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Labor Day is right around the corner. That can only mean one thing: Perfect bike weather is finally making a comeback. Temperatures in the Goldilocks zone and beautiful fall foliage will make your rides that much more rewarding. Plus, not inhaling pollen is always a bonus when outdoors.

And accessories make everything better, as they say. Whether you’re starting from scratch or refreshing your stash, here’s a roundup of the top accessories urban cyclists need, according to experts. I also threw in some of my personal favorites, as a die-hard e-bike commuter.

Urban bikers will have a similar list of essentials as mountain bikers: helmets, pedals, apparel, bike racks and maintenance tools. But this category of cyclists needs to keep two extra things in mind: safety and security that’s built for the city.

“You’ll never regret spending a little bit more on a good helmet,” says Teresa Vazquez, a sales associate at the Free-Flite Bicycles shop in Sandy Springs, Georgia. She says to look for a model that’s equipped with MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System), which helps avoid catastrophic brain injuries.

Daniel Wade-Chung, a service manager at Intown Bicycles, agrees. MIPS has become a ubiquitous safety feature, narrowing the price difference between helmets that have it and those that don’t. “Make sure you buy one that has it,” he says.

But helmets are just a start. The industry has come up with all kinds of gadgets to make it safer for bikers dealing with traffic. “You cannot be too careful,” says Felip Cilenti, who’s been involved in the Atlanta bike scene for more than 10 years. “Any safety measure is worth taking. You have to ride like everyone is trying to kill you.”

“Giro is one of my favorite brands for helmets,” says Cilenti. He recommends the Register MIPS helmet, which is easy to adjust and versatile enough for the road or trail. It also has universal fit sizing, making it a solid choice for almost any adult.

“Smith’s Engage helmet is one that I really like,” Vazquez says. It’s lightweight, even though it’s designed to be a mountain bike helmet. It comes in all sorts of colors to match your style, along with that MIPS technology we mentioned.

For urban cyclists looking for a more budget-friendly option, she recommends Trek’s Solstice MIPS Bike Helmet. It’s covered by the brand’s Crash Replacement Guarantee, which provides a replacement helmet for free if you’re involved in a crash during your first year wearing it.

“Your hands, bottom and feet are your main points of contact,” says Cilenti. “People underestimate the impact a pedal can have. A solid pedal makes a big difference.” He recommends Crankbrothers’ Stamp collection. They come in different colors and sizes. “Someone with small feet doesn’t need a massive pedal and vice-versa.” Their Stamp models range from $50 to almost $300.

Vazquez recommends Shimano’s SPD pedals for road bikers. “You’ll get more efficiency when you’re clipped in.” Certain models can work with cleats or without, giving beginners and recreational cyclists versatility.

If you have a commuter bike or don’t want to clip in at all, Wade-Chung recommends Race Face’s Chester pedal. “Stock pedals aren’t usually nice since that’s where the manufacturer can easily cut corners,” he says. “The Chester is popular, low profile and comes in a ton of colors. It’s also customizable with pins that help keep your shoe on the pedal. The concave pedal design is all the rage in the mountain bike world, but it can’t hurt in an urban bike setting.”

Bike headlights and tail lights

Some bicycles these days — mainly e-bikes — will already have front and rear lights. But if your bike doesn’t have any, Wade-Chung says Planet Bike has a lot of reasonably priced options that are water-resistant. “Our shop carries them because we like the environmental initiatives that Planet Bike takes part in.” He recommends a brightness of at least 300 lumens for the headlight.

For Cilenti, 300 lumens is the sweet spot. “The higher the lumen output, the faster it will burn out. You want to have at least three hours of run time,” he says. Cilenti recommends the NiteRider brand and investing at least $50 in a good bike light.

Vazquez recommends Bontrager’s Ion Comp R/Flare R combo set. She likes models that you can recharge with USB cables. “When you’re commuting, you don’t want to blind those around you. Some models can light your way while being easier on other people’s eyes.”

