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hassle-free commute

jempijempi Posts: 58
edited May 2019 in Commuting general
Since winter kicked in I did get a bit frustated by all the stuff I carry and the time I spent changing clothes.
I use a backpack and I carry everyday my lunch, repairkit, pump, wallet, phone, gloves for bad/normal weather, buff, 1 piece of fruit and keys.
I wear everyday colder than 15°C a fleece baselayer, a fleece jacket, a rain/windstopper, bikeshort, waterresistant bikepants, 1 pair of thermal socks, bikeshoes, winter overshoes, gloves for normal or bad weather and a helmet.
I go one day a week to work by car and then I try to take my work clothes, cookies or snacks and my lenses.
But sometimes i have to carry those to on the bike.

Experiences and tips & tricks for a lighter backpack and getting changed faster are more than welcome !
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  • gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,967
    Panniers is one way to go, as it means you're not carrying anything, I would also cut down on the amount you're wearng and perhaps work a bit harder on the bike.

    Probably down to 10°C I'm still in shorts and a short sleeve top, with normal shoes and wooly booly socks, below 10 and to about 3 then, it's 3/4 leggings a baselayer and a long sleeve top with winter boots and 2 pairs of socks, which are my normal winter wear regardless of temp.

    Below 3 then it's time for longs, a baselayer and then a jersey, below -2 then the jersey changes for a windstopper version of the top.
  • norvernrobnorvernrob Posts: 1,424
    That’s a lot of clothes for 15c, at that temperature I’m in T shirt and shorts. My work shoes are outdoor ones anyway so I wear those with flats, work shorts and T shirt, then I add knee warmers and a Gilet or jacket depending on the temperature. Mini pump/tube/tools all go in a saddlebag and my lunch goes in a small bag with a handle on top, I slip this over the bars then fold it back over towards me. Phone/keys are in my pockets as normal. Nothing is in the way and I don’t carry anything on my back, I tried it once and found it horribly sweaty plus it gave me backache!

    The bonus to the small lunch bag is that if it’s warmer on the way home (often the case) it’s now empty so I can stuff my jacket/gilet in it if needed.

    If you need to carry more stuff then panniers would be a better solution but I find that for me, my way is perfect with no hassle at all.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,270
    Repair kit in small bag under saddle along with pump on the frame, ditch the waterproof trousers and stick everything else in pockets. I use normal gloves with liner gloves if it's cold. I do similar to you for dropping towel off etc at work as we have proper showers. Only things I carry sometimes is lunch but I tend to use our poor excuse for a canteen, I also carry a spare front light in winter just in case. As to what I wear, windproof Roubaix bib longs if it's cold, thermal backwater, thermal Jersey and thin waterproof if wet. If it's extremely cold 0 degrees or so I have a winter softshell jacket I use.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    So how far is your commute?

    Up to a certain distance / effort just ride in civvies.

    The essentials just stay in the bike bag / rucksack and don't need thinking about.

    Have a look out of the window in the morning to see what kit you'll be wearing (actually, I sort that out the night before).

    If I get my clothing choice wrong, it's 20-30 minutes of wetter or colder than expected riding which just isn't a big deal. Get to work, dry out and warm up.
  • jempijempi Posts: 58
    Thanks for the comments. Always nice to here from people how they do it.
    My commute is 35km/21mi in total (back and forth). With 14km/9mi offroad and country roads.
    My average speed for the moment is 26kmh/16mph. I ride on a cyclocross bike.
    So I realy need some kind of bikewear.
    I want my bike as clean as possible. I have a bell, two frontlights (one extra for the offroad section) a rearlight and a censored -saver. Nothing more. I like to keep it that way.
    I have a verry good rucksack fore cycling with a mesh so I dont have a sweaty back (vaude alpine 30). No problems there, its more the amount off things i have to think about than the weight realy.
    I printed a list of the things i have to take with me and put that in my backpack so I can check easily.
    For the clothes, i def. should reconsider things. Rain and budget are my biggest issues here.
    And my aversion of bib's. Thats why I prefer MTB-clothing and cheap layering more than a castelli collection ;p
    But I guess I can Wiggle around those issues ;p
  • I used to use panniers but for the past 2 years I've used a rucksack and much prefer it. It's an individual thing.

