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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 05-30-13, 07:16 PM   #1
bkbloch
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New commuter bike: help me trick it out!

I just got a used 2011 Trek Presidio to use as a commuter bike. I put on 700c x 25 bontrager sport tires, but beyond that, it's pretty naked. I want help with what kind of accessories I should use for my commute. Give me all of your advice, please! I'm a brand new commuter.

1. FLAT KIT: On my road bike (2012 Felt ZW-95), I have a saddle wedge pack with tire levers, a patch kit, extra tube, 2 CO2 cannisters and a regulator. I was thinking of getting the same thing but also maybe putting a multitool in there?

2. PUMP: I have a Road Morph pump and was thinking of attaching it to my frame (in lieu of a second water bottle holder). What do you think? Is it necessary/useful? Part of me wonders if it's a waste of a second water bottle rack. I'm planning on storing my bike inside, so I don't have to worry about getting my accessories stolen.

3. RACK/PANNIERS: I think I want to have a rack and panniers, so I can put my stuff away while I ride. I'm an artist, so I don't need that much stuff -- just my wallet, phone, and some notebooks and pens. But I do want the option of more storage.

4. LIGHTS: Any suggestions?

5. FINGER BRAKES: I LOVE the finger brakes on my Felt, and thought of adding them to my commuter bike. I feel like it will help me sit up straighter, given that my drop bars put me kind of low to the ground.

6. TOE CLIPS: This is a big concern for me. I'm pretty sure I don't want to use clipless pedals and shoes because a) they're really expensive, and b) I want to be able to hop on my bike and go not have to worry about using special shoes. I really like the toe clips on my Felt I like having somewhat of an upstroke when I pedal. Any suggestions on toe clips? Or thoughts on why I should use clipless pedals?

And if you have an opinion on anything else you think would be good to have on my bike as a commuter, I'd love to hear it.
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Old 05-30-13, 08:33 PM   #2
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Lights. I love dyno lights. No batteries and pretty rugged overall. Get the a B&M light at a minimum.
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Old 05-30-13, 08:55 PM   #3
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TACX bar-end lights are great. They shine a white light forward, a red light rearward, and even have an amber flashing turn signal (which I never use). Not powerful enough to illuminate the road, but certainly attention-getting.

For the main headlight, I like the $25 Cree XML T6 lights on Amazon. They are a knockoff of a >$100 light, and they work great, either on the bike or on the helmet. At $25, you can run as many as you want.

Knog V4 taillight for the seatpost. Very bright, lots of flash patterns.

If your cleats are SPD, you can get pedals that combine a cage with the binding, so you can either cleated or regular shoes. I commute with clipless, if you are used to that on your road bike you will probably want at least the option of clicking in on the commuter.

Fenders, as full coverage as possible, with mudflaps. I think the hammered alloy VO fenders would look classy on that bike. Edit - I didn't catch that you put 25mm tires on. In that case I recommend the PDW Full Metal Fender, which is a strong but sleek, alloy fender, won't rattle or shift, looks nice with narrow road bike tires.

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Old 05-30-13, 08:57 PM   #4
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As for the rack, here is what I did for my daughter - very different bike than yours, but the idea is a porteur rack between drop bars. I liked the look better than the typical rear rack.

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Old 05-31-13, 06:46 AM   #5
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Lights: There are several versions of this light floating around on the Interwebs for about $25. They are very bright for the money and rugged enough. I've been using them for about a year now without issues. Buy more then one so that you have a backup. I have 3...one on my head and 2 on the bars. The one on my head is far more useful than the bar mounted light.

Toe clips: The clip will always hang down so that you have to flip the pedal. Some bikes are low enough that the clip scrapes the ground until you flip them up. I've ridden them for many many miles but I wouldn't go back. Too fiddly.

With a double sided clipless mountain bike pedal, if you get your foot on the pedal your foot will be clipped in. No flipping the pedal up or scraping the ground with the clip.

Clipless shoes and pedals aren't all that expensive. You can get very high quality pedals for around $35 like the Shimano M520. The M520 is one of the best pedals and best bargains I've ever used. The more expensive pedals are a little lighter but they aren't functionally different from the M520. Shoes for the pedals are extremely cheap as well. You can get pedals and shoes without going over $100 if you look around.

The vast majority of bicycle shoes have velcro closures as well so they are easy to put on and take off. And mountain bike shoes are very walkable. If you really need to wear regular shoes, you can get combo pedals like the Shimano M324. I would suggest not buying the Shimano brand on those, however. There are lots of clones out there that are cheaper.

