Transitioning To Commuting More

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Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby dynamictiger » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:47 am

I have been riding to and from work a couple of times a week. I didn't start out with this intent when I bought my bike, it has kind of developed over time. I have commited to myself to transition from a fair weather couple of times a week to at least 4 days a week riding this year and maybe more. I am even getting a new bike for myself more in line with this type of riding.

In thinking this through I got to thinking I need some extra knicks, a rain poncho or something, some batteries for my radio, puncture proof tyres, hand pump, CO2 for when I cant be bothered...and I am sure a bunch of other stuff. But what is the other stuff?

Those with more experience than I and used to riding a lot more often, what do you suggest I include in a list of must haves and a list of nice to have?
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by BNA » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:39 am

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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby Tornado » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:39 am

You pretty much have it covered. Ground Effect (Link on right of page. Edit: Just typing it made a link) have some good rain/wind proof jackets to wear. In winter maybe a cycling beanie and long finger gloves. If you are taking a backpack maybe put anything you want to stay dry in a plastic bag inside your backpack. You can get good waterproof pannier bags if you are going down that path. Riding in the rain in Perth is pretty comfortable as long as you stay fairly dry up top. For the low temps in winter just a wind proof jacket, long finger gloves and a beanie do me well.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby MattyK » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:26 pm

Bike should have disc brakes and mudguards if you will be out there in all weather. A rack is nicer than a backpack. Good lights are a must.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby trailgumby » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:37 pm

Another vote for panniers and disc brakes. Although these days I just do the swap on my non riding days, clean clothes for last week's in the bike cage locker. Warm days are so much better bareback.

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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby MattyK » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:42 pm

Also make sure you have good facilities; somewhere to shower, change, store your towel and smelly clothes and hopefully dry them out if it rains in the morning (or a spare set at work)
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:18 pm

What is this shower of which you speak?
A pack of wipes and a tin of spray on pong has to do me :(
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby dynamictiger » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:34 pm

Mulger bill wrote:What is this shower of which you speak?
A pack of wipes and a tin of spray on pong has to do me :(

You too...I thought I was the only one on earth.

Workshop?
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby lobstermash » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:50 pm

I work in an office, have an 18km commute that I usually do at an average of ~30km/h. I shower before I leave home, put on fresh cycling clothes and don't bother with showering at work. Haven't had any issues with being smelly at work yet... Admittedly the climate is fairly friendly in Canberra for the morning commute, but most of the other guys save their morning shower for after their (shorter and slower) rides in.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:49 pm

dynamictiger wrote:
Mulger bill wrote:What is this shower of which you speak?
A pack of wipes and a tin of spray on pong has to do me :(

You too...I thought I was the only one on earth.

Workshop?

Railway Signalbox, at least the parking is excellent in the server/locker/smoko room.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby CXCommuter » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:54 pm

Most bases covered apart from colder weather riding- I find wet weather gear too heavy and I end up sweating as much- I prefer to wear layers in winter with the really cold wet days being thermals overlain by compression clothes (bought from China on Fleabay) then normal commuting clothes on top- this keeps me warm but allows breathing and I don't care if I get too wet (mudguards help massively), booties also help, finally good wind/water proof gloves.

I am not a pannier type of guy, I am happy with a back pack, others may disagree.

Discs are also good- particularly for Perth's winter weather
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby nickobec » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:21 pm

I take my clothes in once a week on the train but otherwise ride in, sometimes ride home or work back late and catch the train with bike.

I travel light, just a small handlebar bag that I can use on my TT bike if desired:
multitool, 2x CO2 canisters, inflation device, 2 tubes with 80mm valves, 2 tire levers, pair of 13, 14, 15, 16 cone spanners (my SS does not have QR skewers), couple of zip ties, good lights (even if I am going to be home well before sunset), phone, wallet, work pass

At work I keep a full set of ride home clothes except shoes, just in case. As well as a couple of tubes and CO2 canisters.

Cold weather, I just layer up, base layer (wool), short sleeve jersey (usually), arm warmers (wool), gilet, neck warmer, lightweight wool beanie, full finger gloves, bib knicks, with 3/4 warm tights over them, wool socks, regular shoes and toe covers. I do have warmer clothes, long sleeve jerseys, warm bib tights, etc but they only get used half a dozen times a year if that as most days I remove the arm warmers, gilet and gloves on my 40km commute.

