Author Topic: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?  (Read 10862 times)

oldtoyota

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Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« on: May 11, 2013, 09:05:48 AM »
My bike probably needs work. If I can get it ready in time, I would like to bike to work for Bike to Work Day on May 17.

What do you take with you when you bike to work?
--Do you carry a bike pump?
--Do you need to carry bike tire repair items? If so, what should I get/carry with me?
--Any recommendations for a helmet?
--Is it dumb to ride a mountain bike with knobby tires on the street?

I have a 1993 specialized hard rock bike, and that is what I plan to ride. It's in amazing condition, because I wiped it down after every use.

mm1970

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 09:48:26 AM »
I think my husband has almost the exact same bike.

I personally do not carry bike pump or tire repair items.  I carry a cell phone to call my husband to come get me if I get a flat.

I have a hybrid bike with slicks. I don't know if it's luck or the right kind of tires, but I haven't ever gotten a flat.

I just bought a new helmet and all of the new helmets are required to pass the same kind of safety tests.  So I paid $40 for a specialized but probably could have gotten it on Amazon for cheaper.

I rode my hybrid with knobby tires on the street for years before getting the slicks.  The slicks helped cut about 5-10 mins off my  commute (10 miles).  I think you are just fine with the knobby tires. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2013, 10:02:16 AM »
My commute is longer (11 miles each way) and I don't have a cell phone, so I carry a pump, multitool, spare tube, and tire irons.  I don't flat very often, but the last time I did I was five miles from home and had to carry my bike back.  Having tools is good because you can always help someone out if you come across someone with a problem . . .

I did my commute on an MTB with knobby tires many times before switching to slicks . . . Slicks save you a lot of time and make the ride easier/faster.  Panniers and a rack make the ride more comfortable than carrying a backpack, but if you're not going long distances it might not matter that much.  Fenders are awesome if you ever plan on riding when it's wet out.

As far as a helmet goes, just get one that's comfortable and has good ventilation for summer.  Expensive helmets might look cooler, but many of them do worse in crash tests.

oldtoyota

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2013, 02:34:22 PM »
Good to know. Thanks!

"Slicks" is a new term for me, and I figure it means smooth tires. Do you have recommendations for where I should buy the right size and where to find lessons on how to change them myself? I used to know how to fix bike tires, but it's been a looong time.

My commute will be 7 mi. each way.

Beaker

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2013, 04:17:44 PM »
Yes, "slicks" are smooth (or smoother) tires. They're a little more efficient for riding on pavement, so you can go faster with less effort, but they're definitely not required. You might want to give it a shot before you invest in new tires.

If you do want slicks, the tires on your bike now should have the size printed on the sidewall - just get tires in that size. If you're not sure, you can probably Google what to look for or ride into the local bike shop and ask.

Fixing a flat is pretty easy. There are a lot of tutorials online, here's one that looks OK. The only part that's even mildly tricky is getting the tire off. Also, be really really sure that you check for whatever punctures the inner tube before putting it back on. I once had to fix a tire three times in a row because I missed the damn thorn that was still stuck through the tire!

oldtoyota

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2013, 06:09:31 PM »
I appreciate your help. Thanks!

olivia

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2013, 03:36:54 PM »
If you'll be bringing a bag to work I highly recommend a rack and panniers.  It's so much more comfortable than arriving with a sweaty back.  I got a pannier bag meant for groceries and it fits my work briefcase or backpack and a ton of other crap too.  (Lunchbox, random package I need to mail out, etc.)

Mine is the Bontrager City Grocery Bag, purchased from my local bike shop: http://bontrager.com/model/07721

hybrid

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 08:14:14 AM »
I'm in a similar boat as the author, so these are all great tips.  I was wondering about the knobby tires.  I have a relatively basic ($200) mountain bike with decent gearing that I plan to start with.  I do need to get something to carry items back and forth with, as I would like to start cycling to the store as well.

If someone has a good suggestion regarding bicycle racks (pros/cons/specific models) I would appreciate it.

Beaker

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 08:43:01 AM »
I forgot to mention that what's more important than knobby vs slick tires is tire pressure. If you're going to commute on pavement you want to tire pressure as high as you can safely get it. Look at the sidewall of the tire and it should have a range on there (mine are 30-60 PSI). Inflate your tires to the high end of that range. It makes a very noticeable difference.

