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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.

Hints for a new commuter

Old 04-07-22, 11:05 AM
  #1  
faisal12
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Hints for a new commuter

Hello
I am taking my bike to work for the first time in years tomorrow. Since I live in an area with hills it will be a workout but under 4 miles to get there, it will get sweaty, I am planning to take an extra shirt.

What do you pack when you commute to work?
Any hacks that a new commuter should know?

Thank you
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Old 04-07-22, 11:21 AM
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CliffordK
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Depending on security at your work, make sure you have a good LOCK.

I like to carry the spares that keep me on the road.

Pump, Spare tube or two, tire levers, chain tool, spoke wrench, etc. For a short commute, you can leave some stuff like spare tubes at work, and assume you can limp to the destination, then repair before the return trip.

A water bottle can be nice.
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Old 04-07-22, 12:13 PM
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maybe underwear too?
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Old 04-07-22, 12:13 PM
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sloppy12
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tube, pump, whatever tools. a lock if you need it. what ever you need for the weather.



take more food.
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Old 04-07-22, 12:30 PM
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Maybe consider wearing cycling clothes and extending the distance on the way home to make it your afternoon workout.

Dont race traffic lights. My most relaxing commutes were when I made an effort to go easy and not fight traffic, not race, not try to set a personal best time.
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Old 04-07-22, 02:59 PM
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Four miles may be getting to the edge of comfortable commuting in the summer, depending on where you live. Five miles was for me, so I learned to pack work clothes, ride in cycling clothes, and shower and change after I got to the office.

If your workplace doesn't have showers, baby wipes are adequate. Get to work, log in, check email, then take whatever clothes (shirt or a full change) to the handicap stall in the restroom. Wipe down, dress, and you don't stink or swelter the rest of the day.
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Old 04-07-22, 06:35 PM
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It's not really difficult. That's the best hint.

Shirt and lunch are good.

Some day you might want a patch kit or a spare tube. You can carry a pump or if there's a gas station on your route they have air. A lock or a chain.

You can add all kinds of complications, of course. Most of us do. If we are honest, it's for fun, to test our mettle in a not very dangerous way. Inclement weather and darkness. Not everyone goes out on a bike for those.
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Old 04-07-22, 07:18 PM
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Learn how to change a tube quickly, the only issues I had on my commute (18 miles each way) were occasional flats.
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Old 04-07-22, 07:38 PM
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Bring your work clothes and leave them at work. If your work has a shower, bring and leave your bath towel there too.
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Old 04-07-22, 08:15 PM
  #10  
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For storing the bike during the day while working, I have always had success taking it into the building. These days I keep it in my office. Or, if your building has some area with a concrete floor and machinery, maybe you can keep it there. That's going to be more secure than locked outside. Four miles is a nice distance, you will probably travel it in a time not much more than driving. If you leave in time to go slow on the way in that might help with sweat issues.
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Old 04-08-22, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by randallr View Post
For storing the bike during the day while working, I have always had success taking it into the building. These days I keep it in my office. Or, if your building has some area with a concrete floor and machinery, maybe you can keep it there. That's going to be more secure than locked outside. .
yeah, another reason I miss my last place. they had a loading dock. so I could park my bike in the loading area, either inside or outside the big loading dock doors (but always indoors under a roof & away from the elements & mischievous hands) & there was always a large piece of cardboard I could put the bike over, to drip dry, so no one had to clean the floor. that place was ideal. also featuring a boiler room to hang my wet clothes & 2 bathrooms, 1 w/ a shower! it was 13 miles ea. way so I totally took advantage. lucky for me one of the owners was an avid cyclist so he was very acceptable to everything. miss that guy so much & not just for those reasons
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Old 04-08-22, 08:24 AM
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So I went to and back work today. It was strenous because the city I am in is built on mountains. The first ride to work was harder and the streets are hilly. I go to work okay slightly sweaty. Good thing I pakced an extra tee. My bike was parked outside back ina small uncovered area that is used by smokers. The way back was joyful with lots of downhills. I really enjoyed it. I had my bike pump with me just in case. No flats.
Total milage today was 5. Though with elevation it makes it difficult.

