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What do you take with you on your bike?

Old 03-11-13, 01:36 PM
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zeppinger
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What do you take with you on your bike?

Hi all,

I am a graduate student living car free in Michigan. I have a bad collar bone that doesnt carry weight very well which means that I am limited to shoulder bags. I also have to leave my bike parked outside on a large campus all day so I cant leave my tools on it. The shoulder bag means that I can not carry a ton of weight around all day without causing some sore back muscles and that situation is only going to get worse as I get older.

My question for you is what you think I should take with me on my rides? The ride to and from work is about 4 miles and takes me somewhere between 15-20 minutes. There are bus routes around with bike racks on them should something unfixable break but that means I would probably be late for something.

Right now I carry a bulky multi tool, a Topeak mini morph pump that is pretty light but does take up some space in the bag, as well as a patch kit and tire levers. Not to mention head and rear tail lights, a seat cover, and special tool to remove my antitheft wheel bolts.

I am thinking about ditching just all of that except for the lights and just deal with being late for class or whatever 1-2 days a year. I have yet to have a flat in Lansing and run reasonable heavy duty tires. On the other hand I also highly enjoy being independent and not taking the walk of shame....

What do you carry with you and why?
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Old 03-11-13, 02:44 PM
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My lights are bolted onto my bike as part of the lighting system. I carry a patch kit, MTB-3 Rescue Tool and a Topeak Road Morph pump. There is usually a spare tube in the pannier but they stay mounted on the bike.

Aaron
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Old 03-11-13, 03:20 PM
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Do you have a desk or office where you could leave a spare tube and a mini-tool? If so, your longest walk of shame would be only 2 miles, at the most, before you got to either your office or your home.

At any rate, I would not take the tools for such a short ride. Especially if you're using a patch kit rather than changing the tube. It's probably going to take at least 10 minutes to fix a tire, especially in rain, snow, or darkness. By that time, you could have walked or the good old #1 bus would have come and gone.

Check your tire pressure often, and check your rims too. Watch out for potholes and debris. You won't get flats very often. FYI, pothole season is just starting here in michigan. They can literally spring up on your route while you're at work. You don't want to end up like that guy in Florida!
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Old 03-11-13, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Do you have a desk or office where you could leave a spare tube and a mini-tool? If so, your longest walk of shame would be only 2 miles, at the most, before you got to either your office or your home.

At any rate, I would not take the tools for such a short ride. Especially if you're using a patch kit rather than changing the tube. It's probably going to take at least 10 minutes to fix a tire, especially in rain, snow, or darkness. By that time, you could have walked or the good old #1 bus would have come and gone.

Check your tire pressure often, and check your rims too. Watch out for potholes and debris. You won't get flats very often. FYI, pothole season is just starting here in michigan. They can literally spring up on your route while you're at work. You don't want to end up like that guy in Florida!
Good advice. I have an office but now that I think of it I dont really need to leave tools or anything there since there is a bike shop on campus with free tools to use. My continental city contacts seem pretty robust and have yet to have any issues.

However, I do not cycle on the #1 bus route since Michigan ave is a nightmare of parked cars and speeding drivers. I live near Sparrow but I take side streets to get to Kalamzoo with its nice wide bike lane and slower speeds. Doesnt add much distance but it means that the bus only comes once every 20-25 minutes.
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Old 03-11-13, 04:46 PM
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So then, what do other people carry with them and for what kinds of distances? Does anyone who leaves their bikes locked up outside leave pumps or tools on the bike?
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Old 03-11-13, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Do you have a desk or office where you could leave a spare tube and a mini-tool? If so, your longest walk of shame would be only 2 miles, at the most, before you got to either your office or your home.

At any rate, I would not take the tools for such a short ride. Especially if you're using a patch kit rather than changing the tube. It's probably going to take at least 10 minutes to fix a tire, especially in rain, snow, or darkness. By that time, you could have walked or the good old #1 bus would have come and gone.

