New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby dkoleary » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:54 pm

:D
Hi guys, I am new to this forum. I am a uni student and just bought my bike today for commuting.
It is a Giant Cypress. I got a ToPeak super tourist rack on it. I also installed a cheap tail light from K-Mart, A 0.3W luxeon torch as head light and a small and cheap bag thing for under my seat to put a few small things in like deodorant, toolkit and my occy straps.

I am thinking of getting some panniers for groceries etc, but what other gear do I need for commuting? I'm pretty sure that's about it right? I might get a tyre repair kit, some WD40 and some lubricant oil etc. Please give some hints, tips and advice on what other gear a first time commuter needs to get.

Thanks :)
dkoleary
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:33 pm

by BNA » Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:23 am

BNA
 

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby banjo » Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:23 am

Sounds like you have a good grip on things already. I would recommend a rack top bag from Topeak which will slide on to your super tourer track. The bags are excellent and come in versions that may meet your grocery carrying requirment too. A google search will show you the range.

As far as other bits and pieces, once you're out there you'll quickly discover whats worth carrying and not.

The biggest issue for you to address is BE SEEN. That means lights that work well, particularly rear flashers. DO NOT ride in poor light wearing black clothing!! (I see it all the time).

Good on you for getting into commuting by bike.

Safe riding!
banjo
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:48 pm

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby rustguard » Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:06 am

Mudguards come in really useful if you are riding in all weathers. If you get a pump with your repair kit it gives you a nice feeling of independence. (well it does to me anyway)
gloves are nice too.
If you are planning on the grocery runs, panniers are great.
rustguard
 
Posts: 1322
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:31 am
Location: Perth, WA

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby gavinr » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:34 am

Have alook through the previous threads on the Commuting board - there is lots of advice in them (some of it contradictory of course :D )

But as Banjo says, BE SEEN. You cannot have too many lights, particularly at the rear. Wear light coloured clothing too.

Also, you don't mention you've bought a helmet - I hope you've just forgotten to mention it, not forgotten to buy it?
gavinr
 
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:37 am
Location: Balmain, NSW

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby dkoleary » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:55 am

Thanks guys for the advice so far.

Yes, I have bought a helmet :P

So far, my list of things to buy:

- Rack top bag, and possibly panniers
- a new tail light that will fit on the back of my rack. The one I have now goes on my saddle post, and hence will be blocked by anything that is on my rack.
- Tyre repair kit
- Pump

I have bought a $35 bike lock at the same time I got my bike from the bike shop as I didn't have a lock at all. Is it necessary to buy a better one? I'm scared someone will come along with bolt cutters and take my bike. Is a U-lock necessary? How much should be spent on a lock? And what about replacing the quick-releases from my wheels?

Thanks again guys.
dkoleary
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:33 pm

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby njg02 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:39 pm

A springy wire rope lock that will stretch from front wheel to back wheel through the frame and around whatever you are locking it to is what I use. It lives in the bottom of my bag out of the way. Lock up somewhere conspicuous where there are people about. A light weight rain jacket is handy for when it is cold and/or wet is good too. One for cycling with reflective bits is good for traffic as well. Water bottles and cages. And have fun!

Neil
User avatar
njg02
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:47 pm
Location: Tha Gong

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby wombatK » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:51 pm

dkoleary wrote:I have bought a $35 bike lock at the same time I got my bike from the bike shop as I didn't have a lock at all. Is it necessary to buy a better one? I'm scared someone will come along with bolt cutters and take my bike. Is a U-lock necessary? How much should be spent on a lock? And what about replacing the quick-releases from my wheels?

Thanks again guys.

Have a look around your uni's bike racks for signs of theft. Not hard to find in most Sydney uni's.

Unless your bike is worth less, I'd buy one of the top-of-the-line locks (>$100) and make sure it locks frame, drivetrain plus both wheels (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6xnkEkP2WY for good tips e.g. two kinds of locks, thief usually has tool for one kind only), replace the quick-release on seat post or chain it down if it's an expensive one, and leave no accessories of value on the bike (i.e. take all your bags, bike computer, and lights with you to lectures). Might be worth having a look at datadotting your bike too (equivalent to registering bike step in youtube video).

