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  1. #1
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    New to commuting

    Well not totally new, more of a fair weather commuter and dont do it every day YET. But found im in a better mood when I do get to ride. Part of my "fair weatherness" was all I had was one bike, my 29er. Too nice to leave out in the weather. Plus screams "steal me". However just picked up an 04 trek 4100 in good shape for $75 to be my commuter. Winter time here will require a fat bike, next on the list. Live in small town on miss. River in northern IL, work and everything is on Iowa side of the bridge.



    I have basics figure out. Record temp of 11deg (1130pm trips home, work second shift). Know how to dress, even bought pogies which saw use before snows hit. Imo talk about finger savers lol. Wife got me a good UA hi-vis orange backpack for xmas, used to have a cheap sling backpack while I gave commuting a try.



    Lookinh first at must haves that I may be missing to carry on bike. Have tool, patch kit (though im lazy and putting slime in tires possibly), frame pump, tube, lights. Anything im forgetting there?



    Secondly is im not rich, commuter gear "brand name" isn't cheap. What's some things for rain gear on a low budget as I save for good shell and rain pants? Besides spare clothes/socks at work anyway. Work was nice and locker is vacant next to mine so they gave it to me for spare clothes.





    Any other pointers for a noob to commuting. Next weekend I expect to start my "only drive when I have to go somewhere with the baby or baby and wife". I'll probably cheat once in while, bridge is a bear to ride over in high winds. Wife doesn't even know how to ride a bike fyi lol.



    I'll post pics later (can't via my phone for some reason) of bike as bought and what I do to it over next week. I'm making sure to stand out and I have a thing for orange lol.



    Thnx





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  2. #2
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    Welcome tigris99! It sounds like you have most of the essentials, maybe consider a spare blinkie in case of loss or breakage. Rain pants are tough, often it is more comfortable to wear non-waterproof stuff and just get wet rather than sweat in cheap (or even expensive) raingear. A lot of non-bike specific stuff works perfectly well.

  3. #3
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    I carry a rain jacket in my bag but almost never wear it, and I don't even own rain pants. Generally speaking, rain is only miserable for about 10-15 minutes. Once you soak through the rain doesn't feel so cold, and it's easier to just accept that "I am wet", and then it's pretty darn relaxing. Just make sure your stuff is dry (wet work clothes aren't fun) and dry your drivetrain off as best you can once you get home.

  4. #4
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    As much as I hate them, I would suggest fenders if you are going to seriously commute all the time. That stripe up your back and bag just won't cut it on a daily basis. Even one of the cheaper seatpost guards would work. I will also suggest a good lock if you are keeping your bike on a rack outside.
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  5. #5
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    You might stop to patch a tube when it's warm out, but are you really going to do that in the cold and wet? I sure as hell won't. I carry a spare tube, and use good tires with puncture protection. Right now is probably the worst time of year for flats, because of all the road debris that's melting out of the snow, and hasn't been washed away by spring rain yet. If you're going to carry anything extra this time of year, I'd be carrying extra tubes. Leave the patches at home, so you can repair your tubes and rotate them back into service.

    Frankly, I don't think a fat bike will help you for on-road commutes as much as you think. I think you'd be better off buying studded tires for your existing commuter.

    I use a lot of non-cycling specific gear. just picked up a hi-viz cycling rain jacket, though, and now would be the time to start looking for winter clothing, since shops SHOULD be wanting to clear out their stock. some shop owners have zero business sense, though, and don't clear old stuff out.

    fenders are essential this time of year. getting wet is one thing. but getting road grime all over you first thing in the morning is not pleasant. full coverage fenders are really where you should be looking for a commute bike. the clip-on ones are really for off-road use and don't have enough coverage. I use SKS chromoplastics and have added mud flaps to the end of them to help keep the bike from directing water from puddles straight at my shoes.

    I recommend a healthy amount of reflective tape. It augments your lights in traffic and improves visibility. There's a ton of discussion throughout this forum about the types of tape that are best, where to put it, and all that stuff. Also consider lights on your helmet. The more lights/reflective area you have, the more likely you are to outline yourself enough that people recognize you as a bike. I recommend that at least one set of lights you use be daylight visible. No, they're not cheap, but I find that lights really help even on overcast days, and that they're even beneficial on bright sunny days. I will turn my lights on during daytime anytime I feel like I'd benefit from them. I have to ride through a few dark underpasses, and I prefer my lights to be running at those times no matter the time of day. One of them is pretty big, so I usually get passed by a few cars each time I ride under it. Without lights, I'm sure that most of those cars would not be able to see me.

