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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 09-22-09, 04:45 PM   #1
CornyBum
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New Guy's Shopping List for Commuting on a Hybrid Bike - Please review :)

Hi guys, I started posting on these forums for the first time today. The "Advice for New Commuters" thread has been so helpful to me. After using that as my primary source of guidance, I've made a shopping list for my use of my new hybrid bike for commuting in the future. First, I need lots of practice just riding a bike for the first time in several years. In the meanwhile, however, I want to prepare with research, and this is one way to do that. I'll update it with the actual items I plan to get when I have more time. Right now, please just let me know if there's anything else I should get. So without further ado, here is my current shopping list:

1. Helmet
2. U-lock
3. Cable lock
4. Chain lock? (I'm wondering if a heavy chain with a disk lock can be a stronger substitute for the cable lock to use with my U-lock, but it seems chains with a disk lock are supposed to be an alternative to the U-lock itself. I also wonder if it would damage the bicycle if I wrap it tightly around the frame.)
5. Headlight
6. Rear light
7. Fenders
8. Carrying rack
9. Gloves
10. Bicycle computer
11. Rear-view mirror
12. Reflective safety vest
13. Tire pump
14. Multi-tool
15. Spare tires
16. Spare tubes
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Old 09-22-09, 04:59 PM   #2
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Panniers? I have a collapsible wire basket on my older beater mixte which is really handy when shopping or doing errands - I have a tote bag that fits inside it and I don't have to worry about leaving bags on the bike or carrying them indoors. I also have a set of Axiom Lasalle panniers that hold everything I need for work. They come with rain covers. I prefer using panniers over a backpack because I sweat enough as it is.

I don't know if a computer is absolutely necessary for first time commuting - I've never used one. Just look at my watch and if I'm behind I pick it up a little . Also it's one more thing you have to take off the bike.

If you're going to the same place every day you could leave the HD chain there and use the cable lock for quick errands. I take a U lock with me everywhere - I don't mind carrying the extra weight because I'm paranoid.
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Old 09-22-09, 05:30 PM   #3
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Trunk bag, if you want to avoid getting gunk/dusk/dust in your eyes, I'd recommend a pair of sunglasses or something like this, which includes three sets of lenses depending on the conditions: (http://bit.ly/18mC5Z). A light windbreaker or rain shell might be useful too, depending on your location...
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Old 09-22-09, 05:31 PM   #4
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1. Helmet is your preference many brands, they all have requirements, just get the right size, bike shop will help you if you cant figure the fit.

(2. 3. 4.) U-lock, Cable lock, chain lock, they are all good in their own way. depends for the area.

small town no crime, cable would work.
little more crime. bigger cable, ulock
more crime bike ulock, big chain

a lock is only as strong as its weakest link. learn to properly lock the bike with it.

brands that are good. Kryptonite, On Guard

dont forget to lock your wheels if you are in a place that wheels get stolen. they make long cables to go with locks for that reason.

(5. Headlight 6. Rear light) Cateye, Planet Bike, Knog
many good brands.

Super Flash
is argued one of the best rear lights

Front lights are mostly ment to BE SEEN not to see.

If you want to see, your looking at paying alot of money $100+

Dont leave lights on the bike they could get stolen if your area is bad

(7. Fenders,8. Carrying rack, 9. Gloves, 10. Bicycle computer, 11. Rear-view mirror, 12. Reflective safety vest, 13. Tire pump, 14. Multi-tool)
Planet Bike many others this brand has a lot of stuff. all this stuff is preference though.


15. Spare tires, if its a good brand on the bikes, look into getting the same one. other then that. ask a shop, read reviews.

16. Spare tubes[/QUOTE] most tubes are all the same, most shops carry Kenda, or Giant, specialized, but im pretty sure they are kenda. stay away from the green slim stuff. its just a mess. patch kits are easyer. self adhesive work well.

Stay away from super stores, there stuff is cheap and not good, unless you need a quick fix


what was the bike that you got?
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Old 09-22-09, 05:48 PM   #5
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I don't want to discourage you, but get some miles and time under your saddle. Just make sure whatever you get "fits" you and you enjoy riding. If you do want to add on in the future make sure it has eyelets or mounting points for racks and fenders (both front and rear ideally). Soon enough after some time, you will have a better idea of what would be a necessity and what would be a luxury for you.