Check your tire pressure often, and check your rims too. Watch out for potholes and debris. You won't get flats very often. FYI, pothole season is just starting here in michigan. They can literally spring up on your route while you're at work. You don't want to end up like that guy in Florida!
+1

I used to haul all that stuff in my panniers every day, until I realized that in the worst case scenario, a flat tire exactly halfway on my commute, I was still less than an hour walk to home or office. So now I keep spare tubes and a floor pump at home and spare tubes and a floor pump at work. With puncture-resistant tires, flats haven't really been an issue though.

Regarding the collarbone/shoulder issue... have you considered putting a rear rack on your bike (assuming it will fit one)? I love my rear rack and panniers. I can't imagine carrying my change of clothes, lunch, etc. on my back, especially on challenging wind/weather days. I got some waterproof Ortlieb backroller classics, and problem solved. Ortliebs are the cadillac, expensive option, and are nice, but there are affordable panniers available, too. If you get panniers with easy-lift-off clips like the Ortliebs have, you could just ride, park, lock up, and grab the bag off the rack and go. Just a thought... good luck.

Oh, and to answer the question, no, I don't leave anything easily detachable such as lights or accessories on the bike when it is parked all day on the bike rack. I grab them all, toss 'em in a denim zip pouch, toss the pouch in the pannier, and walk in to work.
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Old 03-11-13, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluish Green View Post
+1

I used to haul all that stuff in my panniers every day, until I realized that in the worst case scenario, a flat tire exactly halfway on my commute, I was still less than an hour walk to home or office. So now I keep spare tubes and a floor pump at home and spare tubes and a floor pump at work. With puncture-resistant tires, flats haven't really been an issue though.

Regarding the collarbone/shoulder issue... have you considered putting a rear rack on your bike (assuming it will fit one)? I love my rear rack and panniers. I can't imagine carrying my change of clothes, lunch, etc. on my back, especially on challenging wind/weather days. I got some waterproof Ortlieb backroller classics, and problem solved. Ortliebs are the cadillac, expensive option, and are nice, but there are affordable panniers available, too. If you get panniers with easy-lift-off clips like the Ortliebs have, you could just ride, park, lock up, and grab the bag off the rack and go. Just a thought... good luck.

Oh, and to answer the question, no, I don't leave anything easily detachable such as lights or accessories on the bike when it is parked all day on the bike rack. I grab them all, toss 'em in a denim zip pouch, toss the pouch in the pannier, and walk in to work.
Another good point but since I am a student I need to carry stuff for long walking distances as well once I reach my location so the pannier is kina a pain to carry that way. I probably walk a few miles just going between classes and I dont always ride between them because of the massive amounts of students who are doing the same thing. I dont mind wearing my Chrome messenger bag while I ride assuming it is not pack to the gills with tools.

I guess I could carry some extra bike stuff in a pannier, detach it, and leave it in the office but I think thats overly complicated. I will post a pic of my bike soon so yall know what I have to work with. I have baskets so sometimes, when my bag is heavy, I just throw it in there for the ride but still dont like walking around with it.
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Old 03-11-13, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
So then, what do other people carry with them and for what kinds of distances? Does anyone who leaves their bikes locked up outside leave pumps or tools on the bike?
I don't like to leave stuff on the bike, especially on campus. If I had to, I might get one of those leather seat bags or a handlebar bag for my tools, and secure it with a little padlock. That would deter some of the opportunistic thieves. (Or else they would just take the whole bag and jimmy the lock when they got it home.)
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Old 03-11-13, 06:48 PM
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Get a handlebar bag or a rack trunk and store your supplies in that. Look for a bag which detaches from the bike quickly and easily. If you also have a strap which hooks to the bag, you can carry it on your shoulder. This setup keeps the load on the bike when you're riding.

If the load is just a few small tools, there are some bags which fit under the saddle but detach quickly. Once the bike is locked up, it is a matter of a couple of seconds to remove these bags and carry them with you. Depending on the size of the bag, it is possible to carry all the gear except the pump, which can likely be mounted on your bike frame.