Wet weather, from my experience commuting on a motorcycle for 5 years, there are 5 or so really wet days in Perth, which now I usually avoid and ride the 1.6km to train station and catch train in. Never been happy with wet weather gear until I bought a short sleeve Castelli Gabba (for racing in), keeps me dry for an hour, then it keeps me warm. It is a regular winter wardrobe item now. Also got the Castelli Nano bib shorts (need to ride with rear mudguard, otherwise water flicked up by rear wheel, seeps through the stitching on the pad and gets wet quick.(and a wet pad is no fun) As well as Nano arm warmers and shoe covers, together with waterproof gloves, keeps me warm and relatively dry.

I have a easy to fit rear guard for slightly damp days when I take a race bike or SS. I do have a "winter commuter" with guards and small rack for damp days.

I am happy with rim brakes, I ride conservatively, more worried about visibility and don't spend that much time in traffic. First 5km and last 2km on the 40km commute.
Last edited by nickobec on Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby find_bruce » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:08 am

Commuting is habit forming. Lots of different ideas here - but what works for others may not be the best solution for you.

For years I commuted with a backpack full of stuff, then panniers. These days however I prefer to travel light. Once a week I wear a backpack to change over socks, jocks & towel. Suits etc live in a closet in my office. My little luxury is that I get my shirts washed and ironed near work & they also live in my closet. Yes it helps that I have my own office with space for my stuff.

I don't like stopping to fix punctures so I use Schwalbe marathon plus tyres on my commuter - bit of an art to fitting them, but punctures are very rare. Still carry a small repair kit - levers, patches, co2. Multi tool kept at work along with second rain jacket.

The real question is what is stopping you from commuting more - I am sure we can come up with solutions for any issues
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby KGB » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:48 am

Good post above. Everyone will have good but differing advice.

I'd say listen to everything but start by buying the minimum amount of gear. See what isn't working and replace/add more stuff as you go.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby dynamictiger » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:48 am

I agree...this has turned out to be an excellent post with far more help and advice than I expected, I truly appreciate everyones comments and they are all welcome and valued. Thanks very much
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby Daus » Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:59 pm

I have been commuting for the last 7 years hardly ever miss a day. The main reason I commute is its good for the head- on the way to work I stop at the local coffee shop and relax while watching the water and in the afternoons by the time I get home I have forgotten all that went on during the day- great for stress reduction- so yes lots of benefits to commuting more.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby alexander » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:35 am

Some great tips and tricks here. Hopefully this is helpful too.

Clothing: For me layers is the key. Base layer. Jersey. Warmers. Jacket/Gillet. Shoes covers. Also waterproof jackets sound good in theory, but in my experience, nothing stays dry for long. I've found layers of wool keep me comfortable. I don't like things flapping around, and being as 'aero' as I can helps with headwinds and other hinderances, so all my clothing is fitted. I've got sets of three of most of my clothing as one set is always in the dirty clothes pile/wash or drying.

Tyres: With commuting you need to think about the toughest rubber you can ride on. Glass, wire, potholes, thorns, gravel, plastic, all of these plus more can be encountered, and there's nothing worse than getting stuck somewhere having to change the dreaded fl@. Schwalbe - Durano & Marathon, Continental Gatorskins - Ultra and hardshell, Vittoria Randonneur. These are all great tyres, a real pain to fit in most circumstances, but thats long forgotten when you get so many hassle free KM's out of them. If you really want hardcore puncture resistance also look at liners, but these add weight so weigh up whats important to you. Also look at slightly wider tyres, this adds comfort and puncture resistance.

Bike: Get something light and tough. Avoid alloy, over time it's just to jarring and unforgiving. Go steel or carbon, or even better Ti (if you can afford it). Disc brakes are great, but rim is fine. Make sure it's got fender/rack mounts. If looking for bikes, city/urban bikes are a good start, or converting 650b and 29er MTB to have slicks also make really tough commuters, and there's a trend of cyclocross bikes with slicks becoming the next generation of speedy commuters. Also look at internal hub gearing like alfine, and single speed gearing means minimal hassles, and minimal servicing.