Panniers might suit your load carrying for uni better than a rack-top bag - particularly if you need to carry a text book or two as well as carry your bike bits around between lectures etc.,. Usually available in more waterproof/stormproof construction too.
WombatK

Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us -Jerry Garcia
User avatar
wombatK
 
Posts: 5093
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:08 pm
Location: Yagoona, AU

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby rustguard » Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:39 pm

100 dollars for a lock sounds like a lot just make sure it is harder to take than the bike next to it
.
rustguard
 
Posts: 1322
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:31 am
Location: Perth, WA

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby wombatK » Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:07 pm

rustguard wrote:100 dollars for a lock sounds like a lot just make sure it is harder to take than the bike next to it
.

Agree $100 is a lot if we're talking about a $300 Kmart bike. Not if we're talking about a $3000 bike.

So with your strategy, how are you going to be sure the bike next to yours will be there longer than yours ? At uni's, students and staff have very variable hours - people come and go at all hours of the day. Even if the bike you park next to doesn't move and is easier to steal, if yours is more marketable, the thief will be prepared to put more effort into stealing it.

Cheers
WombatK

Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us -Jerry Garcia
User avatar
wombatK
 
Posts: 5093
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:08 pm
Location: Yagoona, AU

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby RobRollin » Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:30 pm

Depends on the local weather and temperature, however there are few things which are a must.

Lights -front and rear. The brighter the better
Cycling jacket (rain and wind) High Vis
You may want consider shoe booties to keep the feet dry
Front and rear mudguards
Look at your tyres - if your on a MTB then you want to look a commuter slicks
Decent lock
Decent back pack with high vis reflectors
Image
RobRollin
 
Posts: 1792
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:44 pm
Location: Hobart, Tasmania

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby Runjikol » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:02 pm

Definitely consider some of the Carradice SQR bags. I have a "Tour" and it's very good; rated to 10kgs, high-quality manufacture and clever quick-release mount that stays on your seat post. I've had racks and panniers before - they're the best for more than 10kgs or high-volume stuff and if you're carrying text books to uni they'd be better than a Carracide. However; good racks and pannier-bags are pricey.

I've documented my installation of the Carradice SQR Tour here:
http://runjikol.wordpress.com/2009/07/2 ... g-install/
There's some pics with a ruler so you can get an idea of its size.

{hope it's not bad form to do that, if it is apologies}
--Current rides: Cannondale Bad Boy 8 || Surly Big Dummy || Dahon Dash P-18
Runjikol
 
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, VIC

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby Big Jonny » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:55 pm

Runjikol wrote:Definitely consider some of the Carradice SQR bags. I have a "Tour" and it's very good; rated to 10kgs, high-quality manufacture and clever quick-release mount that stays on your seat post. I've had racks and panniers before - they're the best for more than 10kgs or high-volume stuff and if you're carrying text books to uni they'd be better than a Carracide. However; good racks and pannier-bags are pricey.

I've documented my installation of the Carradice SQR Tour here:
http://runjikol.wordpress.com/2009/07/2 ... g-install/
There's some pics with a ruler so you can get an idea of its size.

{hope it's not bad form to do that, if it is apologies}


Hi Runjikol
how does the bag affect your centre of gravity when full, 10kg that high up would give you the speed wobbles big time.
Love the bad boy, I saw the single speed lefty and the ultra with rolhoff speed hub at BSC in melbourne, super hot bikes, now at the top of my wish list, are they worth the $?
Big Jonny
Big Jonny
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:13 pm

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby Runjikol » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:32 am

Big Jonny wrote:Hi Runjikol
how does the bag affect your centre of gravity when full, 10kg that high up would give you the speed wobbles big time.
Love the bad boy, I saw the single speed lefty and the ultra with rolhoff speed hub at BSC in melbourne, super hot bikes, now at the top of my wish list, are they worth the $?
Big Jonny


I've never loaded it with 10kg - that's just what it is rated to. Generally I've about 5kgs in it - hair-product for work, spare AA batteries, 10" shifter (so I avoid the discs with my knuckles, the Alfine hub is not quick-release), pump, 3 tubes, wet-weather pants, multi-tool and puncture kit. Speed wobbles? Never. I can't imagine ever having speed wobbles because of the bag.

