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Commuting Newbie. Lots of questions.

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Commuting Newbie. Lots of questions.

Old 08-15-05, 08:49 AM
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neopipil
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Commuting Newbie. Lots of questions.

Last week was my first week of commuting. Actually, I only did three days last week but I will be able to commute at least 4 days a week to work.

It is time for me to buy spare tubes, a pump and anything else that will help me repair a flat on the road. I want to order these things online but after looking at the different sites that sell these items I have a few questions.

Are all tubes the same? Should I be looking to buy a specific brand?

How do I determine my tire size. The tires says something like 26x49/54 or something like that. Is my tire size 26x49 and how does that affect what tube a I need to buy.

I need suggestions on a pump that I can carry in my backpack.

Do I need any other tool to change a tube on the road?

Do you have any suggestions on securing my seat without having to remove it? Currently, I take it with me but I'd like to buy a lock to secure it to the frame. It would have to be a thin wire with lock because a standard krytonite wire and lock will not work because it is too thick to pass through underneath the seat.

Thanks in advance for your help. These are newbie questions so your patience is appreciated.

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Old 08-15-05, 08:55 AM
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Just buy a 26" Mountain Bike tube. And get one with the Slime in it to help prevent flats. The extra weight won't matter on a commuter. The skinny valves are "Presta" and they fatter valves are "Shaeffer" (sp?)

Co2 Pumps with cartridges are nice because they can fill a tube instantly, but making sure you have spare cartridges with you can get annoying. I carry one but have a mini pump as a backup. If you go that route, buy the cartridges by the case at walmart.

You will need a couple plastic tire irons, they usually come in a set of 3. And pick up a patch kit. I like the self stick ones because you don't have to wait for glue to dry.
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Old 08-15-05, 09:04 AM
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Forget the tire irons. Get yorself a Speed Lever. Can't vouch for its effectiveness on high-pressure skinny roadie tires, but on my mountain bike commuter, it is fast fast fast and so easy.

https://www.bikeworld.com/components/...pid=772&cat=17

Easily the best accessory I've bought for my bike.

I run a thin little double-ended cable through the seat bars and onto my u-lock. Could be cut, but who's going to bother with tools for a seat? (he asked hopefully)
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Old 08-15-05, 11:20 AM
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Check with your local bike shop (LBS) and see if they offer any classes in emergency roadside repair. If not, practice changing a tube once at home before you have to on the side of the road.

Any small pump will do for 26" tires (less pressure).
Any brand tubes will do. Just get the one that most closely matches your tire size.
Get a small toolkit or multi-tool. It will have some allen wrenches, screwdrivers, etc. that you might need roadside. Also be sure to get the tire irons or similar tool. The last thing you want to do is mess up your tire or rim using a screwdriver to remove the tire.

Good luck, and happy commuting. Three days/week is good. That's my goal. Anything more is icing on the cake.
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Old 08-15-05, 11:21 AM
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Also, be sure to carry $0.50 in your toolkit in case all else fails. You can always call for a ride! ;-)
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Old 08-15-05, 01:56 PM
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Thanks everyone for the advise. It is definitely very useful stuff.

The pump, patch kit and Speed Lever have been ordered plus a few other accesories.

I'll pick up the tubes from my LBS and while there I'll ask them if they have the rodside repair classes. I am not hopeful though. My LBS does not inspire confidence in me, but that is a different story.

I already have a multipurpose tool + an allen wrench set that I carry with me when biking.

In terms of communications, I carry a cell phone and spare change just in case.

With the new items that will arrive this week I will be all preped up for the commute.

Happy commuting everyone.
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Old 08-15-05, 11:24 PM
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Well, I always carry a spare innertube with me while commuting.
So I only have to change the innertube when one of my tyres run flat.
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Old 08-16-05, 03:08 AM
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I carry a spare (+ patch kit), but keep a spare at work and a couple at home.
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Old 08-16-05, 07:17 AM
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tubes are sized to fit the tire they will be in within some range. 26" or 559 (mm) refers to MTB tires. If you see numbers like 49 (mm) or 1.95" after the diameter these refer to the tire width. Just make sure you get the correct valve type (Schrader is what cars use Presta is the skinny one)
I recommend and carry a Topeak Road Morph portable pump. Its larger than most but has a fold out foot peg and a short hose that allows you to use the pump like a floor pump with out danger of stressing the valve. Plus it has a built in pressure gage which helps to know when you can stop.
You can add a cable lock to you arsenel to lock down you front wheel and seat. The OnGuard BullDog DT is a good Ulock that comes with a cable that can be used to secure your seat.
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Old 08-16-05, 07:42 AM
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Put a Allen Bolt in your seat... get rid of the Quick Release...60 cents

Stick a "Valve Adaptor" that allows you to use a Schrader pump on a Presta valve tube... 99 cents

Smile on your face while riding.... PRICELESS
 
Old 08-16-05, 08:21 AM
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Good suggestions and recommendations from all. If you are really smart, you will find and attend a beginner maintenance and roadside emergency class from your local bike shop. My son-in-law did that and learned more in two hours than I learned in my first year of commuting. And he didn't have to learn any of it the hard way.

If you aren't up for that then the only thing that I could add...and it is probably the best advice that I could give you...is to take a few minutes over a weekend and actually practice changing a tire. Just let the air out of one of your tires, remove the wheel from the bike and replace the tube with a new one. Use the tools that you will be carrying on your bike. You will learn pretty quickly that there are a few tricks. And you will be a lot more comfortable when you have to do it for real out on the road.

Hope this helps!
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Old 08-16-05, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by levensnevel
Well, I always carry a spare innertube with me while commuting.
So I only have to change the innertube when one of my tyres run flat.
I used this method too, until I got two flats in one day. We all know Murphy, it only happens if you don't repair the inner tube before you put it back in the bag.

Good Luck, Dave
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Old 08-16-05, 08:00 PM
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My flat kit consists of the following:

1 CO2 inflator
2 CO2 cartridges
1 spare tube
1 patch kit
1 frame pump
2 nylon tire levers
1 tire boot

Some people carry more, some less. You have to decide for yourself what to tote. At a bare minimum, you'd need a pump (or CO2) and a patch kit provided you can get your tire off without tire levers.

You really don't need a class to train you. Just sit down one day and practice changing tubes. After you do it a couple of times, you'll have it down. Here's a good reference: https://sheldonbrown.com/flats.html

I don't use glueless patches. Some have said they don't work as well as the glue type patches. Some people swear by them. I don't have any experience with the glueless ones so I can't comment on them. Whatever type you use, read the instructions that come with the kit.

Some CO2 inflators will only work with threaded cartridges. Some work with both. If you use one, make sure you buy one that works with both if you want to use the cheaper air rifle cartridges.

Last edited by dfw; 08-16-05 at 08:07 PM.
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