Extras: LIGHTS! can't stress this enough, because the number one thing is being seen. "I didn't see you" gets said way too often. Have a look at the Knog blinder lights, waterproof, small, very bright, easily charged on USB (a lot of lights chew through expensive batteries) If you're looking at bags, try to get bags or panniers or anything thats got reflective strips on it. Don't bother with puncture repair kits, get extra inner tubes, c02 and levers. Practice changing your tyres every 3 months, so you don't forget and you can do it in a decent time. Always carry your phone for emergencies and $10 note.

Shoes/Pedals: Get mtb shoes/pedals. because there's nothing worse than slipping around with road shoes. Sure they're lighter, stiffer and you get more power, but mtb pedals and cleats make life so much easier. You can walk and they're so much easier to clip into, and with most commutes there's red lights and times you have to stop/start.

Other things to remember: Get your bike serviced by a good mechanic every season (4 months) you might think you're bike looks fine, but servicing really helps. It's all to make sure you enjoy your commute and you're safe and the bike's and it's parts life are extended and working well.

Most of all, ENJOY IT! I find it's a really good way to take the stress out of the day, it's great exercise, I always sleep well, and I always get home faster than if I drove, or got public transport. I love having a coffee near my work and feeling good about my riding. :mrgreen:
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby systermb » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:34 am

This all sounds very complicated... but agree what works for one person, doesn't necessarily work for another.

I've not been commuting last year as I was within walking distance of my office, but in previous years when I had a 3-5km ride, I found the simplest solution was to ride a crappy bike and have a lock around my wrist. As I moved from university to working and could afford a better bike, I went from cash converter bargains to a decent fixie.

If I ran into any mechanical trouble, I'd just lock the bike to the nearest pole and walk the rest of the route. Pick the bike up on the way home and sort it out then. As a 3km commute, it was quicker to walk the rest of the way at a decent pace rather than bother fixing a flat.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby lobstermash » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:51 am

alexander wrote: Schwalbe - Durano & Marathon, Continental Gatorskins - Ultra and hardshell, Vittoria Randonneur.


You missed one... Maxxis Re-fuse. I don't carry puncture repair gear anymore. And you can often get a pair of folding tyres for around $40...
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby jasonc » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:43 pm

my comments as an all weather commuter
1. organisation. being ready the night beforeheaps build the routine.
a. clothing. I use a backpack when I'm on my flatbar and take in multiple days clothing. I change my towel/slacks over on a weekly basis.
b. food. As per above, when on the flat bar I take in multiple days food.
2. equipment. I carry 2 tubes and a pump on my flat bar. On my roadie, I carry 2 tubes, a pump and a co2.
*** I've brought my old floor pump to work ****
I have spare tubes at work
3. storage.
a. bike storage - I have somewhere secure to put mine
b. clothes storage - Someone brought in an old clothes rack to work. I have 5 days + clothes on there (as I said, my problem is food)
c. food. there's a small fridge/freezer here that allows me to store a couple of spare lunches in there. Get some "ready meals" that you can keep in your desk drawer (e.g. https://www.sunrice.com.au/consumer/pro ... ady-meals/ )

now, the big one:
4. bike
a. brakes. if you're going from the ground up, all weather. disc brakes. rim brakes in the wet are well crap. you need to be able to stop, not slow down.
b. backpack. I use a backpack, some like panniers. my backpack is a dueter with the air comfort system (meaning there is a 2 inch gap between your back and the bag, assisting air flow)
c. tyres. schwalbe marathon plus. the rest are pretenders. you pay for it in weight but I can tell you that between 3 marathon plus tyres (still on the first front with ~13000kms on it, first rear lasted ~8200kms) I've had 1 puncture. It was a 1 inch nail.

5. lights. my commuter has 2 rear lights. radbot 1000 - inbuilt reflector. runs on AAA batteries
front light - i have a magic shine light with a waterproof enclosure (this one - http://dx.com/p/magicshine-0-8-lcd-8-4v ... ght-147199 )

6. clothing
a. wet weather gear. my wet weather gear consists of a bag cover. everything else in brissy just makes you hot and sweaty
b. cold weather gear. overshoes, leg warmers, arm warmers, full finger gloves, gilet. with that I'm comfortable down to about 3-4 degrees.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby bychosis » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:51 pm

My two cents, based on the well structured order of the above:

1. My gear is usually set to go, bike servicing apart from occasionally lubing first up occurs the night before.
A. Travel 'heavy' some days, or when driving taking extra clothes.
B. Making the kids sandwiches in the morning means its easy enough to add mine to the process, not a lot of point taking food in bulk.

