Commuter tips/gear

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  • Commuter tips/gear
  • Premier Icon edhornby

    roll your shirts for less creasing

    disabled toilets for changing have loads of room

    ask HR about showers

    stash components and an aldi toolset at work just in case


    flannel, showergel and microfibre towels for a work based wash kit


    as above really. its good to stash stuff at work ( spare clothes and tools – cause you may forget something one day and need them)

    no showers .. pity. but as said, the disabled toilet if there is one nearly always has a basin in it as well. So you can get washed properly in private and not have to just wipe down in a cubicle or open sink area.

    take some money and leave it in the bag as an emergency get home fund.

    mudguards help … but depends on your surfaces. To me, if its raining hard, then you get wet from below, above, and from sweat anyway. If the ride is long enough, then their benefit dwindles imho … although even a crud catcher style does help for the odd splash.

    other than that, it can be a mental thing too … dont get hung up on time taken to begin with. give yourself plenty of time and then that way you dont worry about being 5/10 mins late cause of a head wind. Your times will fluctuate greatly depending on the weather and wind. Also factor in a cool down time once you get to work before you get changed. I used to get in, plug in the laptop, start it up and get a coffee, then go change cause that let me cool down first.

    If you’re committed to doing it every day, a spare bike would be a good idea. Other than that there’s not a lot to it, get good lights and mudguards, puncture resistant tyres, pick a quiet route and enjoy!

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Always always carry a waterproof, a small toolkit (multitool, patches, tube, tyre levers), a pump and a pair of nitrile gloves. I have a commuting rucksack and I keep all of that lot in there so I never forget it. Got a different set of stuff for normal rides.


    Things that I wouldn’t commute without:-
    Carradice Saddlebag or Rack n panniers
    Merino base layers
    Marathon plus tyres


    Do the ride for pleasure to get an accurate time. Look for ways of extending it home, Friday night’s always a winner.


    Hi all,

    Will start commuting by bike for the first time in around 6 weeks or so. Looking forward to it greatly but also wondering if there are any nuggets out there re gear/components that I might not have considered?

    I’ll need to be smart so will be taking a shirt daily but hoping to stash a suit or two and shoes at work. I’m looking at the Topeak MTX bag with panniers as that looks like it will take a shirt without too much squeezing and hopefully the laptop in the other side. No shower at work so will be taking fresh pants etc but plan to mostly pootle on the way there anyway.

    What else do I need to consider?



    leave your work shoes at work
    pack your bag the night before


    Cheers all.

    Good ideas here – hadn’t considered rolling the shirt for starters.

    No chance of a shower unfortunately – moving into Retail so although it’s my shop, I wont have that kinda clout or, indeed, space.

    TBH it’s at most 5 miles although I intend to stretch that on the way back. Luckily it’s 90% Taff trail so whilst there’s little traffic a decent light will be in order – any recommendations that wont break the bank but will enable me to see?

    I’ve a choice of bikes (this is STW after all) but want to stick to the hybrid in the main as wouldn’t fancy leaving either of my other 2 on the high street. Any rack an pannier opinions other than Topeak? I quite like their quick release mech but don’t rally like their price for what you get?


    [*]Get puncture resistant tyres – Schwalbe Marathons – punctures are a pain on the way to work + marathons last ages[/*]
    [*]Leave work shoes at work[/*]
    [*]Take all your shirts, pants etc in on the Monday[/*]
    [*]Take all dirty home on Friday (or take to dry cleaners near work[/*]
    [*]Roll shirts[/*]
    [*]If you do not have a shower, flannel wash in disablled loo good – use lightweight camping towel/flannel as they dry out quick[/*]
    [*]Taff trail… doubt you will get any rain round those parts hahaha! but really commuting bike needs mudguards especially if you do not have showers – SKS commuter are £15 a set, SKS Chromo £30[/*]


    i’ve never rolled a shirt before….always fold it the proper way but do it so that once its folded it can fit into a small Next carrier bag…i also fold the boxers and slide them in behind the shirt and put my socks in the collar area of the shirt…fold the top of the bag over and then slide it into the camelbak…always comes out crease free


    if your wearing cycling kit i think that its helpful to have commuting stuff, then this doesn’t interfere with i need these shorts for the weekend etc.


    When rolling your shirt, sandwich it between some other clothing, that helps too. Keep some danger pants and socks at work. Wipe down in disabled toilets is a good call, I did that for years. Have a pair of work shoes at work and a pair you wear when you don’t go by bike.

    Spare cycling clothes at work. When you get absolutely soaked on the way in, you’ll be wearing that same wet clothing on the way home.


    you are gonna want to eat, so be prepared or find youself with an expensive junk food habit.

    stash a pair of pants and socks – you will forget one day. that said you are not a proper bike commuter till you have spent a day wearing…
    a. suit and no socks
    b. suit and no pants
    c. suit and cycle shoes

    or all three together.

    Premier Icon ransos

    Ortlieb panniers and SKS mudguards FTW.


    soobalias – agreed 100%. I’m waiting for the day when I forget to take my entire bag and then have to work out what to do about that!

    ransos – also agreed 100%!