(Incidentally, if you've read the posts about getting good gas mileage they have the same advice for your car. Try riding your bike with low pressure vs high pressure, and then reflect on the fact that your car is having the same experience.)

I don't have a lot of experience with racks & panniers - we just put one on my wife's bike this weekend. Do be sure to check online for racks though. One spot-check showed that Amazon was about 50% cheaper than one of our local bike stores.

tuyop

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 08:50:29 AM »
This.

But really, cycling as with most things, is best started in the most minimal manner possible while maintaining safety so that you can save money and figure out what you really need and what other things may just be wants.

If you're going to be biking farther than 10km you'll probably want a proper bicycle for pavement, mountain bikes get old fast.

For instance: I started cycling the 35km each way to work and had a helmet and a bicycle and a backpack full of stuff I needed for work, including my cell phone. I wore a technical running t-shirt and some basketball shorts and used running shoes. I found the following after the first day:

All vehicles hate me. I immediately, 11 kilometers in and 6 kilometers from a gas station, had a catastrophic flat tire and bent my front wheel and my chain broke. I called a friend and he gave me a ride to work. A patch kit, new tube, tire levers, a wrench, and hand pump were essential. My partner doesn't carry any of this stuff and has had no problems. She's a lucky lady I guess.

After the second day, which was a great success, I discovered the following:

My hands were DESTROYED by road debris. Gloves were needed.
My eyes were SORE. I'm pretty sure I have a significant amount of the topsoil of New Brunswick inside my face still. Protective sunglasses were needed.
My feet were numb and painful. Cycling shoes would help, but I could keep biking with sore feet so I toughed that out for another few months to save for it.
My partner has no problems with the shoes but does use sunglasses and gloves as well.

And that's pretty much what I need. Things that I want:

Pannier racks and bags, cycling clothing, better gloves, a helmet intercom.

kendallf

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2013, 10:26:08 AM »
I'll second the recommendations that say "just get started". 

FWIW, I carry a very minimalist seat bag with one spare tube and a CO2 inflator for probably 95% of the miles I ride (8,000 miles last year).  I'll go months without a flat and then sometimes I'll have a spate of them; I have actually had about four in the past two weeks, which is weird. 

As long as you have a cell phone and someone to call, just get out there and ride; you'll decide soon what you need/want to carry. 

kramshields

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2013, 08:02:58 PM »
My go-to sites for deals on biking accessories are nashbar.com and performancebike.com.  Register on both sites and you'll start getting emails with sales and coupon codes (you can also usually hunt down coupon codes easily online).  It looks like Performance Bike has all helmets 20% off right now.

Both sites have clearance sections well marked, and wide selections for tires, tubes, etc. to get you going.  Cheap patch kits as others have mentioned here, too.

If you get consistent with your riding and find that you need clothes, wait until Fall/Winter to buy warm-weather clothes.  The deals are great on both sites.  And in the spirit of MMM, only buy what you need of course. :-)

infogoon

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 01:39:16 PM »
If you're putting in an order with Nashbar, I would recommend their Streetwise tires in whatever size you need -- they're nice and smooth for low rolling resistance, and they've got a kevlar liner to help prevent flats from road debris.

Also, the Blackburn Airfix is an awesome combination multitool/tire inflator.

Frugalapolis

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2013, 09:52:55 AM »
I ride 5 miles each way and think the most important things to have are a rear light when its dark, hi - vis shirt or jacket, cycling shorts, and my commuter keens, plus gloves and a helmet. I also carry a mini pump, spare tube, toolkit, patches, wipes, rain poncho, lock and first aid kit. My Cannondale Q5 bike has Continental Touring Plus tires and I hadn't gotten a flat in over 3 years despite the ride through industrial area with lots of debris on the road. My bike has a rear rack and I use a pair of panniers to carry my lunch and clothes (undies, bra, shirt). I leave several pairs of pants at work and shoes so I don't have to carry those when I ride. You could also switch out clothes when you drive.

Mr. Minsc

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2013, 09:40:56 AM »
This.

