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Planning on commuting to work but have no idea what extra gear I need, have a road bike with a red flashing light and bike gear, other than that what I need for a daily commute?

There's no shower at work so I'll have to have water jugs, soap and towel at work but will be carrying the clothes and shoes with me daily on a backpack or some sort of bag attached to the bike.

Recomendations are welcomed, have never done this before.
 

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Planning on commuting to work but have no idea what extra gear I need, have a road bike with a red flashing light and bike gear, other than that what I need for a daily commute?

There's no shower at work so I'll have to have water jugs, soap and towel at work but will be carrying the clothes and shoes with me daily on a backpack or some sort of bag attached to the bike.

Recomendations are welcomed, have never done this before.
Plan on getting to work early in order to freshen up without witnesses. Try to find an area where you can leave work shoes, shirt, and pants at the workplace. I hope your water jugs are for drinking water...

It would be nice to have both rack and fenders. Often times, inclement weather can foil the commute. Therefore, rain gear and fenders can be appreciated. Instead of carrying clothing and gear in a backpack, you might find it more convenient to place them tucked away in a pannier and secured to a rack. If you don't have rack and/or fender mounts, just omit this paragraph.

Also, make certain that you have appropriate safety equipment like headlights, reflectors, safety vest, and helmet. A very good lock would be advisable too!

Good Luck! :thumbsup:
 

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Welcome! Commuting is definitely not too hard to get the logistics figured out, though many of them are personal.

To start:
How far is your ride?
What kind of climate?
Do you have a place to store and/or lock your bike?
What sort of attire do you need for work?
Do you have access to an office/desk/locker to store extra clothes, shoes, etc?

For me, I ride 7 miles (one-way) to work year round, so a temp range of -20 to 100 F. I don't have a shower, but I do have an office where I can store stuff and a bathroom where I can wash up. Depending on the day and the bike I carry a backpack or pannier with lunch and clothes. I keep a suit, trousers, spare dress shirt, belt, tie and shoes at the office. I bring with a dress shirt and accessories and lunch on a daily basis.

I shower before I leave and find at worst I need a quick rinse with a wash cloth.

Starting out you could drive one day, bring in extra clothes and ride the next with stuff already there. When I do have to drive I swap out suits, do dry cleaning, etc.

Definitely do a forum search on starting to commute, there have been good threads on this in the past.
 

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Make sure your so good at fixing flats you could do it in your sleep. Make sure you leave for work 20 minutes earlier then you thing you need to so in case you do get a flat you can fix it and be back on the road to be at work on time.

Remember, and this is important, if you commute to work on a bike and you're late more times then the boss likes (and the boss may only like it once) due to biking difficulties, you'll either be asked to take the car to work from then on or be fired on the spot.

Thus make sure you carry tools needed to fix breakdowns, like...well I could go on about what to take but the minimalists will say I'm nuts and you don't need all that stuff and you'll believe them until you have a problem some day. Besides all you need is to a search about what kind of tools to carry.
 

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Like ScottB said, it would be helpful to know more info.

People have mentioned some things already but I just wanted to add that some commuters have a secret weapon…baby wipes. Yes, I am completely serious, they are refreshing and great for cleaning up.
 

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Like others said, your commute will be much more enjoyable if you can lighten the load by leaving certain items at work. We have a storage room at the office where I keep my towel, soap, spare clothes, slacks, shoes, etc. That way I only have to carry a clean shirt, t-shirt and underwear each day along with my lunch, tools, flat repair items. I can fit all the gear I need in a Carradice Barley seatbag. I restock clean towels, pants on days when I drive and bring home the dirty laundry.

A good lighting system is essential, front and rear, with some redundancy in case batteries go dead. Fenders are important, even if you don't plan to ride on rainy days because afternoon storms can be unpredictable. Wear bright clothes so you are more visible in traffic. I've accumulated a whole wardrobe of neon yellow jerseys, vests, jackets and socks. The stuff works and provides another level of redundancy if your lights don't work for some reason.
 

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Like ScottB said, it would be helpful to know more info.

People have mentioned some things already but I just wanted to add that some commuters have a secret weapon…baby wipes. Yes, I am completely serious, they are refreshing and great for cleaning up.
I use to take baby wipes with me too, then step into the bathroom and wipe down. I also took deodorant to reapply once the wipe down was done. I always showered in the morning and used deodorant before the commute, but then wiped down real well and reapplied the deodorant. You can also take a wash rag and simply get the rag wet and put some soap from the dispenser in the bathroom and soap up then rinse it out and wipe down with the wet wash rag. If you work around people and the public you don't want offensive odors, if you work outside or in a warehouse maybe they won't care as much.
 

