Author Topic: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat  (Read 2795 times)

Tass

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Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« on: November 08, 2017, 02:10:59 PM »
This is a thread for those of us getting started on biking more often to catalogue our progress and challenge each other, as well as for those of you more experienced with bikes to give us tips if you like!

Why to start biking:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/22/curing-your-clown-like-car-habit/

Consider the gauntlet thrown.



I bought a Trek FX 7.0 2016 in August for $200 off Craigslist. Since then I have made it my goal to go biking 3 times a week - a goal I am mostly failing at, but improving in pursuit of - and to visit the grocery store exclusively by bike. Last weekend I did a practice trip to work for the first time (10 miles round trip including three major hills). I was successful, but I don't quite feel ready to brave the same trip during rush hour, work a full day in the middle, and head home in the dark.

Incidentally, I've also started swimming recently, which is hopefully also contributing to an improved endurance. Getting my tires properly inflated and my seat adjusted to the proper height were also like a magical automatic endurance boosts. And I've started waking up and heading to work earlier in hopes of being able to do both-directions commuting in daylight, despite the time change.

So, my current goals:
  • All grocery trips by bike
  • One longer bike ride (over 5 mi) each weekend
  • Start biking to work once a week
  • Replace my rusty bike chain
What are you working on?

marielle

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 02:29:01 PM »
I'm hoping to build up to biking to work at least one day a week, which 18 miles each way. Possibly driving to work on Friday, biking home, then biking back to work Monday.

I need to start biking nearly daily to the pool hall (I'm also out of practice with pool), which should help build up the endurance. And, of course, to the grocery store. I need to stop making excuses for not biking to the grocery store recently. There are actually two stores within reasonable walking distance, but I've been choosing to DRIVE to Aldi/Lidl instead which is very facepunch-worthy.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 06:58:22 AM by marielle »

haypug16

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 02:34:03 PM »
Hi Tass, thanks for starting this thread. I have been wanting to use my bike instead of my car more and more.

I live about 9 miles from work and have biked a total of 2 times! Ridiculous I know. It's a fairly easy ride with no big hills and took me about 45+ mins the couple times I've done it. This is about twice my driving commute time but I get the added bonus of saving money and exercising.

My short term goal is to bike to work any day it's over 50 degrees. I may lower the temp on this goal but I have to see what this feels like. I really hate the cold. I should have started this goal in the spring, oh well.

Long term goal is to bike 100% of the time (or if it's icy/dangerously cold then to take the bus on those few days) This will allow me to get rid of my car and all the other expenses that go with it, like $1,600 a year car insurance.

It's looking like tomorrow will be 47 so I am going to just go for it. I bike along a bus route so god forbid I get to cold (I think it's probably unlikely) then I can hop on the bus.

ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 09:14:01 PM »
My current goals are to train up for my vacation in Dec.  There will be some big climbs, so I am trying to get in the realm of a 4000-5000 ft day.  My friends are pretty strong, so I am trying to climb my bootie off right now.  Currently at 3300 ft day.  I've been taking personal time off once a week or so to train.  It's hard, cause the weather is getting colder now where I live.

I've commuted to work by bike, all year long, for the last decade.  We moved out of our suburbia home, and rented it out.  We moved to a house that is 2.5 miles from my work.  I have two main commuter bikes.  I have a full fendered Giant Seek1 that is great for rainy days and dry pavement.  I also have a plus sized bike for when the snow flies.  My plus bike is a Specialized Fuse pro.  When the snow is here, I run studs on both bikes.  Sometimes, on dry days I ride my CX bike for fun and playtime.  That one is a Specialized CruX pro race.   It is full carbon and has no rack, but I just wear a backpack on those racy days.

My tips for riding year round are:

Have a bike that can carry a rack.  Getting stuff off your back is nice. Panniers are worth it.  I like Arkels for the ease of how they come on and off.  If you park your bike in a high theft zone, it helps to have things that aren't a pain to take on and off.  Arkels go on with a swift movement I can do it one handed.

Get some good weather gear.  If you can stay warm, it makes the ride easier.  Layer up, and have high vis gear.

Think about getting a set of bar mitts for when it's really cold.  They are amazingly warm. The wind stays off your hands which is really nice. 

Keep your warm gear organized and at the ready.  Nothing is worse than running around trying to find your balaclava, when you are on the way out.

Get a good set of lights.  Nightrider makes a good durable light.  It's usb rechargeable. I use my nightrider for night mountain bike riding too.  I have a 950 for my head and run a 650 on the bars.  Lots of lumens is needed for night mountain biking.  For commuting, a 650 is more than bright enough.  If you are concerned about safety, you can even get reflector tape for your bike.  My seek came equipped with a bunch of that kind of reflective stuff.  It helps to be seen.

As far as grocery shopping, we tend to drive for that.  Most of what we buy is produce and easily bruised items.  Fruit is expensive enough to have it bang around on a bike ride.  Our truck sits so much, that running the fluids is a good thing for us.  We gladly drive to the grocery. The grocery store is about 3 miles away, and we tend to go only once a week so it's a big load of stuff.  No matter how hard I have tried, I can't seem to get nectarines, peaches, pears or softer items home without them getting destroyed.