    My commuting priorities are:
    Puncture resistant tyres – fixing punctures is inconvenient and dirty work.
    Mudguards – rain from the sky is wet, but water off the ground is dirty and leaves you covered in grit.
    No rucksack – just too sweaty. A bag that sits on top of the rack rather than panniers is generally better for singletrack and getting through gates and restrictions on a semi rural commute.

    Consider going 1×9 – Reason being that maintenance on a commuter is a tedious task which you won’t do so the front mech will gunk up with tar and stop working. Take it off now and save the weight 🙂

    Once you know the bike is running correctly then ditch the tools and puncture repair kit / tube / pump too, for 5 miles it’s not worth it. On the rare occasion you have a mechanical either walk or call a cab.

    Premier Icon hot_fiat

    Use SPDs and get yourself different set of shoes to what you use for mtb-ing as traffic goo destroys things.

    Leave a set of spare cheapo rear lights at work and home for when your good ones inevitably bounce off and under that passing bus.

    If you can’t get ortlieb panniers, aplkit airlock bags make great pannier liners.

    Use a HRM so you don’t knack yourself riding in, burning all your glycogen and ending up crawling home. Leave chocolate at work just in case you do.


    Use a HRM so you don’t knack yourself riding in, burning all your glycogen and ending up crawling home. Leave chocolate at work just in case you do.

    he is only doing five miles each way! 😉

    Premier Icon hot_fiat

    Could be a steep bit of the Taff trail! 😀


    wet you mean!

    Premier Icon hot_fiat

    where he has to swim 5 miles?

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    Gilet, arm and knee warmers – previously despised as roadie accoutrements, now the most used kit I’ve got!

    And pretty much everything mentioned above


    Is the dry shower stuff any good? Must try it sometime.


    Thanks to a wonderful wife,
    I drive to work on Monday with a week’s worth of nicely pressed work clothes.
    Rest of the week commute in merino.

    The Lezyne Micro Drive is a pretty good front light for commuting.
    – The highest beam setting is goodenough for off-road riding (it’s not as good as an Exposure Joystick but it’s a lot better than the Cateye lights we used to think were the dogs a few years back ) and it chrges up via a USB port.

    Full mudguards are a definate for all the reasons above (SKS for the win)

    Get used to going commando.

    Keep your ‘saddle contact area ‘ in good order,clean and fresh 24/7.You’ll be greatful and it’ll impress your lover how well groomed you are.

    Vary your route -it breaks up the monotomy and you never know who might be following you.

    Say good morning as you nod to all other cyclists- and smile.

    Everything above about clothes + keep a sweater at work. You may need to get warmed up quick on occasion.Cooling down is fine but getting warm again can sometimes be a b#ll ache.

    Rack and panniers or rack top bag are definately the way to go.I’ve been using Altura ones for almost 3 years and they have been fine (even in this mornings epic storm.)If you want an alternative go for a courier style bag as opposed to a rucsack.

    You don’t need a yellow hi-viz jacket or vest!!!!

    Tell people it’s 10 miles not 5. Kudos,and it will impress the ladies.

    Buff’s are your friend for most of the year.

    Thin socks + sandwich bags + thin socks = improvised wet and/or cold weather socks.

    Having two waterproof jackets and another helmet is not essential but can be difference between a cold damp start.

    Wool doesn’t smell

    Synthetic cycling kit smells like dead pidgeons if worn more than one day.

    Don’t wear a skinsuit to work 😳

    +1 for Schwalbe marathon tyres.

    Peanut butter, rice cakes and bananas – nom nom nom.

    And finally – I always find shaving at work after the ride in most enjoyable. A quick splash of Old Spice and I’m set for the day.

    ps remember – no matter what the weather’s like,it could be worse. You could be in a car!!!

    Been commuting for 20 years and although my current commute is only a mile, full mudguards are a revolution after years of trying to look cool with crud catchers. No more spray up my back, in my face, or filling up my shoes. I still always carry spare socks as my shoes are rarely so wet as to be a problem once paired with dry socks. I do use a rucksack and have to admit it can easily get hot and sweaty if I get carried away and gun it. I’ve scraped by with water resistant jacket and trousers. Buffs are great. Glasses are good to stop road dust and gritting salts thrown up by speeding traffic, especially in the dark when i find my eyes open wider and don’t see the grit coming. Blinky lights to be seen, constant beam to see where you’re going. Got a 1000 lumen light for £90ish which actually enables me to see to the point where 40 mph road descents are doable. Single speed keeps maintenance virtually non existent. I Carry a cable lock for lunch outings and use a m/c D lock on a permanent wall mount for daily use. Hi vis and scotch light are really good if you ride at dawn, dusk, night or in the shadows of trees and buildings, especially in winter and when the sun is low and shadows are in sharp contrast – and as most commuters wear black and just disappear into the shadows. I go for look like a Christmas tree and be seen approach – reflectors every where.

    Don’t know if you’ve done a lot of road riding but be prepared to ride fairly aggressively with regard to road positioning or you’ll be squeezed in to the gutter. The amount of times I’ve been overtaken whilst signalling and trying to turn right is scary.


    Cheers everyone. Commuting gold here I reckon.


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