My personal favorite as a full-time bike commuter is the Serfas E-Lume 900. I usually keep it on either of the first two settings to avoid the problems Vazquez mentioned above. I’ve put this light though multiple rainstorms, and it’s held up well. It has also managed to survive a few drops on the pavement as I clumsily take it off to recharge.

Cilenti says his two favorite brands for bike locks are Kryptonite and Abus. “Kryptonite models go from $15 all the way to $300. Depending on how much you spend, you’ll have a certain safety rating telling you how theft-proof the lock actually is.” This combination model is a good choice if you’re afraid of losing the key.

If you don’t end up going with a combination model, Cilenti says “Abus is nice because it comes with serialized keys and backup keys, which is important if you’re spending $300 on a lock.” For those wanting extra security, or who don’t want to risk getting an expensive bike stolen, Abus offers high-end features like alarms as well.

But there’s a catch. “The safer they are, the heavier they are to carry, usually,” Vazquez warns. Bike locks you can pull around the frame will be the easiest to use, but a U-lock will be much safer. “It’s a trade-off. More security versus less weight.” She says a good in-between is Bontrager’s Elite Keyed Chain Lock.

Some people think folding locks are a pain to set up. I used to be one of them, but Seatylock’s FoldyLock changed my mind. It’s longer than your regular folding lock, which gives me more flexibility as I search for something to lock my bike to. It’s high security, weatherproof and comes with a holder that you can attach to your bike frame. It’s also rattle-proof, which is must for those of us who want a quiet ride.

Bike seats and cycling shorts

Vazquez says a bigger saddle won’t necessarily be more comfortable, since you’ll end up with more pressure points. “I recommend trying cycling shorts or adjusting the angle of the seat first,” she says. “The level of padding you need is relevant to how often you ride,” says Cilenti. “The more you ride, the harder the seat has to be. You’re going to need more support.” He also says it’s one of the most personal things on the bike, so what might work for you won’t necessarily work for someone else. He recommends the Selle Royal brand for road bikers.

He also likes Specialized, which offers a lot of options in terms of width and sizes, to better suit the rider’s anatomy. “They have some great ones if you’re willing to drop a little coin.” Vazquez says to look for saddles that will release pressure in the center. “Saddles with an opening in the center will often work for women and can also work for men,” she says.

If you’re sticking to cycling shorts, Vazquez recommends Bontrager’s Solstice Cycling Short for casual cyclists and Trek’s Solstice Cycling Short for those needing a bit more performance.

Who doesn’t need a good phone mount these days? I’ve had this model for two years and, so far, no complaints. I’m able to fit it onto my stem, despite all the bells and whistles my e-bike comes with, and it’s compatible with all sorts of phone models. I also like the safety lanyard because no one wants to see a $900 smartphone go down the gutter.

For those concerned about their phone getting dirty or damaged during a ride, Cilenti suggests getting a Bike Phone Bag by BiKase. “It’s weatherproof and lets you use your touchscreen.” They can be easily mounted on the stem, so you can keep an eye on your phone’s GPS app while getting some extra storage.

Speaking of bells, the smaller the better in my opinion, since I don’t have a lot of handlebar real estate on my e-bike. I also like them loud, to cut through the hustle and bustle of the city. The Mirrycle Incredibell has served me well all these years, and for a lot of riders, it will be more than enough.

There’s also the AirBell, which has good ratings on Amazon. It’s a bike bell in which you can hide an Apple AirTag, in case you’re afraid someone will steal your trusty two-wheel steed.

Bike computers and cameras

“I actually like Wahoo’s cycling computers more than Garmin’s,” says Cilenti. Another selling point for him is that Wahoo Fitness is based in Atlanta. But if you can’t afford this kind of tech, he speaks highly of the apps Strava and MapMyFitness.

