Monday, March 19, 2007

What Makes a Good Commuter Bike?

I think having two bikes ready to ride to work is a good idea. If one breaks, the other is ready to go. By "ready" I mean the bike must have the following abilities:

The bike must carry a bag big enough to hold my work clothes.
The bike must quickly accept at least a headlight and a tail light.
The bike must have fenders.

Those are the things I like. On the other hand, I have a friend who uses a messenger bag to carry things so he doesn't care what the bike holds. He believes in stealth riding. That is, he doesn't want to be seen and he slips through traffic like a ghost, or at least that's his explanation so he doesn't think lights are worth the effort. He likes fenders for wet conditions, but not all the time. It seems to work for him and he doesn't own a car.

What do you consider the minimum necessary to ride to work or use your bike as a practical machine?

*As soon as a lightweight, destructive laser beam is invented, I'll include that on the list also. I'd use it to blast joggers off of the bike paths.


KM said...

front light, rear blinkie and a waterbottle. Laser beam optional

T3 said...

i keep a blinky on my messenger bag so i only have to switch my front light over when i change bikes. i also got some of those SKS fenders with the little rubber strappy things. it takes < 2 minutes to swap them on or off. i like 'em.

Doug said...

I like fenders, a rear rack (I like to use panniers to carry my work clothes and lunch), and a front and rear blinkie. I have two bikes ready to roll most of the time. I don't have a car.

Anonymous said... can ride a bike without fenders, rack, and lights? I don't even have one of those in my garage, and if I did and I wanted to ride it, I'd have to install them. The folks at Batavus are my heroes: "We only sell complete bikes. They must have fenders, lights, rack, and kickstand." Integral computer and lock are optional. Val

Matt_J said...

Must-have list:
Messenger bag
Clip-on diode lights
Minimum of 3 speeds
Rain pants
Narrow puncture-free tires
Good seat

LvilleTex said...

I always prefer a rack with panniers over a messenger bag. The seat post pannier rack is a compromise if you don't want something fully mounted. Tires. Safe-and-secure tires are important when the workday beckons. Who wants to patch a tube when it's dark and 7.00a.m. Sturdy wheels for those who eat too much ice cream but still like to ride. Lights as mentioned. I convert to a SON and lumotec setup and it's great. I hear Shimano makes a cheaper but very functional generator hub. IMHO

rigtenzin said...

Thanks for the responses. I am interested in what you are riding, because I feel that I'm carrying too much sometimes and I'd like some other ideas. I have a few throughts about carrying too much or not enough. Maybe it's worth a post sometime.

Val: I'll have to check out Batavus. My only experience with that brand is racing bikes from the '80s.

Jeffersonian Democrat said...

Fenders are a must, as well as the other items mentioned, but one thing I would like to have is some sort of portable trebuchet that would launch missiles at offensive cars that crowd me into the curve,turn into me, ignore my hand signals,etc. Something that would launch up and over my head, maybe fireballs...?

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