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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to start commuting to work in the spring and was looking for some feed back. I will be riding about 15 miles each way.

Bike-- Looking at a Cyclo cross--a little more relaxed riding position and a little more versitle than a straight road or hardtail. I can also put studded or more aggressive tires on for winter commutes. Not to mention the park 5 mins from my office has some decent easy double track for lunch time/ need to vent rides. This will be bike # 2 -- already have a FS for singletrack.

Lights -- looking at a Trail Rat II up front--It looks like a nice entry level light that I can use for night rides too. Rear -- NR rear taillight ---looks to be the brightest and flashes.

What is everyone using to carry their clothes? Thought about a trunk rack? Maybe panniers? Maybe a messenger bag (not sure how that would work with a camelback on though)

Rain gear--Jacket-Performance IllumiNITE jacket -- Pants -- REI Rainshadow

Any comments, or suggestions or additions will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Ethical Nihilist
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My experience....

I've been bike commuting for almost 9 years now, almost daily year round. I ride in the rain, but not ice or snow or below 25 degrees. I don't lose too many days to weather here in D.C. About a 28-30 mile round trip. I have a small fan in my cubie to dry my gear when I ride in wet.

I commute on a road bike with a back pack. Plastic rain jacket, except in summer when I just get wet. Plastic rain pants under @ 55 degrees. I keep clothes at work but bike in towel and undies. Shower in the locker room at the Pentagon. (If you cannot shower, a sink bath will work). Good secure bike parking. Plenty of armed guards, know what I mean? I use a Cygolite with dual 6 watt bulbs, enought light for street or trail. Flashing tail light.

No big deal once you get a routine down.
 

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Cross bike

I use a 'cross bike for my commute (Specialized CX M5) and it works great. I run Specialized Nimbus EX 700 x 28 tires, they are bulletproof (Armadillos are fine too) but very slick in the rain--it helps to bleed off 15 lbs. if pavement is wet and ride conservatively through corners. Flats are a major pain on a commute so forget the high performance but easily-cut tires.

If at all possible I'd encourage you to keep clothes and especially shoes at work. I have the luxury of showers and a place to store clothes onsite, but just a locker or your cubicle etc. beats lugging them on the bike. I drive once a week and replenish everything--just keep a list of underwear, socks, shirts, pants etc. whatever you need. I also keep all toiletries at work, so all I need to carry (papers, wallet, maybe lunch) I take in a small messenger bag. On driving days I even restock the work refrigerator with frozen dinners, apples, drinks, etc. so I can avoid carrying all that stuff on the bike. It also speeds up your morning getting out of the house if you don't have to think about the day's food and clothes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am very lucky in the fact the owners of the company are very athletic, we have a shower and laundry in the office. However, not much room to keep personal items. I will have to pack in clothes and Small shower kit (soap, towel and wash cloth -- almost bald and I can shave at home). We have a very lax dress code so jeans, a polo and tennis shoes are perfectly acceptable. I am also lucky in the fact we are a grocery wholesaler...plenty of fruit, vegies, yogurt, canned tuna and chicken always around. Also, I don't have to pack laptop, files, papers, or anything work related home. And no problems with bike security either.

I was thinking of either a large truck rack with my camelback or a small set of panniers.

Does anyone have any info on the Performance or REI clothing? Would the illuminite jacket work well in wet conditions? Another suggestion? Of course in the summer I will just get wet, but it doesn't get warm enough for that up here in Boston until late June or even July.
 

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Daily Commuter
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I think a cross bike is a good choice, I commute with road bikes and cross bike and I like the ability to put larger tires on the cross bike for better stability and puncture resistance for some of the harsher road conditions.

As for the headlight, that is the same one that I have and at 10W is seems to be plenty. My previous light was a NR Commuter Std dual 12w/20w and it was over kill. The tail light will be great but I like something a little more simple and easy to remove without added wiring so I just use a basic blinky.

I keep all of my clothes, shoes, and shower items at work and generally drive about once a week to replenish pressed uniforms or bring heavy items. I am able to keep all of this in two drawers of my desk with the exception of the hanging uniforms for which I have a small locker that I share with another guy.

For a bag I use a backpack because I don't want all the added hardware attached to my bike for a trunk or paniers. For colder weather you will need a large enough bag to fit a jacket and pants which likely won't be required on the return trip home when it is warmer than the morning. With the right type of camel back bag if you are able to keep stuff at work it may hold enough junk that you won't need an additional bag.

If you have to lock your bike outside just leave the lock locked to the bike rack, there is no point in lugging that thing back and forth every day.

I don't generally worry about rain gear because I live in San Diego and it rarely rains here and when it does it is warm enough to not need rain gear. I have wore rain gear and tend to get really hot really fast and when I remove it I am really wet so if it isn't cold there is no point in sweating in a plastic suit. Good Luck with your commute.

John
 
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