If you have not been on a bike in a while my suggestion would be to see if you like it first. Though looking at your list I didn't see a jacket.
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Old 09-22-09, 06:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by exile View Post
I don't want to discourage you, but get some miles and time under your saddle. Just make sure whatever you get "fits" you and you enjoy riding. If you do want to add on in the future make sure it has eyelets or mounting points for racks and fenders (both front and rear ideally). Soon enough after some time, you will have a better idea of what would be a necessity and what would be a luxury for you.
+100. There are things on your list that are commonly needed, but they're not universally needed...and there are things not on your list that might be essential for you, but optional for someone else. Do some commuting first, and think about the circumstances of your commute, and let that guide what you need. For instance:

- I wear a helmet. Not everyone does or considers it necessary. I don't get into the helmet religious wars, I just...wear my helmet.
- I carry a U-lock and sometimes a cable lock, but usually just a U-lock. If I didn't stop for errands or dinner, I wouldn't need to carry any lock. I can carry the U-lock because I know that most places I go, there will be something I can lock it around. If I had to lock it around trees, that would be a different matter.
- I carry a headlight and taillight. My headlight is a "be seen" headlight rather than a "see" headlight -- the streetlights give me enough light to see by, so the goal of the light is to make myself visible; if I had to use it to see the pavement really well, I'd pick another model. My taillight has several very eye-catching blink modes.
- I have a clip-on rear fender, that's it. Winter may change this.
- I had a rack but got rid of it. I carry my stuff in a messenger bag.
- I wear gloves because my hands sweat a lot, and in colder weather, to protect them from cold (arthritis).
- I have a bicycle computer but I took it off. It just doesn't interest me how fast or how far I go.
- I don't have a rear-view mirror. Head-turn works fine for me.
- I don't have a reflective safety vest, but I do have reflective striping on my bag.
- I don't carry a pump or spare tubes or spare tires (spare tires? you're kidding, right?). If I have a flat (and I have yet to on this bike), I can hop public transit to home and come back with the car. If I had frequent flats, I'd carry a pump and spare tube, singular.
- I carry an Alien multitool. I've never needed it on the road, but it's been useful at times at home or in the office for a minor tweak.
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Old 09-22-09, 06:35 PM   #7
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I'm not sure how far your commute is, but you might want to invest in some cycling shorts sometime down the line. Try just wearing something comfortable to start with, but if you start to ride often, you might find that the seams in your clothing start to chafe or become uncomfortable. Padding or no padding is a matter of personal choice, but don't base your decision on the normal soreness that most new riders encounter. Your sit bones should be what are making contact with the saddle, and they take some time to toughen up. Remember, no underwear with cycling shorts
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Old 09-23-09, 02:33 AM   #8
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Starting with a numbered list means you're probably more prepared than most people out there, including myself when I started...and probably even now.

I think the multiple spare tubes is my favorite one, apart from the extra weight which, percentage-wise, is meaningless to a commuter. I'd bring a tube repair kit anyway; sometimes a flat streak can go on forever, even if you check the inside of the tire.
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Old 09-23-09, 03:46 AM   #9
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Starting with a numbered list means you're probably more prepared than most people out there, including myself when I started...and probably even now.

I think the multiple spare tubes is my favorite one, apart from the extra weight which, percentage-wise, is meaningless to a commuter. I'd bring a tube repair kit anyway; sometimes a flat streak can go on forever, even if you check the inside of the tire.
+1 You're way ahead of the curve in terms of thinking through your commuting needs. However, I noticed right away the lack of a patch kit on your list which is ALWAYs included on all my bikes. What brands you decide on is up to you, but I'll make a few recommendations:

Frame pump: Topeak Road Morph w/gauge-35.00US
Multi tool: Park MTB-3 Rescue tool-20.00 US both available @ http://www.bikeisland.com - No shipping
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x28mm and you wont need to carry an extra tire http://www.biketiresdirect.com Look around online. I think they can be had other places cheaper.
Rear light: Planet Bike Superflash. Get at least 2.
Front light To see: Niterider Trailrat 2.0 10w Halogen re-chargable 100.00US from a variety of online stores. DON'T get the Cygolite 12w dual 6w Halogen...they're crap.
To be seen: Knog beetle 1 led for 18.00US or Knog Skink 3 led 23.00 from Bike island, also. Or a Cateye Opticube Sport
Rack: Delta Universal Mega Rack 27.00-35.00us from a variety of online sources.
Fenders: Freddy or Planet Bike(35.00 from Bikeisland.com w/no shipping) full coverage. SKS Raceblades(which I have) are good if one has more than one commuter and don't mind minmal coverage. They're serviceable, but limited and pricey)
Helmet: Giro or Bell from Bikeisland.com 30-35.00US w/no shipping.
Lock: I've got a simple Krypto flex u-lock which is good enough for my needs. Leaving a chain lock at your destination is a good one as lugging a heavy chain lock around will get old real soon.
Gloves: for winter I use Gordini Summit 2 w/a wool liner(to soak up sweat as the gloves take FOREVER to dry once they get wet) http://www.campmor.com Rainey weather I use rubber gloves from Home Depot w/a liner, too.