  6. #6
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    ride for a while keep you purchases low....so what works

    check out other commuters on your route...

    biking gear is pretty site specific.

  7. #7
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    Ok try to cover where im at on tips made. For reference the bigger town I work in isn't like a city, much less populated thankfully so granted plenty of morons, not many cars on the road after I get off work and bridge has a high barriered wide sidewalk for us. Safest place that I have to ride lol.




    Not many commuters around, only 2 serious ones (whole living in low population area with very shitty winters). Most that ride a bike around are drunks that can't drive, only met/seen 2 real commuters, easy to tell the difference here lol. Hr south where mtb club im a member of is based there are plenty, the members that commute have been where I have gotten my info thus far. And all of them have fattys for winter commuting lol.



    Tube, thnx, I'll make sure to carry one.



    Lights, I have bar light and tail light. Bar light u can't miss fairly bright. Topeak taillight I always have on flash. Helmet blinky I'll get for sure.



    Reflectiveness: I hate on bike reflectors! I bought Lightweight reflective stickers, circles and ovals. Its that 3m type stuff. Have it on 2 pairs of my jogging pants and on my champion softshell jacket I bought. Not high vis color but all the iron on stickers I put on makes up for it. Plan to replace with better hi-vis colored one. But where is good places on frame to add these kind of stickers cause they work great and look much less dumb than reflectors.



    Rain situation: I work I a factory so no dress code (no man clevage, daisy duke shorts, compression shorts not a good idea either lol) so I usually wear wicking shirts, jogging/gym shorts. So guessing lose cotton boxer briefs and im golden there, I'll dry out quick. Colder weather is where im needing rain gear mainly. I have nylon jogging pants and windbreaker, will that do with having spare clothes at work?





    Locks, no worries there, my $1500 29er ht was my commuter before, so I have a 3k lb cutting force cable lock and a beast of a kryptonite u-lock. I spared no research time/expense on making sure that trying tk steal my bike would take more time than it was worth. Atm they stay in my work locker but commuter will have rear rack so I can carry cable lock with me.





    And fenders, hate them as well. Is there decent ones that come off and on easy enough so I only need to have then fitted as needed?



    Thnx for all the help!!!! Btw is there a good pic host to use for loading pics here, tapatalk and photobucket work for crap atm on my new windows 8 phone.




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  8. #8
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    I live in Indianapolis, so not too far from you. I have seen a couple of people commuting on fat bikes, but it's a very low proportion compared to the people that commute on whatever bike they have. Quite a few commuting all this past winter, which is the snowiest ever on record for us.

    Lots of people here commute all winter in much harsher winter climates than either of us. Many do not use fat bikes, but there are some.

    As for fenders, you might hate them now, but ride through enough weather where a lack of fenders gets you even wetter and dirtier and you will begin to appreciate them. When it comes to fenders, the more solidly they attach, the better they stay put when you need them. I find that the easier they are to remove, the more they tend to need fiddling with. I know a guy who uses SKS raceblades on his commuter (they zip tie on) and I swear every time I see him, he is fussing with them. This is on his full-time commute bike, too. Not a bike that is occasionally ridden in bad weather. He rode all this past winter on it.

    Once I got my SKS Chromoplastic fenders set correctly, they've been pretty fuss-free. But they bolt on. You can take them off in good weather if you want, but I find it not really worth the trouble because I appreciate having them so much when bad weather comes. I even put a set of Buddy Flaps on mine for the spray that the fenders miss.

    Fenders also provide a good place for reflective tape, without putting it on your frame. There is tape that's not quite as visible during daylight as the stuff you've mentioned, but you bought a cheap bike for use as a commuter, so really who cares? Uglify the snot out of it. I'd rather be ugly and seen than looking sharp and dead.

    unless your jogging pants are at least minimally water resistant, they're not going to be any better than anything else for cold weather riding. When it's below zero, waterproofness isn't much of a concern (insulation and wind blocking are) - I find waterproofness to be much more important in the 33-45ish range. When it's warm, I'd rather just ride and get wet from the rain, rather than wear waterproof gear and sweat out. In those middle temps, it's just not pleasant for me. And...unless you have a dryer at work, chances are your commute clothes will still be wet when you go home, and THAT is even worse. Waterproof layers work well as wind-blocking layers when it's colder, so I tend to layer them with insulating layers when it drops below freezing.