    Tool kit wise I carry 2 tubes, levers, 2 Co2 cannisters, a chain tool and a small spare back light. I carry my lunch in every day along with a small dry bag with my wallet/phone in. I bring a shirt and underwear in most days but on the odd occasion I drive I bring shed loads in and stock it up. Trousers and towel get changed weekly approx.

    I wear bib-shorts and if it's under 7 degrees I put tights over the top (without a pad). I might choose to wear leg warmers now and then depending on how I feel. Top half is a short sleeve jersey and depending on the weather I will add a merino base layer, arm warmers, and a waterproof jacket...depending on temp.

    Shorts/merino/ jersey are changed on a daily basis. Tights I wear for the week, they are not next to my skin. Jacket gets washed when it looks a bit grubby.

    Fingerless gloves when it's above 7 degrees, Winter gloves below that. I carry fingerless with me in the Winter in case it's warmer going home.

    Cyclocross bike with full guards when it's wet. Road bike when it's dry. Schwalbe Durano on both.

    My rucksack feels light to be honest, I only really notice it when I add my laptop now and then. Perhaps look at another ruck sack, or play around with the adjustments on it to make sure it's sitting right. My sack is an Osprey Escapist 32, more than big enough for everything, I would probably buy the smaller one should it ever wear out.

    I've been doing this a lot of years, I just know what works for me. It's second nature.
  • defeverdefever Posts: 171
    Interesting, also very nice to hear what fellow commuters do.

    In my case it's nearly 29miles return trip everyday. Terrain is on-road, ranging from quieter between-towns B road to busy central city A road.

    These days, I wear cheapest waterproof trousers from Decathlon (the one with "semi-overshoes"), S/S or L/S polyester shirt from Decathlon (£5 or £7 running/cycling top), Hi-vis "breathable" waterproof jacket from Aldi, and Winter "700" gloves from Decathlon. I start rather chilly, but after 10min I'm toasty (thanks to poor breath-ability of "waterproof" trousers and jacket!). And I don't have to worry about getting rained on (I have full mudguards), which it seems 80% of my commute is wet.

    I have a backpack and I've been experimenting this lately.

    Before Autumn, I had ridiculous amount of stuff: heavy D-lock, hand pump, a pouch with repair kit, 1L water bottle (full), work stuff (like a book and a laptop), clothes to wear at work (everyday), etc.

    I've come to realisation that I've been carrying way too much. This is what I did:
    • No more D-lock = I hardly use it between home-work during the week. I'm privileged to keep my bike in my office.
    • No more work stuff = I never end up doing work at home in the evenings or weekends and 90% of material is now online, accessible anywhere with an internet.
    • Lighter clothes = I'm now strategic on what I decide to wear at work. Chino instead of heavy jeans, lighter knitwear instead of chunky fleece / hoodie, simple t-shirt/buttoned shirt.

    It's made a massive difference psychologically. Obviously I feel much lighter, but somehow my commute time on Strava hasn't changed much (maybe the waterproof garment is not aerodynamic).

    Reading back on your usual load, Jempi, I think my current bag content is as light as yours.
    Do you think you can shed some of your riding clothes a bit? But then communing off road is a different matter and you'd know best what to wear...

    Hmm...
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    If you want a clean bike you need full guards and mudflaps.

    Can't imagine cycling in rain trousers with what- three layers on top ? Toasty hot....

    My winter shoes have elastic laces in them and stay in the overshoes all winter. Just wipe down the overshoes when they get dirty.

    Bibs are popular for a reason. It's the best kit for cycling.
  • 26 mile round trip on tow path, road, cycle path and mud.

    CX bike with full guards.

    And a (carbon) pannier which contains laptop, fresh underwear/Shirt, keys, change, phones, asthma spray etc. Tools and tube in a saddle bag.

    Various combinations of clothes depending on the forecast. Big fan of Goretex!

    Motorcycle winter gloves much below 6 degrees, with liners below 3 degrees.

    Proper goretex cycle shoes when wet.
  • jempijempi Posts: 58
    cougie wrote:
    If you want a clean bike you need full guards and mudflaps.

    Can't imagine cycling in rain trousers with what- three layers on top ? Toasty hot....

    My winter shoes have elastic laces in them and stay in the overshoes all winter. Just wipe down the overshoes when they get dirty.

    Bibs are popular for a reason. It's the best kit for cycling.