Another option is to use a small daypack if you can find a design which does not put pressure on your shoulders. The weight of the tools and patches and even a lock and a pump will be low. This method also allows you to transport a laptop or mobile device if you need to carry it with you. Carrying a load on your body is not as good as carrying it on the bike, but if the weight is kept low, this may be a workable solution.
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Old 03-11-13, 08:05 PM
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After years of commuting, my tools are down to a Zefal pump, a patch kit, and three tire levers. Quite frankly, everything else doesn't break down often enough. I make sure my commuting bikes can climb on board the bus rack and a little cash or credit card, or just walking the bike along take care of any other problems.

This is small enough to go into any backpack or a shopping pannier like the SunLite Grocery Getter, and you can pop a light and blinkie in easily. Good luck. The shopping pannier comes with me.
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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 03-11-13, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
So then, what do other people carry with them and for what kinds of distances? Does anyone who leaves their bikes locked up outside leave pumps or tools on the bike?
Stuff that stays on the bike no matter what:

-Spare tube
-Patch kit
-3 nylon/plastic tire levers
-Park MT-1 tool. If I can't fix it with this tool, it is best to let the LBS handle it
-Seat wedge for all of the above
-Cheap frame pump. More eye candy than anything; have as yet to actually use it 'in the field'.

The rear lights and cyclecomputer display sometimes come off while parked, but usually I forget about them and leave them. My head light always comes with me (except it has come up missing in my own house...)

Anything else that I have with me I would have with or without the bike, so not sure that is relevant to this discussion.
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Old 03-11-13, 10:32 PM
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Why do so many of you take along a tire patch kit rather than a spare tube?
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Old 03-11-13, 11:15 PM
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For a four mile commute, which I have had in the past, I don't bring any tools at all. It's too short a trip to bother and I generally don't run so late that adding ten or twenty minutes to my trip by walking is going to make me miss an appointment. YMMV.

For short town trips, like your commute, I like having a metal basket on the front of my bike. I just throw whatever-sized bag I'm using that day into the basket and hold it down with an elastic cord and I'm good to go. It's quick, easy and versatile.
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Old 03-11-13, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Why do so many of you take along a tire patch kit rather than a spare tube?
1) I'm cheap.
2) A patch kit is lighter
3) A patch kit is more environmentally friendly than using a new tube
4) You can patch a tire without removing the wheel
5) A patch kit will fix multiple flats should they happen on a trip. A spare tube only fixes one.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
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 03-12-13, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
1) I'm cheap.
2) A patch kit is lighter
3) A patch kit is more environmentally friendly than using a new tube
4) You can patch a tire without removing the wheel
5) A patch kit will fix multiple flats should they happen on a trip. A spare tube only fixes one.
I'll grant you #1,2,3, and 4.

But #5? If I have multiple flats on a four mile commute, I'm going to cancel my appointments, limp home, and watch American Dad reruns on TV!
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Old 03-12-13, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
So then, what do other people carry with them and for what kinds of distances? Does anyone who leaves their bikes locked up outside leave pumps or tools on the bike?
For in-city trips, I don't bring any pumps, tubes or repair kits at all. I have sturdy, wide, relatively low psi tires, and they seem to almost never get flats. I used to carry a pump and repair kit with me wherever I went, but I never used these things, and they took up valuable space, so now I just take them with me on rides out of town. On my commute or running errands, if I get a flat, which is exceedingly unlikely, the worst thing that will happen is that I will go for a long walk, which can be annoying, but it's far from the end of the world. Compared to having a car break down during a 25 mile commute, it's trivial.

When I'm touring, I take a small tool kit, a few extra tubes, a patch kit, a spare chain, a few spare spokes, a very small spool of cable, and a Min Morph pump with me. Being unprepared in the middle of nowhere is not trivial at all.