But really, cycling as with most things, is best started in the most minimal manner possible while maintaining safety so that you can save money and figure out what you really need and what other things may just be wants.

If you're going to be biking farther than 10km you'll probably want a proper bicycle for pavement, mountain bikes get old fast.

For instance: I started cycling the 35km each way to work and had a helmet and a bicycle and a backpack full of stuff I needed for work, including my cell phone. I wore a technical running t-shirt and some basketball shorts and used running shoes. I found the following after the first day:

All vehicles hate me. I immediately, 11 kilometers in and 6 kilometers from a gas station, had a catastrophic flat tire and bent my front wheel and my chain broke. I called a friend and he gave me a ride to work. A patch kit, new tube, tire levers, a wrench, and hand pump were essential. My partner doesn't carry any of this stuff and has had no problems. She's a lucky lady I guess.

After the second day, which was a great success, I discovered the following:

My hands were DESTROYED by road debris. Gloves were needed.
My eyes were SORE. I'm pretty sure I have a significant amount of the topsoil of New Brunswick inside my face still. Protective sunglasses were needed.
My feet were numb and painful. Cycling shoes would help, but I could keep biking with sore feet so I toughed that out for another few months to save for it.
My partner has no problems with the shoes but does use sunglasses and gloves as well.

And that's pretty much what I need. Things that I want:

Pannier racks and bags, cycling clothing, better gloves, a helmet intercom.

Hey my neighbour, an Islander here!

So far I'm only doing the 2km each way between home and our dairy farm.

You do a good job killing any excuse of me not biking my way in to Charlottetown.  From my rural location to many places I'd go in lower Charlottetown is only 15km one way.  For that it may be time to start shopping around for something better than my brothers old mountain bike I'm currently using.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2013, 10:48:23 AM »
You don't necessarily have to start out all-in.   I live in a bike-unfriendly city (Richmond, VA -- we're working on that but it's slow progress) and I live in a suburb that is VERY bike hostile (Chesterfield).   I just started my bike commute by doing a mix of drive/ bike.   My total distance is about 15 miles, depending on route.  So for now I'm driving 14 miles with my bike on a rack, parking on the outskirts of downtown where it is free and biking in the last mile.  As my comfort level and fitness improve, I'll drive less and bike more.  There is more than one way to skin a cat.

My July 1st goal is to get to the point where the car stays home and I bike to the nearest transit stop and ride the bus.  Total savings = approx. $250 - $300/ mo.

tuyop

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2013, 12:27:58 PM »
This.

But really, cycling as with most things, is best started in the most minimal manner possible while maintaining safety so that you can save money and figure out what you really need and what other things may just be wants.

If you're going to be biking farther than 10km you'll probably want a proper bicycle for pavement, mountain bikes get old fast.

For instance: I started cycling the 35km each way to work and had a helmet and a bicycle and a backpack full of stuff I needed for work, including my cell phone. I wore a technical running t-shirt and some basketball shorts and used running shoes. I found the following after the first day:

All vehicles hate me. I immediately, 11 kilometers in and 6 kilometers from a gas station, had a catastrophic flat tire and bent my front wheel and my chain broke. I called a friend and he gave me a ride to work. A patch kit, new tube, tire levers, a wrench, and hand pump were essential. My partner doesn't carry any of this stuff and has had no problems. She's a lucky lady I guess.

After the second day, which was a great success, I discovered the following:

My hands were DESTROYED by road debris. Gloves were needed.
My eyes were SORE. I'm pretty sure I have a significant amount of the topsoil of New Brunswick inside my face still. Protective sunglasses were needed.
My feet were numb and painful. Cycling shoes would help, but I could keep biking with sore feet so I toughed that out for another few months to save for it.
My partner has no problems with the shoes but does use sunglasses and gloves as well.

And that's pretty much what I need. Things that I want:

Pannier racks and bags, cycling clothing, better gloves, a helmet intercom.

Hey my neighbour, an Islander here!

So far I'm only doing the 2km each way between home and our dairy farm.

You do a good job killing any excuse of me not biking my way in to Charlottetown.  From my rural location to many places I'd go in lower Charlottetown is only 15km one way.  For that it may be time to start shopping around for something better than my brothers old mountain bike I'm currently using.