If you do have a Garmin device, you’ll be able to hook it up to the brand’s Varia RCT715. It’s a 3-in-1 radar, camera and taillight. “It’s great because it has a sensor that tells you when cars are approaching. It really helps instead of having to turn your head every now and then. Our customers really like it,” says Vazquez. “If you end up in an accident, it’s better to have footage.” Garmin also sells a version without a camera if you’re only interested in the radar feature.

Being seen by drivers is so important, especially as the days get shorter. I never leave the house without my Moonsash. It’s a reflective sash that comes with a little carabiner hook. I like how small it is, making it easy to fold inside my frame bag or pocket.

Wade-Chung recommends Planet Bike’s LED straps that are even more lightweight. They’re versatile enough to wear on your arms or ankles and get noticed on the road. The built-in reflectors will make you visible, even when the LED is off.

“Topeak is a great brand for bags and rack accessories,” says Cilenti. Some models can slide onto your bike rack using the QuickTrack system and be easily removed with a quick release. Certain bags can even be fitted with an optional rain cover.

A more budget-friendly option is Banjo Brothers. They have convertible backpacks, panniers, tube bags, you name it. “It’s good bang for your buck. I can easily recommend any of their products,” Cilenti says.

Vazquez recommends the Bontrager Elite Seat pack. “It comes in different sizes without being super bulky. You can still put your essentials inside: compressed air cartridges, adaptors, levers, car keys, lights, etc.” The larger models have a strap on the back, so you have the option of installing your taillight directly onto the seat pack.

Cycling sunglasses and gloves

Tifosi is another brand that Cilenti likes. Whether you’re looking for a shield model or something more fashionable, they’ve got it. The Amok sunglasses come with three different kinds of lenses, so you’re ready for all kinds of weather conditions.

If you don’t want to deal with interchangeable lenses, Vazquez recommends sunglasses with photochromic lenses from Smith Optics. They’re more expensive than the ones that require you to change the lenses manually, but she says it’s worth it. “It’s better to have your eyes protected at all times, whether it’s overcast or sunny.”

She also advises people who often ride downhill to get gloves. “That way, they’ll have more grip on the brakes.” She recommends Bontrager’s Circuit Gel Glove.

If you’re an urban bike commuter who’s lucky enough to have a garage, Vazquez recommends the Superstand by Willworx. “You can park it using the front or rear wheel. It also comes in different sizes, based on tire size,” she explains.

If you’re looking for a space-saving parking solution, Vazquez says Delta offers some good options, like this single bike wall mount.

And if drilling holes isn’t an option where you live, do not despair. Delta also has a solution for you. This gravity wall stand can stack up to two bikes, up to 80 pounds total. It might not be ideal for heavy e-bikes, but if you and your significant other or roommate happen to ride on the lighter side, it’ll get the job done.

Bike maintenance accessories

“When dealing with flat tires, a tire insert can go a long way,” says Wade-Chung. He recommends the Tannus Armour Insert, which will protect your bike tires against most pinch flats and punctures. “It’s not fun to install — you can get your local bike shop to do it — but it’s basically a foam insert that goes between the tire and the inner tube to make sure your tire is better protected.”

“Check your tire pressure before every ride,” says Vazquez. The pressure can drop even when the bike has been sitting for a short amount of time. “I recommend getting some CO2 cartridges and an adaptor in case you have a flat. It’ll put air back into your tire quickly, and it’s tiny. You can put it inside your saddle bag.” I’ve personally used these cartridges by Genuine Innovations and this inflator tool by Pro Bike, which works on both Presta and Schrader valve tires.

Cilenti recommends Finish Line products to keep your bike clean. They sell degreasers, cleaners and chain lubricants with different viscosities.

Vazquez warns that if your drivetrain gets dirty, its components will wear out faster. “Cleaning things regularly will make sure your drivetrain works better, lasts longer and that you can change gears more easily.” She likes to use Muc-Off’s cleaning supplies, brushes and dry bike lube. “It’s very simple: All you have to do is put a little bit of lube in a single chain link every three rides. But it absolutely has to be specific to bikes. Do not use WD-40 at all.”

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