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  1. #1
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    Essential Accessories for Commuting

    I wanted to take a quick survey on what everyone thought were some key accessories to have that would make a city commute comfortable and easy. Do you recommend particular products? Is there an online store that has the best deals?

    The obvious answers are lights, helmet, etc. BUT is there something that you can't live without in your daily commute?

    Thank You!

  2. #2
    weirdo
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    The specific items that one guy needs for his commute are going to be so hugely diferent from what the next guy needs that it isn`t even worth the time to type it out. For example, a lot of folks need to be presentable at work and have to worry about smelling like a locker room and carrying work clothes- I show up however I happen to show up, change into my uniform, and proceed to get absolutely filthy before the day is over. My commute has me on the bike for about twenty minutes in temps that get down to about zero F- what somebody needs for a 45 minute commute at minus ten would be just as silly for me as if I were to wear clothes suitable for a fast commuter in San Diego. I pass one stop sign on my way to work and one signal on the way home- I light myself up pretty good, but nothing like a bike/rider that sees daily traffic nightmares and has to take the lane in downtown Metropolis.

    Here are some things you need to look into: weather conditions VS length of commute, traffic situation, time of day (light or dark), what kind of load you need to carry, necessarry stuff to fix a flat on your bike. It`s going to be different for everybody, but keep scanning the threads and do a few searches and you`ll gleen a lot of information. Then post back if you need more specific info on something. And don`t forget to post a picture of your bike on the sticky!

  3. #3
    LCI #1853
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    1. Bike.
    2. Helmet, gloves, & glasses
    3. Rear-view mirror
    4. Headlights and tail lights
    5. Some way to carry my stuff -- either backpack, messenger bag, rack trunk, or panniers. That means for either of the last two, the bike needs a cargo rack of some sort.
    6. Tools for the road: spare tube, flat-fixing tools, frame pump or CO2 rig, patch kit, multi-tool, and a cell phone, just-in-case...
    7. Water bottle, with contents of some sort.
    Ride a mountain bike... you will not regret it if you live.
    [SIZE="1"](with apologies to Mark Twain & The Taming of the Bicycle)[/SIZE]

  4. #4
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    PscyclePath pretty much nailed it there. You might also consider a bell if you find yourself frequently having to pass other cyclists, joggers and drunks stumbling around in the bike lane. I'll also throw in a list of some upgrades you might consider for your bike, though I have my own reasons for doing them that you might not agree with.

    Platform pedals with removable pins - With a lot of frequent stops and hazards to avoid, you might find it easier to use a pedal you can "exit" at any time from any direction that will still hold onto your foot in most situations

    Front & rear fenders - You can't always swerve around puddles. Rooster tails from your rear wheel will splash all over your bags and front derailleur. RTs from the front will throw water in your face.

    Riser bars, comfy grips and bar ends - When commuting in traffic, it's best to be sitting as upright as possible so that you can constantly scan the road and your surroundings. Also keep in mind that the desire for a comfortable ride might outweigh speed. Save the aerodynamics for the weekend rides! And the availability of more than one hand position helps on long rides.

    You can see that this isn't terribly different from on and off-road recreational rides, it's just that you obviously have somewhere to be afterwards and want to be as presentable as possible and able to finish an 8 or more hour day before you have to get back on the bike.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PscyclePath
    1. Bike.
    2. Helmet, gloves, & glasses
    3. Rear-view mirror
    4. Headlights and tail lights
    5. Some way to carry my stuff -- either backpack, messenger bag, rack trunk, or panniers. That means for either of the last two, the bike needs a cargo rack of some sort.
    6. Tools for the road: spare tube, flat-fixing tools, frame pump or CO2 rig, patch kit, multi-tool, and a cell phone, just-in-case...
    7. Water bottle, with contents of some sort.