I think we'll be visiting PEI in the next year or so for a bike tour, it looks like the best place to do a controlled trial before going full-Newfoundland on a bicycle.

A dream of ours is to thru-hike the AT from Georgia to Maine, hop on touring bikes, bike to the PNT trailhead in Montana and hike to the Pacific. Then we can reevaluate and figure out whether or not to go South or home.

Every kilometer to and from work gets us that much closer to that dream financially and in terms of fitness.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2013, 04:33:29 PM »
Eye protection is pretty essential, IMO. I mean, think about it. If stone thrown off a truck tyre meets your eye at even a sedate residential driving speed, you're going to have a bad day. Safety glasses, tinted or not, are a must.

I do carry a patch kit and a pump, though I've never actually had a flat (yet, knock on wood).

Since my bike is hybrid, it has wonderful hybrid tyres. They're slick on the center--which when properly inflated is the only thing that touches a hard road surface--but have knobby sides for whenever I hit soft stuff. (very necessary in spring, with a winter's worth of accumulated sand on the roads). It's the best of both worlds, really.

That said, I started on an MTB with knobbies, and it gets you there. It might get you there a little bit slower, or with a little bit more effort, but it gets you there. Start with what you have, and upgrade only if you must.

BlueMR2

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2013, 06:30:50 AM »
--Do you carry a bike pump?
--Do you need to carry bike tire repair items? If so, what should I get/carry with me?
--Any recommendations for a helmet?
--Is it dumb to ride a mountain bike with knobby tires on the street?

Bike helmets in general are not all that great, but more money = better/lighter helmet.  Try some on and figure out what your $/comfort value point is.  I can't think of any bad brands. 

I ride my knobby tire mountain bike most of the time on the street in town.  Why?  It never gets flat tires (literally.  I have *never* had a flat tire on that bike ever).  Mountain bike tires are really tough, and well suited to city life.

OTOH, my nice road bike with "road tires", I only ride out in the country...  The city streets just have too much debris, I get flat tires constantly.  Even out in the country I get flat tires on a regular basis.  I don't leave home on my road bike without a backpack with spare tubes, tires, a CO2 inflator, a hand pump, tire tools, and regular shoes should I end up walking back home...

oldtoyota

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2013, 01:29:59 PM »
You don't necessarily have to start out all-in.   I live in a bike-unfriendly city (Richmond, VA -- we're working on that but it's slow progress) and I live in a suburb that is VERY bike hostile (Chesterfield).   I just started my bike commute by doing a mix of drive/ bike.   My total distance is about 15 miles, depending on route.  So for now I'm driving 14 miles with my bike on a rack, parking on the outskirts of downtown where it is free and biking in the last mile.  As my comfort level and fitness improve, I'll drive less and bike more.  There is more than one way to skin a cat.

My July 1st goal is to get to the point where the car stays home and I bike to the nearest transit stop and ride the bus.  Total savings = approx. $250 - $300/ mo.

That sounds wonderful. That would not work where I live. DC gives out tickets as rapidly and as often as they can. There's no free parking for all-day spots. In neighborhoods, one is limited to 2 hours or so.


crezzy2k1

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2013, 07:21:40 AM »
I just started the commute to work two weeks ago. I would say that i'm in a bike friendly area only because the roads a pretty wide, and most of my commute then goes onto a trail all the way to work, total distance is 12 miles one way. Its very tiring having just started but i track my progress with an iPhone app and have already improved in time bringing the total commute time down from 1 hour to 50 minutes although that does depend on the wind conditions.

Because of the distance i always carry a repair kit, small pump, and some tools, plus extra clothing. My bike is an older Specialized Hard Rock like the OPs its fantastic, slick tires would be great but not necessary at the moment as i'm still getting in shape.

The only things i have noticed so far is just how tired i am come 9pm. Hopefully after a month or so i will have more energy!

