This might come as a surprise to many of you, but B&H Photo Video Pro Audio sells a lot more than just what’s in our name. You probably know about the computers, home and portable entertainment devices, surveillance, maybe even all the telescopes and binoculars we stock… but did you know we have a large (and growing) catalog of Outdoor Gear? It’s true! And one of the fastest-growing areas of the Outdoor Stuff is Bike Stuff. Here’s a quick hit of some of the gear we offer—and where I could, I’m including gear that I’ve acquired and use on my ride to and from the train station and just cruising around Long Island. Beyond these basics (and hopefully, future additions) below, I always carry a tire repair kit, bike tools, a multi-tool and a first-aid kit, because things happen on the road and I want to make it home safe.
Let’s start with wearable bike gear. First and foremost, you need a helmet. You can go with basic black, or with graphics to match your own crazy sense of style, or you can go all-out and rock this Airwheel that not only protects your most valuable organ, but comes with a 150-degree action cam, an app for sharing photos and videos, and a Bluetooth speaker that connects to your phone.
Eyewear is important when cycling, and having the RIGHT eyewear is crucial. In my critically acclaimed article, A Guide to Sunglasses as Safety Gear, I outline not only the health benefits sunglasses afford your eyes as protection against UV radiation, but also how the different tints affect the way you can see. So with this in mind, I recommend a pair with interchangeable lenses, like these from Tifosi. They come with gray, clear, and multi-coated red lenses. Why do you need multiple lenses? In the late summer and fall, the sun is rising when I leave the house, so I use the red lenses to boost low-light visibility and enhance contrast. If I ride during the day, I want to shift to grey for general-purpose use when it’s bright. And when I get home late, the sun is gone and it’s dark so I change to the clear—which protects my eyes against wind, dust, debris, and bugs (attracted by my multiple lights) while allowing me to see clearly.
The gym in which I spend time sculpting my physique is adjacent to the train station, and I ride there to shower, so I’m fresh for the other commuters. This requires me to bring my work outfit, toiletries, plus everything I need to live throughout the day, so I (and probably you) need a pannier. Pannier is a five-dollar term for bike bag, and I personally use this double-saddlebag style from Timbuk2. It carries a ton of stuff, straps onto the back rack quickly and—most importantly—has handles and a removable shoulder strap that allows me to carry it easily into the city. From tiny bags that hang under your saddle to the larger saddlebags, a pannier makes cycling much easier.
Now, let’s talk lights. I firmly believe that there is no such thing as too many lights. I consider it essential—my wife considers it neurotic. Potato-Potahto, right? Now, not all lights are created equal, and like sunglasses, there are different lights for different conditions. For general daylight riding, I use a basic bike light set from Konus. This four-piece set comes with a white front light, a red rear light, and two orange spoke lights. The front and rear lights have multiple flashing and solid modes, and the spoke lights offer increased visibility from the sides. They attach quickly and easily, which I like when I have to leave the bike locked up all day. At dawn and dusk, or in the dark, I use an older version of this Fenix. Not only is it powerful, but it has a specially-designed beam that puts a portion of the light beam right in front of the wheel and another far ahead. The main difference between mine and the one linked above is that the new one offers a higher output.
My latest purchase was from a new vendor at B&H: Light & Motion. The VIS 360+ is a combo helmet light that installed quickly, and has a small but powerful headlight and a red rear light that holds the rechargeable battery pack. Putting the battery on the back shifts the weight to reduce neck strain and the single-button switch on the headlight controls both. I use this in low light and in the dark and I like it for two reasons: 1) it elevates the light source to be closer to eye-level of cars on the road for higher visibility to others, and b) the light moves with my head so as I scan my surroundings I can see better.
