Oktober 12, 2020 13 min lesen.

HEXLOX Top-16 List - COVID Edition

16 Essential Things-To-Do and Gadgets-to-Have for a Safer Bike Commute during covid

Updated - October 2020

This blogpost has been updated in the light of the new upswing of COVID cases all over Europe and elsewhere. The edits reflect the new reality bike commuters face, especially in bigger cities. We sincerely want you to stay healthy and what better way to do that than commuting to work by bike. Safely!

Recently the European Parliament issued a memo urging employees to avoid public transport.“Walk or bike or, as a last resort, use your private car,”Kristian Knudsen, the director-general for personnel, wrote. “The risk of transmission of Covid-19 in public transport is much too high.”

Mass transit systems like trains, metros, and buses are riskier choices for commuting and pose a greater threat of catching a virus because it is next to impossible to avoid the large crowds. One is vulnerable if an infected fellow passenger sneezes or coughs inside compact bogies, stations, buses, and check-in counters. Using common utility facilities like ticketing machines, holding safety handles, pressing lift buttons, arms rests, etc. can be carriers of the virus if it was previously used by an infected person.

"Hexlox is on a mission to get people to“Worry Less and Ride More” and get more people onto their bikes and out on the road, streets, tracks, and trails - all around the world."

That’s the reason for this Top-16 list

 A lot of us are  commuting to work every day. Some with the subway, bus, and train, some walk but a growing number of people use their bikes. If you have been commuting by bike for years and years then some of the following tips might be common sense for you. For the rest of us, yes, us :-), read, and perhaps learn a thing or two.

It’s important to feel safe when cycling. While it might seem an easy thing, trust me it’s not. Just getting on the bike and heading out can sometimes be difficult, but it’s great if you are prepared and make sure the dangerous things are avoided. After all, a big part of any commuters journey is shared with cars. And Trucks.

Any commuter’s dream is a quiet street or lane with enough width to be able to accommodate cyclists in both directions and ample room for overtaking. This is not always the case so here are some tips and tricks to make your commuting by bike safer, easier, and more enjoyable.

Finally, a few words about the links in this list. Even if we have relations with some of the brands in this list we do not earn any money on sales if you choose to click and subsequently buy. All our opinions and suggestions are completely unbiased.

The Bullitt Cargo bike by Larry vs HarryStarting at around €2.300,-

Gravel & Adventure riding has seen a real renaissance lately. Easy to understand when you see something like this...

The Eddy Merckx Strasbourg71 is named after a famed Tour de France stage win where Eddy Merckx showed his sprinting prowess on extremely rough terrain €2.999,-

1. Get Started

Make sure you take time to practice riding a bike. If it’s been a while, then just take out the bike in the area where you live. Just get on it and get comfortable with what it’s like to just ride. A park would be a good spot to get reacquainted with riding again. Practice stopping and changing direction as you definitely will have to do this in a real situation - possibly with lots of other traffic.

Don’t have a bike? Here a 3 bike brands that we love.

For those of you with kids, dogs, and shopping-after-work to take care of there is the gorgeous cargo bike  Bullit byLarry vs Harry The Bullit has quickly become a familiar sight, hauling all kinds of loads on city streets, all over the world. Here at Hexlox, we have one colleague who rides up to 200 km. every week on a Bullit. And loving it.

If you are in the market for a do-it-all-and-enjoy-it-all bike that can function as a commuter/road/adventure/gravel bike look no further than the Italian-based  3T Bike. Gravel riding has been the buzzword for some time and it’s hard not to love the possibilities that come with the wider tires that gravel bikes use. Getting a dedicated gravel bike means that you can truly ride anywhere, from racing your mates on the weekend group ride to rocky backcountry and adventure riding.

Or have a look at the Eddy Merckx Strasbourg71- another extremely capable gravel grinder with impeccable Belgian heritage, which sits squarely in the fun space between road and off-road. Transforming the bike for a spin on the pavement can be done easily, thanks to the road geometry. Just change to narrower tires and hop on your bike.

