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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-03-06, 09:35 PM   #1
wild animals
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What do you bring? I have too much.

I can't fit all my commuting crap into my 1000 cubic inch pannier. I could fit everything I need and more if it weren't for the clothes; they take up a lot of room. I can't leave 5 days' worth of clothes at work though because then I wouldn't have anything to wear at home, plus there's nowhere at work to keep a pile of clothes. Once I lock up my bike, I have to take everything off of it, so I have to carry that in the bag too, at least for awhile. Then on the way home from work, I have yet more stuff to carry, because it's warmer so I need fewer layers on my body. There's just too much stuff! When I change in the bathroom, I have 3-5 plastic bags full of crap I have to rummage through, from both my pannier and my locker, and it takes forever.

So I have to ask...

What do you bring with you on your commute?
What do you keep at work?
What do you have two of (i.e., one at home, one at work)?
How do you organize your bag or pannier?

Interested in what you guys have to say. It'd be especially helpful to hear from people who have just a small bus-station-type locker to store things in. Thanks!
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Old 10-03-06, 09:56 PM   #2
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What do you bring with you on your commute?
Bike wear: Jacket, skull cap, shoe covers (cold these days), amber lense for morning, dark lense for the trip home, gloves (full finger for morning, half finger for afternoon, thermal tights, helmet, helmet light & battery.
Office wear: Pants, shirt, belt, socks, tie, shoes, laptop and lunch sometimes.
Bike gear: Spare tube, pump, multi tool, Cliff Bar, couple zip ties, patch kit, rain shell & rain pants.

What do you keep at work?
Shampoo, soap, razor, shave cream, flip flops, towel (switched out every week or two) Sometimes I leave my laptop there if I don;t feel like working in the evenings.

What do you have two of (i.e., one at home, one at work)?
Toiletries mentioned above.

How do you organize your bag or pannier?
I try to balance the load as best as I can without wrinkling my clothes or crushing my lunch. I usually put heavy items on the bottom.
Left pannier. Rain gear on bottom, laptop and lunch on top.
Right pannier, Shoes on bottom, mouse, laptop power supply, office clothes on top
Seat bag: Tube, patch kit, multi tool, zip ties, pump, Cliff Bar.

Yes, my bike fully loaded up is heavy. About 50 lbs in total. It makes for a great workout and when I get on my <17 lb road bike, I feel like I can fly!
Sometimes I drive Monday & Friday and I truck everything I need for the week those days.

Last edited by Tequila Joe; 10-03-06 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 10-03-06, 09:57 PM   #3
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At work I keep a pair of jeans that I use for a week -- shuttle in on Monday, out on Friday, and a pair of shoes for use when I ride my caddy with the clipless pedals. I also keep a polo shirt and pair of socks there in case it rains on the way in or something along those lines.

As for what I bring with me, it depends, but there's usually a lunch in there, sometimes a laptop and a couple of books. I always have my wallet and cell phone, along with a spare tube, some tools, either a pump or some CO2, my bus pass, and my work ID. Other common tagalongs include a paper or two that I'm reading at work, some water, miscellaneous office junk, a map of ABQ and its bike trails and lanes, a jacket or wind vest, lenses for the sunglasses, and a pack of Starburst. If I'm using the messenger bag I usually go lighter than I do with the pannier.

What do I have two of? Nothing. Though I keep meaning to bring some spare tubes into work as a JIC.

How do I organize my pannier? Wallet and phone in the pocket, bus pass clipped in my left shorts pocket, work ID clipped in the right, everything else just kind of dumped in there with the harder stuff on the bottom and the squishier stuff up top. I'm pretty sure organize is the wrong word for it.
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Old 10-03-06, 10:10 PM   #4
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I keep a pair of shoes, a pair of slacks, a belt, a towel, and toiletries at work. I switch out the slacks every few wears and carry a shirt, socks and underwear with me on my commute in a backpack.

I fold my clothes as neatly as possible to prevent wrinkles and sometimes carry a sandwich or leftovers for lunch. Other times I will get a sandwich at a nearby deli for lunch.
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Old 10-03-06, 11:26 PM   #5
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What do you bring with you on your commute?
Office wear: Underwear, shirt, pants, shoes, socks, belt, wallet, keys
Bike wear: jersey, un-dee shirt, arm warmers, knee warmers, gloves, bandana, helmet, sunglasses, shoes, socks, windvest, reflective ankle straps
Bike stuff in seatpost bag: spare tube, patch kit, multitool
What do you keep at work? Nothing
What do you have two of (i.e., one at home, one at work)? Nothing
How do you organize your bag or pannier?
Right-side: main compartment - shoes, socks, belt; outer pocket: hair brush, arm warmers, knee warmers, windvest (as they come off)
Left-side: main compartment: undergarments, shirt, pants; outer pocket: ankle straps, CO2, cellphone, wallet, keys

Maybe some miscellaneous stuff in my jersey pockets.

