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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 01-28-12, 01:32 PM   #1
dvald001
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The #1 thing you've bought that has made your commute easier

For me, it's the ridiculously-expensive-but-totally-worth-it pair of Outlier OG Pants. Being able to hop into a pair of nice slacks that stretch, wick sweat, and repel water/dirt/stains has been awesome. I rode through a heavy rain, had a little moisture on my thighs, but was totally dry within 15 minutes. I spent the rest of the day lecturing to my students but still looking professional. I know, I could just get rain pants for when I think it's going to rain and then change into cheap slacks at work and yadda yadda, but it's just easier to wear the same thing to work and at work--and it's great knowing that if there's an unexpected shower that I'll still be fine.
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Old 01-28-12, 01:45 PM   #2
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Quality headlight.
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Old 01-28-12, 02:07 PM   #3
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I bought a studded tire for the front wheel on my fixed gear commuter this winter, and the difference is incredible. I feel like I can safely go at least 5 miles faster over icy roads than I would have with a non-studded tire. I just climb over icy bumps that would have sent me sliding before.
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Old 01-28-12, 02:11 PM   #4
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I have 2 items

1. Rack w/ trunk bag
2. NiteRider headlight
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Old 01-28-12, 02:42 PM   #5
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My wife commutes by bike everyday and she lists her top three things as:
1) rear rack/panniers- commuting just would not be happening without them
2) fenders- without these rain/snow days would be miserable
3) Pletscher twin leg kickstand- this addition really rocked her world as she didn't have to struggle loading/emptying her panniers with her bike leaning against a wall

She also has other accessories such as lights and apparel that I think are just a given if you ride a bike.
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Old 01-28-12, 02:49 PM   #6
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Pedals.
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Old 01-28-12, 02:58 PM   #7
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Pretty similar to the OP, but I picked up a great, and expensive, pair of professional-looking riding pants from a company from Chicago called Nonetheless.

Other than that, a solid head light
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Old 01-28-12, 03:17 PM   #8
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Fenders. Close behind are quality panniers and lights.
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Old 01-28-12, 03:19 PM   #9
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The ring lock.
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Old 01-28-12, 03:22 PM   #10
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Pedals.
+1
When I put pedals on my bike, it cut down the commute time by 685%.....
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Old 01-28-12, 03:45 PM   #11
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Ortlieb waterproof messenger backpack. Having all gear totally dry in pouring rain is well worth the money.
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Old 01-28-12, 03:47 PM   #12
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Not sure if this qualifies as "Things I've bought" maybe more like "best money spent".

Membership and donations to the Charles River Conservancy and Livable Streets Boston- 2 organizations that proactively advocated for improvements to the Charles River bike path and bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue- my 2 routes into work. After 30 years of riding an inferior and crumbling bike path and battling for respect and space on Commonwealth Avenue these improvements have made my commute easier than any rain gear, cycling shoe, pannier, studded tire...

They have also made the city more bike friendly with more bike racks. MASS BIKE, was useless for about 25 years with regards bike infrastructure but they've finally changed their tune and I've appreciated their past efforts to allow access to public transit for cyclists. The bike racks on buses and particularly their efforts with commuter rail trains has made some of my longer commutes much better.
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Old 01-28-12, 03:57 PM   #13
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Quality headlight.
+1
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Old 01-28-12, 05:00 PM   #14
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Two quality head lights... one for the bar and the other for my helmet.

Also.... gatorskins. Thank goodness for that.

Neoprene socks. they rock.

Ortlieb paniers. I love them.

Brooks Saddle!
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Old 01-28-12, 05:06 PM   #15
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Ditched the backpack for a pannier.

And the list could go on, but as you only asked for #1...
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Old 01-28-12, 05:26 PM   #16
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1. Bright headlight (MiNext 600 Cordless)
2. Quality tires (GP 4 Seasons)
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Old 01-28-12, 05:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
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+1
When I put pedals on my bike, it cut down the commute time by 685%.....
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Old 01-28-12, 05:50 PM   #18
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I'm with Andy_k - my headlight (MiNewt 600 Cordless) and my tires (Continental SportContact)
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Old 01-28-12, 06:34 PM   #19
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Okay, since nobody else said it... a bicycle.
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Old 01-28-12, 07:22 PM   #20
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+1
When I put pedals on my bike, it cut down the commute time by 685%.....
Hey that's no joke. When I was a kid, we weren't exactly dirt poor, but dad couldn't get around to fixing everything immediately. I stripped out a pedal on my 20" sting ray bike and rode around the entire summer with one pedal! My friends were always amazed that I could keep up with them by just contorting my foot and pushing on the top of the crankarm. The odd thing is, my dad repaired my bike by welding the pedal back on and it was not exactly perpendicular to the crankarm. I can still remember that strange, eccentric wobble of the pedal as the cranks went around and that bugged me way more than riding with one pedal!
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Old 01-28-12, 07:39 PM   #21
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Rear rack.
It served as a rear fender at the same time. I just attached a bag that has my lunch and extra clothes via a bungee cord. Best $$ spent, besides the bike itself.
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Old 01-28-12, 09:10 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvald001 View Post
For me, it's the ridiculously-expensive-but-totally-worth-it pair of Outlier OG Pants. Being able to hop into a pair of nice slacks that stretch, wick sweat, and repel water/dirt/stains has been awesome. I rode through a heavy rain, had a little moisture on my thighs, but was totally dry within 15 minutes. I spent the rest of the day lecturing to my students but still looking professional. I know, I could just get rain pants for when I think it's going to rain and then change into cheap slacks at work and yadda yadda, but it's just easier to wear the same thing to work and at work--and it's great knowing that if there's an unexpected shower that I'll still be fine.
+1 for Outlier pants. If your commute is short enough you don't wear bike shorts underneath, consider merino boxer briefs too. They don't cling or stink
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Old 01-28-12, 09:19 PM   #23
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#1 - Replaced my platform pedals with SPD pedals a couple years ago. That alone cut my commuting time by 10%-15%.

Close #2 - Using the right tires. Slicks in the spring-summer-fall. Studs in the winter. (Instead of the stock knobbies that come with you typical mountain bike.)

Last edited by DJ Shaun; 01-28-12 at 09:19 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-28-12, 09:32 PM   #24
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Durable components... not the crap they sell to people who buy a bike and leave it in the basement.
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Old 01-28-12, 09:33 PM   #25
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Okay, since nobody else said it... a bicycle.
Ha . . . . . . . ha . . . . . . . . ha . . . . .
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