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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    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...


    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    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

    I have one of these on the back, they also provide a bit of side lighting as well

    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....


  3. #3
    I like bikes!
    Reputation: Drek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    oh...and congratulations on finishing your first week commuting...

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: emery14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    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
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Rei has an 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 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... SuperModerator
    Reputation: Cayenne_Pepa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    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 Cayenne_Pepa; 07-05-2008 at 02:27 PM.

  7. #7
    Never enough time to ride
    Reputation: squish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    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...

    Get out and ride!

  8. #8
    BIG and Bald
    Reputation: FireBallKY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    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.
    Eat to Live...not the other way around

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