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Accessories recommendations for a new commuter?
#1
Even though I'm WFH for now, I plan to start commuting by bike for the first time when we eventually return to the office. I'd also like to get extra mileage with some recreational riding on weekends and while occasionally running errands. Hoping to get some recommendations for a new-to-me Bianchi Milano I bought on Craigslist. What are your preferences, and what do you like to keep on you when you commute?

I'm completely new to all of this, but I tried to think of what I will eventually need. I'd greatly appreciate your opinions on the following list:
What have I missed? Might there be some issues with compatibility? What are some better alternatives that aren't super expensive? I don't mind investing more now if it will really be worth it down the line. Did I cheap out on some items too much? Are some of them a waste of money?

I promise I'm not an Amazon, Costco, or REI shill. With so many different items, it was just easier to find most of them in a couple of places, but I'm not restricted/loyal to any particular vendor/site if you have recommendations elsewhere.

Thanks for taking the time to read what has become a pretty long post, and thanks in advance for your suggestions!
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#2
(03-30-2020, 09:56 AM)8jk8 Wrote:  Even though I'm WFH for now, I plan to start commuting by bike for the first time when we eventually return to the office. I'd also like to get extra mileage with some recreational riding on weekends and while occasionally running errands. Hoping to get some recommendations for a new-to-me Bianchi Milano I bought on Craigslist. What are your preferences, and what do you like to keep on you when you commute?

I'm completely new to all of this, but I tried to think of what I will eventually need. I'd greatly appreciate your opinions on the following list:

What have I missed? Might there be some issues with compatibility? What are some better alternatives that aren't super expensive? I don't mind investing more now if it will really be worth it down the line. Did I cheap out on some items too much? Are some of them a waste of money?

Thanks for taking the time to read what has become a pretty long post, and thanks in advance for your suggestions!
It looks like you've got it all figured out. What's left to want?

Why two bells?

A rechargeable two-light set for only $8.99? That sounds almost useless. On a dark night, you're not going to be able to see where you're going, especially if the road is wet. And you'd want drivers to see you. I'd save your money on that and spring for a good light A decent front light should run you around $60. Then a rear light that takes batteries would be around $17. I have one on each of my bikes, and they have steady or flashing modes, and they are very bright LEDS. My front light cost me $80 a few years ago but prices have gone down. It's a brilliant light with four levels but I run on the lowest light level. The battery charge lasts longer that way. Lights are not a good thing to skimp on, and I feel sure you'd soon regret them.

Personally, I would have avoided a left hand drive bike. There is only one company who makes left hand freewheels, so you might want to have a spare one in case something happens, and it leaves you without a bike for a while. Also, if the wheel got damaged, you'd have to get one with a left hand thread, or have a bike shop reuse your hub with a new rim and spokes. But you bought it and you can make it work well.

Before you start commuting with it, I would suggest a full service such as cleaning and re-greasing all bearings. If you're good with mechanical work, you could do that in a half day. If not, a bike shop can do it for you. You don't want to find out the things that might let you down on the way to work or home.

Oh, one more thing if you'll be commuting. Get a fluorescent yellow safety jacket with reflective stripes. Being seen goes a long way to staying safe.
If I knew how to ride a bike properly, I'd do it every time.
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#3
Thanks for your thorough reply! I tried to make sure I covered my bases, but I don't know what brands or types of products are preferable/necessary.

Two bells because my wife recently got a bike as well (Diamondback Wildwood).

That's a good point on the lights. Do you have specific recommendations? The cheap ones I found are 80 lumens. Is there like a minimum brightness that you'd say I need to make sure I get?

Regarding the left hand drive bike - I don't even know what that really means. Could you help me understand what the differences are and why it might be inconvenient? What is the one company that makes left hand freewheels? What's a freewheel? Excuse my ignorance, but like I said, I'm a complete newbie.

I do plan on having a shop check it over and potentially doing a tune-up if necessary before we start using the bikes.

A bright safety jacket does sound like a good idea.

I really appreciate you taking the time to share what you know. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask your opinions specifically on the locks (Would the Kryptonite standard model be sufficient? Is it a good price? How does the cheaper Via Velo compare? Should I go with something else altogether?) and the Ibera rack/bag/panniers (similar questions). Thanks again!
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#4
(04-01-2020, 09:19 PM)8jk8 Wrote:  That's a good point on the lights. Do you have specific recommendations? The cheap ones I found are 80 lumens. Is there like a minimum brightness that you'd say I need to make sure I get?

I have no recommendations. Your best bet is to do an Internet search for bike lights. There are many from which to choose. I have a Serfas light I bought three years ago and it's great. It has four brightness modes. I just checked Amazon for Serfas brand lights. They range from cheap to $129. One that I would choose if I were buying one, would by the $79 light. I think if you go with a mid-range price, you'll be fine. I have an LED bike light which takes batteries in my bike parts box. It's okay if the purpose is to be seen by drivers, but for lighting a dark road, not very good. Here's a link to the Serfas page. Bear in mind that Serfas isn't the only maker of bike lights.
https://www.amazon.com/serfas-bike-lights/s?k=serfas+bike+lights

Quote:Regarding the left hand drive bike - I don't even know what that really means. Could you help me understand what the differences are and why it might be inconvenient? What is the one company that makes left hand freewheels? What's a freewheel? Excuse my ignorance, but like I said, I'm a complete newbie.

A freewheel is the gear on your back wheel. It can be a single cog or multiple cogs. You have multiple cogs in the photo you showed.

I am in complete error about your bike being left hand drive. It looks that way in the photo, but I downloaded it and zoomed in on it, and I see that it's right hand drive. That is good! Sorry about that! I gotta get new glasses. I should also have noticed that the chainwheel isn't on the left side. I can't believe I goofed up so badly!

Quote:I do plan on having a shop check it over and potentially doing a tune-up if necessary before we start using the bikes.

A wise decision!

Quote:I really appreciate you taking the time to share what you know. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask your opinions specifically on the locks (Would the Kryptonite standard model be sufficient? Is it a good price? How does the cheaper Via Velo compare? Should I go with something else altogether?) and the Ibera rack/bag/panniers (similar questions). Thanks again!

So many locks to choose from! There is no perfect lock that can't be broken by a thief; you can only make the bike as secure as you can. Cables can be cut in seconds. Some thieves carry portable battery-powered grinders which will cut a lock or cable in seconds. If you intend to keep the bike locked up in a place that's accessible to the public, you'll likely find it gone, one day. Locks are good if you're stopping just to get lunch. Chain it to a post, through the wheel and frame, and sit where you can keep an eye on the bike.

I ride around our county on a fat bike, and I use a 'U' lock and cable when I stop for refreshment. The 'U' lock fits snugly around the rim and tire, so it can't be ridden away. A cable attaches to the 'U' lock to secure the bike to a post. It would still be possible for a thief to cut the cable and hoist the bike into a pickup truck, but at least they can't ride it away. And I'd be watching it, anyway. Most thieves are walk-up, ride-away.

I know nothing about panniers/saddle bags on bikes. I had them on a motorcycle. If you buy saddle bags for your bike, you'd need a luggage rack with the side bars to prevent the bag from going into the wheel.
If I knew how to ride a bike properly, I'd do it every time.
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