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I'm new and clueless and I apologize for that.

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I'm new and clueless and I apologize for that.

Old 04-18-16, 07:23 AM
  #1  
Grengar79
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I'm new and clueless and I apologize for that.

Hello. I知 new to the forums and joined primarily because this group comes across very knowledgeable and appear to be willing to help the biking newbie. I致e searched the forums and the thing that hit me hard is how many options there are here. I was trying to avoid this post because I知 sure it gets asked all the time but struggled to find anything that fit what I知 looking for. If I missed the right post I apologize.

So I知 in the market for a new bike and have done a little research and think I知 more confused now than I was previously. There is a local bike shop in town but I知 struggling to put as much money down on a bike as they are suggesting and really wanted a second opinion from this group. I知 being pushed towards $700 and up products. I don稚 have a major issue with that but again given that I知 new to this world I don稚 want to jump in without some second opinions. Other than the LBS we have all the same big box retailers which I would prefer not to buy from.
I知 looking for a bike mainly to help maintain fitness levels and ride to work on those rare days I知 allowed to wear jeans. I run about 20-25 miles a week for fitness but want to include biking as a way to ease some stress on my joints but still be able to maintain a good level of cardio. I live in a city that is very running/walking/biking friendly so during the summer a bike could be used as a primary means of getting around. Due to my job this means I would only use my bike as a means of transportation Fri-Sun. I live in the upper Midwest so bike riding season is about April-September and I do not plan on doing any riding at all when the weather turns cold and absolutely no winter/snow riding.

My wife is not a runner but I can get her on a bike from time to time so bonus there. 95% of all my riding will be on roads or well groomed trails (there is a route to work that is an unpaved walking/riding path). There are some bike trails nearby I would be interested in checking out but expect no serious trail riding or anything that would be considered rough riding. Basically if you could picture it on a website for mountain biking I won稚 go on it. I have no intentions of racing or using the bike for anything other than weekend commuting figure no more than 20 miles a day Fri-Sun. Last consideration I know nothing about bikes other than they have 2 wheels. I doubt I will be doing much maintenance on the bike itself (Thankfully the LBS does servicing) so a bike that does not require weekly/monthly work would be huge if such a thing exists.

So the question is what bikes (If any) check all the following categories?

Solid fitness bike
Could be a commuter a few times a week
Ability to handle light trail duty just for fun
Good solid all-rounder with as little upkeep as possible

So here is the dilemma that I知 facing. What kind of bike should I be looking at? What kind of price point will allow me to get a bike that meets the above criteria? Any brands I should be looking at or staying away from? Am I even providing the right info or asking the right questions?
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Old 04-18-16, 07:42 AM
  #2  
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Hi and welcome. You are correct that the people here are very knowledgeable and willing to help.

If you have the money spend it. The benefits of buying from the Local Bike Shop (LBS) is that they can help you with fit (size and type of bike), and when things go wrong with the bike (flats, cable adjustments)

You can save money buying used on craigslist, but you have to have some knowledge of bikes to know what you are looking for. Sometimes a friend that is a cyclist can help in this department, or you can post what city your in and people on the forum will look at craigslist in your area and recommend a bike. Still you need to have some basic understandings of bike workings.

For me as a totally clueless bike rider, I went to my local LBS, and they recommended a certain model and size (Fuji Absolute 3.0, 56 cm), and I bought it for around 500 dollars. It was sticker shock for me also, but it was totally worth it and I've ridden approximately 20, 000 miles on this bike with no major problems.

Slowly through reading this forum and getting a few books, I've learned a little about bike maintenance and such, and bought a rain bike from craigslist that I maintain myself. I still go to the for adjustments to my Fuji, or to just talk to the owner who is a great guy.

By establishing a relationship with the owner of the LBS, I can usually take my bike by there and he adjusts it while I wait and drink coffee.

