New Commuter after tips

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New Commuter after tips

Postby AussieCJ7 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:53 pm

Hi All

Since Christmas I have started to commute, I think the bug is biting hard, and after a few tips from the pro's on carting gear back and forward

Been using a backpack and just tried experimenting with an eagle creek shirt packer I had for business travel, they allow you to fold up a shirt and have minimal to no creasing/crushing and take up little space http://www.eaglecreek.com/packing_solutions/packing_folders/Pack-It-Folder-15-41068/

I leave a suit, shoes belt and toiletries in my locker at work and we have showers, but our lockers are a little on the small size so leaving 5 shirts at work is not really possible so means i carry a shirt and sox plus my laptop and Ipad

some days i can leave lap top in locker and survive just on ipad but others I can not with plenty of calls/work after hours at home

So what is your best tips for carrying gear and being presentable in a customer facing role ??


I only have a 9 Klm trip each way and it is 90% dedicated bike path and the rest is roads with small bike lane into North Sydney that gets progressively busier closer to the office

My bike is a 10 yo Avanti explorer hybrid and apart from the gear cables needing some attention it seems to be holding up to the job ok so far

I need to get some lights (all trips have been good daylight so far) and looking for recommendations that are not too many $$ but not junk either

Also end up missing a number of phone calls and thinking the commute time is going to be dedicated time out with phone off, but is there any good solutions for headphone for calls that dont reduce your awareness of things around you ??

What changes in your routine as winter hits ??

Finally any other good tips from the regular commuters ??
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by BNA » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:51 pm

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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby high_tea » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:51 pm

AussieCJ7 wrote:Hi All

Since Christmas I have started to commute, I think the bug is biting hard, and after a few tips from the pro's on carting gear back and forward

Been using a backpack and just tried experimenting with an eagle creek shirt packer I had for business travel, they allow you to fold up a shirt and have minimal to no creasing/crushing and take up little space http://www.eaglecreek.com/packing_solutions/packing_folders/Pack-It-Folder-15-41068/

I leave a suit, shoes belt and toiletries in my locker at work and we have showers, but our lockers are a little on the small size so leaving 5 shirts at work is not really possible so means i carry a shirt and sox plus my laptop and Ipad

some days i can leave lap top in locker and survive just on ipad but others I can not with plenty of calls/work after hours at home

So what is your best tips for carrying gear and being presentable in a customer facing role ??


I haven't heard of the shirt packer before, sounds like a nifty little gadget. As far as carrying luggage goes, I expect a couple of large panniers should cover you; I commute with shoes, clothes, etc in two small panniers. It means getting a rack for your bike, but that's not hugely expensive. Much comfier than a backpack too, especially in summer.

I only have a 9 Klm trip each way and it is 90% dedicated bike path and the rest is roads with small bike lane into North Sydney that gets progressively busier closer to the office

My bike is a 10 yo Avanti explorer hybrid and apart from the gear cables needing some attention it seems to be holding up to the job ok so far

I need to get some lights (all trips have been good daylight so far) and looking for recommendations that are not too many $$ but not junk either


A lot of people think highly of the DealExtreme lights. I gather the quality is a bit hit and miss, though. I like dynamo lights myself, but they're not cheap, not that I've regretted spending what I've spent on them. FWIW I think lighting is an area that it's worth sinking a bit of coin into. Summer, it's not such a big deal, but when winter comes around, they're a pretty big deal, especially if any of your commute lacks overhead lights.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby familyguy » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:19 am

Those shirt folders are a neat idea. One of the guys here (trailgumby I think?) was commuting with a laptop, so he can probably help with advice as far as carrying one goes. Panniers are the go, particularly if its warm. I sometimes use a backpack, and even though its not heavily loaded and supposedly ventilated down the back, I still sweat like a maniac under it. Leaving as much as you can at work is a good start, especially shoes. I'm lucky I can leave several pairs of pants and shirts at work, as well as a couple of pairs of shoes. If all else fails there's my safety boots, which I have worn all day a few times.

Do you have a shower at your place of business?? Thats the one thing I'd really like to have, but I have to make do with a wet towel and spray. Not ideal, but nobody has said anything about my hygiene. And believe me, they would.

Lights are something you cant skimp on. Not just blinkies, but real lights. Once it starts getting dark I have three rear lights (helmet flasher, one red solid, one red superflash) and two fronts (one of these: http://dx.com/trustfire-tr-801-cree-q5- ... 8650-15335 and the same model in an hi/off model), one on flash, one on steady. Two lights, two holders, 4 batteries and a charger were about $40 all up. A cheap enough setup, and has been pretty reliable. You can rarely have too much light, especially if the street lighting is low or non-existent.