The Bad Boy 8 is fantastic. I knew it was a great bike the moment I started pedalling it for a test ride - put a big smile on my face! Very smooth and very quiet. For me the Alfine is a very good internal hub, shifts nicely and has enough range for my riding style. If you want the best go for a Bad Boy with Rohloff *drool*. I asked about ordering one but the bike shop couldn't find it in their catalogue but I was happy to have the straight Bad Boy 8. The changes in weight distribution from the internal gear hub feel minor to me and I think anyone would adjust to them after a twenty minutes in the saddle. Overall I think they're great bikes, worth the $, and recommend them but always test ride and get fitted before you drop a single cent. The only way I think you could get a better bike in that class is to custom build one.
--Current rides: Cannondale Bad Boy 8 || Surly Big Dummy || Dahon Dash P-18
Runjikol
 
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, VIC

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby hartleymartin » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:17 am

What university are you going to?
Martin Christopher Hartley

http://raleightwenty.webs.com - the top web resource for the Raleigh Twenty
http://madmartysblog.blogspot.com - my cycling adventures
User avatar
hartleymartin
 
Posts: 5069
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:56 pm
Location: Old Toongabbie, NSW

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby not4resale » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:53 pm

Interesting thread, i'm in a similar situation.

I haven't done the ride yet but i'm going to be commuting to UNSW from the shire. Basically over cptn cook bridge and in the general direction toward kensington.

Am i dreaming? I've been meaning to do a test run one sunday, i've done 30 k rides before and survived and the trek is something like 24-26 k's.

I've got lights, pump, tube, high vis clothing, comfy backpack, good lock with the extra wire to go through other bits and a cell blade.

Am I set?

Is it achievable in under an hour? How do I avoid the airport tunnel? I know there's a cyling route around there but not sure exactly where...
not4resale
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 11:03 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby wombatK » Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:38 pm

not4resale wrote:Interesting thread, i'm in a similar situation.

I haven't done the ride yet but i'm going to be commuting to UNSW from the shire. Basically over cptn cook bridge and in the general direction toward kensington.

Am i dreaming? I've been meaning to do a test run one sunday, i've done 30 k rides before and survived and the trek is something like 24-26 k's.

I've got lights, pump, tube, high vis clothing, comfy backpack, good lock with the extra wire to go through other bits and a cell blade.

Am I set?

Is it achievable in under an hour? How do I avoid the airport tunnel? I know there's a cyling route around there but not sure exactly where...

You seem well prepared and You're not dreaming. The one hour target might be difficult in peak hour traffic conditions. Only thing I might add would be to get a breathable cycling jacket - as the coastal strip you are riding thru gets a fair bit of exposure to rain/drizzle - but its probably not worth buying that til you've settled how often you'll be riding etc.,.

Way to avoid the airport tunnel is to take the cycleway from the Captain Cook Bridge along the foreshore to Kyeemagh, then follow what is basically the Cooks River Cycleway route back to Marsh St, then go along Marsh St (footpath or road) until you can pick up the cycleway just east of the bridge across Cooks River besides Qantas Drive, then use the cycleway to get all the way around to Coward St - follow that east all the way thru Mascot to Eastlakes, then head up to Gardners etc.,. towards uni. This route from bikely.com http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/175501 shows the section from Airport Drive to Uni, http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Co ... o-Cronulla includes the section from the airport to taren point bridge then on to Cronulla. do a search on bikely.com and/or mapmyride.com - you might find something showing the way from near your home.

As you've got a cell blade, you might want to checkout acw's and goneriding's troubles on the Had A crash thread http://bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic ... 12&t=17764 . It's worth checking your handlebars and headstem aren't the Zoom ones, and regularly checking that the forks (if carbon) are sound.

Good luck with the ride. Bet you can beat the public transport option by a long shot, and you might even beat most cars in peak hours.

