Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 63 Posts

·
Gruntled
Joined
·
3,775 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to take the plunge and try commuting by bike, at least a few times a week. I have all the basic gear: rack, bag, lights, lock. Experienced commuters, is there any equipment you've come to regard as essential that would not be obvious to a noob?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,776 Posts
Well, not everyone does this, but I settled on using a good-sized fannypack with lots of internal dividers for my personal stuff -- stuff I want to have on my person, rather than attached to the bike, like wallet, watch, keys, cellphone, PDA, glasses case, etc. Everything has a slot, so it's easy to make sure I have the essentials, and when I get off the bike I know I have the stuff safely with me. Mine is big enough to carry my lunch on the days when I'm traveling light and don't need panniers. Also serves as another place to hang a red blinky light.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,116 Posts
The most essential thing is attitude, in my opinion. When I commute, nothing gets me down. A day on the bike is far better than driving to work--- no matter what the weather. A Road Morph pump is essential--- you don't want to be blowing through all sorts of CO2 cartridges, and nothing will get you on the road faster than the road morph (and it has a gauge).

Buy a bulk patch kit (for repairing rubber rafts). You will spend rainy Saturdays patching tubes.

Disc brakes on a mtn bike/hybrid and KoolStop pads for a road bike--- if you bike in any rain.

A few comments from a year-round commuter. You will be biking in all sorts of weather--- be prepared for anything. I keep a rain shell and rain pants in my bag at all times. Waterproof shoe covers are a must--- and keep an extra pair of socks at work. Use wool in the winter.

Also, be prepared for strange mechanicals--- you will be hard on your commuter. I have broken tire beads, seat posts, chains, derailer hangers, and cables. Also, be prepared for at least four flat tires-- for an absolute worst case scenario.

Studded tires in the winter are a must. I also recommend a cheaper helmet than your fancy road helmet.
 

·
Sticky Valentine
Joined
·
28,415 Posts
It might sound lame and overly self conscious, but I commute in a pair of Swobo commuter shorts, which are kind of like MTB shorts but the lining removes so you can use them with bibs.

They have cargo-pant style pockets which I keep my wallet and phone in, and I also wear them because walking around my job or at the sore (which I hit up on my way home from work) in my spandies just seems bad form. that may just be me though.

Also: a rack and some kind of pannier or trunk. Once you take the stuff off your back and put it on the bike you'll never want to wear a back pack/messenger bag again, regardless of how light the load is. especially when it's hot.

Lights. Bright ones. Planet Bike makes an awesome rear blinkey that is super bright, and I have about 4 Knog Frogs that I attach all over my bike when it gets to be dusk. If you'll need to see you'll want to invest in some sort of decent lighting system, or build your own which will probably be much better at a fraction of the cost. there are a few good articles on here from people who have done DIY lights.

If you have to lock your bike up you'll want a good U lock and a cable. though, if you have the luxury of having an office, I'd keep it in there.

Also, what you don't need most of the time: gears. If you can do it with a single, do it. It makes life much easier and there is much less that can go wrong. Riding my bike every day has gunked everything up 100 times faster and cleaning a single speed is much easier than cleaning your 9/10 speed.

And, finally, if you commute full time it's worth investing in. Quality, reliable parts are a must when you depend on your bike to get to and from work. Tough tires (I love my Ultra Gatorskins), a good strong wheelset, bottom bracket (Sugino still makes an all metal internal BB), headset will be a life saver riding daily in guck and rain. You might be surprised at the nasty stuff you'll find on your bike at the end of the day. I'd also suggest going through your bike once a week if you commute daily (BB, drive train, headset, wheels, tighten up all the nuts and bolts).

Oh, and MTB shoes for walking around in. You might find yourself doing more than just going to/from work, and it's nice not to have to be afraid that you're going to do the splits in the middle of Trader Joe's.

that's it for now from me... I think...


joe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,403 Posts
Essentials:
1) You don't mention that you have fenders, which I would consider part of the basic gear.

2) Like JCavilla, I have a see through mesh bag that I can look at and know I have the key to my bike locker, my magnetic shower pass security card, my wallet, my cell phone, and other essentials vs packing them one by one and forgetting one or the other of them now and again. I either have them all or I forget them all (which is hard to do).

3) Not having to carry the big bulky shoes everyday. Find a place to stash your shoes at work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
I never used to ride with a mirror until I started commuting by bike. Riding during times when traffic is heavier can be more stressful. My Take A Look eyeglass mirror improves my situational awareness and makes my rides more relaxing, since it's so easy to see what's coming up behind me. Within a few weeks of wearing it while commuting I got over the dork-factor and now do all but fast group rides with it on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,776 Posts
'nother mirror advocate here. Have 'em on all my bikes. Makes a huge difference in dealing with traffic. Worth a lot of effort to find a style that works for you and train yourself to use it effectively (which is not as obvious as it may seem).
 

