 10 years of experience riding mountain bikes, Oli knows the good from the bad when it comes to gear. He's a total bike nerd and loves few things more than fettling with spangly riding bits. Also, he seems to have a talent for crashing hard but emerging unscathed.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Loamy singletrack
  • Current Bikes: Marin Pine Mountain, Pinnacle Dolomite
  • Dream Bike: Honda RN01
  • Beer of Choice: Corona
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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