Bike accessories, from the useful to the downright zany

Now that it’s high season for cycling, the time is ripe to give the trusty ride a makeover. We trolled the World Wide Web and solicited recommendations from our friends on Twitter to identify the most useful, classy, and just plain silly bike accessories out there. Here are our favorite finds.

A bike with a crocheted dress guard

For the ladies who don’t wish to sacrifice fashion while on the bike, woven or crocheted dress guards have helped keep skirts out of bicycle spokes since the 1800s. The fancily-styled guards have made a huge comeback in Europe, and are available by special order in a variety of styles and colors for the chic-conscious stateside. Another way to tackle the same problem is the skirt garter, an elastic band worn around the thigh that clips to skirts and dresses to keep them from riding up. It’s a great tool if you want to avoid flashing the whole neighborhood and it’s more subtle than spandex. When you get to your destination you can slide it off and throw it in your purse.

For those going for the timeless look, the always classy local blog Lovely Bicycle (@LovelyBicycle) recommends old-school Philosophy Bags, yesteryear-styled commuter panniers handmade in (where else?) Portland, Oregon. The ambitious might match them up with some homemade twined water bottles.

Two twined water bottles mounted on the handlebars of a bike

Addicted to the iPhone? How bout a pedal-powered iPhone charger for when you’re on the move? The BioLogic ReeCharge made by Dahon can power any USB-chargeable device including cameras, iPods, and GPS units. With the ReeCharge and REI’s bike camera mount you can snap photos for as long as you can keep pedaling and then some. The ReeCharge works with a hub dynamo, a specialized wheel hub with a built in generator, the same kind used to power rechargeable lights, like this one by Planet Bike.

If you’re looking for pedal-powered lights but you don’t want to get a fancy new hub, you might check out these magnetic induction lights, recommended by union member Dan Kissam (@teeheehee). The lights are permanently affixed to your bike and flash every time your wheels rotate. They blink anytime you’re in motion, making your presence known, and they do not need batteries.

Many of the best ideas for bike accessories are to be found among the entrepreneurial set and Etsy, the online marketplace for artisans, is a goldmine for smart and sexy bike accessories, like the
Bike Burrito tool roll or this beautiful mounted shelf and bike rack. Keep an eye on Etsy for the latest and greatest.

A mounted shelf with books and bookends

Devoted locavores should check out LineWorks, a new Boston-based business specializing in custom-made bike accessories, namely U-lock holsters and chain lock sleeves.

Finally, here are our favorite totally absurd bike accoutrements.  A water squirting squirrel is a necessity for anyone trying to start a water fight on two wheels. Unfortunately, it is only sold in the U.K. and the company cannot guarantee shipment to the U.S. But, since you never know if one will make it over here, the perfect protection from it (and incidentally, any inclement weather that might present itself during said water fight) is the Veltop, a windshield and roof for your bicycle.

Did we miss anything? You can share your favorite useful, awesome, or ridiculous bike accessories on the Union’s Facebook page.


  1. patrick on June 20, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Shane of BostonBiker also makes some cool bike stuff:

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