Long answer I know, but I would say, pay the money and start riding, and very soon learn about gator skin tires and buy them
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Old 04-18-16, 08:08 AM
  #3  
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There are endless bikes styles to choose from. Your LBS is probably your best shot. They are training to listen to what you are looking for and then suggest a bike. I also suggest investigating seats while you are looking. They make a big difference of how much you love your bike after a long ride. =D
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Old 04-18-16, 08:18 AM
  #4  
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Buying from the LBS is definitely worth it. However, for what you describe, I would expect them to have some slightly cheaper options.
It sounds like you want a bike a a practical means of comfortable transportation that can also be a great fitness builder. You probably are looking more at the urban/fitness category bikes than "road" setups. The entry level bikes in that category that I've seen around here (Specialized Sirrus/Trek Allant) are in the 500-600 range at the base level.
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Old 04-18-16, 08:36 AM
  #5  
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If you are really turned off by the bikes shop, there are deals to be had on Craigslist, if you at least have a general idea what you want. There are generally "bought it, used it twice, and now it is taking up space in the garage and I want it gone" deals to be had on the hybrid/urban type bikes you sound like you would be gravitating towards. There was a Trek 7.2 by me a few weeks ago for $150, for example. One benefit to that route is that you can spend far less money, get something that gets you riding now, and then have a better idea later down the road in what you actually want in a bike if you go back to buy an upgrade.

As far as fit, I think that an intelligent person can get themselves close to what they need without the bike shop, especially on a more relaxed bike. The advice I got off another forum when I was looking for my first bike last year was that a shop can fit you much better, but my experience was that every shop I went into fit people by eyeing them up, pulling a bike out, and telling you to try and stand over it (unless you wanted to drop even more money on top of the cost of the bike).

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Old 04-18-16, 08:37 AM
  #6  
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I think a good bike for what you describe is the Fairdale Lookfar. Fairdale is a small company based in Austin Texas, and they design functional bikes that are well made. The Lookfar is a 7 speed bike with a single chainring in front so it requires very little maintenance.

Your local LBS may not stock them, but since Fairdale is not a proprietary brand they could order one for you. They are $499.

Here is a link:
2016 Lookfar | Fairdale Bikes
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Old 04-18-16, 09:16 AM
  #7  
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I ride pretty much the same as you do (with short tours thrown in from time to time), and I have a Marin San Rafael that I bought for about $450 at a LBS. I have been very happy with it. My opinion: you should be able to find something new from a LBS that suits your needs for less than $700, but probably not less than $400. I'd look at 'performance hybrids' or dual-sport models, which are not mountain bikes, but handle the gravel/crushed limestone/dirt paths pretty well.

This is my bike:

http://www.marinbikes.com/us/bikes/d...san-rafael-ds2

The only mods I've made are to add bar-ends, switch out the pedals (still platforms, but the original ones were cheap/flimsy) and add a rear rack. It does everything I ask it to, and is comfortable enough to ride 50 mi in a day. I'm not fast -- but I'm pretty sure that's more about me than the bike :-)
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Old 04-18-16, 09:48 AM
  #8  
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Narrow down to the Brands to what they sell in your favorite local Bike shop.

That is a good First Clue.. they will help you after the sale, too.

after that the discussion can Be types within the range offered

amongst the Brands and Models You can Test ride In person ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-18-16 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 04-18-16, 10:01 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Grengar79 View Post
Hello. I知 new to the forums and joined primarily because this group comes across very knowledgeable and appear to be willing to help the biking newbie. I致e searched the forums and the thing that hit me hard is how many options there are here. I was trying to avoid this post because I知 sure it gets asked all the time but struggled to find anything that fit what I知 looking for. If I missed the right post I apologize.

So I知 in the market for a new bike and have done a little research and think I知 more confused now than I was previously. There is a local bike shop in town but I知 struggling to put as much money down on a bike as they are suggesting and really wanted a second opinion from this group. I知 being pushed towards $700 and up products. I don稚 have a major issue with that but again given that I知 new to this world I don稚 want to jump in without some second opinions. Other than the LBS we have all the same big box retailers which I would prefer not to buy from.
I知 looking for a bike mainly to help maintain fitness levels and ride to work on those rare days I知 allowed to wear jeans. I run about 20-25 miles a week for fitness but want to include biking as a way to ease some stress on my joints but still be able to maintain a good level of cardio. I live in a city that is very running/walking/biking friendly so during the summer a bike could be used as a primary means of getting around. Due to my job this means I would only use my bike as a means of transportation Fri-Sun. I live in the upper Midwest so bike riding season is about April-September and I do not plan on doing any riding at all when the weather turns cold and absolutely no winter/snow riding.

My wife is not a runner but I can get her on a bike from time to time so bonus there. 95% of all my riding will be on roads or well groomed trails (there is a route to work that is an unpaved walking/riding path). There are some bike trails nearby I would be interested in checking out but expect no serious trail riding or anything that would be considered rough riding. Basically if you could picture it on a website for mountain biking I won稚 go on it. I have no intentions of racing or using the bike for anything other than weekend commuting figure no more than 20 miles a day Fri-Sun. Last consideration I know nothing about bikes other than they have 2 wheels. I doubt I will be doing much maintenance on the bike itself (Thankfully the LBS does servicing) so a bike that does not require weekly/monthly work would be huge if such a thing exists.

