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Pedal-powered camaraderie

“Nice rig you got there,” said a cyclist as I lifted my bike into the Caltrain headed to San Francisco. I looked around thinking the guy was talking about somebody else, or perhaps referring to a big truck parked at the Palo Alto station. Then I realized he was talking to me.

My “rig” was my year old, less than $500, hybrid commuter with cushy seat and disc brakes. Thus began a familiar ritual in which bike commuters compare notes on their equipment. We talked about my rear wheel rack and how much weight I could carry in a reusable shopping bag secured with bungee cords. I asked him about his rear-view mirror that clipped to his sunglasses. “It really helps me keep an eye on cars coming up behind me,” he said. “You can get one for $20 at most bike shops.”

Among the most rewarding aspects of bike commuting is the kinship one feels with other people doing the same thing. Everyone has their routine (e.g., home to the office direct, home to the office with an assist from the train or bus, etc.) and it all starts with two wheels. A remarkable variety of bike models are on the streets. At TerraPass alone, you can find a mountain bike, a hybrid commuter, a touring bike, a vintage tourer, and a cyclocross. See pix of the gang in San Francisco (Erik, yours truly, Katie, and Tom) on the roof of our office last week —

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— and brave Adam Stein on the Brooklyn Bridge about to ride into Manhattan.

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Nothing is very fancy here — just practical transportation that suits the needs of each rider.

To help get your bike outfitted with practical, carbon-saving accessories, TerraPass is featuring a new section in our green store. Try out the HYmini personal wind turbine (to charge your cell phone or iPod), Trevor Baylis Eco Bike Light Set (wind it up with a crank), or the Reelight Battery Free Bike Lights (magnets power the lights by induction). Our product line is growing quickly, and we welcome your recommendations.

It’s National Bike to Work Day this week (Thursday in SF; Friday everywhere else). Many cities are running events to encourage people to get on the saddle. If you’re a bike commuter already, we’d like to hear your story about why you ride to the office. And if you’re not riding yet, what barriers can the TerraPass bike community help you overcome? Happy trails (I mean, bike lanes)!

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