I use plastic bread bags to hold my office clothes. I roll them up and put them in my panniers. Keeps them fairly wrinkle-free and dry if it rains.
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Old 10-03-06, 11:33 PM   #6
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yeah, i should probably leave some pants at work, since they take up the most room! too bad i only have like 3 pairs of pants. haha. dang.

and it's good to see that some people ride with 2 panniers. i am a big packrat so i automatically assumed i was just bringing too much crap, but for the life of me i couldnt find a thing to leave out. if the new bag i get doesn't fit everything i might carry two panniers just because i can on friday i had everything packed right to the brim and then a coworker gave me tomatoes! i had to strap them to the top of my rack. if i carried two panniers i could just put tomatoes in the second one
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Old 10-04-06, 03:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveE
I use plastic bread bags to hold my office clothes. I roll them up and put them in my panniers. Keeps them fairly wrinkle-free and dry if it rains.
I think mathematically/physically rolling up clothes taco-style (cylinders) is the most space-efficient way to pack. I haven't actually tried it myself, and I don't know if the works as well in smaller spaces like panniers, but I know people who do it for keeping travel luggage under the limit. :thumbsup:

As for tomatoes, good thing they didn't fall out! Tomato roadkill!
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Old 10-04-06, 04:17 AM   #8
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Keep some spare underwear and socks at work for WHEN you forget them.
If there are too many removables on your bike, consider bolt-on accessories. Some people seem to carry half their bike after they lockup.
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Old 10-04-06, 05:01 AM   #9
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I take pants, shirts, socks and underwear. I also carry lunch, basic toiletries and a small lock, as well as phone, keys and wallet. I leave my shoes, towel and D-lock at work, although I do change the towel occasionally. I use a backpack. It works well. It has two compartments. I put my clothes in one, and they don't really need ironing, and the rest of my stuff in the other.

I notice the difference when I'm riding without the backpack.
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Old 10-04-06, 05:17 AM   #10
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Depends, When I am working on homework I will bring 2 large binders 4 college text books 1 laptop paper pencils pen plus cloths Iplus bike gear tube, patch, zip ties ,electric tape, tire levers, multi tool, park essential tool, plus schwinn pocket rocket For the roadie I am thinking of carrying surly's chain tenshioner I don't want to be in the middle of nowhere up the proverbial creek with out a paddle) have to utlize a messenger bag strapped to the rear rack. Work Days it usually is a laptop said bike gear and cloths
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Old 10-04-06, 05:46 AM   #11
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I don't have panniers yet -- so I just have a backpack. It holds a surprising amount of stuff though.

Work Stuff: Slacks & Belt (rolled to avoid wrinkling and maximize space), shirt (folded), underwear, socks, flip-flops (for the gym showers at work), cell phone and blackberry

Bike stuff: 2 spare tubes, tire levers, CO2 inflator, extra CO2 cartridges, patch kit, multi tool, GPS Unit (doubles as a cyclecomputer), extra batteries, area map, headlight, gloves (full finger or cut-offs depending on weather), a digital camera, and 2 L of water (it is a CamelBak backpack), if I'm feeling talkative, I can bring my mobile amateur radio setup and talk to others along the way.

The only thing I keep at work is an emergency shirt -- although I never use it. The gym at work provides shampoo and soap with towel service (all free), so that allows me to not worry about those items.
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Old 10-04-06, 06:00 AM   #12
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I keep pants and shoes at work. Carry shirt, socks, sandwitch, bike lock spare tubes, pump, keys, wallet, and badge.

I fit all of this in a Jandd large seat bag yesterday. Sometimes I carry a computer too. In that case, I use a nylong briefcase on which I installed Arkel pannier hardware.
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Old 10-04-06, 06:39 AM   #13
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Bring to work - pants, shirt, underwear, socks, food(stuff I have to remember)

Things that generally stay in my backpack at home - pager, palm pilot, phone, badge, pump, tools.
with the current weather I have also been carrying knee warmers, booties, warmer gloves and long sleeve jersey.

stay at work - belt, shoes, toiletries(I have at home as well)
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Old 10-04-06, 06:45 AM   #14
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I ride in my office clothes and don't bring anything other than my rain gear, which I keep rolled on the rack. My philosophy is that the purpose of the bicycle is to get me to work more conveniently than by car.