So the question is what bikes (If any) check all the following categories?

Solid fitness bike
Could be a commuter a few times a week
Ability to handle light trail duty just for fun
Good solid all-rounder with as little upkeep as possible

So here is the dilemma that I知 facing. What kind of bike should I be looking at? What kind of price point will allow me to get a bike that meets the above criteria? Any brands I should be looking at or staying away from? Am I even providing the right info or asking the right questions?
You can get entry level gear for less than $500 but $700 gets you a better bike. Usually that means a somewhat lighter frame, and components one or two levels up from entry level. Better components are lighter, work better, and last longer, with less need for frequent adjustment than entry level. And even at the $700 price point, there are a lot of compromises to the stock build. So the bike salesmen are not necessarily steering you wrong for what you want to do. Put another way, $400 to $500 is entry level, $700 gets you something a little nicer, and $1,000 gets you something even nicer. Can you tell the difference between a $1,500 bike, a $1,000 bike, a $700 bike, and a $500 bike? Don't know, but I sure can.

Some say look for used, and this is not a bad idea if you know what to look for. It is a good deal to get a 3 or 4 year old bike that fits you with just a couple of hundred miles on it. Less of a good deal if the bike is beaten up and the owner is just cleaning out his garage. So to go that route, you need to know your bicycle brands, models, and year, as well as your size. If you don't know these things, perhaps you could consult a friend who knows bikes who might be able to sort through the listings and help you out.

Though I keep hearing about these great Craigslist deals, I haven't scored one in a very long time. Too often, I see newer bikes selling for not much less than retail or alternately, really old beat up bikes selling for more than I think they are worth, given the cost to make them road worthy.

Last edited by MRT2; 04-18-16 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 04-18-16, 10:36 AM
  #10  
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What is the specific bike that your shop is suggesting?
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Old 04-18-16, 10:43 AM
  #11  
Grengar79
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Wow thanks for the feedback folks. Just to clarify a few things. I do not have a problem with my LBS this is a second opinion process more than anything. I was a little surprised to be shown $700 + bikes as I was expecting to be in the $400-500 range. I can afford the bike just didn't want to spend money on an Audi when I would have been just as happy with the VW (to use an analogy I actually understand).

If you all think a $700 bike is or could be demonstrably better than a $500 bike I wont rule it out with out giving some serious thought and additional research.

The LBS carries several brands but their biggest 3 are:

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/

Surly Bikes

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US?shop=1686500

Anything in these 3 brands that are great options or that I should stay away from? anything jump out to you fine folks at watch outs with any of these brands? Like I said prior I'm 100% a novice. I know nothing about the above mentioned companies other than Trek is based in Minnesota and I only know that because I'm local.

The other consideration I'm curious about is whether its better to find a $400-500 bike and add a couple of hundred dollars to it to make it exactly what you want to sacrifice on a few things and get the better more expensive bike one level up? Is customizing a bike even a consideration for my intended purpose?
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Old 04-18-16, 10:45 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
What is the specific bike that your shop is suggesting?

If I remember correclty something along these lines I think.

7.4 FX Disc | FX | Fitness bikes | City bikes | Bikes | Trek Bikes
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Old 04-18-16, 10:53 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Grengar79 View Post
If I remember correclty something along these lines I think.

7.4 FX Disc | FX | Fitness bikes | City bikes | Bikes | Trek Bikes
They are doing right by you. You can spend less. The 7.2 model is less than $500. But the 7.3 gets you to an aluminum fork instead of high-tensile steel. Frankly, I avoid anything with high-tensile steel in it. The 7.4 model gets you to a carbon fork, which many riders prefer due to lighter weight and -- I am told -- a propensity to absorb shocks from the pavement. Having nine-speeds on the 7.4 is a plus as well. Nothing wrong with eight speeds per se, but nine is more in the mainstream, and it's easy to find high-end nine-speed components should you end up with upgradeitis.

I wouldn't choose the 7.4 for mountain-bike singletrack style riding. But I'd ride it on a smooth dirt path, or a gravel path like a rails-to-trails type thing.

