Gear guides have their place if you’re a seasoned pro, but if you’re just starting a new outdoor activity, they can be forbidding and unhelpful. Enter Starter Kit, a new series that guides you through the essentials you’ll need to take on the Northwest's most popular sporty hobbies — no more, no less.

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Have you always wanted to be a bike-commuter — but needed a little help when it comes to suiting up and facing Seattle traffic? Have you long dreamed of giving winter sports a try — but were intimidated by all the goggle-clad acolytes clogging the best runs?

Meet Starter Kit, a gear guide for the rest of us. Think of it as a kinder, gentler introduction to the bare essentials you’ll need to take on the Northwest’s most popular sporty hobbies, so you can spend less time agonizing over gear and more time outside. First up: Always wanted to ride your bike to work? It’s easier than you think. Here’s how to start.

Have an idea for something you’d like to see appear in a future Starter Kit? Let us know in the comments or send us an email at travel@seattletimes.com.