Commuting on a budget?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3

    Commuting on a budget?

    Alright guys, I am looking to start commuting to work. Right now I'm in the market for a decent used bike, (having to borrow one right now for morning rides, so I can't really do much to upgrade it). I'm looking to start commuting back and forth to work a couple days a week whenever I find a bike, it's 7.2 miles from my driveway to my work.

    My question is, say someone wanted to buy everything at once but was on a budget. Any suggestions on affordable racks, luggage, lights, locks, etc. from Amazon, Wal-Mart, ebay or wherever to get started? Then they could upgrade piece by piece as they go.

    P.S. I work 3rd shift so need really good lights for my night rides. I'm currently thinking about getting two of these for the front:
    http://www.amazon.com/Lumen-<wbr>Bicycle-HeadLight-Flashlight-<wbr>Headlamp/dp/B006QQX3C4/ref=sr_<wbr>1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368020505&sr=<wbr>8-1&keywords=mountain+bike+<wbr>light

    Any suggestions for rear lights?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: SlipSpace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    538
    Bit of a how long is a piece of string question but my criteria would be as follows:

    Bike - 7.2 miles is doable on a rigid MTB (or hardtail if you must but NOT full sus), just put some slick tyres on it. I do a similar distance everyday on mine. It's heavyish but importantly, very comfortable, I could (and have) ride it all day. Depends on your route and fitness but a more road biased bike may suit better. Get mudguards and leave them on permanently, if the frame has proper mounts, so much the better.

    Lights - Yes lights, and maybe hi viz/reflective vest for night rides. Christmas tree if needs be, make sure you can be seen firstly, see where you going follows.

    Gear - Again depends on your workplace but I can change when I get to work. Somewhere to hang wet or sweaty clothing is good. Personally I don't bother with wet weather gear, I just get wet and change at my destination. Old shorts and t-shirts will do for starters, it's unlikely you'll need padded cycle shorts for that distance.

    Rucksack/Panniers - Personally I prefer panniers. I have the Altura ones that clip on or off the rack in seconds. The new generation ones are waterproof too.


    Others may differ but knowing what I know now, from starting out the peripherals are almost more important than the bike (so long as the bike is reliable!!) and certainly at least as costly. Second hand bike is a good place to start. YMMV

  3. #3
    I'd rather be on my bike
    Reputation: TenSpeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    2,749
    First off, you need to decide what type of bike you want, and how much actual commuting you plan on doing, such as through the winter/snow/ice/blazing heat, etc. Then you need to decide what exactly your budget is to include all the stuff that you will need, such as lights, racks, etc. Don't skimp on the lights. That is all I can say about that. I work second shift, and ride home in the dark. A good set of lights will cost you, so factor that in. I use a NiteRider Lumina 700 on the bar, Lumina 350 on the helmet, and a Serfas Thunderbolt on the rear. That is easily $250 in lights alone. There are cheaper lights out there, but why skimp on something that will potentially save your life, not to mention the fact that they are all USB chargeable so I can charge up at work if needed.

    Now you need to decide what it is that you will carry, and how you will carry it. I could go with panniers, but I opt for a messenger bag to fit my dinner and work clothes along with a heavy duty lock and other items. Yep, don't forget about how you will lock your bike up at work, be it on a rack, in your office, wherever. Don't forget to factor in other safety items as well, helmet, gloves, any type of riding gear you may need, glasses, etc. I skipped the mudguards because my bike does not allow for them to be mounted.

    I do an 8.5 mile commute each way about 3-4 days a week, sometimes more. I don't ride in the snow (yet) or extreme cold or severe thunderstorms.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  4. #4
    guy
    Reputation: Kleebs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    357
    Welcome to the world of commuting! When you are just getting started, you really don't need a lot of gear.

    Bike - Any bike will work. As SlipSpace touched on, some types of bikes will be faster and more comfortable than others but anything will do. A good used road/cx/hybrid or even converted mtb will likely be best but you could make the trip on a bmx bike if you had to. If you decide it is something you want to keep up with, then you can be on the lookout for a good reliable bike and start outfitting it with the essentials like fenders and racks.

    Lights - Since you are on a budget, I recommend buying some of the cheap LED lights on Amazon. I bought 3 of the $17 magicshine clones because I assumed 1 of the three would not work (I assumed correctly, as 1 of the batteries only lasts 10 minutes on a full charge). Of the remaining two, one goes on my helmet and one on my handlebars (1 solid, 1 steady) when I am riding in the dark. I bought my rear light at my LBS. It is an LED model but doubles as a simple reflector if it runs out of batteries. I'll be buying another rear to keep on my backpack soon.