Anything else I either don't use or figure you'll arrive at a suitable answer to your needs from other sources. Good luck and happy commuting!
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Old 09-23-09, 07:07 AM   #10
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I don't know if money is of a concern (getting everything at once gets pricey) but I would prioritize the things you need to get. First get the things that make you safe (lights, locks, helmet, vest), then the things that make you comfortable (racks, bags, fenders, jacket) and lastly the things that make you happy (computer, clipless petal, etc.). As long as you start with the things that make you safe, the rest is really just a matter of preference.
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Old 09-23-09, 09:06 AM   #11
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Your list looks pretty good. I'd add a decent rain jacket and pants if you're planning on commuting in all conditions.
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Old 09-23-09, 09:39 AM   #12
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Knowing the distance/environment you commute in would be helpful. ie do you need bike shorts or just the velcro strap for you pant leg

Depending on what you handle bars are like, you might want to consider barends like the ergon or cane creek ergo to give you an alternate hand position
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Old 09-23-09, 09:59 AM   #13
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I can't add much to what the folks above have already said - other than to say DON"T GIVE UP.

You will have bad days and good ones... Sometimes you'll feel like you've won the Tour de France; other times you'll feel like a complete idiot. The learning curve can be steep (though you've come to the right place for excellent and practical advice) and you will experience pain and heartache. Just don't give up.

If commuting by bicycle were easy, everyone would be doing it. As it is, you've chosen to be one of the few. In a few weeks you'll have some hard-won experience, better fitness - and some great stories to share. We'll be here to listen.

Oh, one more thing: Don't give up.
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Old 09-23-09, 10:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CornyBum View Post
here is my current shopping list:

2. U-lock
3. Cable lock
4. Chain lock?
I happen to have 3 locks but mostly carry from zero to one of them. Your locking setup depends on how you'll be parking your bike most often.

Quote:
10. Bicycle computer
11. Rear-view mirror
12. Reflective safety vest
One of my 3 bikes has a computer, I have no mirrors. For the computer, mostly I need it for the clock to make sure I'm going to get to wherever I'm going on time. I'm pretty slack on reflective clothing except for my coat which I wear seasonally.

Quote:
13. Tire pump
14. Multi-tool
15. Spare tires
16. Spare tubes
It's great to have a floor pump for home use along w/ a smaller pump to carry for roadside use. I don't have spare tires, although I do have tubes scattered around (home, on bike, at work). Patchkits and folding allen key sets at all those locations too.
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Old 09-23-09, 10:23 AM   #15
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I say slow down a bit. Before you lay out the money for a new bike, you should figure out what kind of bike you like better, and figure out if you like commuting in the first place. I always advise people that don't know what kind of biking that they like to:
  • Get an old mountain bike, with stiff front forks (early-mid 90s). I would buy a used name-brand bike from a shop, so that you can make sure that it fits, and that it is mechanically sound. Later on:
    1. If you find that you like to ride on the street, put high-pressure slick tires and a narrower saddle on it, and lower the handlebars.
    2. If you like to ride on gravel roads and trails on the weekend, then put on more conventional knobby tires and get some bar-ends.
  • Get just the gear that you need to start, and slowly acquire more of the stuff on your list later. Stuff that you WILL need to start includes:
    1. Helmet. They all protect your skull about the same, so you can safely get a less expensive one.
    2. Cheap bike gloves. Mostly to save your skin if or when you crash, but they also make riding more comfortable.
    3. Cheap rack and trunk bag. You can get these used very, very cheaply.
    4. Repair equipment to carry in your trunk bag every day: 2 spare tubes, patch kit, cheap multi-tool, patch kit, cheap frame pump.
    5. Lock.
    6. Lights. Lots of options for headlights, just pick one out for now. I would get the Planet Bike Superflash or the Performance 1/2-watt tail-light equivalent for the tail light, though.
    7. Reflective ankle bracelets. Cars see these a lot better than your lights, actually, and if you look around you can get them for under $6.

Get other things like outer-wear, brighter lights, and other specialty items later. Christmas can be a good time for getting better gear that I'm too cheap to pay for myself...
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Old 09-23-09, 10:37 AM   #16
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Oh - and lube/wax for your chain! You don't want to sound like an invading army of mice. Regular maintenance will add years to your drivetrain.
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Old 09-23-09, 01:01 PM   #17
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Can you get your tires off your rims with your bare hands? If not, then add a set of tire levers ($5) to your list.