Oh, and I wouldnt take calls on the bike. Thats just me. Some people listen to devices, but I reckon thats more trouble than its worth.

Jim
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby AussieCJ7 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:33 am

Thanks for both of your tips and encouragement

Any tips on buying panniers and what to look for in a good set ?

Where in the Nth shore area is the best spot to buy gear, or do most of you buy online ?
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby familyguy » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:12 am

AussieCJ7 wrote:Any tips on buying panniers and what to look for in a good set ?

Where in the Nth shore area is the best spot to buy gear, or do most of you buy online ?


Waterproof-ness if you're going to be riding in the wet. If you carry your laptop, I believe there's some specifically designed models, but I dont know enough about them. Most of the knowledgeable commuter stores seem to be city/southern (Cheeky Transport for one). The commuterphiles will pipe up soon enough.

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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby KonaCommuter » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:08 pm

One thing that I notice first whenever I see other cyclists is their lights, or for some, the lack there of.

Here’s an excellent page showing the difference between tail lights http://www.ivanhoecycles.com.au//bike-l ... at_255.php

I personally have the Tioga Dual Eyes. I bought it from ivanhoecycles and can’t recommend the light nor the store enough. When I ordered the light I asked them in the special instructions to draw a picture of a dragon on the box. Being great sports they did. When I saw it I was :shock: then I remembered and I was all :lol:


For my front flasher I use the Fenix LD10 on strobe http://www.fenixlight.com/viewnproduct.asp?id=65 It does the job but I have misgivings about the mount. The Fenix bike mount takes up a lot of precious handle bar space. I also have tried the twofish design but it isn’t stable enough. My next attempt will be this one https://www.ledtorchshop.com.au/product ... bike-mount

The torch itself I’m very happy with.



I miss phone calls as well when I’m riding. But to be honest I wouldn’t answer it even if I did hear it.



Have you got mudguards? They’re worth looking into IMHO
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby Xplora » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:05 pm

Do not take calls while riding. It is not the same as driving. You MUST be more switched on, because the bike is more invisible and you are the last in the pecking order at law on the PSP.

Get panniers, get a rack, get DX lights they are cheap and decent, get a shower at work during summer. I just fold my shirt. Easy with a trunk bag, clothes don't get tossed around at all.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby gururug » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:14 pm

While 95% of riders would frown on taking calls, i've done it. Tried most of the solutions out there and unless you have big deals waiting at the whim of a yay or nay or a baby on the way, it's just not worth it.

You could set a particular tone/vibration "profile" for specific callers and stick your phone in your jersey. That way only for "important" calls your attention can focus then pull over if you feel like it.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby waramatt » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:20 pm

Get a good headlight. I have a Cygolite Expilion. It is always on when the bike is moving, flashing in daylight, high beam in the dark. Kids I pass always comment on it's brightness, even in broad daylight.

Get good tail lights. I also have the Tioga dual eyes and have one under the saddle, one on my helmet and one on my backpack. A chick at the LBS tells me I have a light fetish. I don't care.

I bought a good, strong light backpack, but am not in a customer facing role, suit etc so am not in a position to offer advice.

Wear a high-viz top. Doesn't have to be a cycling jersey. I prefer long sleeve running and soccer goalie tops. Good sun protection and still lightweight. For me, much more comfy than a cycling jersey.

Log your rides. Get a decent bike computer or GPS. Both are accurate. I find logging rides helps with motivation.

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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby TCAT » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:29 pm

I have been in a similar situation as you but didn’t carry a laptop. I would be very worried about placing a laptop in a pannier unless it was especially designed for laptops. Far too much vibration for the good health of a laptop. I know others have done it in non laptop panniers and had no problems but I wouldn’t.
I used to take new shirts in a back pack once a week and bring the dirty ones home the same day. I would hang the shirts up on hangers in the showers but then I didn’t have many other people using the showers either. The steam/moisture seemed to remove any creases over the week.

As for lights: the easier you are seen the safer you are. Preferably 2 very bright rear lights. I use ‘smart super flash tail led light’. One by law has to be fixed to the bike and the other I would mount on your helmet or somewhere high on your body. I am more concerned about what is coming up behind so put more emphasis on the quality of the rear. I use a ‘smart’ blinking white light at the front.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby Xplora » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:23 pm

gururug wrote:While 95% of riders would frown on taking calls, i've done it. Tried most of the solutions out there and unless you have big deals waiting at the whim of a yay or nay or a baby on the way, it's just not worth it.