Oh it was raining pretty heavy yesterday when i came home, absolutely soaked but what a great ride :-)

Total distance covered 119 miles in two weeks (cost per mile in my Cadillac (yes i know!) 0.38/per mile). Total saved 45.22

thefrugaltwo

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2013, 08:19:43 AM »
Unless you are in a very dense urban area (Boston, NYC, Philly), that kind of bike should be fine. It's only problematic potentially because of the handlebar width, which in a big city has to be narrow to fit between the parked cars on your right and the traffic on your left. I never carried an air pump with me, just a U-lock. I would recommend buying a high quality helmet, and high quality helmets cost more and you should NEVER buy a used helmet. I like born, but anything with a high safety rating is fine.

jpo

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2013, 08:52:07 AM »
Unless you are in a very dense urban area (Boston, NYC, Philly), that kind of bike should be fine. It's only problematic potentially because of the handlebar width, which in a big city has to be narrow to fit between the parked cars on your right and the traffic on your left. I never carried an air pump with me, just a U-lock. I would recommend buying a high quality helmet, and high quality helmets cost more and you should NEVER buy a used helmet. I like born, but anything with a high safety rating is fine.
Why would you be riding that close to parked cars anyways? Sounds like a good way to get a door prize.

Also, I was under the impression that as long as a helmet meets a particular standard it is the same level of head protection, whether it is $20 or $400.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2013, 11:19:15 AM »
Fresh but related question . . . I've been riding for 3 weeks now but have not yet dealt with heavy rain (a sprinkle, yes.  HEAVY rain, no).   I have to admit that I'm nervous over the possibility of riding in a downpour.  Safety issues?  Visibility?  I have a rain jacket and hood; also a rain poncho for biking.  Still, it's the safety factor that has me worried..........

Our forecast for Friday includes the heavy storms moving out of Florida & the southeast and I'm thinking I'll ride the bus instead of biking.

Thoughts?

jnik

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2013, 11:47:20 AM »
I have a rain jacket and hood; also a rain poncho for biking.  Still, it's the safety factor that has me worried..........
I found I got more respect/room from motorists when riding in the rain despite being a fair bit slower (particularly in the wind...rain capes make great sails). Lights are a good idea. Do you have fenders? If not, you'll still get wet from below. Also get a sense for how your brakes work in the wet: you'll need to apply early to scrub the water off the rims, and you might want to replace the pads if they're particularly cheap. But it's all perfectly manageable.

(Past tense used because I dealt with rain in Boston. In New Mexico, not so much.)

TrulyStashin

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2013, 11:56:24 AM »
Yes I have fenders and a bright red blinky light on the rack over the rear wheel.  My bike is new (bought with garage sale proceeds ;) so my brakes should be in good condition.  Thanks for the input. 

Anyone else?

infogoon

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2013, 12:27:37 PM »
Yes I have fenders and a bright red blinky light on the rack over the rear wheel.  My bike is new (bought with garage sale proceeds ;) so my brakes should be in good condition.  Thanks for the input. 

Anyone else?

If your helmet has a loop on the back that will accommodate it, you could always throw a second light on there as well. Visibility is key in terrible weather.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2013, 12:46:47 PM »
Second blinky light on helmet . . . roger that.

What about keeping the rain out of my eyes?  Goggles?  (geez, that'll be a sight)

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2013, 01:21:41 PM »
Second blinky light on helmet . . . roger that.

What about keeping the rain out of my eyes?  Goggles?  (geez, that'll be a sight)

Rain has never been a problem for me, but a couple times during heavy, wet snowfall I had snow accumulating thick enough on my glasses that I had to stop and pull over to clean them . . .

markstache

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2013, 09:30:20 PM »
Second blinky light on helmet . . . roger that.

What about keeping the rain out of my eyes?  Goggles?  (geez, that'll be a sight)

I always wear hardware store safety glasses when riding. I attach a mirror so I can see overtaking traffic.  An inexpensive hiviz safety vest is an easy way to be more noticeable.

Mr. Minsc

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2013, 04:47:35 AM »
For those with prescription glasses, do you bother getting safety glasses to fit over?  I ask since I've worked in construction and in order to cover my glasses I'd need a fairly large pair of safety glasses.  Has anyone had luck with their regular glasses acting as a shield?

tuyop

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2013, 05:15:48 AM »
You could just get some prescription sunglasses.

http://www.sportrx.com/

As for rain and other debris, you should be wearing sunglasses or something anyway, for your eyes. I'm pretty sure it's just dangerous not to, you'll get a bee or a rock in the eye and careen into a truck and die.