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Burnum Upus Quadricepus
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There's no shower at work so I'll have to have water jugs, soap and towel at work but will be carrying the clothes and shoes with me daily on a backpack or some sort of bag attached to the bike.
If you're trying to replicate a shower at work using water jugs, it sounds too much like work.

Cleanliness starts at home. The rationale is that if you start off with fewer stink-causing bacteria, you have less remediation to perform at work.

  1. The very last thing (before getting dressed, of course) before leaving home, shower.
  2. Apply deodorant.
  3. Put on CLEAN kit, whether that's cycling kit or commuting clothes, it's your choice. Just needs to be clean, as in freshly laundered. Yesterday's was just fine, yesterday. Today, it's as deadly as nuclear waste.
  4. Arrive at work about a half-hour ahead of start time. Use 15-20 minutes to cool-down before cleaning up. This is when I have my post-ride snack, check e-mail, whatever.
  5. After I'm done sweating, then I take a birdbath in the men's room sink. Face, neck, arms, torso. I don't have issues with crotch stink, so I can skip it. If you do, don't.
  6. Apply fresh deodorant.
  7. Dress in work clothes.
  8. Clean up and dry the sink area so you don't piss off your co-workers.

Even in the height of Gulf moisture-laden heat and humidity in July and August, this works just fine for with up to a 20-mile commute. In winter and the cooler seasons, I can skip most the birdbath. I'm in a customer-facing position and have never had a complaint from either co-workers (who, believe me, would seize the opportunity) or customers.

Some people substitute baby wipes for the bird bath. First, I'm too cheap, and second, the disposable nature of the things bother me.


As for toting stuff, that's really a personal preference thing. I used a backpack, then a rack trunk bag, and now have settled on panniers. Carradice bags or messenger bags are options I haven't tried, but they work just fine for others.

If at all possible, find a place to keep stuff at work so you don't have to tote everything every day. At one job everyone has a little basket in a cubby. At my other job we have lockers.

Shoes are about the toughest thing to find room for on a daily basis, followed by the towel. Toiletries are easily forgotten. I also keep dry socks in case I forget on a rainy day. If you can find space for only those things, your commuting life will be immeasurably easier.
 

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If you're trying to replicate a shower at work using water jugs, it sounds too much like work.

Cleanliness starts at home. The rationale is that if you start off with fewer stink-causing bacteria, you have less remediation to perform at work.

  1. The very last thing (before getting dressed, of course) before leaving home, shower.
  2. Apply deodorant.
  3. Put on CLEAN kit, whether that's cycling kit or commuting clothes, it's your choice. Just needs to be clean, as in freshly laundered. Yesterday's was just fine, yesterday. Today, it's as deadly as nuclear waste.
  4. Arrive at work about a half-hour ahead of start time. Use 15-20 minutes to cool-down before cleaning up. This is when I have my post-ride snack, check e-mail, whatever.
  5. After I'm done sweating, then I take a birdbath in the men's room sink. Face, neck, arms, torso. I don't have issues with crotch stink, so I can skip it. If you do, don't.
  6. Apply fresh deodorant.
  7. Dress in work clothes.
  8. Clean up and dry the sink area so you don't piss off your co-workers.

.
This is exactly how I did my commute post cleaning. I used baby wipes on rare occasions. There were reasons I couldn't take the bike in everyday, so on the days I didn't ride the bike I took sets of suits and clothing attire in to be used when I did ride and took the old sets home to be washed. I had a closet in my office so the clothes hung there. I carried my dress shoes, socks, and ties in my handlebar bag.

I was lucky that at all my places I worked I could take my bike right into the office, so I kept it waxed and polished all the time so wouldn't look like a dirt pig, and never took it work if it was raining out due to the dirt and water. Not everyone has that luxury, but if you do lock it up outside use two different types of locks to foil the would be thief.

Side note; Carradice bags look really nice but their freaking expensive, bulky, and heavy, I personally would never buy them, but especially not for commuting, but that's just my opinion.
 