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Old 10-04-06, 06:49 AM   #15
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I bring: A lock, a multitool, tire irons, a chain tool, a presta to schraeder adapter, plastic bags, zip ties, lunch, wallet

I leave: My lock (it stays attached to the racks for the week)

I have two of: locks, bicycle pump.


I have a set of huge panniers that stay attached to my trike, that allow me to transport a lot of groceries on the way home from work.
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Old 10-04-06, 07:09 AM   #16
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Simplify and keep it simple

What I take with me
  • Helmet with front and back light
  • Wind glasses
  • Bike tights and shirt
  • Bike shoes (trainers)
  • Gloves and bandana in winter
  • A backpack that I carry flat on the rack with:
    • work clothes (trousers, undies and shirt all rolled and wrapped in plastic bag in case it rains)
    • 12V battery for the lighting system
    • food (sandwich, fruit and yoghurt)
  • A handlebar bag with:
    • Wallet
    • Keys
    • Mobile phone
    • Other small stuff and junk
    • NO TOOLS and (knock knock on wood) never have had any prob on the road for years
What I keep in my locker at work
  • sandals and shoes (I change them every month of so)
  • Soap, shampoo, wet towel
What I have two of
  • Nothing
This makes quite a manageable pack. The trick is try to minimize the amount of clothes you take. Feeling a bit cool in the first mile is good for your health, and better as far as package is concerned.
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Old 10-04-06, 07:21 AM   #17
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What do you bring with you on your commute? : My lunch, rain coat/pants according to weather forcast. (Work clothes provided and laundered by company)

Seat bag: Tube, patch kit, multi tool.

Bike frame: Pump, lock. [Secure bike lockup facility (cage) provided by company]

What do you keep at work? : Shampoo, soap, deorderant, razor, shave cream, towel, work shoes. (locker and shower facilities at work)

What do you have two of (i.e., one at home, one at work)? : The toiletries.

How do you organize your bag or pannier? : I have no need for them. (I use a rear rack)

Last edited by fifty5; 10-04-06 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 10-04-06, 07:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wild animals
Interested in what you guys have to say. It'd be especially helpful to hear from people who have just a small bus-station-type locker to store things in. Thanks!
A plastic storage bin or two from a discount store may solve a lot of your problems.

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Old 10-04-06, 07:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wild animals
yeah, i should probably leave some pants at work, since they take up the most room! too bad i only have like 3 pairs of pants. haha. dang.

and it's good to see that some people ride with 2 panniers. i am a big packrat so i automatically assumed i was just bringing too much crap, but for the life of me i couldnt find a thing to leave out. if the new bag i get doesn't fit everything i might carry two panniers just because i can on friday i had everything packed right to the brim and then a coworker gave me tomatoes! i had to strap them to the top of my rack. if i carried two panniers i could just put tomatoes in the second one
If you had two panniers, you will likely find them both to be full. Empty space always seems to get filled with something "essential". You need to go through the collection of stuff and determine what things you can leave at work instead of dragging back and forth, what things you take "just in case" that you really aren't likely to need, what things could be replaced with a different item that takes up less room but does the same thing.

For example, if you are packing a pair of denim pants everyday, consider buying a couple pair of lightweight nylon pants from campmor.com, or other outdoor store. The nylon pants pack down to very little space. Same for shirts. Nylon or ployester shirts pack down much smaller than cotton. Of course, if you need to wear a suit, all bets are off.

Things like toiletries can usually be kept at work if you have a desk or locker. If you are carrying a rain jacket, consider either an ultralight jacket made from thin nylon (silnylon is lightest) instead of a bulkier jacket.
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Old 10-04-06, 07:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wild animals
I can't fit all my commuting crap into my 1000 cubic inch pannier.

1. What do you bring with you on your commute?
2. What do you keep at work?
3. What do you have two of (i.e., one at home, one at work)?
4. How do you organize your bag or pannier?
I have two panniers with a total capacity of ~2100 cubic inches (I think). Each has two zippered inner compartments (one compartment has a waterproof flap) and a zippered outer mesh compartment.

1. Work clothes, cool weather gear (arm warmers, FF gloves, etc.), sunglasses (amber and clear), wallet, cell phone, and glasses in the left pannier. Cable lock, PowerGel, keys, and lunch in the right pannier.