  9. #9
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    I posted it in another thread, but Marshal's (if they're around you) is a good place to pick up cold weather gear. Also check out the bike shops when the seasons change and you can pick up some good stuff for relatively cheap.

    I'll second carrying tubes in addition to patches. For me, the tube is used first and the patch is an emergency item. Also practice changing tubes, you don't want your first time to be on the side of the road. If you really find you like commuting, then buying hardcase tires is a good next step.

    For what its worth, granted this is my first year winter commuting, I did it all on 700x28 tires. I live in Rochester, NY, we're the 5th snowiest mid to large city. There were only a few days I wished for fat tires.

    Same with fenders, they are huge for helping to keep gunk of your drive train. You can skip them if you want, but you'll make up for it in increased maintenance. If you want to be an all weather commuter, I highly advise getting fenders.

  10. #10
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    I have practice with trail side flat repairs lol. I always have a tire bar on me. Damn frame pump takes a while so I have a co2 unit for my mtb.

    Looking at fenders now see what I can find that doesn't look too outrageous but good coverage lol

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  11. #11
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    If full fenders are not desired, I have been running this mismatched pair:

    Massive rear coverage, and all of it gets dirty! I bought this for the fatbike but poached it for the 26'r commuter after an SKS fail https://www.ridepdw.com/goods/fender...ud-shovel-rear

    The sks front fairs fine...
    SKS Grand D.A.D. Front Fender - Outside Outfitters

    Easy on and off for the rear, really nice mechanism. Front requires strong fingernails or a small flat blade screwdriver to slide the mechanism, especially if it is dirty. But only 30 seconds to add or subtract.

  12. #12
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    Reflective idea

    [QUOTE=NateHawk;11068567





    I recommend a healthy amount of reflective tape. It augments your lights in traffic and improves visibility. There's a ton of discussion throughout this forum about the types of tape that are best, where to put it, and all that stuff. Also consider lights on your helmet. The more lights/reflective area you have, the more likely you are to outline yourself enough that people recognize you as a bike. I recommend that at least one set of lights you use be daylight visible. No, they're not cheap, but I find that lights really help even on overcast days, and that they're even beneficial on bright sunny days. I will turn my lights on during daytime anytime I feel like I'd benefit from them. I have to ride through a few dark underpasses, and I prefer my lights to be running at those times no matter the time of day. One of them is pretty big, so I usually get passed by a few cars each time I ride under it. Without lights, I'm sure that most of those cars would not be able to see me.[/QUOTE]

    What I am going to do is take some of the Retro Reflective stripes off a retired safety vest and use ample Velcro to attach it to my bag. This is what TxDOT requires workers to wear, and trust me it is highly visible with minimal lighting.This way I can remove it if i wish...but probably will just keep it. I will post some pictures soon.

    The tube is a must I have been riding without one for a week and flinch when I see glass, tree limbs, etc.

  13. #13
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    Gear: make the local thrift shops a regular stop. I've found all kinds of clothing gear at my local thrifts, many times with tag still attached. And even the gear that's been worn is often not worn much because so many folks do the whole "new year, new gear" thing. And, as others have said, don't get caught up in the bike specific thing. XC ski gear is really good for biking, as is most any technical gear.

    I'm becoming more and more partial to merino wool - it's good stuff.

    I also wouldn't recommend a fat bike until you've put a few winters in as a commuter. I commute by fat bike year round, but my first two winters were on my FS Giant NRS. Ride whatcha got and decide if it is for you before worrying about getting a different bike. A fattie is a fine commuter, but it is overkill in some situations. That said, I wouldn't go back to a skinny bike for anything. But I try to live by the credo of one bike to do it all - commute, single track, etc., etc. and the fattie fits my needs there.

    Reflective tape is good. The more blinkies the better, and I strongly recommend a head light on both the bars and on your helmet. Being able to direct a light beam where you need it is a life saver.

  14. #14
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    Oh fatty isn't just for commuting, huge fatty crew up here, its the winter riding fix. If it was just a commuting thing I wouldn't bother, but to go ride with everyone during the winter makes it worth it.

