Switching from driving to biking requires solving a few practical issues. When I still owned a car, these inconveniences were enough to talk me out of biking on most trips. Once I gave up my car, I found solutions to the following issues and am now perfectly happy.
- Day to day (0-30lbs): good rack and waterproof panniers
Panniers - Ortleib.
I started with Axiom panniers and liked the various external pockets but I didn't get any response to my requests for parts so when they wore out (3 years), I switched to Ortlieb roll panniers. They're simple and perfectly waterproof and have the best rack-attachment system. I like big panniers (40L) because I often carry a lot.
- Moderate cargo (30-60lbs)
- Heavy cargo (60-250lbs)
This is my go-to trailer because it can carry as much as I've ever wanted to take. I sized it to accept the Tanos case system that most of my tools use. The only thing I haven't been able to carry with this is a full sheet of plywood.
- Extremely heavy cargo (250lbs+)
Uhaul / Home Depot truck rental. When you don't own a car and save all that money on gas, maintenance, and insurance, you feel perfectly free to rent just the vehicle you need when you need it!
A rear light is the most important safety device for nightime riding. I've only owned the Dinotte 400R with internal battery and USB charging and I've always liked it.
The two mistakes I've made are: not having my lights with me when I stay out later than expected, and having my batteries die. The solution is to keep your lights on the bike or in your pannier all the time and to have a regular charging plan (every Sunday, for example).
If you're buying a new bike, get a Son powered hub in the front wheel to power the front light, and a Sinewave Reactor USB port to charge your rear light. Having on-bike power for the lights has meant I've never been out of luck.
It doesn't rain too often here in LA, but since you can't cancel appointments due to inclement weather, you need a solution that will let you ride in any condition and arrive dry. I have a hood, jacket, and pants, as well as shoe covers from Showers Pass. They work wonderfully... it's fun to play in the rain!
Here is a list of all the bike-related things we own with links to more info.