If you don't feel comfortable checking your bike yourself take it to your friendly LBS (Local Bike Shop)

2. Do a bike check-up.

Make sure your bike is in good working order. Take a good look at your bike. Being able to quickly come to a stop whenever you need is of utmost importance. Therefore make sure your brakes are in good condition. Secondly, check the chain. It should be tight. You don't want to have that fall off or slip when you are halfway to work and don't have any other means of transportation close. And it might be raining. Third, make sure the wheels are pumped up and that all normal skewers or  security skewers are in good condition and securely in place. Having a wheel come off when riding, it's not fun. Trust us on that one

HJC offer a great selectiuon of stylish helmets - here their midrange Valeco suggested price €149,-

3. Protect what you love - Always wear a helmet

Always wear a helmet. Period. There is simply no good reason not to. Today's helmets are great looking, extremely comfortable, and yes they are cool. At the office at Hexlox, we have some very happy riders that swear by the  HJC’s bike helmets 

The Strava Heatmap of the Greater London area. Their global Heatmap is a fun and useful tool to explore where other riders prefer to ride.

4. Spice it up - Change your route to work - Every week.

At Hexlox, we like the route building features at  Komoot, as well as  Strava. Also, well-known  Google Maps work well, even if it’s not as bike-centric as the other two. Komoot and Strava work pretty much the same - set a start- and endpoint, and the platform will suggest a route for you - based on other users’ rides. You can of course map your routes manually on both platforms! Plan ahead. Ask other riders about traffic patterns at the hours you ride. Also, talk to the local cycling clubs and indeed ask your friends on  Facebook for advice, I'm sure many of them also ride.

Always assume that motorists and other bikers around you can make mistakes or not notice You. Ride defensively.

5. Ride defensively. Always

You are never alone on the road when you commute. During rush hours there will be plenty of other riders around and some of them will ride faster than you. E-bikes. They are very fast!. There is a good chance they might come up behind you and swish past you, and you didn’t hear/see them coming.Always check you have plenty of space to turn in case there are obstacles, or unexpected traffic, or other cyclists. Also, make sure youalways check your blind spots when turning or coming to crossings.Always look behind you before changing direction.

"Always assume that someone else will make a mistake or do something unexpected - or even downright dangerous"

The Spurcycle Bell has a ringtone like no other bike bell we have tested.

6. Make sure people hear you. use your bell

Use hand signals. Use your bell. We believe that the Spurcycle Bell is the best bicycle bell in the world. It’s beautifully designed with meticulous craftsmanship and the ring tone goes on almost forever. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing...

We happen to sell the  Spurcycle Bell here on our website 😏 If nothing else works, use your voice. Also, make sure the motorists around you have seen or heard your signals. Always try to make eye contact. If you can see their eyes looking at you, the chance is they also see you. Simple.

The Urban Air Mask 2.0 By combining cutting-edge filter technology with timeless Scandinavian design, the Urban Air Mask 2.0 offers an outstanding performance and comfort to combat harmful particles in the air.

7. Protect yourself - and others

Even if the risk of catching COVID while outside, on your bike, is minimal we still wanted to share with you this  Urban Air Mask by Airinum because of pollution & smog, pollen & allergens, and other nasty things...  According to the WHO is air pollution & smog  responsible for 1 in 9 deaths and is the single largest environmental health crisis we face,   The Urban Air Mask is KN95 certified and filters out more than 95% of particles down to 0.3μm in size. As a bonus - You’ll look a wee-bit like Bane, the Batman villain, played by Tom Hardy.

8. Be considerate to others

This is of course a no-brainer. We really would like to encourage a respectful and considerate bike culture. Be considerate to others around you - including motorists!. Don’t race on bike paths - even if it’s tempting when someone passes you. Save the racing for more open and wider roads - or the weekend group ride. Strava just rolled out a brand new leaderboard - Local Legends - awarding consistency over speed.The Local Legend achievement is awarded to the athlete who completes a given segment the most over a rolling 90-day period regardless of pace or speed. Local Legends is currently available for athletes located in the US, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Canada, and Australia.”  It’s also nice to give a thumbs-up to a motorist who stopped for you or gave you some extra space passing you.