As for heavy rain, I don't bother with a rain jacket unless it's really cold, there's just no point because you'll get sweaty anyway.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2013, 06:20:53 AM »
For those with prescription glasses, do you bother getting safety glasses to fit over?  I ask since I've worked in construction and in order to cover my glasses I'd need a fairly large pair of safety glasses.  Has anyone had luck with their regular glasses acting as a shield?

My regular glasses are fine to shield dust/rain.  Last month I had a very determined bug fly up, around my glasses and land directly on my eyeball . . . but I'm not sure safety glasses would have prevented that either.  :P

markstache

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2013, 08:10:34 AM »
As for heavy rain, I don't bother with a rain jacket unless it's really cold, there's just no point because you'll get sweaty anyway.

+1 Also, wool is a great option for rain as it wicks so well. Frankly I'd prefer nothing but wool on my body for most days, but it isn't cheap. (That reminds me, need to keep knitting my riding jersey/sweater...)

Jwesleym

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2013, 08:41:47 PM »
I'm a new rider as well and was caught in a downpour last week, here is what I learned:
BTW, I grew up in FL and this downpour was very similar to what you experience there.

1. Sunglasses had no power against the rain.  I was getting water in my eyes from the top and bottom

2. I need a front fender to stop the water coming up the bottom of my sunglasses.

3. No outer garment will help, you are going to get soaked.

4.  Keep a plastic bag in your pannier, the pannier/rack eliminates need for rear fender and bag is for wallet/phone etc..

5. I am packing a cheap pair if swimming goggles, in case this happens again.

Although, in tropical climates it might be better just to wait under cover for the 5-10 min shower. It can also be an adventure, just be careful of the lightning in FL.

tuyop

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2013, 07:37:20 AM »
I'm a new rider as well and was caught in a downpour last week, here is what I learned:
BTW, I grew up in FL and this downpour was very similar to what you experience there.

1. Sunglasses had no power against the rain.  I was getting water in my eyes from the top and bottom

2. I need a front fender to stop the water coming up the bottom of my sunglasses.

3. No outer garment will help, you are going to get soaked.

4.  Keep a plastic bag in your pannier, the pannier/rack eliminates need for rear fender and bag is for wallet/phone etc..

5. I am packing a cheap pair if swimming goggles, in case this happens again.

Although, in tropical climates it might be better just to wait under cover for the 5-10 min shower. It can also be an adventure, just be careful of the lightning in FL.

Were you wearing a helmet? That usually keeps the rain from dripping between my sunglasses and eyes.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2013, 07:56:37 AM »
I'm a new rider as well and was caught in a downpour last week, here is what I learned:
BTW, I grew up in FL and this downpour was very similar to what you experience there.

1. Sunglasses had no power against the rain.  I was getting water in my eyes from the top and bottom

2. I need a front fender to stop the water coming up the bottom of my sunglasses.

3. No outer garment will help, you are going to get soaked.

4.  Keep a plastic bag in your pannier, the pannier/rack eliminates need for rear fender and bag is for wallet/phone etc..

5. I am packing a cheap pair if swimming goggles, in case this happens again.

Although, in tropical climates it might be better just to wait under cover for the 5-10 min shower. It can also be an adventure, just be careful of the lightning in FL.

Were you wearing a helmet? That usually keeps the rain from dripping between my sunglasses and eyes.

+1

I rode home 11 miles in pouring rain yesterday, and between the helmet visor, front fender, and my glasses my eyes stayed water free.

Anyone else completely given up on trying to stay dry in the rain?  Between spray from the road, cars splashing me, and the rain coming down, I just deal with being wet while riding.  Even if I had a completely waterproof jacket, my legs and shoes would be soaked.

ghatko

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2013, 01:30:45 PM »
I'm a new rider as well and was caught in a downpour last week, here is what I learned:
BTW, I grew up in FL and this downpour was very similar to what you experience there.

1. Sunglasses had no power against the rain.  I was getting water in my eyes from the top and bottom

2. I need a front fender to stop the water coming up the bottom of my sunglasses.

3. No outer garment will help, you are going to get soaked.

4.  Keep a plastic bag in your pannier, the pannier/rack eliminates need for rear fender and bag is for wallet/phone etc..

