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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 03-13-11, 11:03 PM   #1
TysonC
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A newb trying to outfit a commuter

So I ordered a dawes lightning cross from a LBS here that has some sort of relationship with bikes direct. Anyways, the thing is coming in a few days and I want to get commuting as soon as I can.

I have already figured out a place to store my work clothes and lunches so I won't need to carry much. However, I know I need to carry a blow out kit somehow and have a place to carry a wallet, keys, phone. So I'm looking for recommendations on seat/frame bag and such.

I'm entertaining putting a rack on the back and maybe a trunk bag, but nothing too heavy as it won't carry more than a blow out kit, pocket contents, and maybe a small lunch.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-13-11, 11:07 PM   #2
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Like this one?
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/dawes/ltcross_x.htm

Fenders, rear rack, lights
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Old 03-13-11, 11:26 PM   #3
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Skip the rear rack, I never used mine really, and get a good saddle bag. I'd go for this one from rivendell (you'll probably need these to attach it)

Then fenders, front and rear lights, and that's pretty much it!
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Old 03-14-11, 01:29 AM   #4
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The Rivendell bag is nice, but since your getting a bike that costs less than 500 bucks, I sense you're on a budget. The main thing is get your fender and lights on the bike, if you got anything left over then you LBS could probably recomend a rack and bag or go online to Performance bike or Nashbar as they have those for really cheap. If you're really skimping and your load is going to be as light as it sounds, a 10 dollar Walmart pack could hold you over until you get the rack and bag.
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Old 03-14-11, 06:29 AM   #5
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Ebay will have a multitude of seatpost/saddle mounted bags for holding lunch plus tools. $20 should be enough to get an ok one. If you have money left, get merino boxers and t-shirts - you have to wear them for days to smell sweaty, so commute-sweat won't be a problem.
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Old 03-14-11, 06:30 AM   #6
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Oh - and go to the cross forum and search for "fork mounted cantilever hangers". For a few dollars one of these will transform your bikes braking. And fit Kool Stop Pink brake pads if you ever have to ride in the rain.
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Old 03-14-11, 09:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Like this one?
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/dawes/ltcross_x.htm

Fenders, rear rack, lights
That's the one. I wanted to stay below $1k total as I can be reassigned/relocated pretty quickly and who knows if I would be able to reasonably commute. I really hadn't seen anything good or bad on this bike so I headed to a LBS that has BD bikes to see it in person. Next to a trek in the shop it wasn't all that different.

Anyways, I'm not skimping on lights. Most of my morning ride will be in the dark approaching dawn on some unlit two lane back roads, and a portion of paved bike path - not lit. So I wanted something really good. I just ordered the magicshine 1400 with the 5.8 battery and the matching tail light from geoman gear. I really hope it's worth the $215 I spent.

I saw reflective tape at the auto parts store but it's $8 for 1yd. Seems pricey. Is there a better source for this?

What should I be looking at helmet wise? I see things in the LBS for $200, but then online for $75. Is there any difference?
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Old 03-14-11, 09:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TysonC View Post
That's the one. I wanted to stay below $1k total as I can be reassigned/relocated pretty quickly and who knows if I would be able to reasonably commute. I really hadn't seen anything good or bad on this bike so I headed to a LBS that has BD bikes to see it in person. Next to a trek in the shop it wasn't all that different.

Anyways, I'm not skimping on lights. Most of my morning ride will be in the dark approaching dawn on some unlit two lane back roads, and a portion of paved bike path - not lit. So I wanted something really good. I just ordered the magicshine 1400 with the 5.8 battery and the matching tail light from geoman gear. I really hope it's worth the $215 I spent.

I saw reflective tape at the auto parts store but it's $8 for 1yd. Seems pricey. Is there a better source for this?

What should I be looking at helmet wise? I see things in the LBS for $200, but then online for $75. Is there any difference?
If you're going to make some loops around your frame with the reflective tape, a yard will go pretty far.

As for helmets...it's a debate. Some wear them, others don't and the point will be contested hotly from both sides. Personally, I wear a Specialized Echelon http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=58624 . All helmets meet the same minimum safety requirements. Some might go a bit above and beyond, but for the most part a 70 dollar helmet will protect your melon just as well as a 200 dollar helmet will. The difference between them is mainly weight and ventilation.
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Old 03-14-11, 02:33 PM   #9
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You can put a blowout kit in an unused water bottle. If you do decide to get a seat or frame bag make sure you can take it with you. Unfortunately people will steal anything. There are so many different ones to choose from just look around. I used to carry a fanny pack with a bunch of stuff in it.

As far as helmets go there is no need for something fancy unless you want one. They all pretty much comply with CPSC standards. You can also get previous years models for a substantial discount online. Usually the only thing that changed was the colors available.
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Old 03-14-11, 03:36 PM   #10
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They're right about helmets. All helmets must comply with the same safety specs. So a $30 helmet is no less safe than a $200 helmet. The difference, as said, is weight and ventilation (comfort) and style.

I would recommend a rear rack. It just gives you more options, in case you do need to carry more at any time. Do what feels best though, good luck!
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Old 03-14-11, 04:43 PM   #11
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Well, I decided on going with a rear rack, I just don't know which one yet. I also ordered a Timbuk2 Bullit Pannier. I have some other Timbuk2 stuff and it's built like a tank so I have every bit of confidence that it'll be fine.