2. I keep extra socks, work shoes, wash cloth, small towel, baby powder, and deodorant in my desk.

3. Floor pump.

4. See #1.
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Old 10-04-06, 07:48 AM   #21
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I haven't bought any panniers yet, so I just bungee my backpack to my rack. I bring my bike into my lab at work, so I don't take anything off it. I carry the lock in case I need to stop on my way home to pick up something. If it rains I just get wet. Although I really should buy some rain gear now that it's getting so much colder (in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada). I find I have lots of room in my bag since I don't carry much in it (rain gear would cut down on that though), so I can stop on my way home to pick up some groceries if I need to.

On me/my bike:
- helmet, mirror, glasses, bandana if it's really cold
- jersey (I put a long sleeve poly shirt on under it that I can leave off in the afternoon if it's too hot)
- bike shorts (I add poly leg warmers, the legs cut off some old long johns, if it's really cold - they're really tiny to pack)
- gloves
- wool socks, shoes
- two red blinkies, white headlight, turtle lights, bell, fenders

At work:
- jeans (I leave a pair at my desk, usually switch them halfway through the week)
- shoes (I just leave them there all the time)
- towel (switch each week), soap and other toiletries
- food in case I forget my lunch (clif bars, oatmeal, dry fruit, tea, soup, etc.)

In my bag:
- u-lock, key
- spare tube, patch kit, mini pump, pressure gauge, nitrile gloves, multi tool, small adjustable wrench
- wallet, id/door pass, keys
- clothes (shirt, underwear, socks) and a few toiletries
- lunch
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Old 10-04-06, 08:18 AM   #22
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I live in Seattle and work in casual, button down type atmosphere types of places- ie slacks and shirts with buttons.

i ride to work in what i am going to wear for that day. QED. I bring my lunch.

i keep an extra pair of shoes and socks, and skivs at work in my locker. also an emergency pair of pants and a shirt for a real soaker. replace as needed.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:28 AM   #23
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What do you bring with you on your commute?
Toolkit, patch kit, tubes, mini-pump, lunch, thumbdrive, paperwork, raingear (booties, gloves, helmet cover)

What do you keep at work?
4 days of clothes, shower stuff, 2 towels, shaving kit, contact lens gear, toothbrush/paste/mouthwash

What do you have two of (i.e., one at home, one at work)?
Shower stuff, shaving stuff, tooth stuff, coffee mug

How do you organize your bag or pannier?
I use a backpack with a kayaking dry-bag for a liner. I put my lunch on the bottom, extra raingear on top of that, tubes and tools next to the raingear, and paperwork goes in a crush-proof folder flat against the back panel.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:35 AM   #24
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I work in a verrry casual office, so I also have certain advantages.

On my person...
pants and drawers for the day

In my bag...
A collared shirt, spare pants/drawers during warmer months/rainy days, lunch, and my lock, spare, flat kit, lights, and the like. All of this fits fine in my size L timbuk2 messenger.

What I leave at work...
Axe, deodorant, nicer shoes, face wipes, and some spare food (trailmix or fruit, usually)

I just have a cube for now, and i mostly go unnoticed at work, so it's not really practical or neccesary to bring in full changes of clothes, but I'll prob. shuttle loads of clothes back and forth once I get a job with a bit more 'status'. (sooner rather than later, hopefully)
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Old 10-04-06, 08:40 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wild animals
1) What do you bring with you on your commute?
2) What do you keep at work?
3) What do you have two of (i.e., one at home, one at work)?
4) How do you organize your bag or pannier?
1) I have DIY mini panniers, (made from my dog's backpack). I always carry my office clothes with me, but I don't put them in my panniers since there would be no room for anything else. I put them in a waterproof ditty bag and then strap it on top of the rack.

My tools & spare tube fit in the little saddle bag, attached to the head tube, (two-bottle AquaRack is attached under my seat).

I only bring lunch with me on Mondays. Then I drive to work on Tuesdays and bring my lunches for the rest of the week.

2) & 3) I keep an extra pair of shoes at work, so I don't have to clickity-clack around in my cleats, all day.

4) The panniers hold my rain gear, wallet and, to save space, I use flash drives to shuttle files back and forth. That way I don't have to lug my laptop to work. When I have soccer games, I just role my goalie kit and uniform up with my clothes and strap it onto the rack.

This is my ride and you can get an idea of how small the panniers are, (I think they are about 750 cubic inches).
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