Thinking About Commuting for 2013?

December 30, 2012

Are you already thinking of some of your New Years resolutions for 2013? Go to the gym? Nope, tried that. Its boring, I can’t manage to go for more than a month. Don’t eat potato chips? Nope, that’s just silly. Make a compost in my yard? I live in an apartment… damn! How about I try to commute to work as much as possible! That way I’ll be a total green fiend, save money on gas and insurance, and keep my cardio up! great idea.

OK, so you want to commute to work. What could make your commute a better experience, and what items are pretty much mandatory?
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Specialized Tricross Elite Disc. Potentially the “ultimate” commuting machine. Why? Drop handlebars generally put you in a more effective position for putting power down to the pavement, and give you more hand positions. Adjustable Avid BB5 cable disc brakes, to put the control in your hands for stopping and slowing down,  as well as adding durability to your brake pads, and not putting any wear on your rims. Shimano Tiagra 10 speed wide-range gearing, a competent group-set from Shimano with good value and shifting feel. Specialized Burough CX Armadillo tires, to keep rain on the tread the tires are siped as well as being equipped with Specialized’s Armadillo casing for ultimate puncture resistance. The Tricross allows fenders and racks to be mounted easily. All this together in on package makes for one tough bike to beat in the race across the bridge. $1739.99

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What happens when you get a flat tire on a really rainy day? (yes it rains once in a while in Vancouver). What if instead of worrying about what to do when getting a flat, you just get some excellent puncture resistant tires such as the Specialized All Conditions Armadillo tires. The Armadillo casing is built for ultimate puncture resistance, and the All Conditions tread gives good clearing of water from beneath the tire, and more grip as you roll the tire over into a corner. Elite (lighter casing) $74.99, Standard $54.99

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Whether commuting in the Fall/Winter, Coming home later after work, or just to attract visibility a front light is key to the commuter. The Serfas True 250 LED front light gives you a maximum of 250 lumens of output for up to 2 hours, of lesser settings (still very bright), and a flash mode lasting up to 7 hours. The True 250 charges by plugging the light into your computer via USB cable. Don’t catch your self out in the dark. $89.99

Screen shot 2012-12-28 at 5.38.52 PMUnless you have eyes in the back of your head, you certainly cannot see what cars are doing behind you so it is important have a bright rear light that has a distracting flash pattern to get the attention of others around you. The Cat Eye TL-130 is a large lens light with 180 degree visability. The TL-130 comes with AAA batteries and should last you about 150 hours of use. $19.99

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The chain is the soul of the drivetrain. Without a chain your bike will not move, unless coasting downhill. The chain is also the item that usually initiates wear on the drivetrain. You can prevent premature wear of the chain by keeping it clean and well lubricated. Come by Steed Cycles and we’ll happily help you select the best chain lube for your use, but for many commuters a “wet” lube will be the most durable, meaning that you will need to apply it less often. $9.99

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Especially during the wet season, commuters have to deal with road grit and grime getting sprayed onto their drivetrains as they track through the rain soaked roads. Even if you are using a good durable “wet” chain lube, or a cleaner wearing “dry” lube your drive train will hold onto some dirt. To reduce wear, keep your bike shifting well, and beautify your steed using a de-greaser will strip that tough grit off your cassette, chain, and chinarings renewing your drivetrain luster and allowing your well lubed chain to glide along your gears. $14.99

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Fenders. Yup, that’s what they do, fend off the water and grit and help keep you dry. Fenders fit most commuting intended bikes, and can usually be found for Road bikes, and Mountain bikes as well. Full coverage fenders such as these Axiom Roadrunner DLX fenders are best by covering as much of the wheel as possible to keep water and grit spray down to a minimum. These babies are 100% necessary in Vancouver with the number of rain days that we get in a year. $34.99, $59.99 installed.

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The fender for your body is the Waterproof/breathable jacket. Sugoi’s RS Event jacket is a great jacket. It balances waterproofing and breath-ability with features like reflective hits, and side vents. In Vancouver a jacket that keeps you dry is one of those items that allows your to even consider commuting as an option of transportation. Without the blessing of having a shower, change-room, and locker at your work most commuters rely of coming to work dry so that they can change into their work clothes and be comfortable all day. Even with the option of having a shower  and locker for your clothes you don’t want to slip into wet clothes for your ride home. The RS Event jacket is a key player in an enjoyable commuting experience. $249.99

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In the cold weather fingers and toes are the first to feel the cold. To allow you to operate the controls of your bike you need to be able to feel those fingers to know what they’re doing. These GORE bike wear Power SO gloves feature WINDSTOPPER material to block the wind on those cold days and add some water repellancy. They provide the right amount of insulation to keep your hands warm, but not too much so you feel like your hands are in boxing gloves. Don’t forget the snot wipe on the thumb! $64.99

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We’ve covered your hands, and now your toe’s. You can only fit so many pairs of socks in your shoes, so how do you keep your feet warm after wearings a great pair of wool socks? Shoe covers, often called “booties”, not to be confused with “booty”, offer a insulated and waterproof home for your feet on cold and wet days. Don’t leave home without your booties! $59.99

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The core of keeping happy on your commute, is keeping your core warm and dry. The best, yes I am confident to say that it is the best, thing you can wear as a base layer is New Zealand Merino wool. Icebreaker is the premier Merino wool producer, manufacturing high quality 100% Merino clothing where there is always wool on your skin. As a natural material wool does not stink with wear, which means that you can wear it to work, hang it to dry and wear it home, and do the same again the following day without having to wash it right away. It also wicks sweat off the skin keeping you cool and dry, and when you need to retain heat holds heat next to your skin. $109.99

Yes, there are other items that would be great to have, to help you get you and your things to-and-from work with comfort, and durability. These are some great items to consider to get you out and commuting and wanting to continue to do so. Good luck on your commute!

-Scott