What are the commuting essentials

BCBorn

Cruising
May 11, 2011
25
0
11
Tokorozawa
#1
My commuter bike should be arriving in a week or two. I have never really been a commuter, as most riding has been to the trail head rather than into work. So what would you suggest are the essentials that everyone should have for commuting to work...

I will be riding 35 km each way from Tokorozawa to Gotanda on a Canyon Grand Canyon AL 8 MTB with slicks. Probably will only do one way per day to start until I get some fitness.

Main concerns are clothing, lighting, packing, and "freshening up" when I get to the office.

Imagine I will need a multi-tool, pump and patch kit, fenders, seasonal riding gear, lights, a good backpack, a comfy pair of shoes, and a few extra clothes. Some water bottles, and a mount for my iPhone/GPS until I get used to the route. Also will grab some insurance :)

Anything else you guys can think of or have experience with?
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,681
494
103
Japan
#2
good ideas here, http://www.commutebybike.com/2007/05/17/commuting-101-bike-to-work-day-checklist/

What I did was carry in and out 5 days worth of clothes (One pair of trousers and 5 each of socks shirts and grundies) on Fridays by train, then I can get by the other four days with just carrying stuff I need on the bike, puncture repair and wet weather gear. If you get too sweaty it would help to scout out the nearest public bath or gym that will let you have a quick shower before work, the time it takes will allow you to hammer in a bit quicker thus a better workout.
 
May 22, 2007
3,619
1,455
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#3
I much prefer a trunk or panniers to a backpack - even a good, cycling-specific pack like the Deuter range. Especially in summer, I seem to generate a lot of heat from my deltoids.

Freshening up: Shiseido Ag+ Shower Sheets. Really good.

Also suggest you take and use sunscreen. And consider a bike bag so you can take your bike on the train in one direction if it's pouring with rain but will be nice the next day.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#4
On the bike:

A good pump
Spare tube
Patch Kit
two tire levers
multi tool
zip ties
A bit of that Alumi tape, maybe 6" long by 2" wide, you can fix a lot of stuff with that.
An old phone card, this can be used to put into a tire if it has a slice in it so you can at least get home, a folded 1000 yen note will work too.
500yen coin, I always have one in my under seat pack, if for some reason you forget you wallet you can still get a drink and something to eat on 500 yen :D

If you are riding when it is dark, you need a decent light up front, not just a blinking locator light, by law here in Japan, if the cops want to be jerks about it, you need a light that will light up the road 10 meters ahead of the bike.
I think a red reflector is all that is needed by law on the rear, but if you do have a light I think it is NOT supposed to flash, but be steady on. More lights are better, IMHO if you are riding home in the dark.

Clothes etc, I like the plan of taking a weeks worth of clothes into the office once a week, and I too would rather have a pannier than a back pack.

The last thing is to get some insurance, the >> TS Mark << is 2000 yen a year, and worth it,IMHO. (Google Translate Page >> Here <<)
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#6
All that lot seems excessive. Leave my work clothes at work, and just leg it there on the bike.
.... and if you get a flat tire and are late for work, that is OK with work?

I used to live about 16Km from UBC in Vancouver, and for about 3 years I rode my bike every day, days I worked I had to be there on time, if I was late because I got a flat tire and had to walk, which would make me really late, I would get a warning, if it happened again I would be out of a job. I needed that job, so I left myself enough time to get a flat and repair it, like I said, I needed that job. Here in Tokyo if you have to be at work at a set time and you are late, with the excuse "My bike got a flat" that may not be good for your standing at the company. All the stuff I said fits into a little bag that hangs under my seat, it does not weigh much, if on is so worried about the weight of that bag under the seat, I'd suggest you take a nice big dump before you head off :rolleyes: or shave your head bald, that will save yo a few ounces :D YMMV but I like to be prepared, say what you will about that, it is just the way I like to do things, I carry insurnace on my bikes, bicycles and cars well above the basic required, I have life insurance and extra health insurance, these all cost money, but they can and do pay off, like I got cancer last year, it can happen to you, as it did to me, so why not carry the basic tools needed to fix the basic problems that come up with a bike?

Like I said, YMMV :D
 

scandiman

Warming-Up
Aug 12, 2010
96
0
0
Ota-ku
#7
I bring the same stuff as Stu on the bike (except the phone card and the coin) and clean up like Mike once at the office (oh yes shower sheets). I concur with kiwisimon's approach as for formal clothes. I dont think you need fenders (unless extreme rain) or a back pack (big jersey pocket and seat bag do the trick for me anyway).

Importantly, I make sure to come in early in order to stop sweating, clean up and change before the crowd hits the building.

