Author Topic: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?  (Read 4318 times)

beeb

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Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« on: August 04, 2014, 02:11:40 PM »
Planning to ditch the clown commute, or at least part of it.
I live 16km from my university, and have no plans to move (live with parents for cheap).

I live in Ireland, and the Irish government has a wonderful scheme that allows you to pay for a bike + accessories out of your pre-tax income, and have the cost split over 12 months (0% interest) and deducted from your paycheque directly. My very kind non-cycling mother has agreed to allow me to use her scheme, and I'll pay her the money every month.

Essentially, I can get a 550 euro bike for 300 euro, at 25 euro a month.

Also, you can spend up to 1000 euro on this scheme on a bike and accessories, but it has to be done in one single purchase.

Of course, the standard recommendation would be to get a second-hand bike, cycle for a while and see what things you need, but the option of getting a 54% discount and being able to pay over 12 months is too good to pass up. The scheme only applies to new bikes, and I've been watching my national craiglist like a hawk for weeks and seen nothing.

So - I need some mustachian help.

What bike do I get, and what accessories?

Have been recommended to get a hybrid bike, but after that I'm a bit lost.
Would like to have the option of attaching a toddler seat to the back in the future (have a very light nearly 3-year-old).

Weather in Ireland is mild (very little snow, not very hot), but could rain 200+ days/year.
I'll need to carry books, laptop, food, spare clothes/towel (showers in college). On short round-town journeys I'll also be carrying a child, or be towing one.

Obviously I need a helmet, probably a rack for panniers? Lights, reflective clothing... what else?

Any advice greatly appreciated! This will be my biggest purchase in five years - I don't want to make a mistake!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2014, 02:41:07 PM »
Not sure what's sold in Ireland versus the US, but Trek FX, Specialized Sirrus, Giant Escape are popular here.

For accessories, lithium recharchable lights. Front about 4W LED, rear 1 or 2W. I like fenders made by SKS, which is German. A rack and waterproof panniers are also nice to have. Ortlieb is spendy but the gold standard.

Beric01

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2014, 03:23:18 PM »
I love my Specialized Crosstrail (base model), and have ridden it for 4 years. It's an excellent hybrid. That's what you want, a hybrid. I'm not sure what's analogous across the pond.

You'll want a bike rack and panniers (what I use to commute to work). Have a decent set of lights. I'm thinking about upgrading my current ones, but they do offer decent visibility.

A few things that are "nice" to have:
  • A reflective vest for extra visibility. I also have a bright green extra-large windbreaker to wear over everything for winter riding.
  • A pair of velcro ankle straps - they go around your pant legs to keep them from getting caught on your chain.
  • A bike computer - lets you know how fast you're going and how far you've gone - really helps motivate you to keep cycling!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2014, 04:20:24 PM »
Bike computer isn't necessary if you have a GPS equipped smartphone.

Beric01

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2014, 04:34:23 PM »
Bike computer isn't necessary if you have a GPS equipped smartphone.

How are you going to view it while you're riding? Put your precious smartphone where it's vulnerable on your handlebars? Burn through your battery (GPS is the #1 consumer of battery life on a smartphone)?

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2014, 04:48:57 PM »
Spare tube (or two) and tire levers so you can fix a flat tire on the road, unless you don't mind pushing your bike. It's a good idea to have a couple of basic tools so you can tighten loose bolts and things like that.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2014, 05:37:36 PM »
Bike computer isn't necessary if you have a GPS equipped smartphone.

To be fair, neither a bike computer nor a smart-phone are remotely important accessories to carry when cycling . . .


:P

kudy

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2014, 06:41:47 PM »
I recently upgraded from my old road bike (with a riding position and feel similar to a hybrid), to an entry-level modern road bike (Giant Defy 3), and I REALLY like the newer bike. I'd suggest test driving a few hybrids and and a few road bikes, and seeing what you're willing to pay for, and what you like best.

Accessories I have/recommend:
  • spare tube, tire levers, & inflation device you're comfortable using on the side of the road (pump or co2)
  • if you can get clothing: wool long johns, wool socks, balaclava, rain jacket, gloves, padded riding shorts
  • some sort of puncture resistant tires or tire liners, puncture resistant tubes (much better to avoid flats than to have to fix one)
  • really strong headlight with big battery, really annoying rear flashing light
  • rear rack & panniers, unless you're comfortable wearing a backpack
  • fenders
  • helmet & helmet mirror
  • nice u-lock
  • multi-function bike tool
  • reflective arm/leg bands (work well to keep pant leg out of chain)

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2014, 06:44:22 PM »
Spare tube (or two) and tire levers so you can fix a flat tire on the road, unless you don't mind pushing your bike. It's a good idea to have a couple of basic tools so you can tighten loose bolts and things like that.

Along these lines, I like a saddlebag to store a small repair kit - the tire levers, spare tubes, I also have rim tape, and emergency CO2 cartridges to inflate in a pinch. 

