Saturday, February 2, 2008

yes, but how can I help?

Below is an email I sent to a friend who was thinking of converting his Cannondale mtb to a commuter. He lives in Hillsboro and commutes 8 miles round trip. He asked me to put together some wisdom on outfitting for commuting in the rain...something I have a little experience with. Edited for anonymity...

Start now. In spite of the rain, soldier on.

Bike – yer Cannondale is fine for it, but switch to slicks, anywhere from 15-25 per tire.
Get some fenders, another 25
Get a tune up, 35-65
Maybe a new chain will be needed? 35-60 depending on level of quality
You have a rear rack? If not, 15-25
Weather proof panniers – I say, go big and get top of the line gear. Well, I would say that about anything you get, but especially for something you want to be weatherproof. Look at for top-notch panniers. Anything that goes on a rear rack and looks like a dry bag, ought to do well.
Messenger bag – Same site, for messenger bags. That is where mine is from. Never regretted getting that model (largest size).
Lights – MARS Blackburn, LEDs, rear 5 reds with 2 yellow side markers…I actually ride with two of these on my Commuter. Headlight, I have two four-LED whites mounted on my commuter.
Batteries – get rechargeable AAs and AAAs for your lights.
Headlamp – either wear on your helmet front with clear LED cover, or wear on your helmet rear, with red LED cover.
Pedals – get some simple pedals to go with your cycling shoes
Pumps – get a floor pump, a two hander, for the garage if you do not have one already, and get a small hand pump to attach to your bike
Under seat bag – put yer tools and your spare tubes (always 2) and your tire removal kit in here

Clothes – Take yer work clothes in your panniers
Cycling Pants- Spend some money on good gear. I have pants from, they work like champs
Cycling Jacket – jacket is from and worth the extra coin.
Gloves – get some winter gloves when it is butt-arse cold, otherwise, simple riding gloves will do
Helmet cover- for rain, I use the shower caps from hotel rooms…free, elastic rimmed, they work awesome…on warm days, even if raining, forget it, because your helmet will not breath
Riding cap – get a thin, slim head cover to wear under your helmet to retain heat
Cycling shoes – something simple that you can wear into a store while on the commute home…three Velcro strap style
Waterproof booties – wear these over your socks...keeps your feet dry, even if your cycling shoes are soaked. Put these on, then step into your cycling pants, then put your shoes on.
Lock – I use a small, Kryptonite U-Lock designed for motorcycles, along with their 7 foot, thick braid, cable lock with loops on both ends. Get both tires looped through with this thing, and through the frame and no one will mess
Helmet - more vents the better, spend no more than 50
Reflective stickers – buy some and stick them on your fenders for more vis

Maybe your riding jacket should be fluorescent yellow for high vis?
Get a bell to put on your handle-bars.

Looks like a lot, and it is, and will cost cash. But, you should be able to get you a lot off of craigs list or ebay. The nice thing is that once you buy an item, that is it. You do not do a lot of spending all the time, as you would for a car.

My wife usually gets me whatever I want (off ebay, etc.), because I save so much by not owning a car.

Give it a week or two, and you will never look back. Soon, you will be riding everywhere for every errand and feeling righteous the entire time…and you should.

Now get after it…

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