When I lock up my bike, I take everything with me, including my headlight and the panniers. The panniers are easy to take off the bike, and they come with shoulder straps, so that's not much of a burden. When I shop for groceries, the panniers make good bags.
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Old 03-12-13, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I'll grant you #1,2,3, and 4.

But #5? If I have multiple flats on a four mile commute, I'm going to cancel my appointments, limp home, and watch American Dad reruns on TV!
I've had years without a flat, and fractions of a second between them. If I have multiple flats on a four mile commute I'm going to apologize for being 5 minutes late if I'm on my way to work.

The weirdest one was getting a flat at one major intersection on the way to work, and getting another flat at the same intersection coming home from work. Different sides of a 6 lane divided highway. My then-wife said it was because I had killed a rat before going to work, and that was the rat's revenge. It's as good as any explanation I can think of.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
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 03-12-13, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Why do so many of you take along a tire patch kit rather than a spare tube?
I carry both...belt and suspenders. You can only fix one flat with a single tube. I have been in more than one situation where a patch kit saved the day. Last time around it wasn't my bike is was someone else's, and unfortunately the spare tube I had was not the size they needed. But by having a patch kit I was able to help them out.

I always try to keep spares on all my bikes, because a trip to the grocery store may stretch from the 3 mile reality into an all day ride of 15 miles or more if the mood strikes. My wife still hasn't figured out how I can get "lost" between here and the grocery store!

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Old 03-12-13, 04:22 AM
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1)Tube and a patch kit. (If I only had a tube then I would get more then one flat on my commute.) I like to replace the tube then deal with patching it when I get home. (It's not much fun putting a patch on in the poring down rain.)
2) Tools
3) pump
4) rain gear
5) water when it gets over 90-95 in the summer
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Old 03-12-13, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Why do so many of you take along a tire patch kit rather than a spare tube?
There is always the possibility that the new tube is defective.

I typically swap out the tube and the patch kit is the emergency back-up.
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Old 03-17-13, 11:13 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
Another good point but since I am a student I need to carry stuff for long walking distances as well once I reach my location so the pannier is kina a pain to carry that way. I probably walk a few miles just going between classes and I dont always ride between them because of the massive amounts of students who are doing the same thing. I dont mind wearing my Chrome messenger bag while I ride assuming it is not pack to the gills with tools.

I guess I could carry some extra bike stuff in a pannier, detach it, and leave it in the office but I think thats overly complicated. I will post a pic of my bike soon so yall know what I have to work with. I have baskets so sometimes, when my bag is heavy, I just throw it in there for the ride but still dont like walking around with it.
Have you considered something lkie this ? https://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categ...ing-bag-1.html

Or this ? https://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categ...iefcase-1.html
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Old 03-17-13, 12:44 PM
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A couple of days ago, I had a flat on my rear tire. When I tried to pump it up, the valve stem broke. I ended up leaving my bike at my office, walking home to get a spare tube and then walking back to replace it. If I had carried a spare tube, I would have saved a lot of steps.

Fortunately, I don't get flats very often.
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Old 03-17-13, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by bhchdh View Post
Ive looked at the Bug before and dont think its a very good option. First, its a lot of money for a non-waterproof bag. Second, I would be concerned about having to put the back side of a pannier against my pack after a water, muddy, or slushy ride. Currently, I have baskets on the bike which allow me to put my Chrome messenger bag inside of (which is waterproof and can also be worn on the bike should I need extra storage in the baskets).

The second one looks interesting but has all of the same faults.
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Old 03-17-13, 01:11 PM
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This looks more promising since there is less mounting hardware on the rear of the pannier and the slick surface would make it easy to wipe off any dirt or mud from a nasty ride.

https://www.commutebybike.com/2011/06...shop-com-sale/
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Old 03-17-13, 04:10 PM
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zeppinger
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Commuter Bike of Doom (actually her name is Sussie) today after a grocery run. I put my Chrome messenger bag into the rear basket during my commute but just wear it on my back when I need the basket for stuf like this.
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