Controversial Commute Tips 4 – Lighten the Load

[If you haven’t already, and are wondering why my cycle commuting tips might be controversial, please read the introduction!]

So, there ARE ways to carry a load on a bike. It’s an area of constant innovation. Rucksacks, messenger bags, paniers, baskets, even trailers exist.

But I think the key to an easier commute is to reduce the amount that you have to carry.

  • Leave a lock at work. Locks are heavy. If you regularly ride to the same place, leave a lock there.
  • Store spare clothes. I’m fortunate enough to have a locker – depending on what facilities you have this may or may not be practical, but I leave bigger items of clothing at work overnight, change them regularly but not every day, and I have spares in case I get out of routine (see the next post for more on this). I have a pair of shoes that stays at work.
  • Where’s lunch coming from? We have a small local supermarket where I stock up on fruit and snacks occasionally. I bring in my main lunch (sandwich, pasta, salad and so on) each day, but other less perishable items are bought in bulk and stored in my drawer.
  • Duplicates. If there’s something that you take to work often, and if you can afford it, buy a duplicate and leave it there. I do this with things like hay-fever remedies, and sports shoes.
  • I used to take paniers, but over time, leaving these things at my destination has meant that all I have to carry are a few smaller bits of clothing, a small lunch, and some small valuables, which all fits easily into a small rucksack.

    Bag tips: make sure it’s waterproof and visible! I use a rucksack cover in a downpour. These fold up into a tiny size – but make sure it’ll make you visible. “Humps” are good for this, they look a bit daft, but I’d rather look a little silly than get knocked off on a dark, wet night.