5. I am packing a cheap pair if swimming goggles, in case this happens again.

Although, in tropical climates it might be better just to wait under cover for the 5-10 min shower. It can also be an adventure, just be careful of the lightning in FL.

Were you wearing a helmet? That usually keeps the rain from dripping between my sunglasses and eyes.

I rode through a torrential downpour during a storm a few weeks ago, and the rain poured through the vents in my helpmet, and down between my eyes and my glasses. I was thankfully on a bike path at the time, and I was able to slow down to a crawl. I even tried taking the glasses off (they were also fogging up & covered with rain) and that was worse because the rain was hitting my eyes so hard I couldn't keep my eyes open. That being said, most of the time I don't have any issues with rain and my eyes stay dry, this was just an extraordinary downpour!

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2013, 01:48:02 PM »
Anyone else completely given up on trying to stay dry in the rain?  Between spray from the road, cars splashing me, and the rain coming down, I just deal with being wet while riding.  Even if I had a completely waterproof jacket, my legs and shoes would be soaked.
+1

Oh, yeah, you're going to get wet. On cold rainy days I've been known to break out the full yellow-duck kit-- but you know what? It still worms its way in, somehow. And you cook yourself if it's not frigid out, since that stuff doesn't even pretend to breathe.

Jwesleym

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2013, 08:24:34 PM »

Were you wearing a helmet? That usually keeps the rain from dripping between my sunglasses and eyes.

Yes, I always wear one.  The rain came through the holes on top, and no visor.

tuyop

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2013, 07:23:59 AM »

Were you wearing a helmet? That usually keeps the rain from dripping between my sunglasses and eyes.

Yes, I always wear one.  The rain came through the holes on top, and no visor.

Brutal.

Hamster

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Re: Biking--What Do I Need to Know?
« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2013, 07:11:38 PM »
Anyone else completely given up on trying to stay dry in the rain?  Between spray from the road, cars splashing me, and the rain coming down, I just deal with being wet while riding.  Even if I had a completely waterproof jacket, my legs and shoes would be soaked.
In my experience if you have enough clothes to keep you dry from the rain, you will be soaked from the sweat caused by the water-tight clothes.

I ride in the Pacific Northwest, so we never get the kind of downpours you see east of here, but we basically have no dry days between Oct and April so I've done lots of wet weather riding in the dark... The more waterproof my bike clothing is the more I sweat, so unless it's a very short ride I find it's not worth trying to stay dry. I just try to stay comfortable and visible.

I've slowly accumulated things over years of clearance and REI member garage sales.

Feet/legs: Fenders* are the most important item for keeping feet dry and waterproof zip-up booties (shoe covers) are my number 2.
For commutes I generally wear tights - thickness depending on insulation needs but not waterproof. If it's a short ride so I won't sweat much, I sometimes wear rain pants over "regular" clothes.
Upper body: When it's just cool/wet I have a yellow softshell I wear on top which keeps most of the water out and is still fairly breathable. If it's cold/wet I add a tight stretchy base layer underneath. If it's a short ride, I have a yellow plasticky waterproof jacket with lots of venting (back vent, pit zips, vented pockets) that I can wear over "regular clothes" as long as I'm not riding too hard. I find lots of venting (pit zips, back vent and vented pockets are much more reliable (and adjustable) than expensive "breathable" waterproof fabrics. 
Hands: Keeping hand comfortable is the hardest. I generally prefer a synthetic knit glove and deal with wet hands, or a thin runner's/athletic gloves that are a bit more wind-resistant. I find cold hands less annoying than thick gloves which I don't feel give me a safe grip (on drop bars). A friend of mine swears by polypro paddling gloves for the rain. Eyes: Standard full coverage cycling glasses with clear lenses in the rain. I haven't found a way to stop them from fogging up when I stop, but as soon as I'm moving, the ventilation clears them up. You can find deals on sports glasses at nashbar or campmor.

* I really like Planet Bike Fenders. They are great for the money, and replacement parts are very easy to order online, and they don't mark them up like crazy as many companies due for replacement parts. If you need a blinking taillight, their superflash light is also fantastic as a rear light.