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It's been about 10 years since I last rode on a bike. My wife and I have decided that we need to get ourselves into shape, and one method we've decided on, encouraged by our daughter, is to bike back and forth to work.

According to Google Maps, I have approximately 10 km commute each way. This will take place in the morning (generally 7:30 AM start, but sometimes earlier) and the afternoon/evening (generally 3:30 finish, but sometimes later).

I already have my helmet and lights. What other accessories are recommended? Also, what kind of training should I look at before I go with the full daily commute?

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closed as not constructive by Neil Fein, Unsliced, freiheit Oct 24 '11 at 15:08

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Welcome to Bicycles! This is not a forum; this is a questions and answer site. We prefer questions that have real questions have answers, not items or ideas or opinions. Please read the FAQ for more information. Could you narrow this down to some more specific things? If you have more than one question, ask them as separate questions. –  freiheit Oct 20 '11 at 22:47
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A bit harsh. He has an open-ended but answerable question. "What else do I need to commute? And how can I quickly get in shape to do it?" –  Stephen Touset Oct 21 '11 at 16:01
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@Stephen - Not at all. This is a chatty question that belongs on a forum, not here. And asking about accessories makes this, in essence, a list question. –  Neil Fein Oct 21 '11 at 18:13
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And yet this one got 11 upvotes: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/3868/… –  Stephen Touset Oct 21 '11 at 19:26
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Community wiki is not appropriate for this question, it should be edited substantially to be answerable or it should be closed. See The Future of Community Wiki for why. –  Neil Fein Oct 22 '11 at 22:26
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2 Answers 2

I already have my helmet and lights. What other accessories are recommended?

It depends on the weather:

  • Rain coat and warm clothing
  • Fenders (aka mud-guards)
  • Rack and pannier (to carry e.g. any spare clothing, wallet and keys)
  • Cycling gloves, and cycling shoes
  • Shorts
  • Adequate tires (size, width, pressure, thickness, tread, puncture resistance)
  • Snack, cell phone, optional first aid for you and/or for the bike, ID, public transit fare
  • Tire pump (to keep at home, but to keep your tires at the right pressure; may need to use it at least weekly)
  • Lock (a U-lock is difficult to cut, but a cable is very easy to cut)
  • Weather report and forecast
  • Disc brakes (if it's wet or muddy or hilly, or heavy braking)

You asked about accessories and not the bike; ideally (because a good bike is more fun) your bike is of a kind that's worth servicing, and has been serviced recently: so the wheels spin freely, the brakes work well, the chain is newish, the seat and everything fit you, and the gears if any.

Also, what kind of training should I look at before I go with the full daily commute?

With a good bike and not too much traffic, 10 km is about 35 minutes.

So take your bike out for half an hour or more. Maybe twice in a day. Scout your routes in advance. Enjoy doing it. Feel better for having done it. Do it again.

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Just would like to emphasize on travelling the routes beforehand, on a weekend or so. While biking you might need to take different routes (no highway) and things might get a little tricky sometimes (how did I ended up here..?) :P also you there could be some long hill thats tough and will take longer to travel than you expected and such –  Francisco Noriega Oct 21 '11 at 17:28
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You should have:

  • Bike (obviously)
  • Helmet
  • Suitable shoes -- What's "suitable" depends on how aggressively you bike and what sort of pedals you have
  • Lock -- Whether you need a lock and how secure depends on your local conditions
  • Some sort of rain gear (unless you have an alternate arrangement for getting home if you get a surprise rain)
  • Some way -- backpack, rack with baskets/panniers, etc -- to carry stuff to and from work (including your rain gear, when necessary)
  • Light -- you mentioned this, and you may want to see this thread for further info
  • Tools&pump -- not required, but some like to carry such stuff to handle a flat tire and other simple repairs

With regard to clothes, you can either wear cycling-specific clothing (especially the shorts/tights) and change at the other end, or you can wear "street clothes", so long as they're reasonably comfortable and provide sufficient range of motion. For anything much longer than 10 km street clothes would tend to chafe and get too sweaty, but for that distance they may be OK.

But if you wear long pants be sure to get a leg strap to secure the chain-side leg of the pants so it doesn't get caught in the chain and doesn't get grease on it.

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