Help for commuting

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Posts: 8
Joined: 9 Oct 2019, 2:54pm

Help for commuting

Postby Jammyjames » 9 Oct 2019, 6:46pm

Hi all,

I have just landed myself a new job that is only 4 miles from my home which I'll be starting in Dec 19/Jan 20 which now means I will no longer be commuting the 25 miles by motorway that I'm currently doing to work.

With that I'm going to start cycling all year round, now I'm no stranger to two wheeled transportation, cycling to college back in the day (admittedly that was about 8-10 years ago.... but who's counting haha :lol: ) and currently commuting mostly by motorcycle I understand the importance of preperation, maintenance and appropriate attire. However when I used to cycle to college, I never used any proper cycling equipment/attire, just a t-shirt, hoodie and jeans.

This leads to my question:
Can anybody make recommendations of what equipment I'd be best to look into getting to start commuting?
I don't want half a dozen different outfits, but I know i'll need a different get-up for summer and winter but will I be able to start to shed/apply layers from my winter outfit through spring/autumn or will I need something specifically for the in between seasons? Price isn't too much of an issue since ill be using it daily, but I don't want to spend silly money. Are there any features/styles anyone would recommend looking for in each piece of clothing or anything i've missed, or is my list overkill?

At the moment my list consists of:
-helmet cap/hat (ideally gortex)
-neck warmer
-Jacket (waterproof, reflective, hood, ideally gortex, breathable?)
-gloves (long cuff, waterproof, windproof, breathable, reflective, palm protection)
-Pants (padded, waterproof, breathable)
-Socks (waterproof)
-Shoes (lacelock, lightweight)
-overshoes (no hole in the bottom)

-Glove mitt (Palm protection, breathable)
-Shorts (breathable, padded)
-Shirt (Breathable)
-Shoes (same as winter)

-Panniers & rack
-Mud Guards
-Bike Lock
-Puncture repair kit
-bar end mirror

The bike I've got is a mountain bike (just because I dont like the look of road bikes) with a front and rear light and a padded seat and water bottle mount.


User avatar
Posts: 14111
Joined: 9 Mar 2007, 12:09pm
Location: Kent, lorry park of England

Re: Help for commuting

Postby gaz » 9 Oct 2019, 7:37pm

Welcome to the forum.

If your intention is to ride the four miles each way, without extending further, then I'd say wear whatever's comfortable. At a gentle pace on a flattish commute that could even be your normal work clothes. Jackets, hats, and gloves are the most easily varied with temperature and/or rain.

If your commute is hilly it'll be a little less straightforward.

Your kit-list for the bike seems quite good. Add a plastic bag to cover the saddle if you don't have sheltered parking, some form of multi-tool for minor adjustments/repairs.

If you are planning to ride when it is icy then winter compound/studded tyres are worth consideration.
He's got Bette Davis knees.

Posts: 8
Joined: 9 Oct 2019, 2:54pm

Re: Help for commuting

Postby Jammyjames » 9 Oct 2019, 7:52pm

Hi Gaz,

Cheers for the quick reply. The route apparently only has a slow progressive 46ft incline according to google maps so it is very flat, however im not in, shall we say, peak physical fitness so I imagine for a little while ill get quite warm until I start to build up a decent level of fitness so I think at first I'd change at work and shower too just to be on the safe side unless I find it quite easy, quite quickly so I'd maybe stick on a t-shirt and some kind of pants and look at adding layers as it gets much colder and get a waterproof jacket and pants and cap for when it rains?

Regarding the winter compound / studded tyres ill take a look into that as at first i was thinking of just dropping a few extra PSI and going a little slower but that would be another helpful idea cheers :D

Posts: 2475
Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: Help for commuting

Postby whoof » 9 Oct 2019, 10:28pm

For my current commute 25 miles round trip I wear cycling clothes.
Arm and leg warmers are good as summer shorts and base/Jersey can be extended to Sping/Autumn. Gillets are also good for layering.
For a 4 miles ride I'd go slowly and ride in the same clothes that I would wear at work. I wouldn't walk 20 minutes and then change clothes.