    I dunno how specific you would want to get, but that is pretty much spot-on. Most people dont think about needing protective glasses, but if you ride in the rain or on a nasty road they are indispensable. I always use my backpack and carry a multi-tool, metric folding hex key assortment, spare tube, patches, inflator, etc. I typically always pack rain gear too because I commute a LOT and you never know when you might need it. A rag, towel, spare shirt socks and undies are always nice too. I carry street shoes because I only ride clipless. About the only thing I would add to the list above is a nice set of fenders. It SUCKS getting covered in slop when you are going somewhere. I use a velcro strap to keep my pants out of the chainring too.

    That is a pretty complete list of anything you might need to commute with. Its hard to say which is more important to me as missing any one of those items in a tight squeeze would really suck.
    -Jeremy
    08 Redline D440
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  6. #6
    In the rear with the beer
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    Dont' forget to carry with you the awareness/attitude that any and all cars are out to get you.
    Salvation Outdoor
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  7. #7
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    wet pants

    make sure your backpack/panniers are waterprof or put your stuff is in a plastic bag. nothing worse than having to put on wet cotton clothes after a wet ride in.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar

    Front & rear fenders - You can't always swerve around puddles. Rooster tails from your rear wheel will splash all over your bags and front derailleur. RTs from the front will throw water in your face.

    Fenders have made the biggest impact for me. It eliminates so many excuses for not riding to work.

    I will add that in summer I need to use panniers because I hate having a sweaty back from a back pack. In the winter, I use a back pack.

    Must haves:

    Tools
    Fenders
    Lights

    They are the ESSENTIALS.

  9. #9
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    In addition to what has already been said, maybe add a lightweight lock.

    I have a u-lock and a chain that I leave at work, but I do carry a lightweight lock so I can pick up some quick groceries on my way home (about 10 minutes at most at a busy location, so I feel safe enough).

    I keep a headband and a long-sleeve jacket in my backpack at all times as well, just in case the weather changes.

  10. #10
    Which way? Uphill.
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    I'll add that a good set of quality puncture-proof tires are worth there weight in gold. And most of them weigh like they are made of gold.

    My Schwalbe Marathons are 1000g each and I expect them to last me 15,000+ miles. 3,000 miles so far on them and they still look new.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nepbug
    I'll add that a good set of quality puncture-proof tires are worth there weight in gold. And most of them weigh like they are made of gold.

    My Schwalbe Marathons are 1000g each and I expect them to last me 15,000+ miles. 3,000 miles so far on them and they still look new.

    That's a good point. Far too many times I'm riding at night and am ambushed by a broken bottle laying in the road.

    How much did they cost you and where did you get them?!?
    Fightline
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    --Derek--

  12. #12
    Which way? Uphill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fightline
    That's a good point. Far too many times I'm riding at night and am ambushed by a broken bottle laying in the road.

    How much did they cost you and where did you get them?!?
    Schwalbe Marathon Plus
    http://www.biketiresdirect.com/pscmp...26_tire/pp.htm
    They have them for $42 right now, Jenson has them listed for $39, but they are out of stock.

    I picked them up at Bike Tires Direct 6 months ago for $35 each, I wouldn't expect them to be that low again.

    The 26x1.75 is pretty high volume for a 1.75 as well.
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  13. #13
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    1000g? Yikes

    I'd have a hard time using a wheel that weighed that much, much less a tire.

    Are they solid?
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  14. #14
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    *Having lots of bikes available is essential. Riding in the winter kills nice bikes, I have a couple of old rigid mtbs with fenders for those slushy, salty, sandy gritty days.
    I can do about 3/4 of my 11.5 commute on trails now, so having a good mtb to ride on nice days is great. The variety is nice to have.
    I have 2 touring bikes for the day to day stuff, that way I don't have to fix something right away if it breaks.
    * Fenders are essential to keep the commute going on the rainy days. Dry feet and a clean back are the benefits.
    * A rack and bag or messenger bag are essentials too. I have both, just go with the messenger bag when it's nice out, then can ride whatever bike I feel like. Need the rack bag for extra clothes when it's raining or cold.