Thank you for the recommendations everyone.
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Old 04-08-22, 06:23 PM
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Sweet. For those who can, bike commuting enriches life. You get a workout without having to go to the gym using time and money you'd normally be spending on car transport, and you access a source of joy, being outside regularly. I also love the sense of place - I get kind of nostalgic about my routes through our city.
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Old 04-08-22, 10:32 PM
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The pandemic furloughed me and I remain out of work but before I became an unemployed wastrel I commuted by bike from high school into my forties. That ride to and from work was probably my favorite part of my work-day. I miss it lol.
I’m glad you enjoy it as well.

Anyways, back when I needed to, I would carry inner tubes, tool roll and a change of socks.
At work, I had a messenger bag with a change of work clothes and a couple bucks.
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Old 05-23-22, 09:42 AM
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good ol' panniers and a rear rack to carry lunch/tools/patchkits and clothes! don't like having a sweaty back from wearing a backpack.
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Old 05-24-22, 11:56 AM
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My wife is the bike commuter, but since she is blind, I am her Captain on a tandem going inbound (4 mi.) and a solo rider going back home (4.5mi). She takes the bus home. She researches all her gear purchases: helmet, shorts, tops, shoes, etc. I already had most of that stuff from my solo riding days before meeting her. One recent purchase has been a clothing oriented pannier so she doesn't have to load her 40L backpack on the way in. We cannot leave a weeks worth of clothes at her worksite so everything she wears is packed out at each workdays end. Even after 'only' four hilly miles, she does a full change from bike clothes to work attire. When I get home after 8.5 miles I am soaked through, regardless of the season. At least I have my own shower and bedroom to change out in.

I consider Bontrager Hardcase Series 2 tires essentially flatproof. I do not carry tire levers, tubes or patches when we are on the tandem with the Bonties! Ride is comparable to any other clincher I have used (Schwalbe various models). I think Marathon Pluses to be overkill, but tire liners (Mr. Tuffy) can be used to good effect in 'normal tires' (Kenda Kwest, Schwalbe Big Apple). Try to avoid flats in the first place by using reinforced tires vs getting good at fixing flats. Many worksites are not in the best parts of town. A good lock is not good enough. A GREAT lock is the minimum OR a decent folding bike that can be stored unobtrusively in the office space. There's more but this is a start.
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Old 05-24-22, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jacobacl View Post
good ol' panniers and a rear rack to carry lunch/tools/patchkits and clothes! don't like having a sweaty back from wearing a backpack.
Waterproof panniers are money well spent (Ortlieb comes to mind.) Tried the backpack when I first bike commuted, it got old after awhile with the sweaty and strain on my back. I let my bike carry all the loads.
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Old 05-27-22, 12:11 PM
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Been commuting year round for…gosh almost twenty years now! I like to think of it as a little mini-adventure before and after work each day. I’ve settled on a medium sized messenger bag containing tubes, multi-tool and mini pump, which allows me to use any of my bikes without having to switch any on-bike gear. Good fenders are a must for at least one bike. Keep it up and best of luck!
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Old 05-27-22, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by frankenmike View Post
Good fenders are a must for at least one bike.
Just as a side note...any suggestions?
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Old 05-29-22, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by greasemonkey View Post
Just as a side note...any suggestions?
Iíve had good luck with SKS chromoplastic. Iím sure there are other good ones too.
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Old 06-01-22, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by frankenmike View Post
. . . I like to think of it as a little mini-adventure before and after work each day.
+1
also very satisfying knowing was not lazy today, feel a lot better at the end of the day, sleep better and have more energy next day waking up, getting up, getting going and doing it again next day 😂
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Old 06-03-22, 12:22 AM
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I think one of the best investments for your bike is to buy a set of Shawlbe Marathon Plus in the biggest tyre your bike can handle like the 700 x 38mm because the investment is better than a headache in having a puncture on your way to work.
Been using Schwalbe tyres on my touring bike for years because they have a puncture resistant band under the tread in which you'll be hard pressed pushing a tack into.....they also have good hard walled sides to stop splitting.

I too highly recommend Ortleib panniers to carry your stuff instead of backpacks and if later you get the urge for some touring, you've got the gear.

Cheers

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Old 07-25-22, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Dont race traffic lights. My most relaxing commutes were when I made an effort to go easy and not fight traffic, not race, not try to set a personal best time.
This. More than anything this, after all the other incidentals/logistics are worked out. If it is always a race it becomes frustrating and repetitive. Bikes should be fun, not a job after your job.....

Last edited by Smokinapankake; 07-25-22 at 04:54 PM.
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