By Morgan Clendaniel
If you're one of the ever-increasing number of urban bikers in this country, you've had a good year. Cities across the country are recognizing that cyclists are a big part of their commuting population and are starting to emphasize infrastructure. Unless you're extra hardcore, you've probably put away the ride for the winter, but here are some ideas for great bike accessories to help you once things thaw out in the spring:
Having a light in the city means having to continuously buy new lights. You forget to take it off your handlebars, and someone else takes it for you. But the Defender (which you can buy here starting at $59) can only be removed from your handlebar with a special tool, ensuring that it will stick with you longer than most of your other lights.
But why have a bike light at all when your light can also be part of your clothing? The Halo Belt--which retails for $85--emits an ethereal glow to warn cars of your presence, and then can serve as a plain belt, or make you an exciting hit at your next rave.
Buying things for young children can be frustrating: They'll soon outgrow it. This is especially true for big ticket items like a bicycle. Spanish cycle company Orbea has solved this problem with a bike that can expand as your kid grows, so that you don't need to keep buying them new wheels. The bikes start at $249 here.
A more whimsical gift, for the goofiest biker you know, this contraption gives your bike the ability to sound like a horse trotting down the street, to warn pedestrians that something is fast approaching. The Trotify is available for about $30, coconuts not included.
If you don't have a bike, but need one, consider signing up with Liquid, a company that lets you do peer-to-peer bike sharing in cities across America. If you want to try out biking, this is a good place to start. If you're a tourist in a new city, you'll get a much nicer and classier bike than you would find at your standard bike rental outfit. And if you have a bike that often sits idle, it's a good way to make enough cash to afford, say, a glowing bike belt. You can sign up here.
And, if only these were more readily available, we'd recommend them too: A bike made to ride easily in the grooves of trolley tracks; a bike designed to need no maintenance, so that it works well in the developing world (you can donate one of these), and a bike made entirely from cardboard. Maybe next year.
Copyright 2012 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.