·
Sticky Valentine
Joined
·
28,415 Posts
Have any of you mirror folks used the one that takes the place of your bar plug? Recommended?


joe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,116 Posts
I don't see how it can possibly work well. I am another take-a-look proponent. You don't need to look down to see behind you-- rather, you pretty much can use your peripheral vision. It is almost like having eyes in the back of your head.

JoeDaddio said:
Have any of you mirror folks used the one that takes the place of your bar plug? Recommended?


joe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,776 Posts
JoeDaddio said:
Have any of you mirror folks used the one that takes the place of your bar plug? Recommended?
joe
I've used this one - Sprintech, has a ball-and socket mount. There's another type that's smaller, I believe, and less adjustable. I have not used that.


They work great for me.

Filtersweep, I can't use the glasses-mounted ones because of my strong nearsightednes prescription. The bar-end ones, after a little practice, work fine. I glance at them very frequently, and it takes only a fraction of a second, and no significant interruption in forward view.
 

·
In need of sock puppet
Joined
·
9,451 Posts
JCavilia said:
I've used this one - Sprintech, has a ball-and socket mount. There's another type that's smaller, I believe, and less adjustable. I have not used that.


They work great for me.

Filtersweep, I can't use the glasses-mounted ones because of my strong nearsightednes prescription. The bar-end ones, after a little practice, work fine. I glance at them very frequently, and it takes only a fraction of a second, and no significant interruption in forward view.
Similar version lives on our tandem, and it inspired Mickey Mac to put the version that's in your photo on his road bike. They work well enough to see a car/truck, another cyclist, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,017 Posts
Cycling cap... very nice to have when it starts to rain, keeps the sunrise/sunset/oncoming headlights out of your eyes, and looks stylish in a Belgian pro sort of way.

singlecross
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,106 Posts
Well, not exactly gear, but . . .

a place to pee on the way to work.

I usually start my day with orange juice, tea and a bagel or toast. Then I take a shower and begin my 14.5 mile ride to work. The way my system works, about an hour after I eat breakfast (or more specifically, drink two or three cups of tea), I need to pee. Usually, I can make it to the office before I have to go. But, if traffic is slow or too much time elapses between breakfast and my leaving home, I have to go. When I am riding in the country on the weekends, this is not a problem -- there always is a hedge or some woods nearby. But, when you are commuting in the city, your options are limited. I now know that the Starbucks at mile 7.0 on the commute does not mind if you use the bathroom even if you do not buy anything and that there is small wooded area around the 12.0 mark that works well.
 

·
Cowboy up
Joined
·
3,886 Posts
I use a bar plug type mirror on a mt bike with flat bars. I like it. It twists a little sometimes but with flat bars it is easy to re-angle it.

Add hi-viz and reflective stuff to the commuter list. Windbreaker, triangle, stickers, etc. Pant straps can keep your pants out of the chain and add a moving reflective stripe to your leg.

http://bicyclesafe.com/
 

·
Cowboy up
Joined
·
3,886 Posts
Helmet with a visor is good for commuting. Helps keep the sun, rain, and car headlights out of your face.

Depending on where you are locking your bike and how valuable it is there is a range of security stuff. In high risk areas lock is plural for me, two U locks for a road bike and a U and a front wheel cable for the old mt bike. Having the locks on the bike is nice so you are less likely to forget them and you don't have to carry the weight. Replacing quick release levers with hex type bolts, use a seat leash, or a cable lock stored as a spare around the seat post but also connecting the saddle to the frame are some options.

An article in Slate Magazine on testing different locks.
http://www.slate.com/id/2140083/

New York Times
http://unbreakable-bonds.blogspot.com/2007/08/new-york-times-urban-velo.html

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=31705
 

·
Big is relative
Joined
·
11,901 Posts
A piece of tyvek (that tear proof stuff they make fedex envelopes out of) to boot a cut tire. Double it over and it will get you home.

Chain tool. Worst case you single speed home.

I wrap my spare tubes in electrical tape. You never know when you will need it.

A copy of the cycling laws rolled up in the handlebars. It's easier to make your point with a policeman. Keep a pencil rolled up with it so you can write down info.

Like others, I carry a cycling cap but mine has the top cut out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Art853 said:
Having the locks on the bike is nice so you are less likely to forget them and you don't have to carry the weight.
You could also leave the heavy locks at your everyday destination. Common sense for most people, I know, but I never thought of it until someone told me.
 

·
Gruntled
Joined
·
3,775 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
bigbill said:
A copy of the cycling laws rolled up in the handlebars. It's easier to make your point with a policeman. Keep a pencil rolled up with it so you can write down info.
Now that is something I would never have thought of, but it's a darn good idea. I'm doing that one.

Lot of good tips in this thread, thanks everyone! :thumbsup:
 
1 - 20 of 63 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top