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Must haves?

Old 05-17-19, 09:58 PM
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Must haves?

Do you guys have any must haves when you're commuting? I know the basics but is there some that you bring that's a game changer?
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Old 05-17-19, 10:03 PM
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The only must-have game changer is stashing a spare set of clothes at work, permanently. I always need it eventually.

Everything extra that I have on my bike, or carry with me, or equiped on the bike, is there for a pretty good reason but certainly not a game changer. Convenience, comfort. I ride the other bike 1/3 of the time, with none of it.
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Old 05-18-19, 07:42 AM
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I'm retired now, but I found a bike rain cape to be a must-have. I had tried various rain gear before the cape, and I would always sweat so much when wearing it that I got just as wet with as without. But a cape lets you stay cool and (more or less) dry at the same time. I never found rain pants that weren't too hot, so I would get wet below the knees when it poured, but otherwise the rain cape was the bee's knees, as my grand daddy used to say.
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Old 05-18-19, 07:48 AM
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  1. A bike.
  2. Method to fix a flat / inflate / be willing to walk if you have problem
  3. Way to carry what you need (pocket/pannier/backpack/saddlebag/trailer.
If you want to ride in the rain and don't like to get soaked, fenders and rain gear.
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Old 05-18-19, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Viich View Post
  1. A bike.
Lots of places you don’t even need that any more if you can get a city or dockless share bike.

but in the spirit of this thread, lights are what brought me to year round riding and not an occasional lark.
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Old 05-18-19, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by tclune View Post
I'm retired now, but I found a bike rain cape to be a must-have. I had tried various rain gear before the cape, and I would always sweat so much when wearing it that I got just as wet with as without. But a cape lets you stay cool and (more or less) dry at the same time. I never found rain pants that weren't too hot, so I would get wet below the knees when it poured, but otherwise the rain cape was the bee's knees, as my grand daddy used to say.
This. Exactly.
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Old 05-18-19, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 7Shifty View Post
Do you guys have any must haves when you're commuting? I know the basics but is there some that you bring that's a game changer?
In no particular order: A glasses-mounted mirror. An AirZound airhorn. And a change of clothes (and shoes) either kept at work or carried with. Lights. Fenders, especially a long one in the front with a pliable flap near the ground. Studded Snow tires in the winter, and a rain cape (see above).
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Old 05-18-19, 10:01 AM
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A “Plan B” for getting to work

This Plan B will be different for almost everyone, but you WILL find your bike unridable some morning...
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Old 05-18-19, 12:22 PM
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The only must haves are a bicycle. There are no must have accessories. Everything else needs to be selected based upon the persons personal preferences, their needs and their riding style.
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Old 05-18-19, 03:00 PM
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spare tube and c02 to inflate are my only must haves! Nothing worse than being beeped at by your work buddies as you walk a flat the rest of the way to work...
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Old 05-18-19, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by tclune View Post
I'm retired now, but I found a bike rain cape to be a must-have. I had tried various rain gear before the cape, and I would always sweat so much when wearing it that I got just as wet with as without. But a cape lets you stay cool and (more or less) dry at the same time. I never found rain pants that weren't too hot, so I would get wet below the knees when it poured, but otherwise the rain cape was the bee's knees, as my grand daddy used to say.
I fear this much as well. I've tried various combinations, but when it is a consistent, steady rain, my feet are going to get wet. I haven't used a cape, and probably won't. I will just have to live with what I have.
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Old 05-18-19, 04:54 PM
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A destination, hopefully pleasant.