You could set a particular tone/vibration "profile" for specific callers and stick your phone in your jersey. That way only for "important" calls your attention can focus then pull over if you feel like it.

We've all taken calls, but work calls are a lot more involved than maybe just the wife saying "get some milk". I wouldn't dismiss taking a call on a bike path, but not from work. They don't care that you're on the pushy and need to pay attention.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby Sydguy » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:42 pm

For lights try to get something that is waterproof and USB rechargeable. That will save you $ on replacements and $ on batteries, and you can recharge at work. Knog do some decent lights that are easy to attach to any bike, ensure that this is the case as you will probably upgrade your bike.

As for taking anything with you on a ride I really frown upon it! For me this often includes starting work up to 2 hours earlier to clear all the queries/items that I never take home. If you have no pressing work issues you can still get up early and get some kms in on the bike before heading to work.

The bonus with riding in early to work is enjoying the lack of motorised vehicles and their associated tendancy to be loud, smelly and dangerous.

Commuting is addictive and can mean your credit card statement will be a lot longer and full of lines devoted to various bike shops. I suggest making savings in less important expenditure areas like your childrens health and education, I try to avoid trips to dentists the pain often goes away and do not replace items of clothing until they have more than 3 holes.

Hope this helps.

JM
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby csy75 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:54 pm

my tips:

- put a rack on your bike. I use a topeak super tourist rack. no more back pack or sweaty shirt. you get a better bike and you can move over to the new bike
-panniers: i bought cheapy ones at first which got regularly caught in my spokes. I then upgraded to ortlieb roller plus. they are the ducks guts. waterproof, solid and can expand. you can pack a lot into these.
- clothes: I have one of those shirt folders but hardly bother now. just fold in a plastic bag and take them into work. 5 shirts on monday. store them in my desk pedal/side thingy, which work was nice enough to install for everyone. towel on rack near desk or in showers. belt and trousers left at work too. shoes left there also.
- i bought good lights for winter coming up and because i commute in early. $40 bike planet
- its worth buying one good waterproof top to wear when it pours ( it came in handy yesterday ).
- I leave my cable lock and d lock at work. I now lock up my wheels, seat and remove all gear when parked. bikes keep losing seats and wheels at my work so I dont mind doing this every day.
- the best kit i have bought is $20 knicks and shirts from cell and $30 for some torpedo 7 base layer sleeveless tops. these are really comfortable on my 15 km commute each way. courtesy shorts over the shorts for anyone i cycle by. :lol:
- i chuck a showercap on my helmet when its raining, keeps my head dry when it rains.
- buy a mount from rigidmount and use a camera. i've had 2 close calls and used the footage to get a response from the relevant people on this.
- I am going to spend $30 on over shoes/booties to keep the rain out with the weather we have been having
- NO to phone calls. commuting is my private time or time to enjoy not being stuck on a bus/train/whatever....the silence is truly welcome...no reason to spoil it taking a phone call....If you really need to take calls how about some sennheiser earphones with mouthpiece or the one that came with your phone?
- Laptop....Mmm, tricky....you want something that will protect it.....is there something specific made out there? I haven't seen it.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby westab » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:29 pm

Welcome to Commuting.

As for bags I use a pair of Velogear waterproof panniers (these http://www.velogear.com.au/products/50L_Ridesportz_Dry_Panniers_Pair_2_Colours-804-159.html)
They are good and are "waterproof" - I have ridden in heavy rain many times in the last 12 months without any water getting in. Usually I carry a 4 kg laptop (17") 2 kg power supply, lunch, cloths for one week, a few tools, spare batteries for lights, a few tools and tubes etc. My laptop I carry inside one pannier inside a small laptop bag and ontop of the spare ridding gear I carry - This protects the laptop ok - I have had no issues. While I think laptop panniers would be good (or better than my setup) I don't like the idea of advertising that I have one with me as I ride in some dark and isolated areas in Sydney's west.