I generally leave the bike outside and do not worry about it being stolen (that is not to say I do not think about it, however)
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#10
.... and if you get a flat tire and are late for work, that is OK with work?

I used to live about 16Km from UBC in Vancouver, and for about 3 years I rode my bike every day, days I worked I had to be there on time, if I was late because I got a flat tire and had to walk, which would make me really late, I would get a warning, if it happened again I would be out of a job. I needed that job, so I left myself enough time to get a flat and repair it, like I said, I needed that job. Here in Tokyo if you have to be at work at a set time and you are late, with the excuse "My bike got a flat" that may not be good for your standing at the company. All the stuff I said fits into a little bag that hangs under my seat, it does not weigh much, if on is so worried about the weight of that bag under the seat, I'd suggest you take a nice big dump before you head off :rolleyes: or shave your head bald, that will save yo a few ounces :D YMMV but I like to be prepared, say what you will about that, it is just the way I like to do things, I carry insurnace on my bikes, bicycles and cars well above the basic required, I have life insurance and extra health insurance, these all cost money, but they can and do pay off, like I got cancer last year, it can happen to you, as it did to me, so why not carry the basic tools needed to fix the basic problems that come up with a bike?

Like I said, YMMV :D
Alright mate, chill out. To put your mind at rest, I have a micropump on my frame and carry a tube and tyre levers in my jersey back pocket at all times.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
650
133
Kanazawa
#12
:thumb: especially when helping out other people with their filthy bikes.
Uh..., that would be my own. Not filthy, but also not clean enough that I wouldn't like a glove or two if I have to diddle with it on the way to work.

***

On edit: if I'm ever rich, I'd buy a permanent tailwind, and a bike tech to do all the dirty stuff. Not sure which order!
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#13
Am I the only one...?

...that uses TALCUM POWDER?
Miracle stuff! Especially in summer.

Firstly, like most others, I have my work clothes - Suit, a few shirts, assortment of ties, a belt & shoes - stashed at the office.
While I'm riding, puncture repair kit & spare tubes in the saddle bag, as well as pump attached to the bike, are ESSENTIAL!
In case of inclement weather, a rain-cape and cap! The cap is great for keeping the glasses free of water.

Once I get to work, the "talc" comes into its own - Where applied, it dries up, and actually prevents, perspiration. Not only that, it smells nice (the office ladies subconsciously seem to treat you more gently too ;)).
*WARNING: Wash hands with WATER before handling dark clothing! Simply wiping ones hands with a towel is insufficient, and one's colleagues do not let one soon forget about "that white hand-print on your arse!".

I always plan my ride to arrive a full 30 minutes before I'm due to start work; that gives me time to dry off & cool off, and have a quick bite to eat.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
650
133
Kanazawa
#14
(the above-mentioned latex gloves also have a bit of talc or cornstarch or some such stuff on the inside, and can also leave prints on dark clothes)
 

BCBorn

Cruising
May 11, 2011
25
0
11
Tokorozawa
#15
Thanks folks, lots of excellent suggestions. I will have to look into a good bike bag, some talcum powder, and a bunch of other commuter kit.

To you from Vancouver, a tough day to be a fan!
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#16
Not a lot to add - good advice. Unfortunately I can't change officially at my current company, nor do I have a locker. And cycle commuting is forbidden too. So I have to go Ninja, carrying a full business attire in my messenger bag. This is how:
Inflatable seating cushion, pants wrapped around, shirt tugged in and fastened with a rubber band. All goes in a washing net of appropriate size.
 
Dec 4, 2008
170
3
38
Tokyo
#18
I much prefer a trunk or panniers to a backpack - even a good, cycling-specific pack like the Deuter range. Especially in summer, I seem to generate a lot of heat from my deltoids.

Freshening up: Shiseido Ag+ Shower Sheets. Really good.

Also suggest you take and use sunscreen. And consider a bike bag so you can take your bike on the train in one direction if it's pouring with rain but will be nice the next day.
Point me to shower sheets?
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#19
Cycle commuting is forbidden?
Many companies, including my own, have a "no bike commuting" policy for insurance reasons. That doesn't stop stop me, though.

Point me to shower sheets?
CoffinDodger, allow me to introduce you to the Google Machine ;)

Seriously, though, you can find the Shiseido and other deodorizing/sweat-zapping sheets at most drugstores and many convenience stores.

Deej
 
#20
Cycling was ok job: carried stuff to change a tire and lock, a backup plan for knowing where train stations were if i had too much of an accident and had to lock the bike up and take an alternate route to work --left clothes, make up and wet wipes at work and arrived early enough to stop swearing before freshening up

Cycling was not ok job: also carried clothes to throw on over cycling clothes to then walk into work and then change into real cycling clothes. :confused:

Get insurance!!