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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    First week finished...

    So i have finished my first week on commuting by bike. I have not touched my car in 5 days. Despite the heat, and topeka roads that do their best to swallow bikes, i am rather enjoying the exercise at both ends of my day. I am looking to develop my bike in a stronger commuter. I currently ride a Giant Boulder SE, which has been a surprisingly capable bike for the silly low price. I want to upgrade to some super-slick purpose built commuter at some point, but not too soon. Tuition first, new bike second. So, i come here looking for a bit of help. Firstly, i need a basic light set up to help me be seen. Most the roads I ride are lit enough for me to ride, but not enough for care to spot me. I have been considering the Blackburn Quadrant, but am more than open to other ideas. Also, I need something to hold my stuff. the last time I carried any weight on a bike was on my paper route when I was 12. That chest rig has been burned, so it is not an option. I want to find something that I can fix to my bike. My main concern is the ability to carry my laptop safely. As a student, my entire life exists on that computer. Some of the topeak setups look nice because of the quick release clip system. That said, I am more than open to suggestions of a better product.

    Sorry for the long winded first post...

    Brandon

    Edit: Also, what things should i keep in the way of tools? I dont mind riding my bike, i do mind having to carry it home.

  2. #2
    I like bikes!
    Reputation: Drek's Avatar
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    Others may disagree with this but if you can see well enough on your own, you probably don't need a full light set.

    That said, getting some flashers is almost critical to improve your visibility to cars. Get a red one (or more) for the rear facing backwards and a white one for the front. It is all about getting the drivers attention.

    I use one of these for the front mounted on my helmet facing forward
    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...45524442588127

    I have one of these on the back, they also provide a bit of side lighting as well
    http://www.amazon.com/Blackburn-Mars.../dp/B000BNS2TC

    Then once it gets toward it being darker when you are out, get a headlight system. Here the summer is fine without, but the winter requires lights to see at all....

    Drek

  3. #3
    I like bikes!
    Reputation: Drek's Avatar
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    oh...and congratulations on finishing your first week commuting...

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: emery14's Avatar
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    I'm planning picking up some reflective tape and sticking it all over my pack to go with the blackburn light set I just ordered. Knowing how fast I drive the stretch of rode I commute is kinda worrying and makes me want to be seen.

  5. #5
    Bebe's Dad
    Reputation: spearchucker's Avatar
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    Rei

    REI.com has an outlet ( http://www.rei.com/outlet ) where you can usually scores some nice deals. Asumming your commute requires some nighttime riding: flashing lights in the front & back, a headlight so that you can be seen, a reflective vest (usually you can find these on the cheap at Harbour Freight Tools, Dollar General..I wouldn't pay more than a few dollars...a water bottle, panniers, tire pump, etc. Take a look at the Review Section of mtbr.com to get an idea of what you might want/need.
    Outstanding that you're riding to work. Personally I find it VERY relaxing with the ride home way more fun than the ride to work. What about everyone else?

  6. #6
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
    Reputation: Zachariah's Avatar
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    Don't scrimp on lights. Lights used only to "be seen" are dangerous for the rider's own visiblity. They are usually poorly lit, from the rider's viewpoint. And, dim lighting is the #1 cause of rider misjudgement, and crashes at night. I should know- I used a CatEye battery-powered headlight for my downhill ride one night, mistook an s-curve for a straightaway.....and suddenly saw a huge tree heading my way. I quickly corrected my path, but a dirt-colored rock put the bike to a complete stop, resulting in a broken collarbone, deep road rash, and a busted helmet. Get a home-rechargeable lighting system. I know they are a bit pricey....but they are super-bright and will give you plenty of warning before going dim. Dim lights will make you see and imagine things that are not even there. Very scary.

    Tool-wise, a bike pump, extra tube, tire levers, and a good, allen-key multi-tool should be in every bike commuters' backpack. Seriously, about the lights- get the brightest you can afford. A friend rode past a pile of leaves one night- only to find himself kissing the pavement, the next minute. He suffered a broken nose, cut lip, and a concussion- but the helmet did save his life, though. Turned out his dim, $20 headlight failed to reveal a tree branch he brushed by, buried in the pile of leaves. Apparently, that tree branch was bent forward by the bike tire, but snapped back straight into his spokes- halting the bike cold, and flipping my buddy over the bars.....a bright light could have easily prevented that. After getting a new nose- my friend invested in a $500 Nite Rider light system. He has not crashed in nearly two years, now!!!
    Last edited by Zachariah; 07-05-2008 at 02:27 PM.

  7. #7
    Never enough time to ride
    Reputation: squish's Avatar
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    A decent light up front is a good way to go. Knog makes some very affordable multi LED lights, and I know the Blackburn stuff is pretty good too. Personally I use my trail light (Blackburn X6) when my commutes are going to require a night ride, then I run a couple of Red Knob blinkies in the back.

    As far as tools, exactly what was mentioned before, tube, tire levers, pump, and a decent allen set. The same stuff you would carry on any other ride.

    Congrats on your first week, it has been a bit over 3 months since I've started my truck for any reason. I've gotten to the point where I actually get groceries on my bike now!

    happy trails...

    squish
    Get out and ride!

  8. #8
    BIG and Bald
    Reputation: FireBallKY's Avatar
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    The Knog Frogs are great. Big ones, little ones, red and white lights. I got my first ones this year and I love them. Mount them on the handlebars, seat post, fork...just about anywhere.
    [SIZE="2"][SIZE="3"]Eat to Live[/SIZE][/SIZE]...[SIZE="3"]not the other way around[/SIZE]

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