"Spread some good vibes. Smile. A lot!"

9. Follow the traffic rules.

Red light. Please stop. It’s so easy and you are never in such a hurry that your life is worth it. Never. Make sure you stop when there is a stop sign. Stop at crossings since there might be people walking that can't see you. Always use common sense. If you think it’s a bad idea to do something, then it probably is. Bike in the direction of traffic and stop at red lights. There, I said it again.

The "streetlegal" Lupine Sl AF, suggested retail price €349,- has a High/Low beam (1300/1000 lumen) functionality.

Plugger by Knog - Minimalist design & stylish with commuter friendly USB charging capapbilities...

10. Make sure people can see you.

Use bike lights. Both front and rear. We like the offerings by Lupine, especially their  SL AF that in our view is perfect for commuting. You can switch between high- and low beams with the press of a button.“With the sensor-controlled daytime running light and glare-free 1000 lumen low beam you're moving safely through the traffic at any time of the day. By pressing the button of your Bluetooth remote you unleash the 1300 lumen high beam and make your bike racing through the most challenging trails.”For a more minimalist approach have a look at  Plugger by Knog. Stylish, great visibility, and most importantly both the front and rear lights are fully USB rechargeable. Designed to work with all genres of bicycles from commuters to aero road bikes, the Plugger comes with three different silicone bands for securing it to handlebars, seat stays, and of course, seat posts.  

If riding a lot in the dark also consider investing in a reflective vest. It’s not very pretty to have reflection stickers on the wheels, but it works. It’s a very cheap life insurance. Make sure also that cars are always seeing you before you turn and always make sure to be careful when cars are turning right at crossings.

Shawa Over Shoes by Pedaled - Japanese minimalist design and italian functionality, what's not to love? €55,-

The Ass Saver mudguards are a highly utilitarian commuter tool beloved by messengers all over the world - it just works! Around €20,-

11. Rain, no problem. Just use the right gear.

Rain…. Great 😄

One of the absolute most essential items of clothing - apart from the helmet of course - is a pair of rain pants. You can go for full-length pants of course but here at Hexlox, we love the flexibility and ease of use of the  RainLegs which are covering your upper thighs and front - apron style. Easy and super quick to slip in- and out of. As an added plus they now come in a reflective model. Used together with a really good pair of rain over-shoes, like the  Shawa Overshoes by Pedaled, you will be covered for most wet situations.Just a quick side note.

"If you get caught in a real downpour on your bike, you will get wet, no matter what you wear."

Another essential piece of gear is the  Ass Saver Mud Guard. It’s a foldable, extremely lightweight rain- and mudguard that you easily can carry in your back pocket or bag and quickly attach to your bike in case of rain. We love them and it’s an essential piece of kit for all of us here at Hexlox.

The Brooks England B17 is the classic leather saddle - for commuting with style and a degree of panashe. €120,-

12. Invest in a comfortable saddle

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room - your bottom! We recommend you to invest in a comfortable saddle that will help you enjoy your commute. There is nothing worse than a sore behind - this is probably one of the main reasons some people stop commuting. It’s simply no fun.

Brooks England is our go-to destination when it comes to saddles and other high-end bike accessories - for riding in impeccable style. The  Brooks B17 is a timeless, classic saddle that just grows more beautiful the more you ride it. You also might want to check out the  SQLabs saddles - well known for their expertise in ergonomics. SQLabs was the first saddle manufacturer to introduce a system to measure the distance between the sit bones and to calculate the optimal saddle width. All SQlabs saddle models are available in up to five different widths.