Get a nice lock - one that's easy enough for you to use, and provides a sufficient deterrent for opportunists in your area. 

LED lights (red for back, white for front) - it gets dark early up in Ireland, so maybe spring for the bright ones? 

Mr PoP keeps trying to talk me into a rain cape, but I'm not sure that would qualify for your reimbursement scheme since it's technically clothing, not something to attach to the bike. 

Definitely agree with the SKS fenders.  I have those on my Jamis commuter (hybrid) and they have made riding after a rain way more pleasant. 

beeb

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2014, 07:21:51 PM »
Excellent suggestions everyone - thanks so much!

This is what's covered under the scheme -

Bike (obviously) - Trek and Giant are both available in Ireland - have looked at the Trek 7.2 WSD and the Giant/Liv Escape 1W - they're much the same price.

Cycle helmets
Bells and bulb horns
Lights, including dynamo packs
Mirrors and mudguards to ensure that the rider’s visibility is not impaired - mudguard = fender
Cycle clips and dress guards
Panniers, luggage carriers and straps to allow luggage to be safely carried
Locks and chains to ensure cycle can be safely secured
Pumps, puncture repair kits, cycle tool kits and tyre sealant to allow for minor repairs
Reflective clothing along with white front reflectors and spoke reflectors

Lidl and Aldi do cycling special offers every couple of months, apparently the clothes and gear is actually quite good, despite the shockingly low prices (bike computer for 9 euro etc).

I actually thought that a child seat would be covered, but it looks like it's not.
Ah well - can't have everything!

fa

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2014, 04:59:30 AM »
Can't add much to what was already said here.  I just had to comment on the scheme.  Government subsidized bicycles and accessories?  That sounds so wild to me.  I have never heard of such a thing.  With my libertarian bend I am not sure if I think that is cool or crazy.  Does Ireland have other unusual tax laws like that?

beeb

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2014, 05:41:04 AM »
The bike scheme is part of the government's general STOP DRIVING TO WORK YOU IDIOTS scheme.

You can also use it to purchase tickets for public transport. The employee saves 52% on the cost of train/bus/tram tickets, and the employer can write of up to 10% on the employee's social insurance. It's pretty good really.

Traffic is horrendous in Ireland - most of the roads are really narrow, built hundreds of years ago and not really able to accommodate cars at volume. For example, the three main roads into Dublin city centre - north is a two-lane road with traffic lights, south is the same, west is a one-lane road. It's insanity to drive. It can take up up to 90 minutes to travel 7km. I've done it the past two years because my daughter was just too tiny for the back of a bike (I felt), but now I'm sick of it.

Another awesome mustachian scheme is the MAKE YOUR HOUSE MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT YOU IDIOTS scheme.
This involves -
1. Get a guy from the government energy assessment dept to come assess your house for energy efficiency (free)
2. Decide what your house could benefit from, and make an application for a grant
3. The government PAYS YOU to upgrade your house

eg - Attic insulation   €200
Cavity wall insulation   €250

Wall insulation - internal dry lining
- Apartment (any) or mid-terrace house €900
- Semi-detached or end of terrace house €1,350
- Detached house €1,800

Wall insulation - external
- Apartment (any) or mid-terrace house €1,800
- Semi-detached or end of terrace house €2,700
- Detached house €3,600

High efficiency (more than 90% efficiency) gas or oil fired boiler with heating controls upgrade   €560
Heating controls upgrade   €400
Solar heating   €800

A second energy assessment after works are done    €50

If the work costs less/equal the grant amount, it's paid for in full.
If it costs more, you pay the balance out of your pre-tax income.

Essentially you can get 7660 (USD 10,225) worth of work done to your house for FREEEEEEE.
Well, out of your tax, but still. Amazing for low-income families living in cold, damp housing.


frugaliknowit

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2014, 07:48:49 AM »
In addition to what others have said, I wish to emphasize:  Test ride any bike you are interested in.  Do not buy anything you do not test ride.  In the US, not every dealer has a test model available.  Here, if you call around, you can find someone who does have it available for a test ride.  Good luck and have fun!

Philociraptor

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2014, 08:00:30 AM »
How does one find the right fit before knowing how to ride a bike?

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2014, 08:02:53 AM »
How does one find the right fit before knowing how to ride a bike?

You go to a bike shop and ask for help.  There are online calculators that might be able to get you into the right ballpark, but there's no replacement for experience.  If you don't have experience fitting a bike, it's best to look for someone who does.

gillstone

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Re: Bike Recommendation + Bike Accessories Wish List?
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2014, 08:48:30 AM »
Having lived and biked in Ireland, I would say you need:
- Fenders so you aren't covered in mud 200 days a year
- Rear panniers to hold the laptop, lunch etc...
- Good headlights
- Mirror on either handlebar or helmet so you can see the looming tourist bus that somehow rounded a corner so tight that would make a Fiat do a 2-point turn
- basic tool kit to keep at home for regular maintenance & repair
- multi-tool & patch repair kit with spare tube to keep with bike at all times