    Gear - You can probably make do with what you already have. If you are not riding everyday, you have the luxury of not riding if there is rain in the forecast so you can use any backpack that you already have. I found that as long as I showered before leaving home and put on fresh clothes and deodorant after arriving at work, I didn't smell at work.

    The one place I would recommend not skimping is on a good bike lock. Spend some extra money to get a nice u-lock or thick chain lock. Don't get a cable lock or just some chain at a hardware store, as they are too easy to cut through.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    384
    Bike - go used. Something comfortable, in good shape. Your terrain and style dictates the kind of bike to get.

    Lights - The cheap Amazon ones work fine. CARRY/RUN A BACKUP LIGHT (head and tail). Keep in mind for a rear light you can always buy Amazon.com : Red Wide Angle Lens for Magicshine MJ-808 or similar bike light : Bike Taillights : Sports & Outdoors and turn a cheap MS clone into a blindingly bright rear light.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3
    Great, thanks for the tips guys! I think I will order three of the $17 Amazon lights and put one as a tail light with the Red Wide Angle Lens. That seems like it'd have good visibility and would work until I begin upgrading.

    I will also be getting a good lock in case I ride anywhere other than work. I feel my bike will be mostly safe parked at work. (The bike rack is directly outside the guard shack, there is a security guard there 24/7. Lol.) I will still lock it up though.

    Does anyone know of any other awesome deals on decent products? I would like to get a set of fenders for sure and probably a rack.

  7. #7
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6,223
    Quote Originally Posted by Th3Pr1de View Post
    Does anyone know of any other awesome deals on decent products? I would like to get a set of fenders for sure and probably a rack.
    While I`d love a nice steel rack, I`ve been commuting and touring for about five years now with a nearly cheap ($40-ish, I think) aluminum Topeak rear rack. It`s holding up just fine except for the finish. Actually, I leave the rack on at all times, but most often can get away with just my handlebar bag- that might be an option for you if you only need to carry lunch and a lock. Though I haven`t used any budget panniers in modern times, it seems like a lot of people have had reasonably good luck with them- hope somebody with personal experience chimes in to tell you make/model specifics. Of course, if you don`t mind riding with a big sweaty bag on your back (I mind, some don`t) that`s the cheapest way of all.
    Recalculating....

  8. #8
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    27,506
    the safety gear is the most important when you're just starting out. Don't skimp on safety gear. You can save money on the other stuff. the first round of stuff you buy probably won't be your favorites, anyway. If you like this commuting thing, you can upgrade the bike, gear, and clothing to make the trip faster, more comfortably, or in better style later.

    If you skimp on safety gear (especially when it comes to visibility), you may miss upgrade opportunities later on.

    Bright lights are important. Also consider copious amounts of reflective tape in multiple colors to go along with them. Also some bright clothing. I'm not talking about flashy roadie kits. I'm talking about high-vis colors in a jersey, vest, and/or jacket.

    Finally, take the time to think through your commute. Learn your area's bike laws. Learn how to lock your bike effectively. If you use proper locking technique, you will be multiple steps ahead of most other people out there. Take the time to plan your route. Sometimes the best bike route option might be pretty obvious (say, a multiuse path or protected bike lanes) but sometimes it might not be (cutting through windy neighborhood streets and adding a mile or more to the route instead of taking the more direct, but much more heavily trafficked main roads). Drive your possible routes (or at least parts of them) if you can. Do test rides on your days off. Develop alternate routes in case you need to detour around construction or a crash or storm damage or whatnot.

  9. #9
    I'd rather be on my bike
    Reputation: TenSpeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    2,749
    NateHawk - you give some of the best advice I have ever seen on a forum. Public rep given!
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3
    Agreed. Thanks for the advice NateHawk!

    Thanks for all the advice guys!

Similar Threads

  1. New to commuting
    By tigris99 in forum Commuting
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 04-06-2014, 11:09 PM
  2. New to commuting
    By jarwes in forum California - Norcal
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-02-2012, 09:55 PM
  3. 1st day commuting
    By qdawgg in forum Commuting
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 05-04-2012, 07:43 AM
  4. Commuting
    By justin51 in forum Fat bikes
    Replies: 52
    Last Post: 12-13-2011, 08:23 PM
  5. Budget 29er choices...my budget stinks.
    By y0bailey in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 05-08-2011, 04:14 PM

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.