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I'm retired but commuted for many years. My commute was 18 mi. one way & I started riding at 5:15 am. It's dark then no matter what time of the year. I can't express nearly enough how much GOOD lights are needed. I used Nite Rider's MiNewt model which is no longer made but is similar to the 350 only more powerful. I used a variety of flashing tail lights. IME it's imperative to find a place to store clothes at work. A desk drawer, custodian's closet, filing cabinet, even a bankers box in your cubicle, if that applies. As someone said shoes are the hardest things to pack back & forth every day. My shoes are about as long as the wheel base on my bikes. To bring things to & from work I used either a back pack or a trunk rack. Personally, I liked the back pack better. If I was going to ride a century, then I'd go for the trunk rack, but 18 miles....phttt, no biggie. I would always keep toiletries at work & take a bird Bath in the men's room when I got there. Another must for me was to find a spot to bring my bike inside. It would have been a deal breaker if I couldn't. I used to ride 4 days per week & drive one. That was used as a laundry run. I'd check the weather to see when the crappiest weather day was going to be & drive that day.

I commuted like that for almost 20 years. I rode all year, my criteria being the temp had to be at least 15F and the roads had to be clear of ice & snow.To be perfectly honest if I couldn't have done it the way I outlined above I don't think I would have done it at all.
 

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^^^ You must have big feet, my size 11 shoes fitted into my Topeak Tourguide DX handlebar bag, although I had to angle them a little bit, but still had room for all my other stuff. I put the shoes in a plastic bag so the soles/heels of the shoes wouldn't dirty up stuff.
 

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Like ScottB said, it would be helpful to know more info.

People have mentioned some things already but I just wanted to add that some commuters have a secret weapon…baby wipes. Yes, I am completely serious, they are refreshing and great for cleaning up.
Other option is to bring a wash cloth and no rinse soap (available at any camping store, medical supply store, and probably elsewhere). The secret here is that once you change out of sweaty clothes you only need to wipe away the sweat and any road grime from your skin and you will smell just fine.

I've found that I can go 4 hours without deodorant before I notice any funkiness. If you forget deodorant, just hit the bathroom and do another bird bath around lunch time.

Get a small fan for your office. I'd usually wash my bike shorts and then set them and the washcloth under the desk with a fan blowing on them and they would be dry by lunch time.
 

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I don't think there any secret weapons, you just try to figure out what you need before your first time, then as you do it you discover stuff that you need or don't need. Most it is logical, what would you take if you were going to the gym before going to work? what do you need to take to clean up with and prevent odors? Your riding a bike, what do you need to take to work? What do you need to make sure flats and mechanical breakdowns can be taken care of? It's all pretty straight forward.

I never took a fan, everyplace I worked at the AC running over time and anything wet was dry in about 2 to 3 hours. I always had a closet so my biking clothes hung in there. I didn't wear usual biking clothes either because I had to walk through the office to get to the restrooms so tight lycra was not the way to go. So I wore mountain bike shorts on hot days and nice casual pants on other days with the (lycra shorts underneath) that looked nice, and a polyester golf shirt instead of a jersey so I looked like I was going to the golf course and not for a bike ride. Then change into a suit and tie in the restroom. I worked in professional buildings and there were certain standards I wanted to make sure I kept. Then after work I would usually go on a long detour ride home.

I've had my Topeak handlebar bag for more years then I can remember but prior to that I had a different brand that was similar in size and both would fit everything I needed.

I guess the biggest secret, if you can call it that, is to learn how to fix flats in your sleep. This will prevent frustration on the road as you try to get to work, and your bosses frustration at you! Don't count on flat resistant tires to make your day because nothing is flat proof.
 

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How far is your commute? My commute is only 6.5 miles each way so I can ride at a very easy pace, trying not to sweat, and arrive at work nearly dry. I found that by slowing down and not arriving covered in sweat, my total time from home to desk was less than riding a bit faster and then needing to cool down, clean up and change. I also dress so that I am slightly cool while riding, except in summer. And my work attire is business casual so I can ride in my work clothes.

As for gear, I've added a rack, panniers, and fenders onto my cross bike. I leave a rain coat and rain pants in one of the panniers all the time. I also leave a pair of clean socks in my desk in case my socks get soaked. My work shoes stay at work under my desk.
 

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I use anti-perspirant rather than deodorant. I only apply it once a week and never have BO. I don't sweat profusely on the morning commute, I don't ride faster than my clothing allows. I wouldn't bother with a shower at work even if it were available.
I don't wear lycra, I find that outdoor clothing is warmer and more comfortable for commuting.
One more tip, Outdoor Research Gore Tex over mitts, the ones with a long gauntlet and two velcro straps. I can ride with impunity in the low 30s with only a pair of long finger cycling gloves underneath.
 
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