    With a clean bike I mean a bike with only the bare necessities on it.
    A clean bike as in dirtfree clean is a regulary washed bike. A frame can be clean but the drivetrain will always be a mess.

    Can you share the brand & type off your winter shoes & overshoes please? Want to check them out.

    Bibs are popular cause pro's wear them. I'm not a pro. I'm a silly commuter, and only doing 17km a ride.
    Bibs look stupid, are fragile, and suck to put on. I don't like them. :evil:

    Grts Jempi
  • Jempi wrote:
    cougie wrote:
    If you want a clean bike you need full guards and mudflaps.

    Can't imagine cycling in rain trousers with what- three layers on top ? Toasty hot....

    My winter shoes have elastic laces in them and stay in the overshoes all winter. Just wipe down the overshoes when they get dirty.

    Bibs are popular for a reason. It's the best kit for cycling.

    With a clean bike I mean a bike with only the bare necessities on it.
    A clean bike as in dirtfree clean is a regulary washed bike. A frame can be clean but the drivetrain will always be a mess.

    Can you share the brand & type off your winter shoes & overshoes please? Want to check them out.

    Bibs are popular cause pro's wear them. I'm not a pro. I'm a silly commuter, and only doing 17km a ride.
    Bibs look stupid, are fragile, and suck to put on. I don't like them. :evil:

    Grts Jempi

    In terms of overshoes I really prefer toe covers. Easy to put on, keep my feet warm and dry, and don't wear out if you decide to walk in them (although I take mine off whenever I can). I use DHB ones, cheap as chips, fantastic bit of kit that I wouldn't be without.

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/dhb-toe-cover-o ... 1237617182
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    Jempi wrote:
    Bibs are popular cause pro's wear them. I'm not a pro. I'm a silly commuter, and only doing 17km a ride.
    Bibs look stupid, are fragile, and suck to put on. I don't like them. :evil:

    Underneath all the other layers of clothing you wear, no-one will see them.
    Bibs are popular because they stop the draught getting in under your base layer. Easily the most comfortable thing to wear on a bike, any issues you have with them is down to peer pressure!

    Can't say I've ever worn waterproof trousers. Can't you just let your legs get wet?
  • craker wrote:
    Jempi wrote:
    Bibs are popular cause pro's wear them. I'm not a pro. I'm a silly commuter, and only doing 17km a ride.
    Bibs look stupid, are fragile, and suck to put on. I don't like them. :evil:

    Underneath all the other layers of clothing you wear, no-one will see them.
    Bibs are popular because they stop the draught getting in under your base layer. Easily the most comfortable thing to wear on a bike, any issues you have with them is down to peer pressure!

    Can't say I've ever worn waterproof trousers. Can't you just let your legs get wet?

    And they make you look slimmer :D
  • I started off with a backpack, moved to a saddlebag and now run panniers. My commute isn't so long as others on here, shortest route is 20 miles return but in the Summer (ie for two weeks of the year) up this to 25-30 a few days a week. The temptation with more space is to take more stuff (just in case) but I tend to load up the pannier(s) on Monday (food, work clothes etc for the week and running back with the previous weeks washing Monday night) which means I can run light for the next four days and use best bikes if the fancy (and weather) takes me.
    I wear cycling kit, again a bit more conservative with regard to temperatures than some above, below 10 I'm generally wearing bib longs, moving to 3/4 bibs up to about 16c, shorts above that. in Winter generally just a base layer with a jacket (the Wiggle Aeron Hybrid is really really good - lightweight, windproof but doesn't run hot) and a waterproof depending on forecast. Either SPD or SPD SL depending on the bike.
  • I've got bibs with thousands of miles on them.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
    https://twitter.com/roubaixcc
    Facebook? No. Just say no.
  • Ricky hRicky h Posts: 119
    A word of caution on rucksacks, if you are planning on commuting over a period of years on drop handle bars and using a rucksack, don't. You might get away with it for a short period but over time it will place pressure on and degrade the discs in the lower part of your spine. You really want to avoid this, so if it's a long term plan to commute, saddlebags or panniers are the way to go.
    Personally I use a bottle for spares and a 6 litre carradice saddlebag for daily clothing. Outerwear and shoes are left at work. I probably also carry way more than necessary on my 20 mile round trip
  • jempijempi Posts: 58
    Ricky h wrote:
    A word of caution on rucksacks, if you are planning on commuting over a period of years on drop handle bars and using a rucksack, don't. You might get away with it for a short period but over time it will place pressure on and degrade the discs in the lower part of your spine.