As far as lights go I use one of the "900" lumen (more like 300) Deal Extreme on that runs on one 18650 battery on my helmet, a headlux, a 3w Nightpro that runs on 3 x AA, a 1w front blinky (4 x AAA), a 0.5 watt Pacific brand rear, & a 0.5W Tioga Dual Eye rear light. These give me light and good visibility to others. I also wear a 3M night safety vest (orange) which you can see for miles according to my wife. (please note that I work for 3M so please take that into account - I am biased as I didn't have to pay for it the OH&S lady asked me to wear it),
Not fast, no style, but still get there.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby Blackrock » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:33 pm

Get a Deuter backpack with rain cover. One of those ones with the air mesh to keep your back cool.
Take the car once every two weeks and take your shirts or suits in.
Why spoil a ride with taking a phone call? Are you working still? Tell your missus that you can't be reached while cycling.
Use the track my iphone function so she can see where you are, if you need to.
A good waterproof jacket is essential.
Puncture repair kit and pump. Spare tube.
Front and back lights. Turn them on in daytime to give you that bit more visibility to other road-users. They're only batteries and can be recharged, but if it buys you a second they're worth it.
Get some neoprene over shoes to keep your feet dry.
Pack some clear safety glasses for winter, rain or night time riding.
GEt a tradies top to give you visibility. I started riding in black tshirts and decided after a couple of close calls that cars needed to see me and gauge how fast I was going. Again, if it gives you a couple more seconds, it is worth it to look like a highlighter.
Wearing a tradies top (I use an orange singlet) somehow gives a different impression of the rider than a spandex jersey. They either don't mess with you cos they thing you've been lifting bricks all day or they give you space cos they think you're a part time cyclist on the way to the pub for a long neck...
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby kodakmomentz » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:54 am

I've found that the Plantronics BackBeat 903+ is really good for riding and taking calls. I can concentrate on cycling and tell people that they just have to deal with the infrequent course language and other priorities...it's usually the boss anyway.

They are also good to put on a low volume and you can have some more upbeat music to increase your tempo without missing the jerk thats about to cut you off. I know some people are going to frown upon this, but seriously I notice the difference when I don't have my headset.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby waramatt » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:48 pm

Probably sorry he asked for advice. The accessories will cost him megabucks :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby Xplora » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 pm

waramatt wrote:Probably sorry he asked for advice. The accessories will cost him megabucks :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

If you aren't kitted up already, I reckon 500 over the first year isn't a silly figure to quote for costs outside the purchase of the bike.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby AussieCJ7 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:21 am

Xplora wrote:
waramatt wrote:Probably sorry he asked for advice. The accessories will cost him megabucks :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

If you aren't kitted up already, I reckon 500 over the first year isn't a silly figure to quote for costs outside the purchase of the bike.




:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

After a weekend visit to the bike shop I believe you :evil:

I bought the ION front and rear light combo and a new seat to ditch the super spongy gel seat that came with the bike as it was just was too wide for me

while panniers seem like a better option I am going to stick with the back pack for a while as it is forcing me to think closely about do I really need to to carry that

Still on my list for winter is an extra rear light for my helmet and thinking about upgrading peddles to something with clips and riding shoes Shimano SPD look like a good option ????


I am noticing my uphill speed slowly increase as the days go by but this is still the main spot I get passed :roll:
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby Xplora » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:53 am

Where are you? Quite new Size 42 Shimano MT42s on offer with the cheaper SPD pedals. Good reason to upgrade to a lighter shoe for me :lol: I'm in Sydney.

Definitely get the clips, the extra horsepower is enormous. You can push another gear or 2 without extra effort. :D

Get the rack. The weight on your back changes the ergonomics of your riding position quite a bit, if you're commuting regualrly with 5 kgs on the back it DOES make a difference to your posture. This whole "do I need to take that" question is not something you should have to do. You need to be able to take 2-4L extra beyond your normal amount to do shopping, or if you've got a big day for some reason. You can do trunk bag if you want to keep it simple. Ebay has plenty of cheap bags that look really good.
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Re: New Commuter after tips

Postby csy75 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:57 am

if you are going for clip in pedals....go shimano spd...i have m324 as two sided....pricey but worth it.

mtb shoes with spd cleats are much better for me to walk around in, clip in etc than spd-sl...ymmv
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New Commuter after tips

Postby gobsec » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:34 pm

To offer a suggestion slightly different from others: adopt the approach I take in relation to commuting with a laptop computer. I found some years ago that the weight of my notebook computer was making cycle commuting less enjoyable. These days of course they can be lighter, however what really got me back on my bike was to keep one notebook at home and another in the office, and synchronize them. I use Dropbox which continually syncs the two computers. Even my MacBook Air is a noticeable weight when cycling, and its absence makes the ride far more enjoyable.

It means I don't have a computer while commuting but, hey, I've always got the iPhone for that...
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New Commuter after tips

Postby Rowley Runner » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:47 am

Also zip lock bags are handy for sticking things in when it rains (phones, wallets ect.) Saves you $200 repairs on your phone.

RR
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