Cheers
WombatK

Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us -Jerry Garcia
User avatar
wombatK
 
Posts: 5093
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:08 pm
Location: Yagoona, AU

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby ngalbrai » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:29 am

You mentioned pump, but I would extend that to two pumps, one small one to carry for roadside puncture repair and a track pump for home. May seem extravagant but running your tyres at max pressure makes road riding faster/easier and makes you less prone to punctures, make sure you get one with a pressure guage!
ngalbrai
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:32 pm

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby jonw » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:58 pm

ngalbrai wrote:You mentioned pump, but I would extend that to two pumps, one small one to carry for roadside puncture repair and a track pump for home. May seem extravagant but running your tyres at max pressure makes road riding faster/easier and makes you less prone to punctures, make sure you get one with a pressure guage!


I got mine from Tordepo 7 for about $20 on special, so it's not that extravangant. Well worth having one at home.
Image
jonw
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Lane Cove, Sydney

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby Runjikol » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:24 pm

ngalbrai wrote:You mentioned pump, but I would extend that to two pumps, one small one to carry for roadside puncture repair and a track pump for home. May seem extravagant but running your tyres at max pressure makes road riding faster/easier and makes you less prone to punctures, make sure you get one with a pressure guage!


+1 = The track pump I bought was less than $60 and is fabulous.[Joe Blow Sprint]
--Current rides: Cannondale Bad Boy 8 || Surly Big Dummy || Dahon Dash P-18
Runjikol
 
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, VIC

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby owlrigh » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:18 pm

RobRollin wrote:Lights -front and rear. The brighter the better


If you are going to do any night riding, check out reviews of the name-brand types of lights (Australian Cyclist sometimes does that) to see what the spread of light is going to be. If you're going to go down any dark streets or paths through parks, you'll want something which will allow you to see the potholes, and so a spotlight-sort won't do as well as a light-spreading one. IMHO.

RobRollin wrote:Cycling jacket (rain and wind) High Vis


I've found that a good-quality rain jacket is good when it's raining and cold. I have a Gore-tex one for bushwalking which isn't ventilated enough and so I get soggy inside and out ... not fun. I'm guessing that this would bear some researching, too, or perhaps people have something they can point you (and me!) towards... When it's summer and raining lightly I don't usually bother with wet weather gear, but in any sort of rainy day wearing hi-vis stuff is a must, because of how greys spoil people's ability to see you, important if you are prone to street-riding.

When it starts getting colder you may want to get wind/waterproof gloves, because your extremities will get cold fastest. Booties are the go, as well, although I find a pair of neoprene diving shoes are good enough -- they get my feet wet still, but warm, and I can attach them with a bungy cord to the bike ... and most people don't want to steal gungy wet shoes.

RobRollin wrote:Front and rear mudguards


Unless you want to appear at uni with mud spatters all the way up your back! Make certain that they will fit your bike -- back when I wasn't very certain about what was what with bicycles I had a sales person sell me all sorts of stuff unsuited to my set up :/ i.e. mudguards which didn't suit my 700Cx32 tyres, without any screws to put it onto the frame ... and only with cutting did they get on. The SKS Chromoplastic ones I have on my bike now are pretty all right, though. Also, if you find a bike guy (or lady!) who is willing to talk to you about your bicycle and explain things to you, THEY ARE WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD. Support that person with your custom.

RobRollin wrote:Look at your tyres - if your on a MTB then you want to look a commuter slicks


THIS. You won't believe the difference it makes in commute time and in riding effort. Keep those tyres pumped up as well.

My own setup are panniers, Ortliebs Classics, which I've had for years. They're great for when it's raining, but I also have a prettier Basil pannier for when it's not raining, with a shoulder strap for easy carting around. You can get Tioga Waterproof Panniers for about $180, made of similar (but thinner) fabric to the Ortliebs, and sort of similar rack attachment system (and over $100 cheaper than Ortliebs). My partner has a pair and he's happy with them, because the lid lets you put your phone, wallet, etc in the top and not have them sink to the bottom of the bag. There are hundreds of types of pannier out there, though, and with about half hour's worth of searching online I'm sure you could find what you want, suited to what you do, i.e. if you carry a laptop around with you.