    Interesting remark ! Where did you found this information? Is there a study or paper you can share on this?
  • jempijempi Posts: 58
    And maybe with waterproof trousers I was not precise enough (I'm Flemish, English is not my native language and especially writing is sometimes hard for me ;p )
    This is my bikepants :
    https://www.vaude.com/nl-NL/Producten/Kleding/Broeken/Men-s-Virt-Softshell-Pants-II

    If I would wear a soft shell instead of a second layer, then when its raining I still would need a rainjacket, am i right?
    Then I have also 3 layers like I have now, even thicker layers?
    Correct me if i'm wrong!

    The last 2 weeks here in Belgium it was -8 °C in the morning so I did not try yet with only 2 layers :p
  • Ricky hRicky h Posts: 119
    Where did I find the information ? My own medical history, advice from doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists etc who have all said the same thing. Feel free to dismiss it but degradation of your lower discs in the spine isn't fun
  • greenamex2greenamex2 Posts: 272
    Ricky h wrote:
    Where did I find the information ? My own medical history, advice from doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists etc who have all said the same thing. Feel free to dismiss it but degradation of your lower discs in the spine isn't fun

    That reflects my experience. Ended up going to a pannier to stop my shoulder and back pain.
  • cookeeemonstercookeeemonster Posts: 1,988
    As an alternative to panniers you could try an apidura style Saddle bag. I have the 11litre version and it's perfect for my 40 mile round trip commute. I don't often fill it up but it's useful to have the capacity if I need it.
  • Ricky h wrote:
    A word of caution on rucksacks, if you are planning on commuting over a period of years on drop handle bars and using a rucksack, don't. You might get away with it for a short period but over time it will place pressure on and degrade the discs in the lower part of your spine.

    How many years? I've been doing that for at least 12 now. And on and off before that. Mind you I don't often actual use the drops..

    I'm not a fan of chiropractors - remember them suing Simon Singh for stating facts? Science isn't decided in the law courts...I could go on, but will spare everyone my ranting on this subject!
  • jempijempi Posts: 58
    A half year later and a new winter in sight i certainly learnt some things , thanks for the hints !!
    What i have changed:
    - clothes: i visited a local cycling clothing store, did get good information what i need for belgian weather and for my parcours. later i found the outlet webshop at the official Vermarc website: http://www.vermarcsport.com/nl/outlet [url]
    it's F**** awesome, pro gear at 70% discount !! so i invested in a good rainjacket, summer & mid-season vests. I only need a technical vest for when its get extreme. Next week i order some high quality underlayers also (brynje thermo).

    - i bought all my additionals and accessories double (mostly rain gear) so i have one set at home and one at work so i don't have to carry them with me and don't have to think about it.

    -i have days for provisioning, rather then bring stuff (snacks, workclothes, ...) in now and then, i bring everything in for 3 weeks on one day so i don't have to think about my stuff in weeks.

    -i still use a rucksack, have a really good vaude alpine and no problems with my back (and i ride a caad :p) but everytime i feel my backpack slamming in my lower back i have to think about the posts here about the spine injuries on the long term.
    I'm verry charmed by the sadlepacks but they are hard to find in belgium. They look a bit wobbly and i never did see a commuter using it. I guess it's a thing you love or hate.
    They cost around 100 Euro what's a lot for a gamble, so i'm looking to find a store where i can testride it. Espascially the smaller versions i like (about 10l). I would use it on the days i only have to carry my lunch and repair kit. Can't find them second hand either.

    Big thanks for time & advice,
    Jempi.[/url]
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Good update ! It's interesting to see how you've gotten slicker over the year.
  • Ricky hRicky h Posts: 119
    Try here for good value saddlbags:
    https://www.carradice.co.uk/bags/saddle ... saddlepack
    The one I use is £25 and I have had mine in operation for a couple of years, does the trick fine.
    In answer to how long have I been commuting, over 20 years. I doubt you will find any specific studies on cycling with rucksacks but you are unlikely to find physio's who will tell you it is a good idea. Up to you how you do it and whether you wish to heed the warnings of others in the end
  • jempijempi Posts: 58
    Ricky h wrote:
    Try here for good value saddlbags:
    https://www.carradice.co.uk/bags/saddle ... saddlepack
    The one I use is £25 and I have had mine in operation for a couple of years, does the trick fine.
    In answer to how long have I been commuting, over 20 years./quote]