Everything else is situational, even stuff for repairs. My commute is 4 miles, so my worst case scenario is walking 2 miles. I wear rain gear if it's actually raining when I leave for work, otherwise I usually risk it, depending on the forecast. I might also ride in my flip flops and carry my shoes in a plastic bag.
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Old 05-18-19, 08:52 PM
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Mirrors

Commuting and music
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Old 05-18-19, 09:11 PM
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Gumption
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Old 05-19-19, 04:57 PM
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A pair of disposable latex gloves. They only weigh a few grams and don't take up much space, but it sure makes a difference when changing a rear flat.
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Old 05-19-19, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I fear this much as well. I've tried various combinations, but when it is a consistent, steady rain, my feet are going to get wet. I haven't used a cape, and probably won't. I will just have to live with what I have.
If it's Summer and I know it's going to rain, instead of my SPD shoes, I'll wear my SPD sandals. That way, I don't have to dry my shoes for the ride next morning... If it's Spring or Fall, I'll use my shoe covers which does help quite a lot. For just a small drizzle or wet roads, I'll wear shoe caps so my shoes doesn't get wet (or barely).
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Old 05-19-19, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
The only must-have game changer is stashing a spare set of clothes at work, permanently. I always need it eventually.

Everything extra that I have on my bike, or carry with me, or equiped on the bike, is there for a pretty good reason but certainly not a game changer. Convenience, comfort. I ride the other bike 1/3 of the time, with none of it.
AND A PAIR OF UNDERWEAR! Few times I got to work only to find out I forgot to stash a underwear in my bag Being commando under dress pants is... special.
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Old 05-19-19, 08:57 PM
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it is very easy to slack off. and make excuses.

so set a goal...like ride mon,tue,wed, rain or shine. and have a plan. like have more than one bike commuter ready. buy extra sets of cycling cloths so u never run out of clean ones. set two alarm clocks...so u wake up early. no excuse.


think positviely. mental toughness is not innate, but can be trained. when you feel a negative thought about commuting, flip the switch in yur mind to think positively. visualize yurself riding into work, receiving praise and look of respect from fellow workers.

be courageous. you have omoments when you think you cannot do it. ask yurself if you will let fear n weaknesd win or are you going to triumph instead.h

Last edited by mtb_addict; 05-19-19 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 05-19-19, 09:25 PM
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For me the must-haves are:
  • A bike
  • A rack & pannier
  • A spare tube, and a pump, because even though it's only four and a quarter miles, that's farther than I would care to walk at the end of the day.
  • A helmet.
  • A tail light.
Optional items that I prefer to have with me:
  • A headlight. I never commute (to or from work) after dark but its flasher mode makes me more visible.
  • A bike computer because I like to keep track of mileage.
  • Gloves
  • Change of clothes.

In the winter I also mount fenders, but I remove them as the weather becomes more reliable.
I also use the bike for trips to the store, which can happen after dark. In those cases the front and rear light become mandatory, and my bottle blinky (side light) is the optional accessory that I much prefer having, for safety's sake. I do carry a multi-tool that I never need.

A lock would be on my list, but I leave mine at work.

I am a fair weather commuter. If it's raining I take the car to the light rail station. If it's clear, I take the bike.
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Old 05-19-19, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by blackieoneshot View Post
A pair of disposable latex gloves. They only weigh a few grams and don't take up much space, but it sure makes a difference when changing a rear flat.
I have been thankful that I found even 1 latex glove in my bag on more than one occasion. I also always keep a handkerchief with me to for dust or keep sun off my neck. I have used the handkerchief to wipe my hands (when I couldn't find a latex glove) and also to bandage another rider that had a bad fall.
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Old 05-20-19, 04:34 AM
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Must haves?
Originally Posted by 7Shifty View Post
Do you guys have any must haves when you're commuting? I know the basics but is there some that you bring that's a game changer?
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
Gumption
Indeed, @rumrunn6. In particular apropos of the title of this present thread, I have previously posted,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Extreme condition challenges--winter

...My watchword for Winter is “Gear and Gumption.”
From a different perspective on "must haves,", I have also posted to this thread, "Bicycling or not, what items do you take with you that you never leave home without?
Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Don't a lot of these things go without saying for the vast majority of people? Clothing (a jacket is clothing, too), footwear, keys, money, ID, cell phone etc.