Smartphone Holders and Navigation
Now, let’s face it. we need to discuss the elephant in the room, because I hear you yelling at your screen, “WHAT DO I DO WITH MY SMARTPHONE???” Calm down. I’ve got you covered—or more precisely, Joby has you covered. I love my GripTight PRO bike mount and light pack. Made of aluminum to hold up to abuse, the phone holder can be set in portrait or landscape orientation and at multiple angles so you can take video of your ride or use navigation apps. The front light is more of a running light without much throw, but it attaches directly to the mount to reduce crowding on your bars. The rear red light comes with a quick-release mount so you can take it with you easily. My esteemed colleague and fellow bike commuter, Todd Vorenkamp, wrote an excellent piece titled, Using the Joby GripTight PRO Bicycle Mount for Pollution Research that is definitely worth a read.
On my wish list for Christmas this year is an active safety device: Garmin Varia Smart Rearview Radar/Tail Light and Display Kit. Beyond the standard flashing rear lights, it can be connected to compatible gear (see below) to take advantage of its radar capability. It detects cars or trucks as far as 150 yards behind you, and alerts you about approaching vehicles and signals them with bright red flashes that you are on the road ahead of them. Compatible gear, like the Edge line of bike GPS is packed with varying numbers of features, such as performance monitoring, track groups of riders, touch-screen interfaces, and maps specifically designed for cyclists.
Another option for a bike computer is from MiniWing. This boasts an onboard HD camera and an SD memory card slot, in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, speed/altitude/route recording and tracking, and cycling-specific navigation. Then there are units by CatEye that cost as little as $16.50 for basic metrics like speed, distance, and comparisons to previous trips; all the way up to $150 that has a heart rate sensor, cadence sensor, and multiple tire-size memory. Perennial favorite Polar has this computer with GPS route/speed/distance tracking, a configurable display, and the capability to analyze all the collected data on Polar’s website.
Wrapping it Up
There are many things to consider when outfitting your bike. Safety is a concern, but so is taking up valuable space on your bars and adding weight that will add to the amount of energy required to simply move the bike. While I commute to the train station during the week, I also ride for leisure, so I have different equipment for different rides. The main thing is to make sure you wear highly visible clothing, preferably with reflective details, have the appropriate lights, and to check your local laws for what types of lights and gear are required and what is prohibited (for example some jurisdictions around me prohibit the use of flashing tail lights).
Now get some gear, get outside—and enjoy the ride.
You show some great looking sunglasses from Tifosi which have some interesting features. But when I clicked on the link to get more details, the page that comes up says that the product is "no longer available". What's that all about?
If they are no longer available, why are you pushing them on this page? That was quite annoying.
Apologies! Those Tifosi glasses were discontinued in the time since the article was penned.
Good news! They have released new versions. Here is the link: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1161228-REG/tifosi_1251200744_escalate_sfh_interchangeable_sunglasses_matte.html
We will update the article, ASAP. Thanks and sorry for the frustration!
I have been looking for a bag to carry my camera equipment while i ride my bicycle ... any recomendations?
I recently started using the Timbuk2 Tandem Pannier and found that it does well with my photo gear inside. I wrap my gear with padded wraps when I bike with it.
These OverBoard Classic Waterproof bags are a bit bigger, but I have not used them or seen them in person.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
This was not usefult to me. Could you do an article on equipment that makes photography when using a bicycle for transportation easier? Thank you.
Are you trying to take photos while riding?
We sell a lot of handlebar mounts for cameras and action cams. See this search for ideas. You'll likely want a mount with a 1/4"-20 tripod screw. Of course, you'll want a camera strap if you want to throw your camera over your shoulder. Or, find a partner and get a tandem bicycle so that you can shoot while the other person pedals and steers!
Or, are you just trying to carry your photo gear while biking? We sell bags for that, but non are specifically made for photo gear. I recommend protecting your gear with protective wraps.
Not sure where you ride, but I commute in NYC and it is rare that I find myself in a place, while riding, where it is safe to take a photo. I sometimes take my iPhone out for a snapshot, but mostly I am just trying to avoid hitting pedestrians and getting hit by cars and other bikes. So, if you are shooting while riding, be smart and be safe!