WRT tyres if you are riding on roads I would lose the knobbly tyres and get something like Marathon road tyres. If it does get icy dropping your tyre pressure and going slowly it's unlikely to stop you falling off.

Posts: 3344
Joined: 18 Aug 2015, 7:05pm

Re: Help for commuting

Postby roubaixtuesday » 9 Oct 2019, 10:38pm

Four miles is 25 minutes absolute tops even on a mtb, probably less.

Mudguards and quality lights are your only essentials I think. Somewhere to dry wet things out at work next priority if possible.

Beyond that, take it a day at a time, buy new things as you find necessary.

A knobbly tyre mtb will be ok right through winter, unless you have hills, in which case I'd walk if icy, otherwise just low pressure. Metal studs are proper hard core and make the bike sound like a battle tank!

Posts: 295
Joined: 14 Oct 2016, 5:27pm

Re: Help for commuting

Postby Barks » 9 Oct 2019, 10:43pm

A 4 mile commute, just do it in your normal clothes on a basic hybrid or MTB. No need for expensive or specialty kit. Some cheap waterproofs for when it is really chucking down might be worth it but to be honest is doesn’t really rain very hard very often. Don’t over complicate this, you will only be on your bike for 20 minutes. The trick is not to try to go too fast and get hot and sweaty, take it easy, enjoy the ride and walk straight to your work space and get on with your day.

User avatar
Posts: 2529
Joined: 1 Jun 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Help for commuting

Postby TrevA » 9 Oct 2019, 10:47pm

It all depends on how hot and sweaty you get. I used to commute 5 miles to work but would work up a healthy sweat, so I wore cycling clothes and got changed when I got there. Yes, I could have ridden slower (much slower!), but that would have taken an extra 10 minutes and I can get changed in less time than that. I don’t think you need a Goretex jacket, any reasonable waterproof will do as you’ll only be wearing it for 25 minutes. A waterproof top will make you sweat (even a Goretex one), so only wear it when it’s actually raining. A wind proof top is better for everyday in winter, and just shorts and a short sleeve top in summer.

I used to buy my commute cycling clothes from Decathlon and Aldi. You don’t need expensive kit. Gloves from Aldi will do the job.
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.

Pete Owens
Posts: 1898
Joined: 7 Jul 2008, 12:52am

Re: Help for commuting

Postby Pete Owens » 10 Oct 2019, 12:07pm

My commute is about that length and I would echo Barks' comments. I just ride in my normal work cloths and stuff my trousers in my socks. I keep a change of clothes at work - just in case I get caught out in the rain.

I do wear cycling gloves - of different thicknesses depending on how cold it is. I also wear a beanie in cold weather.
If it is raining when I set off I have a hoodless waterproof cycling jacket, overtrousers and overshoes, but as I work flexi-time I can often just delay my departure until it stops raining.

In terms of the bike kit:
It would be worth fitting road tyres and pumping them up hard - if your front suspension forks can be locked that will also make your ride easier.
I have 2 sets of lights in case the batteries fail - and have both rear lights switched on as I won't notice if one fails.
Mud guards are a must - as is a pannier if you are regularly carrying stuff with you. It is worth getting a good quality waterproof job.
I carry a spare inner tube rather than attempt to mend punctures by the side of the road - and if you fit good quality kevlar tyres you will get fewer punctures. The only tools I carry are a set of allen keys and a chain link remover.

Posts: 8078
Joined: 31 Jan 2007, 6:46pm
Location: Horwich Which is Lancs :-)

Re: Help for commuting

Postby eileithyia » 11 Oct 2019, 7:11am

Perhaps start with normal clothes and adjust / add to as you progress.
Certainly shorts and arm/leg warmers for summer / intermediate days.... but that's a while off now.
Layering is often the best way to go.
Have change of shoes / socks and trousers at work and as you add more cycle specific clothing to your commute clothes then maybe top layers as well.
Do you have lockers / changing facilities?
Do you have a shower?
Can you leave stuff; toiletries, towel, change of clothes?
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells