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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 09-04-09, 02:50 AM   #1
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what do you carry to work? please reply

Hi my names karl and im an industrial design student at university
im designing a commuter bike like many more before me

but i need to find out what items people carry to work or study.
whats in your bags? ie computer, books, clothes, food.

the more info the merrier.
and also if you have any ideas for a commuter bike, what do you want to see in a commuter bike would be gladly taken on board
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Old 09-04-09, 04:03 AM   #2
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I used to carry a laptop but fortunately I don't need to any more. You may find that carrying a laptop is fairly common. Other than that, change of clothes (including shoes), toiletries.

The things that are always on my bike that may or may not be work related:
*small front bag for wallet, phone, badge, camera, map.
*rear commuter bags for clothes, tools, toiletries, shoes, food, stove.

I commute 65min to work and about 90min home. I usually take the 'long way home' so I always carry my fuel cell in my 3rd bottle cage and stove in one of my rear bags.

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Old 09-04-09, 04:50 AM   #3
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I haven't bothered to put racks on my Tricross Comp yet, so I carry a small backpack with clothes (I leave my shoes at work), towel, body/hair wash, tube, multi-tool, phone, wallet, keys, iPod, and food if I'm taking my lunch that day. Probably a granola bar or Clif bar too.

On days I have to bring my laptop home, I just slide it in with the clothes/towel. I keep an extra power cord at home.

I wouldnt' carry much more even if I had a rack. I'd like to have a camera with me, but it's not allowed in the buildings where I work and I can't leave it on the bike.
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Old 09-04-09, 04:53 AM   #4
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I carry scrubs, running shorts and t shirt, bike lock, 2 tubes, batteries, two tire levers, 2 AAA batteries, chain lube, 2 mechanics rags (for hands after changing tires) and that is all. Of course I ahve a water bottle and lights.
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Old 09-04-09, 05:03 AM   #5
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I carry my lunch, wallet, phone, sunglasses, work badge, ipod, spare batteries, bike tools, spare tube, pump, and my bike lock. Sometimes I bring extra clothes to stash in my locker at work (or take them home to be washed). I use a trunk bag, unless I need to carry a week's worth of clean clothes. In that case, I use my touring bike with full panniers.

As for the bike itself, what is ideal depends on one's individual needs. My commute is 33km each way (about 20 miles), so I want a reasonably fast bike. I don't need a carbon fiber road bike by any means, but I'm not going to ride an upright 3-speed either. I ride year round too, so disc brakes and an internally geared hub would be nice. Of course, fenders and puncture resistant tires are standard on commuters. Chain guards and kickstands are optional. Good lighting is necessary too, but most commuters already have lights so the bike doesn't need to come with them.
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Old 09-04-09, 05:10 AM   #6
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Okay, here you are..

The saddlebags themselves carry a tool kit, spare tubes, pump and various items for the bike itself.

When actually commuting the front cargo rack carries a backpack that has my tootbrush, deodorant, various small belongings that I might want. The small black duffel up front usually rides in the large blue duffel on the back. The black duffel carries work clothes and shoes. The blue one carries rain suit, various hats and gloves and any other weather related gear.

When I grocery shop, or anything like that, then the groc get spread between the various sacks.
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Old 09-04-09, 05:11 AM   #7
Waiting to commute...
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I've got a waterproof side pannier bag, the Ortlieb one, in which I squeeze my raincoat and my briefcase. No need to take the laptop unless I travel but that'll be mostly off-bike anyway
In terms of bike setup: 28" 27-speed trekking bike with semi-slicks, fenders, battery light holders front and back (only used during winter actually, thinking about a hub dynamo as upgrade this fall). I don't take tools or spare tubes. If I had to take a basic set, I'd take a tube, tire levers, and a Co2 capsule to inflate. I commute from one end of town to the other which takes me about 25 minutes.

I do occasionally commute on a singlespeeder (city's pretty flat) with my briefcase's flap over the top tube converting it to a frame bag. Works pretty good, you don't have a sweaty back and it's out of the way while riding.

Good luck with your project mate and keep us posted!
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Old 09-04-09, 05:14 AM   #8
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Clothes, Toiletries and 160Gb Hard Drive all in a back pack.

I leave towel and shoes at work. Lunch is sandwiches so no real space issues there.
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Old 09-04-09, 05:20 AM   #9
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Old 09-04-09, 05:25 AM   #10
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My commute is about an hour each way, and I have shower facilities at the gym very close to my office. Here is what I carry and where:
Seat Bag: Multi-tool, 2 tire levers, spare tube, patch kit, CO2 inflator and 2 cartridges, chain lube, Go Towel.
Rear Pannier Set: (Note that this is a pannier set made for commuiters that folds out into a garment bag) Dress Shirt, business suit, underwear, socks, toiletries including razor, laptop, notebook (regular old 3-ring binder type) wallet, cellphone, belt.
Jersey Pockets: House Keys
Water Bottle Cage: 16 oz water bottle.
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Old 09-04-09, 05:39 AM   #11
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Design requirements

Commuter bike should carry:
  • 2 spare tubes
  • 3 tire levers
  • frame pump
  • multi-tool
  • lock
  • keys
  • wallet
  • lunch-sized tupperware container
  • laptop computer
  • water bottle
  • banana
  • change of clothes
  • a loaf of baggette bread picked up on the way home

Other design requirements that every non-cyclist who designs a commuter bike misses:
  • fenders. absolutely required.
  • easy tube changes
  • must fit 35mm studded tire
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Old 09-04-09, 05:47 AM   #12
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Besides my repair kit, I carry clothes (jeans, t-shirt, undies, socks), breakfast and coffee. Shoes stay at work.
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Old 09-04-09, 05:59 AM   #13
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from previous post...a stove? cool,

I carry pretty much what has been mentioned (16+ miles each way, an hour commute, very rural) I feel I need to be able to cobble together a repair so I make it to school before kids do so I have two extra tubes, tools (including chain tool) duct tape, pump etc.) Lock. (I leave the kryptonite at school but have a cable for quick stops at stores on way in/out) I have a dry bag stuffed in the cheap panniers with teaching clothes (minus the shoes and belt) big leftover containers for lunch, occasional papers. Occasionally I need to bring odd items (like potatoes for a lab, supplies like bags of mints, light bulbs, water samples, containers of earthworms, etc.) Rain gear, and often have to stuff extra layers that were needed in early am but not on the ride home into the bags as well. Wouldn't have to do this if the lights were permanently attached. I have keys and cell phone in outer pockets. Occasionally snacks too.
Oh and a plastic bag that I tie on the seat if it looks like rain so I don't get a wet tush on ride home.

Hmm... I think I need to simplify some.

The biggest bother I'd love to engineer a system is how to get everything (lights, water bottle, blinky, panniers) and then back on quickly (locked up outside) it takes a time when its cold and I'm no longer generating heat.

I have plenty of extra reflective bits on fenders and wheels with reflective side walls as well. I also got a bike that would accommodate wide tires and spikes.
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Old 09-04-09, 06:36 AM   #14
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I carry as little as possible, and I get the sense that my fellow city commuters are doing the same. What that means depends a lot on the nature of one's job and the work facilities, though, so it's hard to generalize: some of us are lucky enough to be able to wear whatever we want at work, so it's simpler for us than for people who need to dress like grownups. I don't get the sense that most people carry a ton of fixit gear -- you're in a city, there are many bike shops and also public transit, so there's less need to be able to repair it right on the spot with gear you have on hand. But I'm not peering into people's bags either.
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Old 09-04-09, 07:07 AM   #15
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I have a long commute so I feel like I bring lots of stuff. I think that commuter bike design will be very different for short vs long distance commutes.

I bring a small assortment of bike tools (mainly patches, spare tube, tire levers, multi tool allen wrench thing, mini pump, bike lock), bike computer, camelbak for water, food for the ride (I get so hungry when I ride), things to clean up myself at work, work clothes, folders with whatever work documents I need to carry back and forth, lunch for work, rain jacket, lights, and I think that's it.

It feels like a lot of stuff, but I suppose I do use it all. I could pack better and maybe condense to a trunk bag, but then it feels stuffed so I prefer to use 2 rear pannier so I can be sure to easily and quickly pack stuff and still have a little room for some of the random farmer stands that I am starting to find on my route home.
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Old 09-04-09, 07:29 AM   #16
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All in a medium Osprey Atmos 35 backpack:
Lunch, Nalgene water reservoir, spare tube, tire patches, CO2 inflater with one cylinder, plastic tire irons, headlamp, a couple of blinking reflectors, sun and morning eyeglasses, eye drops/rinse, shirt and shorts, soft briefcase with PDA cell phone, camera, morning paper, work papers, mail from home, prescription meds, pens, etc.

