Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bike Commuting 101 - Part 4 (Clothes and gear)

Once you know which way you will take on your first commute, you need to consider what you need to bring with on your first trip. If you have a place to change/shower at work that is the best scenario. Personally, I bring a weeks worth of clothes to work each time I drive. When I bike in to work, my clothes are already in a drawer in my office. I just change in my office (I have a door on my office) or the bathroom. I keep deodorant in the same drawer and a small towel in case I need to wipe off some sweat or take a little sink bath if I get real sweaty on the way in. Typically I don’t sweat much in the mornings, on the way in, because I ride slowly and the airflow keeps me pretty dry. On the way home, when it’s hotter, I don’t mind sweating more. Some people also bring their clothes for the day in a backpack or pannier (like a bike saddle bag), and then just change as soon as they get there. Other people have very short commutes and can just wear what they plan to wear all day.

In addition to clothes you will want to have a few other items with you on your bike whenever you commute. I always carry a spare tube, a multi tool (one that includes a chain tool), a pump or some CO2 cartridges, a patch kit, and a couple tire leavers. If you don’t know how to change a flat or use the multi-tool, have your bike commuting buddy at the shop show you how. If you bike is real old and uses bolts instead of quick releases for the wheels, you will also need to carry a wrench to take off the wheels in order the change a flat. When riding on city streets, you WILL eventually get a flat. If you don’t want to carry that stuff, you can always carry a cell phone and call in a rescue party to get you back home or the rest of the way to work. I always carry a cell phone anyways. You never know when something might happen that might leave your bike non-functional, just like with a car. Having a few dollars in cash with you is also a good idea.

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