  15. #15
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    Pants.

  16. #16
    Which way? Uphill.
    Reputation: nepbug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shayne
    I'd have a hard time using a wheel that weighed that much, much less a tire.

    Are they solid?
    Not quite "solid" but you really can't depend on the old squeeze the tire to see if you need to add air trick. I just hook the pump up to verify the pressure once a week.

    The casing is pretty stiff, but I think they still offer a good ride.

    1000g tires, just think of all the momentum they carry, thus less effort once your up to speed. It's not like I'm on trails where little obstacles are constantly trying to slow down the tire's rotation.
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  17. #17
    Squeaky Wheel
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    All great sugestions. If you are commuting in traffic,especially in winter, I would add reflective items to the list:

    1. Reflective tape on your bike, in as many places as you are comfortable putting it. I've got it stuck to my fenders, my cranks and various other places.
    2. A reflective vest - I wear one made for jogging, but it works great for biking.
    3. I also wear reflective bands around my ankles. When I pedal, nothing says "biker ahead" faster than the up/down motion of pedaling legs.

    I have all this in addition to my front light and two rear lights. You can never be visible enough.

  18. #18
    In the rear with the beer
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    Quote Originally Posted by langford
    *Having lots of bikes available is essential. Riding in the winter kills nice bikes, I have a couple of old rigid mtbs with fenders for those slushy, salty, sandy gritty days.
    I can do about 3/4 of my 11.5 commute on trails now, so having a good mtb to ride on nice days is great. The variety is nice to have.
    I have 2 touring bikes for the day to day stuff, that way I don't have to fix something right away if it breaks.
    * Fenders are essential to keep the commute going on the rainy days. Dry feet and a clean back are the benefits.
    * A rack and bag or messenger bag are essentials too. I have both, just go with the messenger bag when it's nice out, then can ride whatever bike I feel like. Need the rack bag for extra clothes when it's raining or cold.
    Dude, how many arrows do you have in the quiver??
    Salvation Outdoor
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway
    All great sugestions. If you are commuting in traffic,especially in winter, I would add reflective items to the list:

    1. Reflective tape on your bike, in as many places as you are comfortable putting it. I've got it stuck to my fenders, my cranks and various other places.
    2. A reflective vest - I wear one made for jogging, but it works great for biking.
    3. I also wear reflective bands around my ankles. When I pedal, nothing says "biker ahead" faster than the up/down motion of pedaling legs.

    I have all this in addition to my front light and two rear lights. You can never be visible enough.

    Excellent point. I typically wear hi-vis clothes or jackets, reflective tape of all sorts and have the bike lit up like a christmas tree. IMO you can never be too visible on a bike. A planet bike superflash rear blinky is a must. That thing is damn near blinding its so bright.
    -Jeremy
    08 Redline D440
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    11 Scott CR1

  20. #20
    jrm
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    Poncho in a bag

    for 5$ you cant go wrong. Especially when you dont have one
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  21. #21
    relax
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    One of these if you ride at night

    lightlane.jpg

    LightLane is a concept gadget that paints a bike lane around your bicycle with laser-light as you pedal through the night!
    Last edited by jeep; 02-12-2009 at 07:14 PM.

  22. #22
    Squeaky Wheel
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeep
    One of theseLightLane is a concept gadget that paints a bike lane around your bicycle with laser-light as you pedal through the night!
    Cool gadget, but I'll take my Dinotte 140L taillight and 600L headlight instead!

  23. #23
    jrm
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    Running a 600L LM HID

    Quote Originally Posted by woodway
    Cool gadget, but I'll take my Dinotte 140L taillight and 600L headlight instead!
    Its the only way to go.
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  24. #24
    Which way? Uphill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeep
    One of these if you ride at night

    lightlane.jpg

    LightLane is a concept gadget that paints a bike lane around your bicycle with laser-light as you pedal through the night!
    I would like to see that with some headlights behind it. I have a feeling that the "bike lane" would be completely washed away.
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