Outdoors: Getting In Gear

Biking organizations are reporting a surge of two-wheeled commuters, crediting (or blaming) the jump in gas prices. But riding to the office for the first time can be a tricky. Some tips:

Take a dry run to scope out the best and safest route. Find local biking-advocacy organizations at sites like thunderhead alliance.org and maps at active transportation.org/Maps.htm.

Get carrying cases for such things as your laptop, lunch and clothes. Jandd's commuter garment-bag pannier can keep clothes folded neatly and has pockets for shoes and toiletries ($189.95 at jandd.com).

Avoid water, dirt and mud stains on your clothes by buying fenders (about $25) at a local bike shop that fit over your front and rear wheels.

To defeat thieves, use two different types of locks: a U-lock and one other. For more tips, check the League of American Bicyclists (bikeleague.org) and biketraffic.org/trickstips.