Beginner: What essential gear to purchase?

Merlin86

New Member
Hello forum,

I want to start commuting into work by bicycle, it will be a 35 mile round trip so probably above average. I looked at a couple of the sticky posts but couldn't find any obvious guides in terms of clothing, therefore my first post.

Been commuting into work by motorcycle past 5 years, so I went through the journey of buying a little scooter then upgrading a few times until arriving to a sport bike and paying £60 for a helmet to £400 as i got more familiar with brands, quality and functionality.

As i embark in this new journey, I'd like to start more informed and buy the right gear from the get go. I have decided on what bicycle to buy based on the road conditions - but I have no clue what clothing brands to aim for, let alone what the list looks like.

So, bearing in mind that the one way trip is 17.5 miles, what should i buy so that i stay as comfortable as possible and could you provide any specific recommendations of retailers to shop from please?

Many thanks
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
It probably depends what bike you bought. I'd just wear good outdoors clothes from the usual town shops, but I'm riding a roadster and it's probably different on a road bike or gravel bike (more leant forwards more of the time, plus probably no chain/mud/coat guards). So: what are you riding?
 

ianrauk

Tattooed Beat Messiah
17.5 miles each way every day (if you are planning on cycle commuting everyday) is a fair old trip.
Is your fitness up to it? 17.5 miles through traffic can easy take over an hour, dependent on the road conditions of course. Traffic, Wind, rain etc.
Have you cycled the route yet? It will work both your body, mind and your bike hard commuting that far every day. Especially in the colder, wetter months.

As for 'Sports Bike' I am guessing you mean a road bike or possibly a hybrid, in that case don't wear every day clothing for a journey that long. Get specific cycling gear. As Biggsy says, comfort and reliability is the key.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Where in the world will you be commuting. Some places are wetter, windier and colder than others for starters

17.5 miles, you’ll likely need to allow at least 90 minutes to ride, lock up, get showered or changed...plus at some point you will get a puncture so make sure you know how to fix (and carry the stuff to do so)
 
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CXRAndy

Guru
Location
Lincs
For the body, several pairs of cycle bibs, good quality. A few pairs of tops and then weather protection, lightweight rain jacket, thicker gabba jacket for colder days. gloves fingerless also full finger for cold days. Cycle shoes with cleats and pedals.

Lights if you work shift or winter commute
Mudguards would be very useful go keep most of the crap off you on poor days

The list goes on
 
I wouldn't splurge and buy everything in one go. Though on a 35 mile round trip, you probably are heading into the realms of wanting proper cycling kit to ride in rather than everyday clothes. It's a comfort thing really. Start with the basics (shorts or tights, a jersey or two, a base layer, helmet, gloves and a lightweight windproof jacket) and add to that as and when you need it.

If you're looking at bang-for-buck, then Decathlon is as good a place to start as any. Their stuff is well regarded by loads of people on here.

Cycling glasses without question. No need to go for anything fancy, the basic £3.99 clear jobbies from Decathlon will do to keep grit and insects out of your eyes.

You'll also want some luggage capacity on the bike to take your gubbins, so rack, panniers, rack bag, that sort of thing. Equally, a backpack would do the same job, but on that length of ride it's not likely to be terribly comfortable.
 
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mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
As for 'Sports Bike' I am guessing you mean a road bike or possibly a hybrid, in that case don't wear every day clothing for a journey that long. Get specific cycling gear. As Biggsy says, comfort and reliability is the key.
I read "sports bike" as the type of motorbike.

As for specific cycling gear, the op would like some suggested brands. I doubt my Dare2b, mountain where house and M&S will be much use!
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Specific brands will depend on the OPs budget (and potentially bodyshape)...and gender (he or she)
 

nickyboy

Norven Mankey
Do what most people do when starting out: just have a look in the wardrobe for comfortable, loose fitting clothes and see how you go on.
If you're ok with that, cool, you're sorted. But maybe consider a few cheap bits and pieces such as cycling shorts (with padding), sunglasses (to keep insects out of the eyes), helmet (big debate about this but I would consider this important).
Key is don't splurge a load of cash. Small steps
 

Phaeton

Guru
Location
Oop North (ish)
0 to 2x 17.5 miles a day is a big jump, especially if you intend to do it 5 days a week, you may have to consider day on day off for a couple of weeks, but that clearly depends on your level of fitness.
 

midlife

Guru
Can you start by driving half way there, parking up and cycling in and out from that point. Zero to 35 miles a day seems a big jump.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Über Member
Location
London
Can you start by driving half way there, parking up and cycling in and out from that point. Zero to 35 miles a day seems a big jump.
Its an unrealistic distance for all but the most dedicated and fittest rider. I wouldn't do it, even if I was fit enough - because I know I would very soon get extremely fed up with being forced to spend at least three hours a day engaged in physically demanding activity just to get to and from work. Never mind the effect of work itself.
On a calm, fine day, with no wind, no hills, no darkness, no rain, and no need to carry stuff it might be tolerable for alternate days but personally I think you are delusional and setting yourself up to fail. Finding somewhere to park up five or six miles short of your workplace and riding the last third of the journey I see as realistic and sustainable, but 35 miles a day plus doing a day's work on top, in all weathers?? I'd wager a large sum of money you will jack it in within weeks.
 

nickyboy

Norven Mankey
Maybe it would help if the OP could let us know what the commute is like (basically if it's flat or not) and what sort of job he/she has

If it's a flat 17 miles and he/she has a sedentary job then I think it's doable (with probably a few days off here and there). Lumpy commute and then on your feet all day....nah, too hard for all but a really battle-hardened rider.
 
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