I am pretty anal, so before I bought a multitool I figured out what all the hex key sizes were on my bikes, and wrote them down. I took my list of hex key sizes when I went shopping for multitool. I did not worry about having a 10mm hex key for the crank bolts though
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Old 09-23-09, 01:21 PM   #18
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IMO, your list is full of unnecessary items. here, I fixed it for ya!

Helmet-- unnecessary, despite what hysterical nannies will tell you.
Cable lock--unnecessary
Reflective safety vest---Don't need this
Gloves---Unnecessary.
Bicycle computer---don't need this. in fact it's distracting.
Spare tires--Nah! tubes, maybe, but not tires.
Rear-view mirror ( you really don't need this, but it can be helpful)

NEEDS
2. U-lock
5. Headlight (only if riding at night)
6. Rear light (see above)
7. Fenders (only if in a rainy area-- I live in a desert so don't need)
8. Carrying rack (if you need to carry stuff)

13. Tire pump
14. Multi-tool
16. Spare tube
17. tire levers


There. I just saved you $150! you're welcome!

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Old 09-23-09, 02:00 PM   #19
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I agree with those who have said that you don't need all of this right away. I disagree with some of the particulars. In the end, get all of the things you want. Nothing you listed is really useless.

I started out with a bike a helmet and a cable lock. I now have everything on you list and then some.

A cable lock is no more useful than a piece of rope if a thief has bolt cutters. Basically, all it does is stop people who don't have tools from stealing your bike. In a lot of areas, that's enough, especially for a relatively inexpensive bike. Now, I use a single U-lock everywhere I go. With a hybrid, I think that's all you'd ever need.

I don't think you need a spare tire. If you were touring, you would, but not for commuting.

I did also see a few things missing from your list. I haven't tried to assimilate all the suggestions above, so some of these are going to be duplicates. Others are implicit in your list, but not actually listed, so here's what I think you need to add:

Patch kit (Park Tool's glueless patches are great)
Tire levers
Mini pump (the bigger, the better -- I use Topeak's Tubro Morph, which is huge)
Pant leg fastener (you can do this with rubber bands, but a reflective velcro strip is useful and cheap)
First aid kit (at least a band-aid or two and some antiseptic wipes)
Oil (for your chain--probably the single most overlooked necessity among new commuters)
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Old 09-23-09, 02:01 PM   #20
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Be careful about buying stuff too fast, get into commuting and figure out what you really need. Obviously some things on your list are an absolute *must have*, e.g. lock, helmet, lights if going by night etc.

Spare tire? Do you really need a spare tire? I don't think gloves are really necessary. I've been commuting for quite a while and only in the last week got a bike computer. rear-view mirror, found most of them impractical, depends on how many lane changes you'll do.
I bought a multi tool right from the beginning but then found it impractical also, decided to go with full size wrenches instead.

One thing that's missing is rain gear, rain jacket, pants.
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Old 09-23-09, 02:28 PM   #21
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The only things you absolutely need to bike to work is a bike and a place to work. Many bike commuters only have those two things. However, your list is still good; it let you know what other commuters use and maybe useful for you too. As you continue commuting you'll find out what you need and want.
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Old 09-23-09, 03:10 PM   #22
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good list
+1 for gloves
I put a few little odds and ends in my saddle bag that are not necessary but very helpful WHEN you need them.

a handful of zip ties
a super small homemade roll of duck tape - I roll some tape around a small wooden dowel cut to length.
a small bottle of bee sting solution.
a pack of tube patches.
a small bottle of chain oil or lube.
a small mirror - great for getting stuff out of your eye.
cell phone
a few bucks cash - amazing how many people forget this
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Old 09-23-09, 03:58 PM   #23
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Gloves are one of the more underated tools for a cyclist (IMO). if your commute is over a couple of miles....they a worthwhile.
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Old 09-23-09, 04:08 PM   #24
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I agree with people who recommend to take it slow with the purchases, until you start to figure out what's working and what's not. A small thing that I use a lot is a strap or net that is sized to go over your rack and hold things on top. Something like this, but you can also get them with a net to cover more area:

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1253743476949

I use these a lot more than I thought I would. I don't actually have that brand, but you get the idea.
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Old 09-23-09, 04:16 PM   #25
cyccommute 
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Bikes: Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amckimmey View Post
Front lights are mostly ment to BE SEEN not to see.

If you want to see, your looking at paying alot of money $100+
Front lights are meant to be seen and for illumination. If you can see the road, you'll be seen. The 'be seen' lights are only useful for ...well I don't know what they are useful for.

There are plenty of very bright lights that will do the job for less than $100. The Magicshine 900 or the Deal Extreme MTE SSR P7 flashlight are both inexpensive ($90 and around $40) and about 100 times brighter than the 'to be seen' lights. The Magicshine is even better than many lights costing 2 to 3 times as much.
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