If you visit the hybrid forum here, I think you'll find many people in that forum who ride and like the Trek FX series.
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Old 04-19-16, 06:05 AM
  #14  
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Thanks again for all the help folks. Researched some of the things discussed here along with some private messages I received. I went back into the LBS last night and was helped by a different seller. I think the first person I worked with had a pretty good idea of the right bike and steered me right there. Last night the seller asked for a price range and the purpose and took a great deal of time going over the different styles and options. It was a fun experience and ultimately extremely educational. The seller even grabbed a bike off the rack and took a couple of rides with me to explain some of the gearing options on the different bikes and the pluses and minuses of the bikes on different terrains. after about 2 hours of trying stuff out I was between a Specialized and the Trek 7.4 (not the one the other seller showed me so I was wrong above). Kind of agonized over that decision for a bit and ultimately went with the 7.4. Took it home and put about 6 miles on it (was getting dark) and think its going to be perfect for my intended uses.
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Old 04-19-16, 06:10 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Grengar79 View Post
...Took it home and put about 6 miles on it (was getting dark) and think its going to be perfect for my intended uses.
We love this outcome! Congrats on the new bike.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:10 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
They are doing right by you. You can spend less. The 7.2 model is less than $500. But the 7.3 gets you to an aluminum fork instead of high-tensile steel. Frankly, I avoid anything with high-tensile steel in it. The 7.4 model gets you to a carbon fork, which many riders prefer due to lighter weight and -- I am told -- a propensity to absorb shocks from the pavement. Having nine-speeds on the 7.4 is a plus as well. Nothing wrong with eight speeds per se, but nine is more in the mainstream, and it's easy to find high-end nine-speed components should you end up with upgradeitis.

I wouldn't choose the 7.4 for mountain-bike singletrack style riding. But I'd ride it on a smooth dirt path, or a gravel path like a rails-to-trails type thing.

If you visit the hybrid forum here, I think you'll find many people in that forum who ride and like the Trek FX series.
Hi tensile steel is heavy, but maybe more comfortable than aluminum as a fork material. My preference would be a cro moly steel fork, which is what I use on all my bikes.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:13 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Grengar79 View Post
Wow thanks for the feedback folks. Just to clarify a few things. I do not have a problem with my LBS this is a second opinion process more than anything. I was a little surprised to be shown $700 + bikes as I was expecting to be in the $400-500 range. I can afford the bike just didn't want to spend money on an Audi when I would have been just as happy with the VW (to use an analogy I actually understand).

If you all think a $700 bike is or could be demonstrably better than a $500 bike I wont rule it out with out giving some serious thought and additional research.

The LBS carries several brands but their biggest 3 are:

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/

Surly Bikes

Trek Bikes - The world's best bikes and cycling gear | Trek Bikes

Anything in these 3 brands that are great options or that I should stay away from? anything jump out to you fine folks at watch outs with any of these brands? Like I said prior I'm 100% a novice. I know nothing about the above mentioned companies other than Trek is based in Minnesota and I only know that because I'm local.

The other consideration I'm curious about is whether its better to find a $400-500 bike and add a couple of hundred dollars to it to make it exactly what you want to sacrifice on a few things and get the better more expensive bike one level up? Is customizing a bike even a consideration for my intended purpose?
Trek is based in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:21 AM
  #18  
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That's a really nice bicycle you got yourself. Congrats.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:29 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Grengar79 View Post
Thanks again for all the help folks. Researched some of the things discussed here along with some private messages I received. I went back into the LBS last night and was helped by a different seller. I think the first person I worked with had a pretty good idea of the right bike and steered me right there. Last night the seller asked for a price range and the purpose and took a great deal of time going over the different styles and options. It was a fun experience and ultimately extremely educational. The seller even grabbed a bike off the rack and took a couple of rides with me to explain some of the gearing options on the different bikes and the pluses and minuses of the bikes on different terrains. after about 2 hours of trying stuff out I was between a Specialized and the Trek 7.4 (not the one the other seller showed me so I was wrong above). Kind of agonized over that decision for a bit and ultimately went with the 7.4. Took it home and put about 6 miles on it (was getting dark) and think its going to be perfect for my intended uses.
A solid choice. You will ride a lot further than 6 miles in the next couple of months.

Make sure you have the things you need to stay on the road. Helmet, tire levers, spare tube, floor pump, frame pump or CO2 cartridges, etc...

Last edited by MRT2; 04-19-16 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:58 AM
  #20  
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Congratulations! Not only did you get a good bike but it sounds like you found a FANTASTIC bicycle shop too.