    Thanks for sharing! I'm still looking for a good sollution. Yours looks good. Is a 6l bag big enough for lunch, keys, wallet, phone and repair kit?
    I should measure the volume volume I need I guess. Math is not my strongest point ;p
    The last two days I managed to commute without a sack! Repair kit in a mini saddle pack, pump taped on my frame and my raincoat stuffed in my bottlecage. Phone and keys in the backpockets of my jersey and I left my wallet at work. Not ideal but I liked it.
  • jempijempi Posts: 58
    About 10 weeks ago I bought the ortlieb medium saddlepack. So I went for the expensive gamble. This is why: ortlieb weatherproof & overall quality, air valve and the positive reviews.

    So after using it almost daily for 10 weeks on two different bikes, I must say it's a bot of a love / hate relationship I have with the thing. Packing the sack is delllicat, the form of the saddlerails, the angle between seatpost and saddle, what you pack, how you pack, the tension you put on the straps... it's all very important with a lot off influence on swinging, stability and ride comfort. Keep in mind you can't put everything in a saddle pack, a laptop is a no go. I use it for repair kit, pump, food and snacks, clothing, wallet, agenda, smartphone and keys.
    In a nuttshell:

    Pro's:
    - no more backpain or stiffness in that area, realy super! Less neckpain to. I never had real issues there but now I'm backpack free I feel what it does with your lowerback.
    - super aero commute
    - easier to move and look around, whats nice in busy traffic
    - when packed and strapped right it's stable
    - with the air valve you make it super compact, but if its get to compact you can't strap it perfectly. I use an extra strap then.
    - 1000% weatherproof, build and finishing quality is super

    Cons:
    - hard to pack it right, you really have to learn it and think about it.
    - when packed and strapped badly, a reel pain in the censored . It can swing and it can give a overal very unstable feeling to your bike
    - when you are packed but forgot something you have to start the packing and strapping all over again, really frustrating.
    - hard to detach, you still need a backpack at work when you work outside the office and load thins over.

    So in conclusion its more hassle, more planning and more time consuming but for that you get a more free feeling on the bike (when you mastered the packing) and a huge ergonomic improvement. So I would recomended it to all fellow commuters.

    Jempi.
  • mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
    I'd pretty much always used a backpack untill I got my Pashley that came with a rack. I'm now not using the Pashley and back to a rucksack. I've ordered a rack for my mountain bike that I use to commute as much prefer it. I was actually getting upper back pain at times and felt it was down to the rucksack but I always carry way to much.

    Personally, I think a small bag on the top of the rack is the way to go
    http://www.strava.com/athletes/mrkev83

    Built for comfort... Not for speed
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 4,422
    Tools can all go into a bottle tool kit thing so on your frame.

    Clothes I used to take in a load once per week. I am a revolting specimen of humanity and used to wear each of my shirts twice before washing and as I have lots of shirts (10) , that could mean a month for each turnaround. Sheos I left at work, obviously.

    Everything else I take in on a daily basis in little waterproof bags and stick in my jersey pocket (phone, wallet, pants and socks - as i would sweat through my back into them otherwise). For wallet, I used to just leave a credit card in my desk drawer after a while as I rarely use them.

    Not sure what an agenda is, but I assume it's big?
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 3,014
    MrKev83 wrote:
    I'd pretty much always used a backpack untill I got my Pashley that came with a rack. I'm now not using the Pashley and back to a rucksack. I've ordered a rack for my mountain bike that I use to commute as much prefer it. I was actually getting upper back pain at times and felt it was down to the rucksack but I always carry way to much.

    Personally, I think a small bag on the top of the rack is the way to go

    I love the Topeak Quicklink MTX or RDX bags for this purpose - yes, it leaves the weight higher over the wheel than a pannier bag, but the simplicilty over a pannier bag just work for me.

    And if have the need to move a laptop or A4 paper around the place, then the packs with the drop down pannier bags give you the added functionality - although I recommend having a large ziplock bag for them in the topbag, as the pannier waterproof covers aren't perfect in really heavy downpours, especially if you've not got mudguards on.
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
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