The right add-ons might cost 10-20% what your bike cost, but make it 10x more useful.
Before I e-biked, I lived out of a backpack while in+around the city. Getting that weight off of me and onto the bike while in transit has been a huge improvement. The options for letting the bike roll things along with you – from "a purse" up to "several suitcases" – are worth exploring.
Here are a few bags/mounts I put on basically every bike:
I got great use out of a Topeak "Explorer" rack on my main non-electric bike (if not buying from the same brand that made your bike, you have to check a little more that things are compatible).
There are a lot of incredible bags you can put on your bike. Panniers are the workhorses, but Revelate in particular offers dozens of bag shapes you can put basically anywhere else on your bike based on where they fit and how much capacity you want:
this is the bike version of SUV commercials that show ridiculous off-roading the average SUV-owner will never do
Revelate image of a dirty touring bike with may bags attached all over
I bought 1 (or 6) of nearly every bag they offer (see my Creo bikepacking setup), and typically mix-and-match which bags make the most sense on which bikes for a given ride.
Getting weight off of you (esp. your back!) and onto the bike – where it just rolls – is an amazing part of getting around by bike (as opposed to walking or other transit modes where you may sometimes wind up standing).
Panniers are bags you can attach to a rack on the back of your bike, and are a great way to haul stuff by bike:
VanMoof X3 outside apartment building with 2 Ortlieb panniers on the back rack
Tern Vektron Q9 in elevator with two full panniers and front and rear baskets with grocery bags
Biking on 6th Ave with battery in feedbag charging phone mounted on handlebars
Between them, I'll carry a battery that charges my phone while riding (and sometimes other fun lights, GoPro batteries, etc.), a glasses case, tissues/chapstick/hand-warmers/snacks ("it's like a deli up here", someone who borrowed my bike said recently), airpods, extra masks, resealable zip ties, etc. They are easily opened and closed with one hand, work on pretty much any bike, and are easy to transfer b/t bikes). Very useful.
Having my phone mounted up front on my handlebars has been surprisingly useful. I typically have Google Maps' turn-by-turn directions or Strava's speedometer up while riding:
Chest-cam shot of phone mounted on handlebars displaying a Google Map, another e-biker is in front, and the George Washington Bridge is in the background
When getting started, you're mostly riding in areas you're less familiar with. Having the map handy helps to not feel lost or get lost, as well as to e.g. find detours if a road doesn't feel safe.
I've exclusively used Quad Lock handlebar phone mounts (the Wirecutter's choice) and associated phone cases. They are good products, though a bit pricier than I'd expect: $60 "out front PRO" mount, $10 black plastic "lever" (you'd think you could just replace the included blue one for free…), $30 for a compatible phone case ⟹ $100/bike, and I've outfitted 5 bikes at this point! One-hand releasing is easy and convenient, but getting the right angle to rotate the phone into the mount still takes me a minute (I expect I'll get better at that over time).
You want a white "headlight" facing forward and a red taillight facing backward. There are many options and they're mostly all good. Here are some I've used and like:
Image of bike with color-changing lights along wheels and frame
In warmer months, I wear "MOREOK" gloves ($17) on most rides. Some light gel-padding is nice on hands/wrists during longer rides.
In colder months, Brooks LSD Thermal Gloves ($50) are great touchscreen gloves with retractable, waterproof mitten covers. I can use my phone at like 90% with them, but they're also pretty warm with mitten covers pulled over. I've used them below freezing (mid/high 20ºF's) by putting hand warmers in the palm or mitten cover parts; wearing them inside pogies is an even warmer+easier setup. They're very light and easily crumple/fold into small pocket spaces, so I keep them on me ≈6mos/yr.
I often wear BALEAF padded bike shorts ($29); padded shorts seemed a little silly at first, but they're pretty good for biking but also misc other outdoor activities. I got some baggy swimsuit-style padded shorts and some spandex-y ones like this, and liked the latter better. The pockets on these are great as well. As it cooled down, I would wear them over tights.
I got some Clever Hood "Rover" Capes and they seem good, though I haven't used them a ton / haven't 100% integrated them into my routine yet. People I follow swear by them, and I basically get the vision of a well-designed + reliable "protection from wind+elements" system. They pack down well, so I bring them along as mix of a rain / optional-warmth layer sometimes.
I grew up in Miami and have bad hands/feet circulation. I don't like the cold and I'm bad at it. Biking in cold weather (let alone cold rain/snow) generally sounds miserable to most people.
It turns out a a few $100 of gear and technology basically solves this problem. Whether you winter cycle or not, you should probably buy heated gloves, socks, and a vest. My recs are below.
Aside: it's not that cold a lot of the time
I think people think it's colder in greater NYC more of the time than it is. January is the coldest month in NYC (avg daily hi/lo 39°/26°F); for sure there are days and times when it is annoying to go out, but for the price of a couple car payments you can move that from "days under 50°F" (several months of the year) to "days under 30°F" (odd days here and there).
These are my go-tos: charge via USB-C, sleek form factor, good warmth.
Below freezing (and without pogies), I wear them over my thin Brooks gloves, and put them on high.
Sizes run large (I got a "S" for my wife (5'4") but they ended up fitting me (6')), underside of button can borderline-overheat against bare hand on "high" setting
LUWATT Heated Gloves ($50): good all-around, but became backups/loaners for me behind the Velazzio's above (a bit bulkier?)
Volt WOMENS 7V ALL PURPOSE HEATED GLOVES ($150): after the "S" Velazzio's were huge, I found this higher-end brand that made me believe their palm measurements etc. were actually accurate. Size "S" does fit women 5'2"-5'4" I ride with. They generally seem sleek and good.
3 independent heat toggles for chest, stomach, and back+neck, and 5 heat levels on each.
Comfortable, feels high-quality.
Great zippered-pocket design.
Pushing buttons on the vest lets you control your core temperature across a ≈50ºF range without carrying bulky layers, and the 4 pockets are really useful. Highly recommended.
I started with these neoprene ODIER's and found them to be a revelation. Later I upgraded to these fleece ODIER's and they are incredibly warm and nice. My hands always limit how cold I can be outside, and these completely solved that problem (I rode comfortably down to about 20℉; and other things start to limit me at that point).
I've bought heated socks from Binnice ($36) and Jomst ($38). In both cases, I have barely been able to feel the heat they generate, even on the "high" settings. It's possible they're still helping, but a bit strange since the gloves/vests I've tried are unmistakably warm.
Cockpit view showing extra glove falling out of basket onto road while hitting a pothole
We went back the next day, and someone had put it up more visibly:
Lost glove on a mailbox near where it was lost
My GoPros are a Hero 9 and a Hero 8, and I choose which one faces forward vs. backward each ride (rear-cam gets good front-on shots of people I'm riding with, so sometimes I'll put the higher-quality Hero 9 back there, otherwise I face it forward to get the best shots of what I'm seeing). The Hero 9 is the latest GoPro, and seems noticeably better than the Hero 8; it has a bigger battery, supposedly better stabilization, and can sit on my desk with no battery in for longer before resetting its date+time to 1/1/2016. Both are much better than the Hero 5 Session I started with.
I have ended up with 5 batteries and 2 2-battery chargers for each of my GoPros (this 3x-USB-C cable is handy):
GoPro Hero 8 and 9 cameras and 5 batteries – including 2 2-battery chargers – for each
I get ≈90mins of film time per battery at 1080p24, so swapping batteries on longer rides is common. It's a bit annoying to have to pay attention to, but I guess it also ensures I don't go too long without a break / sip of water.