Pump: I have a pump on each bike. Swapping pumps around can work but, at some point, you will forget the pump and have a flat. You can also get mounts to mount the pump under the water bottle cage like this one
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Old 06-02-13, 01:24 AM   #6
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Airzoundz horn!
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Old 06-02-13, 01:50 AM   #7
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I was debating clipless pedals for a while because of cost and convenience. I ende0d up with some Shimano mountain bike shoes for $50 and Crank Bros Eggbeater pedals for $40. Well worth the investment. Shoes are comfortable enough that I usually wear them all day at work. They have recessed cleats so they don't clack around when you walk.
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Old 06-14-13, 09:15 AM   #8
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here's a vote for mini clips, all the advantages without any of the disadvantages

http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Bicycle-...=cycling+clips
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Old 06-14-13, 09:31 AM   #9
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i googled the trek presidio. it is a nice looking bike. good advice here
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Old 06-14-13, 11:54 AM   #10
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Currently, my favorite lights are the cygolite hotshot (~70 lumens for ~$28) and the cygolite metro (420 real lumens for ~$60). Both are among the lightest lights in their class and are warrantied by a good company. (I was a night rider/dinotte fan previously).

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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The M520 is one of the best pedals and best bargains I've ever used. The more expensive pedals are a little lighter but they aren't functionally different from the M520.
I used to agree until I bought used XTRs on e-bay. The new asymmetrical shape with a larger contact area made a huge difference for me. This design gave me a better "connection" and largely eliminated clip in misses (a problem with some shoes) and foot pain/hot spots. Once the cheaper XT pedals adopted the XTR asymmetrical design I sold all my 520s. Since you can buy OEM XT pedals (directly from malaysia) for ~$50-60 on e-bay, I would enthusiastically recommend these over the 520s.


Quote:
Pump: I have a pump on each bike. Swapping pumps around can work but, at some point, you will forget the pump and have a flat. You can also get mounts to mount the pump under the water bottle cage like this one
C02 cartridges are also a good option. If you get them on sale they only cost about a buck (and are recyclable).
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Old 06-14-13, 11:57 AM   #11
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Good tips so far, My best advice is ride it. Ride it a lot. Ride it in all the conditions, times, and places you'll go. You will soon figure out what YOU need and what you don't need.
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Old 06-14-13, 12:26 PM   #12
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#1 - I own a multitool and have it on my bike, but honestly - I've *never* used it in an emergency. The other stuff sounds good. I don't bother with CO2 - I imagine it depends on how long your commute is, but a regular pump will get your tire up to 50-60psi pretty easily, and that's enough to easily ride home on.

The biggest thing for me on my commuter is flat resistant tires.

#2 - You know you can mount it hanging from under the top tube, right? Also...I don't know why they make this such a pain to get, but certain pump mounts are the right size and will let you mount the pump beside the water bottle cage. I have one on my winter bike - I think I called them and ordered through them.

I carry the road morph mini, because the full size road morph is to big to fit into my trunk bag, and my bike sits outside unlike yours (I carry everyone removeable in the trunk bag so there's only 1 bag to take on and off the bike).

I really don't know why you'd carry both CO2 and a full size road morph - the road morph is a nice pump that usually gets you up to full pressure.

#3 - The Topeak rack is nice because you can either use a quick-release topeak bag with it, or a regular "straps" kind of bag.

I use the Topeak waterproof rear bag because it's big and it's waterproof -
http://www.topeak.com/products/bags/...nkdrybag_black

It's good to *have* panniers, but I find if they're full they slow me down (they're square and they seem to catch the wind resistance). So for just going to work, etc, I greatly prefer the trunk bag.

#4 - I **LOVE** having a dynamo light on my commuter bike. It's not the cheapest - you have to get a dynamo front hub, and buy the light. I have a Lumotech Cyo, but recently they came out with the IQ2 which has an even better beam pattern.

But it's so convenient - your batteries never need to be recharged, it bolts onto the bike so you don't have to take it on and off the bike when parking the bike, it's always on the bike - you don't accidentally take it off and leave it at home or something, it works just as well in the winter as in summer, you never have to buy expensive replacement batteries...

While it's not as big of a deal to have a wide beam light on the road (you aren't biking directly into traffic, car windshields are slightly tinted, etc etc), the definitively "shaped" beam of a dynamo light is way better (less blinding) on bike paths where there's oncoming bikes and/or pedestrian traffic.

#5. I'm not sure what you mean by finger brakes...

#6. I don't like toe clips myself. You have to pull your foot out of them backwards in an emergency where you need to get your foot down, and that kind of freaks me out. With clipless it's a "turn your foot to the side" motion to unclip, which is what I do when trying to get my foot out anyways.

