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July 27, 2017
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  • jules

    another useful item is a multi-tool. not essential but will save you eventually!

    also 2 x tubes is worthwhile. I’ve had new tubes with holes in them, or just 2 x punctures on same ride (inc. when failing to remove object from tyre). + glueless patches for bullet-proofedness.

    a chain quick-link can be useful for repairing a broken chain. rare, but happens. only useful if your multi-tool has a chain breaker.

    • Jaybo

      my last puncture mid-ride had me discovering that new tubes do occasionally come with holes in them already :~( lucky for me a lovely man stopped and gave me his spare (thanks Rod!)
      handy as i was in the middle of farmland down in werribee south.

  • Bob

    “the more lights the better”

    wrong, shared paths at this time of year are full of dickheads who seem to think this. Being lit up like a road train crossing the Nullarbor is not just inconsiderate to those coming the other way (including walkers and runners) but dangerous because it makes it impossible for on-coming cyclists to see what is on their side of the path. And worse are the numb-nuts with flashing lights bright enough to cause an epileptic fit (not a joke, photosensitive epilepsy is a thing).

    • JChoong

      As long as the lights are correctly angled, then yes, “the more lights the better”, it shouldn’t be an issue at all. Front lamps are for you to see where you’re going and to avoid obstacles. Get a good lamp with an appropriate beam focus and spill, not too narrow so that you can’t see around you well, but definitely not one that spills light indiscriminately. The problem is when people don’t know or don’t care enough to attach their lights properly, and instead shine lamps straight ahead, rather than at the path, that it becomes a blinding issue. I run with a properly positioned (dipped), high intensity lamp, like a car’s headlights. And a red blinky on the rear to attract attention, +/- additional constant red light.

      tl;dr – good directional headlights, and dip your headlights, they’re to help see your route, not to shine at others.

  • Murray Henman

    I forgot the underwear last week. A quick visit to the supermarket now means I have 4 spare pairs in my desk drawer.

    • jules

      pre-pack underwear. if you only bring it to work on a JIT basis, you will be forced to go commando eventually

  • Mark

    Re spare socks and jocks… totally agree… got caught out like that once before. Infact I’ve been caught out without pants once before (they fell out of my bag on the way).

    But I keep the spares at work, not in the bag.

    I also work on the basis of keeping everything at work (pants / shoes / towels) and bring in pressed shirts, with the same number of socks and jocks as shirts. Fail safe.

    Only other rule is don’t take your dirty towel home until you’ve brought in your clean one.

    • Geoff

      I always keep a suit in the office – that way, if I need to visit a client I am always prepared.

      For on-road repairs, latex or nitrile gloves are good to have with in case you need to handle a chain. Having a spare quick-link (like a KMC Missing Link) is useful in case you need to repair a chain. I also keep spare tubes and CO2 in the office – that way if I puncture on the way in I can replenish for the ride home.

  • “for instagramming of course!” <3

  • Jeff Young

    CO2 is a must, two spare tubes, spare (charged) front and rear light, rain jacket, multi-tool — best one going is from Katmandu (don’t carry a spanner but I don’t ride a fixie with bolt-on rear). I also carry a pump just in case. Really good backpack or pannier system is worth its weight in gold. If it isn’t waterproof get a hi-viz backpack cover. I use a camera front and rear but that’s a hobby not a necessity. Glasses are a must especially on rainy/windy days (with multiple lenses – riding in the dark with dark lenses, not a good idea).

  • ginga_ninja

    Great list. Totally agree with spare underwear! OMG very awkward when you’ve forgotten the top or bottom half (top is worse IMO) ;). Also don’t take your shower towel home until you’ve brought a new one in. Ducks can shake water off but humans… not so much. I could have used a bungee cord on more than one occasion, great idea.

    Yes, there are tools on bike paths that are lit up like the sun, with their lights not shining at the right angle, but generally, you should definitely make sure you’re well lit. I’ve seen more people with a mostly-dead red flashing light as their only light which is near impossible to see in the twilight/dark when you’re in a car. I would say have a charger at work so you can charge your lights (if that’s the type they are) or have spare batteries. A reflective band/ backpack cover etc of some sort is also a good backup for if your lights fail. Visibility is a huge thing.

  • Winky

    What’s the adjustable spanner for? My bikes have nothing on them that it would fit.

    • Frank

      Maybe the author rides a single speed and the hubs have track nuts …

  • Timiji

    Good tips for commuting; some also apply to training!
    Does anyone else remember at what age they first rode without training wheels? I have a 4-year old daughter (soon to be 5) and she rides with training wheels on her own, but I take them off when we use the tow-bar… what’s the range for balancing on your own?

    • eatmorelard

      Whenever the look ready! With mine, I raised the training wheels until they were able to ride balanced (not off to one side) so that both training wheels were off the ground. At that point the training wheels came off and we rode around the park on the grass until they were confident to start, ride and stop without them (which surprisingly took a matter of minutes). After that, they were off!

      • Anon N + 1

        Try no training wheels. Start the kid out on a running bike with no pedals and a low seat. One brand is called a Strider Running Bike. The kid sits on the saddle, steers using the bars and propels the bike forward by pushing with the right and left legs alternately. If the rider starts to fall, he/she merely needs to put a foot down.

        • Timiji

          Yeah, we started on a Strider Bike, and she loved it… though not the seat. The move to a pedal bike may have been premature! Thanks for the feedback, all!

  • Frank

    Another useful item: food! I always have a muesli bar or something in case I bonk during the commute (if I ate properly during the day this might not be such an issue).


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