What are the commuting essentials?

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by mikdes, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. mikdes

    mikdes New Member

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    I'm about to start commuting on a new Jamis Nova I recently purchased. I will have about a 10-15 mile round trip commute, depending on how I go about it. I'm compiling a list of what I want for the commute, and am wondering if there is anything I should add. Here's the list:

    - Cycling pants/shorts
    - Headlight & taillight
    - Fenders (in Portland, OR)
    - Wedge w/flat repair kit & multi-tool. Should I carry an extra tire & tube?
    - Tire pump
    - Water bottle
    - Oh, yeah...I have cyclocross tires. What's a good commute tire? I hear a lot about the Conti Ultra Gatorskins. Does the 23 fold as I've heard? Should I have a wider tire? Is there another economical tire that's durable & good for commuting?

    Did I miss anything? Thanks!
     
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  2. kf5nd

    kf5nd New Member

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    23 is too narrow, in my view, unless you have really, really smooth, fine streets. I'd take fattest that are compatible with the rim. Look at Specialized Armadillos.

    Carry the extra tube, yes. You'll curse the high heavens if the patch doesn't hold and you're late for work.

    Cell phone.

    Spare batteries (or rotate fresh ones into your lights well before they go soft). Spare bulb if not LED type.

    Reflective ankle bands. Reflective anything on your torso. I have a warning triangle and a sash, I use of of them, depending on mood.

    Reflective tape on helmet.

    Food?






     
  3. mikdes

    mikdes New Member

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    I see the Armadillo comes in many configurations. Considering a fair amount of my riding will be on wet streets, is there a suggestion for the best one?
     
  4. eric_the_red

    eric_the_red New Member

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    I have one of these on my bike too, guaranteed to make even the most inattentive driver drop the cell phone and spill their latte
    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_...337&PRODUCT<>prd_id=17665&bmUID=1097175142499
     
  5. MidBunchLurker

    MidBunchLurker New Member

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    Ultra gatorskins are great, but definitely in a 25 at least - you want some comfort on your commuter! :)
     
  6. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    I think there are two major challenges commuting. The first is visibility. The second is the weather.

    I often think that cyclists aren't fully aware of how "invisible" they can become, particularly in low or inadequate light conditions. We have a narrow profile, are to the side of the road, and frequently dress, at least partially, in dark and drab colours. I travel at "odd" hours, frequently in the dark. I have a helmet light which is my main source of light in dark conditions. I also have a handlebar light as a permanent installation. I find it handy for those times when I've been out later than I expected, or when inclement weather sneaks up on me. My "rule" for lighting is the same as for my car...from one hr before sunset to 1 hr after sunrise. I won't necessarily have the helmet light on or even with me but I always have the handlebar light. Clothing, bright and preferably gaudy. Yellow stands out. Red stands out. That retarded looking electric lime green is a total fashion violation but stands out.

    Last year I broke down and bought a pair of insulated cycling tights...windproof/waterproof fronts, breathable. I paid a completely stupid amount of money for them and they are worth every blessed cent of it. The technical gear is expensive but I've yet to regret a purchase.
     
  7. kf5nd

    kf5nd New Member

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    My understanding is that mostly slick with a gentle inverted tread, basically channels to let the water out from the contact area with the road are best for rain. You see this kind of design in car tires for wet roads, makes sense it would work for bikes as well. The Armadillo in available in this inverted tread style.

    Knobbies are not the best traction tires for pavement, by the way.

    And if it's wet, lower your air pressure in the tire, but not to the point where you get pinch-flats, obviously.


     
  8. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    I commute on 23mm tires and find them adequate on our terrible roads, generally agreed to be worse than most in Western Europe and North America. I find it safer to have a good turn of speed, as drivers seem to be less irritated and less likely to do stupid, dangerous things if one is doing more than 30kph and occupying the middle of the lane.

    Tread is just there for marketing purposes on bike tires (I don't mean knobbles, of course); people don't tend to buy pure slicks unless they're roadies. Don't worry too much about the tread pattern and buy pure slicks if you can. Do some research to find tyres that are highly glass shard resistant:
    http://www.cyclingforums.com/t181062.html

    Without doubt, lurid clothes are the best if you can handle the flak from your work colleagues.

    Get at least 10W of front lighting. Ensure that your rear flasher is bright. Many are almost invisible even in very dark conditions, as I discover in our local cycling park many evenings. Make sure your clothes/equipment/bike have plenty of reflective tape. Wear a sash if they don't.

    I consider good shoes and clipless pedals essentials, but many do not.
     
  9. In a TopPeak wedge I carry my wallet, pocket knife, a small tool kit with only tube patches, a presta/schrader adapter and a bicycle multi-tool, just enough to make adjustments and fix punctures, spare change in the local currency, 1 set each of spare batteries for the headlight and computer and a bright orange vest with reflective stripes. At night in the front I use a 4AA dive light that puts out 4 watts for a headlight and a white reflector for redundancy, on the sides-white reflectors in the spokes, in the rear-a red chem-light zip-tied to the outside seat stay for a tail light with a red reflector for redundancy, and I wear the reflective vest. On the frame I carry the pump that rounds out my fix-a-flat kit. I view the reflectors as a passive/redundant back-up system to the lights. Recently I got a red blinky light for the rear, but haven't tried it yet.

    I tend to agree that tread on a bike tire that only sees the pavement is just about as close to useless as you can get. I say that even though all my tires have some kind of tread, but this is only because I can't find slicks in the widths I want. This article pretty much sums it up. See the "Traction", "Tread Patterns" and "Tread for On-Road Use" sections. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html
     
  10. Daily Commute

    Daily Commute New Member

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    Most of the year, I have 28's on my commuter. I think that's on the narrow side. In the winter, I use studded 35's. This spring, I might get 32 slicks.

    I'd add one more thing to your list: Some sort of energy bar in case you bonk on the way home.
     
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