I like riding with clipless - but - it's not a "huge" advantage. There's nothing wrong with going with regular pedals. They make regular pedals with little metal pins on them so you can keep your grip, but any decent pedal will probably work.

There's definitely an argument to be made that any speed advantage a commuter gains by wearing clipless is offset by the additional time it takes to put on and off clipless shoes.

I'd suggest just starting off with regular pedals.

#...other thoughts - I normally say that if you're going to leave your bike locked up anywhere, you should get a ulock, not a cable lock (cable locks get cut in seconds). But if you're only storing the bike inside your house or inside at work, that might not be a problem...
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Old 06-14-13, 12:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkbloch View Post
5. FINGER BRAKES: I LOVE the finger brakes on my Felt, and thought of adding them to my commuter bike. I feel like it will help me sit up straighter, given that my drop bars put me kind of low to the ground.
By "finger brakes", you mean cyclocross brake levers. Right?
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Old 06-14-13, 11:13 PM   #14
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#1 Make sure people can see you. Flashing White front and bright red back. Don't go cheap. $50 of LEDs is cheap insurance.
#2 Make sure you can get home. Buy a multitool. Things get loose with use. Need to be able to tighten things up. Spare tube and pump.
#3 Commuter gear - Rack / bag / fenders (get the longboards, I didn't and regret it)
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Old 06-14-13, 11:37 PM   #15
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I suggest ditching the flat repair kit and buying and installing Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires instead. I've tried a few puncture resistant tires throughout the years and I've never seen such an impervious tire. I went from getting a flat at least twice a month to not at all. They also are lasting a long time; still look brand new.


Regarding clipless vs toe-clips: How are your knees? Or do you have knee problems in your family? If so, I highly recommend clipless because they offer knee-friendly float. Toe-clips, while convenient, don't offer float and may cause knee pain eventually. I learned this the hard way and had no idea what was up with my knee pain; once I went clipless my knee pain stopped nearly immediately.


Lights: I agree that one of the Chinese el-cheapo Crew headlamps is a great start. I personally use JetLites brand, but they're expensive and if you don't ride at night much the investment in a pricey set probably isn't warranted. Rear light should be a blinky at all times even during the day.


Rack: I concur with an earlier post; the topeak explorer and a compatible trunk bag are ideal. It's super-convenient to use that combo and you'll love it - trust me - I've installed that rack on both of my road bikes.


Have fun with your bike!
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Old 06-15-13, 07:28 AM   #16
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Regarding clipless vs toe-clips: How are your knees? Or do you have knee problems in your family? If so, I highly recommend clipless because they offer knee-friendly float. Toe-clips, while convenient, don't offer float and may cause knee pain eventually. I learned this the hard way and had no idea what was up with my knee pain; once I went clipless my knee pain stopped nearly immediately.
Actually clipless are often associated with knee problems - one particular pedal may have worked for you, but generalizing is a mistake. And they are entirely pointless for commuters except for fashion purposes - sports scientists have proved that cyclists don't create upstroke power and that the only time clipless off even slight power increases is during very hard standing sprints. Clipless eliminate a potential weak link in the foot muscles too, but that shouldn't matter to any commuter - you're just not pedalling long enough. The pinned BMX platform pedals someone mentioned - and which Rivendell recommend - are just as efficient, more convenient, and cut the chance of knee problems to a minimum.

Lots of links:

http://bicycles.stackexchange.com/qu...-pedal-systems

Last edited by meanwhile; 06-15-13 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 06-15-13, 07:29 AM   #17
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I suggest ditching the flat repair kit and buying and installing Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires instead. I've tried a few puncture resistant tires throughout the years and I've never seen such an impervious tire. I went from getting a flat at least twice a month to not at all. They also are lasting a long time; still look brand new.
They are also boat anchors. Marathon Supremes are almost as puncture proof and extremely fast. They cost more, but again they are very long lived.
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Old 06-15-13, 07:45 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by bkbloch View Post

5. FINGER BRAKES: I LOVE the finger brakes on my Felt, and thought of adding them to my commuter bike. I feel like it will help me sit up straighter, given that my drop bars put me kind of low to the ground.
You mean cross brakes - extra levers on the flat part of the bar? As long as they are set up carefully they should have no negative effects.

But it sounds to me as if your bars are too low - riding on your drops should put you at optimium height. If you are on the flats, a dropbar bike is serving as a secondrate flatbar one. Consider putting a higher stem on the bike or fitting a steerer extender and moving the drops up until the on-drops position feels right.

I'd also suggest fitting 28mm tyres if possible and koolstop pink pads - they'll brake better in the rain.
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Old 06-15-13, 10:01 AM   #19
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Actually clipless are often associated with knee problems
link please.

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and which Rivendell recommend
never mind.
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