The only items I have attached to my bike are a mirror, one water bottle cage, air pump, tail light, removable fenders, bike computer.

My commute to work is less than 13 miles one-way across a toll bridge and mainly downhill.

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Old 09-04-09, 07:34 AM   #17
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Flat kit, frame pump, water, t shirt, newspaper, wallet, cell phone, sometimes lunch. All in a small messenger bag or in small rack bag.
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Old 09-04-09, 08:33 AM   #18
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I carry my lunch, a change of clothes, wallet, keys, passkey for work, mobile phone, Palm Pilot, mp3 player, my lock, water bottle, some toiletries and a hand towel for shower/cleaning up when I get to work, as well as my meager collection of bike tools, mini pump, tube and patch kit. Rear blinkie on back of bike, headlight for front (will use/carry once it gets darker earlier). All other items crammed into backpack (but this and this are on my Amazon wishlist... how much nicer miy ride could be with these!)
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Old 09-04-09, 08:58 AM   #19
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I keep a pair of shoes, and shampoo/soap stocked in a locker @ work.

My trunk bag carries:
Oatmeal/Cliff Bars/Other Snacks
Change of clothes.
Spare tube and associated tools.

About once a week I throw a pannier on to bring in a fresh towel and a new book to read on my breaks.
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Old 09-04-09, 09:16 AM   #20
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Computer, paperwork, clothes, lunch (yeah shoes stay at the office, along w/ spare clothes in case I forget)

I cannot carry my computer on days I ride fixed gear (no rack yet) 'cause that bag I use can't hold the computer, clothes, and lunch.
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Old 09-04-09, 09:20 AM   #21
cowboy, steel horse, etc
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Today, a quart of soup in a half gallon jar, a 24oz orange soda, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, clean socks, pump, levers, folding road tire, innertube, patch kit, about 3 dollars in quarters, a half-inch thick folder full of 8.5x11" papers, U-Lock.
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Old 09-04-09, 09:23 AM   #22
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Tools, lock, spare tubes, pump, clothes, laptop, breakfast and lunch, water, other various small sundry items.
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Old 09-04-09, 09:59 AM   #23
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cinnamon roll

Sometimes lunch

Not necessarily in order of importance.
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Old 09-04-09, 10:48 AM   #24
Pedaled too far.
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Lets see, I use a JanSport "Big Student" backpack with 5 pockets. It gets hooked over the back of the seat of my Bacchetta Giro 20 or worn when I ride my Specialized Hard Rock. It has a modified reflectorized safety vest as a cover.

1st Pocket - 4 AA batteries, 3 pens, a tube of lip balm, two reflective pant straps and a pair of ear buds.
2nd Pocket - Sunblock, Sunglasses and another pen
3rd Pocket - Cell Phone, Charger and a data stick
4th Pocket - Kryptonite U Lock
5th Pocket - 2 local weekly papers, folder with paper pad in it, 1 plastic grocery bag with spare tires(20" and 700cc for the recumbent and a 26" for the Hard Rock), 1 plastic grocery bag with pump, patch kit, tire levers, 1 plastic grocery bag with another pen, calculator, 8 bus schedules and a baggie and rubber band to put over my headlamp if I need to ride in the rain, 1 plastic shopping bag with spare dress shirt and underwear for work, and a curly cable lock.
Mesh Pocket - one water bottle from the Community Bicyclist.

In addition to this I may need a raincoat, or multiple layers of clothes.

I keep my rear blinkie on my helmet.

Both my commuting bikes are equipped with street slicks, racks, fenders, lights, reflectors. Neither has a bike computer.

The only thing I would change would be the saddle on the Hard Rock. Seems like they have fitting a bike down to an art, but fitting a saddle is a complete mystery that they say just keep trying them till you find one that fits. That doesn't make sense. I think that people havent worked hard enough on that problem.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 09-04-09, 11:18 AM   #25
You gonna eat that?
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This problem has already been solved in a variety of ways and they are already for sale in bike shops. I'm surprised at the number of times this comes up. There is no one right answer.
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.

Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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