I also took the cruiser for a ride down to a LBS I had never been to. They had the Specialized Echelon with reflective stuff for $59 so I picked one up. I also picked up a helmet mirror because I'm paranoid.

So now I've got (or is coming), the bike, front light, tail light, helmet with mirror, and pannier. So I guess I just need a rack. Will any rack do?
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Old 03-14-11, 04:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TysonC View Post
So now I've got (or is coming), the bike, front light, tail light, helmet with mirror, and pannier. So I guess I just need a rack. Will any rack do?
It depends on the fittings the bike has. Some racks are designed to mount to threaded holes in the seat stays and to eyelets at the rear dropouts. If your bike doesn't have the seat stay holes you'll need a rack designed to mount to the seat post (either with its own clamp or using the seat post's clamp bolt.) Somewhere to mount the rear light is also useful, as a tail light on the seat post will be obscured by anything on the rack.
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Old 03-14-11, 09:17 PM   #13
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Splurge on the lights. Go cheap on the helmet and saddle bag (just my opinion). Helmets are all as good as the next, and a $20 saddlebag has just as many components as a pricey one. Sure, an expensive saddle bag might have longer lasting tools, but i don't plan to use mine on a daily basis. It has always worked the 2 times i have needed it. Also, there is plenty of room for my wallet, phone and an extra tube. Just make sure it is easily removable.

Racks are ok if you think you will really need it, but if you don't have to carry much, why bother?

Fenders are a must, but they are all relatively inexpensive.

Frame pump.
Bottle cage.
Reflective tape.
Cab/train/bus fare (you never know).
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Old 03-14-11, 10:36 PM   #14
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Harbor Freight has 2 yards of tape for $6.

I would like to hear feedback from you about how you like this bike. If I had to bu a new bike today this would be one of the ones I would consider. I don't need a new bike, but its fun to think about. =P
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Old 03-14-11, 11:25 PM   #15
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REI has the Planet Bike Eco Rack... It's the only rack for under $30 that I found that meets my needs. Good mounting system (pre-assembled so it's ready to mount), space for my lock to slide inside of, decent load capacity, and a solid deck (which works as a partial fender if you don't have them.



Lock ON!! DUDE!!! What good is the bike if it's in the hands of a criminal?

As for reflectivity... I'd start >>>HERE<<<


Last edited by K'Tesh; 03-15-11 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 03-15-11, 12:13 AM   #16
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Fenders, rack, LIGHTS, reflective clothing. I run two red light and two white front lights. In my city, there is sufficient street illumination for me to see where I am going. Therefore, I run not so much to see, but rather to "be seen".

Both white lights are cheap multi-LED flashers. One mounted to the handlebar, and the 53-LED light mounted to my helmet. It is IMPOSSIBLE to ignore the flashing from the helmet. I run a Planet Bike Blinky on the rear of my helmet and another simple generic bright flashing red light on my seatpost. I use helmet lights because I ride multiple bicycles.

If you don't want a rack and rear panniers, another option are large courier bags from PAC (fantastically durable but expensive) or Blicksbags which use recycled vinyl to make very attractive bags. Blicks is substantially cheaper than PAC. Each has its own merits.
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Old 03-15-11, 02:00 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TysonC View Post
Well, I decided on going with a rear rack, I just don't know which one yet.
Hi.
So, I've been commuting for a few years, have two dedicated commuting bikes with rear racks and panniers but I also have two slightly sexier bikes that I like too much to put a rack on but love to use for commuting. My solution:
Filzer seat post rack
and
trunk bag/backpack

The two have held up extremely well for almost a year now tolerating the elements and my own particularly demanding and abusive nature.
They'll hold everything I need for a 12 hour shift. Meal, flat kit, some tools, wet gear, whatever. It can be a tight fit but that usually means I've over packed for work.

MEC requires a membership and ships to the US (if that helps). MEC info page - US shipping
If you go with a full frame mount rack they also make a pannier/backpack that I really like for commuting. Check it out:
pannier/backpack
Perfect for work but not long hikes.

Lights. Lights! Up front I use a Cygolite DualCross Pro but thats my problem. One or two Planet Bike 1W or 2W Blaze lights up front will be more than sufficient. Really good inexpensive lights especially if you use rechargeable batteries like Sanyo Eneloops. I also really like Planet Bike's 0.5 W Superflash for the rear. The best and inexpensive. I wouldn't consider anything else unless Planet Bike releases their 1W Superflash Turbo sometime soon.
Locks! I use a Kryptonite Evolution Mini-5, a cable and Pinhead skewers, etc. and I NEVER leave anything on my bike unattended.

Cheers.

Last edited by El Duderino X; 03-15-11 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 03-16-11, 05:09 AM   #18
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Depending on where you live, don't make your bike look "too good". Thieves notice. Invest in a good light, good tires, salmon brake pads and a comfortable seat. The rest you can be cheap with... and experiment, that's half the fun. No need to break the bank.
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Old 03-16-11, 05:12 AM   #19
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I used black electrical tape to rough it up a bit..
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