It's probably more interesting to ask what non-standard things do people always have with them…It could also be interesting to ask which typically standard things do people usually NOT carry?.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I have a flat mesh black bag, about 8 x 6 x 3 inches I call my “clutch bag” with some of my non-standard items I take everywhere, including bike rides:

  • Nailclipper, I hate hangnails
  • Callus cushions and tape for a callus over my fourth right metatarsal bone; occasionally hurts walking or pedaling
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses with lens wipes and lens cleaner because I am so nearsighted. I was in a couple of bike crashes, and glasses got bent.
  • Mints for dry mouth
  • Hairbrush especially for helmet hair. I wear gel, and HH easily brushes out
I used to compulsively carry Chapstick after one windy ride long ago, but gave it up after a few years.
Washington Post
Sunday, December 14, 2008

Let's make a list of the important things you need before walking out the door: Wallet: Check. Cellphone: Check. Keys: Check. Lip balm?
You slap your back pocket. Nope. Rummage through your bag. Nada. Search the bedside table. Negative.

This is a problem. A huge, paralyzing problem. You are a lip balm addict, after all. And you are not alone.
Countless Facebook groups are dedicated to the "crackstick" in all its varieties: ChapStick, Blistex, Burt's Bees, Carmex. Any lip lubricant that comes in a tube or a tub.

There are online quizzes that measure how addicted you are to ChapStick. (Question: When you are wearing only a bathing suit, do you have ChapStick on you at all times?) And there is a self-help Web site, Lip Balm Anonymous (Lip Balm Anonymous), dedicated to helping lip balm addicts.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-20-19 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 05-20-19, 08:24 AM
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Game Changer?

Game changer to me means something that gives a distinct advantage over the "old way" of doing something. A competitive advantage in sports. An efficiency leap in accomplishing some task.

So, I'd say that, apart from the wealth of common sense given in the thread above, the game changing item(s) have been (for me):

- a bicycle cover that keeps the rubber/shifter hoods/saddle/tires out of the sunlight and sheds light rain. XPORT is the branding. Works wonders.

- prepositioning a stout chain and lock at work, so that I only must carry the key

- keeping a full sized floor pump in my office at work, for inevitable tire repairs before the ride home

- carrying the Pedro's tire bead jack in my panniers for those impossible to mount Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, in the rare event that I have to remove one and remount it. This was necessitated recently when I had a spoke broken at work and needed to replace a spoke nipple. The Schwalbe tire needed to come off first. Ugh.
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Old 05-20-19, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
AND A PAIR OF UNDERWEAR! Few times I got to work only to find out I forgot to stash a underwear in my bag Being commando under dress pants is... special.
Yep, skin-out change of clothes. I keep socks, belt and shoes even, in a file cabinet at my desk. It's rare nowadays but still happens that I forget something and when I do it could be anything.
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Old 05-20-19, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Game changer to me means something that gives a distinct advantage over the "old way" of doing something. A competitive advantage in sports. An efficiency leap in accomplishing some task.
Apropos of nothing, just want to blather... Back in college lo some 20 years ago I used to fly model sailplanes. Hand Launch Glider was my favorite event, the wingspan limit was a tiny 59" or 1.5M depending on continent, and lots of them were smaller. They were made of balsa sticks and heat shrink plastic, and thrown javelin style. Someone came up with the idea of gripping the wing tip, and then shortly after that putting a peg through the wing spar near the wing tip, and throwing them discus style. Really more hammer-toss, but discus is the name that stuck. This about doubled the launch height overnight and also allowed the plane to be caught and re-launched in a second, which is important for some timed events. The two enabling technologies were carbon fiber wing spars (for the strength) and computer radios (to have multiple trim settings), both of which had already been around for 10+ years but never combined in this way for this event. Free flight hand launch gliders are much smaller, like 20-24" wing span, and still launched like darts, and that is very ripe for the same revolution.


(not my photo, found on internet)
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Old 05-20-19, 11:26 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by jskita View Post
I also always keep a handkerchief with me to for dust or keep sun off my neck. I have used the handkerchief to wipe my hands (when I couldn't find a latex glove) and also to bandage another rider that had a bad fall.
I always ride with a bandana. It's like a mini towel, and you should always know where your towel (or bandana) is.
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