I also take a silnylon carry bag (Sea to Summit) and an ocky strap, so that if I get extra stuff while I'm out I can easily strap it down to the top of my rack, and being that it packs away to nothing and is waterproof(/resistant) as well, it does in a pinch.
owlrigh
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Melbourne, VIC

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby Fletcher » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:57 pm

+2 on the track pump. Lots of good advice given already. The only other thing I would add is if you don't know already, it's a good idea to learn how to replace a tube/fix a flat before you start commuting. It will happen sooner or later.

Edit: +2 on the mudguards too. They will make you smile the first time you ride in the rain :)
Fletcher
 
Posts: 1121
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:50 pm
Location: Melba, ACT

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby Dr_Tony » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:50 pm

Yes, the mudguards are a must, quite cheap too for plastic ones that so far seem to be tough enough, they look ok.
The slick tyres for MTBs make a lot of difference.
I use a rack with my backpack occyed to the top of it. Around uni the backpack is the best if you are doing a lot of walking between lectures, like in Newcastle or UNSW.
I carry in a separate bag inside the backpack a 8" shifter, tyre levers, puncture kit, pump, lights (during the winter months or if i'm likely to be late) some basic first aid - band aids and antiseptic cream. Looking at getting a multi tool. Having it all in the separate bag makes it easier to find in the main backpack and it's easy to check that you have it. If you need to do a short quick hop with the bike between lectures it's very easy with your bag on your back, you just unlock the bike and go.
Checking the weather forecast makes me decide whether to pack light rain jacket and maybe a spare pair of socks, even if your shoes get wet having a dry pair of socks to put on when you get there is much nicer.
Also don't forget to waterproof the bag if it isn't already.
Dr_Tony
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:28 pm
Location: Newcastle and Artarmon

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby alexander » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:21 pm

Commuting Essentials:

Spare Tube
Tyre Liner protection
Patch Kit
Pump
Water bottle/Bidon
Lights, Front & Rear
Some wet weather gear, jacket/vests, or warmers arm/leg booties, gloves, booties, the further the commute the more serious the protection
Bag, backpack/pannier/messenger
Multitool specific for riding, wrenches, hexes, pliers, etc
Sunglasses/clear glasses/photocromic
A good lock, the spend of the lock should match the spend on the bike itself.
Mudguard

With the clothing, try and get as much as you can with reflective material built in, and brighter is better. Also try and keep it as light as possible, because you are carrying it.

Garage Essentials

Track Pump
Spare Tyre(s)
Clean up kit

I can do the same time in peak hour to work as in my car.
If you've got a $10 head, get a $10 helmet
alexander
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:56 am
Location: Footscray

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby gdt » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:12 am

If you are commuting to a uni, go and see the student union and the gym and ask about lockers and showers. Some buildings also have showers, ask the faculty administration in the building you use the most.

Also ask the main student administration about access to the bike cages (access is usually by fiddling security's computer to allow your student card to open the cage door).
gdt
 
Posts: 603
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:36 pm
Location: Adelaide

Re: New commuter - what gear to buy for commuting

Postby MiG » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:51 pm

Big Jonny wrote:how does the bag affect your centre of gravity when full, 10kg that high up would give you the speed wobbles big time.

No it doesn't. Even when I put a 650c front wheel and fork on a 700c frame (which according to some peoples' uninformed opinions is already a certain disaster), having a tail bag filled with beer didn't give any sort of instability. The big difference is the way the bike feels when pedaling out of the seat. Unless you're talking about 80 km/h mountain descents on the way to work, then my experience may not apply.
MiG
 
Posts: 327
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:55 pm
Location: Bentleigh, Melbourne

Next

Return to Commuting

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot]



Support BNA
Click for online shops
Torpedo 7 Torpedo7 AU
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Cycling Express Cycling Express
Ebay Ebay AU
ProBikeKit ProBikeKit UK
Evans Cycles Evans Cycles UK
JensonUSA Jenson USA
JensonUSA Competitive Cyclist