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  15. #15
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    Aight as promised. Pics thus far. New crankset will be here wednesday. Crank thats on it came loose non drive side on the previous owners last ride, tapered hole messed up a bit. Went back together and works fine atm, but gotta rely on this bike to be at work on time. And other side is exposed gears, no even cheap bashguard, so got a hybrid crank since I have days I forget to tuck pant leg in or laces,lol.



    This weekend paint/decals get stripped, going raw aluminum look, having a friend of wifes cut some orange vinyl decals to put on it. Plane frame too plane, want some orange on it, gotta match the backpack and bike together

    Got cockpit setup figured out, things mounted, seat changed. Put my new pedals on for giggles (hadnt decided to order crankset when i did it). Process of replacing inner cables and lubing everything up.





    Not sure on the bar ends thing, depends on the day as to whether or not I need them on longer rides. Grips were something I had laying around, those will get changed, not sure to what yet as my pogies are set up to use with odi lock ons (whats on my 29er, custom mod to atv pogies).

    Heres what I used to ride to work except I put road tires on it since the snow melted and will be a while before trails open:

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    This weekend paint/decals get stripped, going raw aluminum look, having a friend of wifes cut some orange vinyl decals to put on it.
    Raw aluminium will corrode when exposed to road salt

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    I just started my commute and I'm gradually adding more days and miles til I can do it full time all the time. I'm on a budget too so here's how I saved a bit of dough here and there.

    1. I buy stuff on Craigslist or eBay, or shop on Amazon. I've found a lot of good stuff for half price - Ortleib waterproof bags, head & tail light, pedals etc. Holdover motocross gloves are like $9 online.

    2. A light rain jacket is a good thing to have not only for rain but cutting the wind. Check on Priceline or Amazon, $45 instead of $129 retail. They fold up into a tiny space too.

    3. I tried an assortment of $20 padded shorts off Amazon, they all seem to work just fine. I wear regular gym shorts over them. I don't look anything like those guys who bought all their matching gear at REI but I still seem to get where I'm going in comfort.

    4. Fenders are a good idea.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Raw aluminium will corrode when exposed to road salt
    Ohhhh, yeah. Galvanic corrosion (dissimilar metals in contact in the presence of a salt solution) has ruined a TON of bike parts.

    If you strip that frame raw and want to keep that finish without having galvanic corrosion every time a steel bolt threads into something aluminum, or a steel part clamps on an aluminum bar, you will want to clear coat it. This happens to triathletes' bikes a lot because of the sweat they drip on their handlebars/stem area.

  19. #19
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    Only frame itself is big stripped, custom vinyl decals installed then clear coat. Sorry should have specified that part.

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  20. #20
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    Ok just about ready for shakedown ride, couldn't quite finish. New crank, inner cables, chain, brake pads. Just gotta finish dialing in fd and brakes and pick up some cable ends. New orange decals ready to pick up strip frame Saturday and rack will be here tomorrow. fenders gotta buy next week.

    Th x for the help I'll post updates, especially after my first crap weather ride.

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  21. #21
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    Aight, so bike has everything except fenders. Frame hanging in garage now as went to strip paint and temp dropped alot a few hours sooner than forecasted, space heater can't get it warm inside garage for stripper to do anything further
    ..

    Fenders having an issue with, all look like they are meant for forks that have fender mounts on the fork legs. How do I address this with a suspension fork?

    First rides went very well, actually much more comfortable being on 26x2.0 bontrager h2 tires vs my 29er which I had put 700x35 bontrager cheap road tires on.

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    Re: New to commuting

    Grab a pair of pipe clamps from the hardware store. Just measure the diameter of the fork leg. A strip of rubber will protect the finish just fine.

  23. #23
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    Just finished her tonight!!! And just in time for the warmer weather to finally show itself. Being all my OT the last 2 weeks at work, was good I didnt try to commute, I could barely walk in the house after work a few nights, much less ride home. But thats chilled a tad now (less 12s more just gotta work total of 12 hrs on the weekends).

    All in place, bike looks sexy but up close aluminum looks rough and raw (used brass wheels to scratch it to hell.) Some may say crap but I actually like it

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  24. #24
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    As long as you like, that is all that matters. I like the raw and orange look. You didn't overdo that part of it, and it looks really nice. Orange clamps on the lock on grips?
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
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  25. #25
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    Yeap orange clamps too only other thing Id like to be orange is the seatpost clamp.

    Heres a better, in the daylight pic. My wife called me a dork cause my backpack for commuting she got me for xmas is a UA gray with lots of orange and a little black. So bike and backpack match lol.

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