Exploro ProTeam by 3T - The world's first full-aero gravel bike. Starting at around €3.700,-

13. Enjoy it!

It’s very important to like what you do, otherwise, you won’t do it. Get a nice bike if you don't feel like riding the one you have. Make sure its comfortable one and by all means try to get a saddle or seat that makes the whole commute enjoyable. Also, make sure you get a good bike lock for your bike and complement that lock with anti-theft for your bike parts. You don't want to come out after work and find yoursaddle has gone or the wheels missing. Then the idea of commuting is not so nice anymore. And who wants to take the train anyhow? Not us 😄

Attakai Hooded Wool Jacket by Pedaled. Impeccable style both on and off the bike. One of our real favorites. €160,-

14. A few thoughts on bike style...

For the sartorially minded ones out there we’d like to expand a bit on a few things that will set you apart from the crowd. Your bike looks impeccable with all the right accessories but what about yourself? Today when everyone rides wearingRapha - (we admit, we do too 😉) there is an argument to make to seek out some less common brands. At Hexlox we love everythingPedaled offers. Sleek, minimalist Japanese design, expertly manufactured in Italy. One perennial favorite istheir Attakai Wool Cycling Jacket  whichstrikes that difficult balance of looking good in the office and still function well on the road. Wool.

Apidura Expedition Saddle Pack 9L - The Expedition Saddle Pack is available in three sizes for adventures long, short, and in-between. €133,-

Aclassic! The Ortlieb Messenger Bag is a familiar sight on city streets all over the world. €109,-

15. Carrying your stuff

Ortlieb. The  Classic Messenger Backpack that spawned a myriad of copies. Get the original. Helmut Ortlieb started by sewing his own bags, making a pack-container out of red truck tarp on his mother’s sewing machine. That was in 1981. Today all Ortlieb products are manufactured employing a high-frequency welding process and are exclusively manufactured at the company headquarters in Heilsbronn: “Made in Germany” and sold all over the world.

While Ortlieb has a street/messenger/urban vibe going you might want to check out another great brand, with a slightly more adventure-riding/backcountry feel. London based  Apidura.  They design and manufacture gorgeous looking, ultralight, rackless packing systems that take their love of cycling further, and allow riders all across the globe to unlock their instinct for adventure.

The Lezyne Micro Drive delivers floor pump efficiency - up to 160 Psi/11bar - in a super-compact, hand pump size. €54,99

The F10by Crank Brothers turns any emergency repair job on the road into a... pleasurable task, Yes, really! €24,99

16. You will get a flat. Eventually.

If you ride you eventually will get a flat. Period.

Be prepared for that. This is how we deal with those dreaded situations. Always carry these 5 tools in your back pocket or saddle bag.

  • ASpare Tube - don’t fix a flat on the road. Simply replace the flat tube with your spare and fix it at home, later on. Or simply goTubeless. Tubeless technology used to be purely for MTB. Not anymore. Nowadays you see more and more road riders and commuters adopting this technology. About one-third of us at Hexlox are riding tubeless - every day - and there is at least one person who is seriously considering switching. When riding tubeless it will seem that you get fewer flats. That's not exactly correct. What really happens is that the tubeless tire is automatically repairing punctures as they happen - and most of the time you will not even notice!
  • 1-2Tire Levers - You need to use tire levers to open up, or completely remove the tire from the rim, to get to your inner tube.
  • APatch Kit. Yes, we told you not to fix the flat on the road - but just in case, you could actually get a second flat. It has happened to us. A few times 😠
  • Mini Pump - The  Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HPG. Lezyne develops, designs, and manufactures outstanding tools for bikes. We ride with their gorgeous Micro Floor Drive in our back pockets, and feel this is a must-have item for any commuter. This pump delivers floor pump efficiency - up to 160 Psi/11bar - in a super-compact, hand pump size.
  • Of course, alternative you can also use aCO2 Pump. A cartridge with a screw-on nozzle. The advantages are smaller size and quicker inflation. Much quicker.
  • Multi-tool -There are multi-tools and then there are Multi-Tools...We really like the  Crankbrothers F10 Multi-Toolbecause it actually turns any emergency repair job on the road into a... pleasurable task, Yes, really! The F10 just works - in a clean minimalist style! It’s small and light and has everything you need for a quick fix on the road.

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