May the wind be always at your back and your flats (tires) few.

Cheers
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Old 04-19-16, 12:09 PM
  #21  
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Yeah so I was all squared away until about an hour ago. So the LBS called about 45 min ago to inform me that for the next 30 days any accessories/clothing/parts are 50% including bike work. So I left yesterday with just the bike. I'm not planning on competing with the bike or anything so doubt I need any clothing. Other than that I'm back to cluelessville. Are there any accessories/parts for my bike that I should be looking at during the next 30 days? the only thing I could think of off the top of my head was a water bottle holder and a luggage rack thing.
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Old 04-19-16, 12:21 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Grengar79 View Post
Are there any accessories/parts for my bike that I should be looking at during the next 30 days?
Water bottle holder and bottle? Do you have those yet?

A portable pump, spare tube, and tire levers, and maybe a seat-bag to hold the tube when you're on rides. Or maybe a CO2 system instead of a pump. Just think about some sort of solution for when you're riding and get a flat tire.

Lights, maybe? Do you plan to ride at night?

A pleasant-sounding bell might be handy to alert walkers on bike paths.

Bling, maybe? I recently put an anodized purple seat clamp, bottle bolts, and valve caps onto my new bike. Whimsical of me. But fun!

A floor pump for home?
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Old 04-19-16, 01:18 PM
  #23  
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Location: Wisconsin
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Bikes: 2012 Salsa Casseroll, 2009 Kona Blast, 1997 Bianchi Advantage, 1994 Trek 930.

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Originally Posted by Grengar79 View Post
Yeah so I was all squared away until about an hour ago. So the LBS called about 45 min ago to inform me that for the next 30 days any accessories/clothing/parts are 50% including bike work. So I left yesterday with just the bike. I'm not planning on competing with the bike or anything so doubt I need any clothing. Other than that I'm back to cluelessville. Are there any accessories/parts for my bike that I should be looking at during the next 30 days? the only thing I could think of off the top of my head was a water bottle holder and a luggage rack thing.
I would divide these into 1. things you need now, and 2. things you will eventually need or want. The first group of things is essential for safety and keeping your bike on the road. Tires lose air so, unless you live right next to a gas station, you will need a pump. Then, you should have the ability to change a flat on the road, hence the need for a spare tube, tire levers, and frame pump or CO2. If you are out any length of time riding, hydration is important, hence the need for a water bottle and bottle cage.

Now, why should you get a trunk rack or other way to transport a bike? Lots of reasons. You may want to ride somewhere that is too far from your house to ride. Or you might have a mechanical problem and need to bring your bike in for service. A commuter rack mounts to the back of your bike, and is useful if you want to carry stuff with you on your ride. Same with a trunk bag or panniers. A trunk bag is useful for taking a bunch of stuff you might need for a day, panniers are more useful for multi day rides. Lock is self evident. If you leave your bike unattended for even a few minutes, you should lock it up. Lights are required if you ride at all at night. Fenders are good if you ride in the rain. (they will keep you from getting sprayed with water up your back) Cycling gloves reduce hand fatigue and protect the hands if you fall. They also help with your grip in hot weather. Depending on the weather, you can buy winter or summer gloves. I would never ride without some sort of eye protection. Nobody likes getting a bug or debris in the eyes. Sunglasses are fine. Clear safety glasses work well on overcast days. Headband under the helmet for hot days to soak up sweat and keep out of eyes. Winter headsweat in cold weather under helmet to keep the head warm and soak up the sweat. Cycling shorts are a must have for me. Nothing worse than chafing, which can be a problem for some when riding in regular shorts and cotton underwear. I never ride in cotton shirts, so technical shirts or better, a cycling jersey is a must have for longer rides. Clipless pedals and shoes are something many cycling enthusiasts use. Keeps your feet on the pedals when you are riding, but easy exit with a twist of the foot, so safer than toeclips. A windbreaker is something you might already have but even if you ride only in the spring and summer, you might have an overcast day.
So to repeat:

1. Helmet, spare tube, tire levers, multitool, floor pump, frame pump or CO2 cartridges, small seatbag, water bottle cages, water bottles.

2. Some way to transport your bike (without having to remove the wheel and stuff it in the trunk or hatchback.), commuter rack, trunk bag/panniers, lock, lights, fenders, gloves, eye protection, headband, cycling shorts, technical shirt or cycling jersey, clipless pedals/shoes, windbreaker.
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