2. Backpack has the tools and pump in it. Tubes are bike specific so go with the saddle bag. Spare floor pump at work (as well as the workshop compressor). Schrader adaptor on each bike as a valve cap. Backpack also carries a pack cover for wet days.

3. Storage, bike racks and lockers and showers at work so I'm lucky there. I allow an extra 10 min or so for cool down before showering, I'm too soft for the cold shower option. Over the Christmas break my locker has housed most of my work gear so it's not In the house taking up space.

4. The bike: I have a selection at hand now. Discs are heaps better in the wet, but rim brakes force you to ride to the conditions. Mud guards are good, but I don't bother, just get muddy/wet. I don't have a specific bike for wet weather, but tend to choose my weapon based on the intended route.
When I first started commuting I had MTB with slicks, and changed them to knobblies for weekend play trips, more than once however rode to work on the knobblies. I have fitted tyre liners to my roadie as I haven't worn outt the tyres that I have on I and it's cheaper than new tyres. Current MTB is tubeless. fixie has caused issues recently with flats, but will probably get some tyre liners. I tend to pick up steel fibres from the concrete share path.
I don't like the handling changes with a load on the bike so I've stuck with a backpack and just deal with sweaty back, it's supposed to have an air gap system but I don't reckon it does much.

5. Always have a couple of cheapo blinkies on each bike. Good Lights are only fitted when I'm riding at dark times (not normally). I don't ride on the road for very far, if I did I would have a good rear blinky mounted at all times to be seen, extended commutes with extra road travel will get a good rear blinky.

6. Clothing: not cold enough here for much extra. base layer and long sleeve jersey for really cold mornings, shoe covers as required. No need for arm or leg warmers.
Wet weather: A wind/spray jacket lives in the backpack and only comes out in the mornings below 10 or when it's wet.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby FuzzyDropbear » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:02 pm

I agree with all the posts above. I think if I were to start again, I would;

    Buy the best puncture resistant tyres I can. I have continentals, but a good brand tyre will stop those annoying punctures which can ruin commuting for people.

    Spare tube with tyre levers (and a puncture kit for repairing holes in the office or at home).
    Jacket and a set of winter gloves

    Good blinky lights (I like the usb charging ones cause I charge them on any PC) and a good headlight (I have one of these from ebay and put rechargeable batterys in, works very well for cheap)

    Mud guards

Disc brakes are good, but if you already have V-brakes all round, you may be able to fit a BB7 or the like mechanical disc brake on the front, i have and it works great.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby nickobec » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:20 pm

alexander wrote:Bike: Get something light and tough. Avoid alloy, over time it's just to jarring and unforgiving. Go steel or carbon, or even better Ti (if you can afford it).


Do not agree with that broad sweeping statement, a good quality alloy frame is as compliant and enjoyable to ride as a good steel or carbon frame (I have not spent any time with a Ti Frame, but plenty of time with good and bad steel, alloy and carbon frames). A poor quality alloy frame can be harsh and unforgiving, but so are poor quality steel and carbon frames that I have ridden.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby AndreB1972 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:21 am

nickobec wrote:Do not agree with that broad sweeping statement, a good quality alloy frame is as compliant and enjoyable to ride as a good steel or carbon frame (I have not spent any time with a Ti Frame, but plenty of time with good and bad steel, alloy and carbon frames). A poor quality alloy frame can be harsh and unforgiving, but so are poor quality steel and carbon frames that I have ridden.


I agree with this - I have found that bike fit has more effect on ride quality than frame material.
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby alexander » Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:59 am

AndreB1972 wrote:
nickobec wrote:Do not agree with that broad sweeping statement, a good quality alloy frame is as compliant and enjoyable to ride as a good steel or carbon frame (I have not spent any time with a Ti Frame, but plenty of time with good and bad steel, alloy and carbon frames). A poor quality alloy frame can be harsh and unforgiving, but so are poor quality steel and carbon frames that I have ridden.


I agree with this - I have found that bike fit has more effect on ride quality than frame material.


YMMV. :roll:
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Re: Transitioning To Commuting More

Postby rodneycc » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:05 am

Havent followed all this thread but the current cannondale caad10 or giant defy alloy bikes are pretty good, I can't fault much with those?

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