Some mornings when I commute, I run into up to 9 people. Four of them I see almost daily and sometimes we stop and chat. They look at my bike and I look at theirs. This morning, I ran into two of them and they wanted to know about what I carry, use for lights, etc. So this morning I had some downtime and typed it all up. Here is what I came up with (this works for me):
My Bike Equipment
Note: This is only my opinion. Its not up to arguing about, its what I use. If you need any more help or links or anything, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Helmet Light: Magic Shine MJ808E 1000 Lumen: I bought this on ebay from a company called Brightstone Sports. Great light and I love the fact that it can light up on the back too which provides drives more visibility.
Handlebar Light: Stella 300. This light is great too. Has solid beans and a blinkie too.
Tail Light: Serfas TL 200: Great light. Has solid light and blinkie too.
Advice on Lights: To me, its important to have strong lights. You can get away with cheaper lights but for me, lights have to do two things (and they have to do both things well) 1) produce enough light that I can see with confidence and 2) make it so other people can see me. Some people will say to point the light straight into the dark but for me, it is better to point the handlebar light down. This is why I suggest getting a helmet light too. This provides me the ability to see wherever I need to and also helps me get drivers attention. For tail lights, I just have one now but I need another. I would like to have one that blinks and another that is at solid color. This allows drivers to tell distance to where the bike is.
Mirror: I use one called “Take a Look Mirror”. Bought it from Amazon and has been pretty good. This is a recent purchase for me so I am still learning how to use it. Regardless, a mirror is great to have. You still need to practice how to turn your head and look behind you without swerving but a mirror gives you another tool to use in addition to. This can fit on your helmet or your glasses.
Saddle (seat): I use a Brooks B-17 saddle. After trying a few saddles and after my butt hurting, this is the one for me. Made from leather which molds to your bum, it works wonders. Stay away from the cushion like saddles. They might be great for a couple of miles but for long distances, it will hurt.
Reflective Tape: This is some cool stuff I currently use on my spokes. Easy to install and looks good plus provides more visabiltiy. I got it from Lightweight Safety. The owners name is John. Wonderful guy!
Panniers (bags that fit on my rack): These are called Ortlieb panniers and the ones I have are the classic bags. I bought them at a place called “thetouringstore.com”. Call them and talk with Wayne, the owner. Very helpful. What I like about these are the fact that they are waterproof. So no need to worry about the rain! I can also pack a lot of gear in there too. They come in a set of two.
Floor pump: You will need one of these. Buy from a local bike shop on this one (I suggest D & Q in Cherry Hill). Stay away from cheapo ones. Get something that will last. I use a Bontrager.
Frame Pump: This is a must. I use a Road Morph. Its light, small and pumps a lot of air into the tire. Make sure the nozzle fits your valve. Most are interchangeable but its best to figure this out before you buy and before you really need it!
CO2 Head: Some people think that this is optional but not for me. It is much needed. Make sure it fits your valve.
CO2 Cartridges: You can buy these at the bike shop but to be honest, they are pretty expensive. There is a better place. I get there from: WWW.redrockminnesota.com
He buys them in bulk and sells in smaller bulk. Well worth it. I usually carry two with me at any given time.
Gloves: Its good to have summer gloves. Look for ones with padding as they will help support your hands. Winter gloves are needed too. These are harder to find because you don’t know if they will keep your hands warm when it is really cold. The ones I have now, which are Pro X-Pert WP and they protect me down to 16 degrees. With gloves it is all trial and error.
Goggles: I use them a few times so far. I originally bought tented ones but have never used them but my clear ones I use. It helps to protect your face and mainly your eyes and stops them from watering. Plus I have had no issues with fogging. I use Smith Cascade Classic Goggles (Clear, Silver). Bought them on Amazon.
Face Mask: This has been a wonderful piece of clothing. Keeps my head and my ears and if I need to, my nose warm. I got my from Under Armour. You can buy online or go to their shop in PA or DE (tax free in DE!). I bought their face mask (called balaclava). They also call it “UA Cold Gear Hood”. Takes the chill off for me. I might consider getting one that is as bit thicker for real cold weather (16 degrees or colder).
Clothes in General: This is a touchy subject for some so I can only tell you what works for me. On any given day, I usually wear cycling bibs, a cycling jersey and then depending on what the temps are, I sometimes wear a thicker wind breaker (I usually wear this all the time in the winter) and a pair of wind breaker pants. For colder temps, I start to layer more using products from Under Armour. They are base layers that really do help me. My advice is to buy stuff a little larger so you have less air hitting skin tight clothes. Layering is the key. If you get dressed and walk out of the house and you are warm, you have dressed up too much. You should feel slightly cold when you walk out of the house.
Horn: Some people use bells, whistles work great, airhorns work the best for me. I use Airzound Bike Horn. Easy to mount and use and runs off air. Loud! It works!
Bike Computer: Some people say you should have them and some people say who cares but for me, I love mine. Any computer will work. You want the basic functions: total miles, tripomiter, time, speed, etc.
Clipless Pedals: Great to have.
Shoes for Clipless Pedals: I have a summer pair and winter pair. Buy them at least one size bigger. It allows your feet to slightly swell in the heat and also allows your feet, in the winter time, to be layered with socks.
Wool socks: A must for winter!
Safety Vest: You can buy these online. I have a neon green on and it does the trick.
Glasses: Sun glasses are great and so are clear safety glasses. I use the clear safety glasses a lot in the winter time as it protects my eyes from the cold.
Tires: I use city slick tires which have no nobs on them. This decreases my rolling resistance which I want. I go with a brand called “Gatorskins”. Awesome tire and pretty puncture proof. For winter, you might get studded tires.
Ankle Neon Straps: Great to have on your right ankle. Keeps your pants out of the way from the chain and cogs.
Cycling clothes: I love areotechnology. They are based in PA I believe. I use the cycling bibs and the cycling jersey.
Tools: You will need to have tools for roadside repairs. I always carry and extra tube, patch kit, set of allen wrenches, truing tool, and tire levers. Also carry a little cash just in case along with some disposable gloves.
Bike Shops: We are blessed to have three great bike shops on rt 70 in Cherry Hill. First is Erlton bike shop. Locally owned and a wonderful guy to deal with. The second is Keswick. Nice shop. It’s a chain and but also have Park Tool Class which I hear is wonderful to take if you want to learn about maintenance. The third, and my favorite, is Danzenisen & Quigley (D & Q). This place is great. Locally owned and the mechanic, Stan, is a commuter that commutes from Philly to Cherry Hill every day. If you need your bike fixed in a jiffy, ask for Stan and tell him you are a commuter. He will help you out quick. He is also great with bike directions too.
Winter Socks: Yes, wool socks are great but what really works for me is gator socks. They are neoprene and wonderful. They make your feet sweat but they stay warm! Need something warmer? Add some wool socks on top of them.
Rain Booties: I love to ride in the rain but feet can get socked. I used the rain booties from Showers Pass in Oregon. I bought them online and they have been great. Most booties are too tight which cases the material to rip. Shower Pass Rain Booties are great. You simple cut out a piece on the bottom that will accommodate the size of your clips (if you are wearing them) and place them on. I like these because they have zippers. Solid product.
Fender: wonderful to have!