That's my list of tips.  Some of you may think my gear is expensive and the opposite of money moustache guidelines, but I get pro deals and never pay retail.  Biking is my one vice in spending.  It well makes up for itself in my super fitness.  I use biking as a way to fight my MS.  Stay strong for lifetime health.

ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 09:16:21 PM »
When it gets too snowy, you can consider a ski to work, if your area is conducive for that.  Sometimes, I walk on those really bad days if the snow is not ideal for a ski to work.

Abe

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 09:24:13 PM »
I live a mile from work so am biking nearly every day. Trying to get the wife to bike with me to grocery stores, etc. Have to get the baby acclimated to it, he's not a big fan yet.

marielle

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2017, 06:26:26 AM »
Accidentally rode 12 miles yesterday instead of 8, but it wasn't too bad despite wet roads and light misting. The 18 mile ride to work is starting to seem a little more achievable.

Moonwaves

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 07:04:29 AM »
I haven't cycled for over a year now. Really need to just bring the bloody bike to get new tyres fitted and get back on it. It seems astonishing to me that it has been over a year already. Having moved to a new town, I've been a bit nervous anyway about finding the right routes, having to drive in traffic more frequently, having to contend with masses of other cyclists on relatively narrow cycle paths (student town, there are a LOT of cyclists here). I learned to ride a bike as a kid but have never been a very good cyclist. I should stop letting nerves be an excuse though.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2017, 07:42:33 AM »
Hi everybody! I'm the newbiest cycling newbie imaginable: I just learned to ride a bike in August. I haven't been able to spend as much time biking as I would have liked between then and now, because I've been training for a half marathon and haven't had the bandwidth to deal with two cardio-based sports at once. But I've still made SO much progress from wobbling around a parking lot, to actually accomplishing life tasks with my bike!

I live two miles away from work, so my eventual goal is to bike MWF (I have to drive Tuesday/Thursday, and often walk MF at this point). My most frequent bike errand is hopping back and forth from the library, since the streets are really quiet and it's an easy 5-mile round trip. I've managed to ride to work twice at this point, and am looking forward to spending more time on the bike once my race is over on Saturday. I'm reasonably competent at this point, but I get nervous in traffic and I know I need a LOT more miles before I'm going to start feeling confident. I'm looking forward to incorporating some long weekend rides into my routine, since I live in an area with very cool bike paths.

I've kept my gear pretty low-tech at this point--just bike, lights, helmet, and a lock. I don't want to invest in more than the basics until I know I'll actually use them, but I think my next step will be panniers or a rack. Fortunately I should be pretty good on cold-weather gear, since most of my stuff from running should cross over.

Kmp2

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2017, 09:24:20 AM »
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bikeyface/8718709629/


Yes - after three years I have biked in blizzard on a holiday weekend - and the parking was marvelous!

I have a walk and bike circle around my home - if my errand is within that circle than I really have to justify not biking and driving instead... when I justify driving it gives me a solid reason to work on so that I bike next time. Didn't leave enough time, too much to carry, too cold etc... those are problems I can solve just maybe not that day.

Secondly - I do as many errands as I can within that circle... Kids activities, shopping, groceries, even date nights :)

It's a learning curve and there is much to learn - but once you do it really is no harder than driving. Easier a lot of the time.

The hardest thing for me was getting back on my bike after a negative car/bike incident. Usually a guy in the truck yelling at me for doing exactly what I was supposed to do. I am constantly growing a thicker skin.


GnomeErcy

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2017, 09:32:44 AM »
At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)

DrumAllDay

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2017, 09:35:22 AM »
I want to either buy or build a rack to hold my bike in the garage and learn how to do repairs and adjustments. Rather than paying $80 a year for a tune up, I just want to be able to to it myself. Will probably pursue this goal next spring as the snow will be flying shortly.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2017, 09:39:42 AM »
I want to either buy or build a rack to hold my bike in the garage and learn how to do repairs and adjustments. Rather than paying $80 a year for a tune up, I just want to be able to to it myself. Will probably pursue this goal next spring as the snow will be flying shortly.

The only down side to doing things yourself is that it takes time.  You'll have to diagnose the problem, figure out what part needs to be replaced, order the part, and then figure out how to install it.  It's totally doable, but means that occasionally you'll end up with your bike out of commission for several days.  This is part of the reason I have two bikes (you can use the other one while one is undergoing repairs).

TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2017, 09:42:04 AM »
Hey, come join us over on the monthly cycling log! https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/november-cycling-challenge-2017/

Newbies are always welcome :-)

DrumAllDay

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2017, 09:47:08 AM »
I want to either buy or build a rack to hold my bike in the garage and learn how to do repairs and adjustments. Rather than paying $80 a year for a tune up, I just want to be able to to it myself. Will probably pursue this goal next spring as the snow will be flying shortly.

The only down side to doing things yourself is that it takes time.  You'll have to diagnose the problem, figure out what part needs to be replaced, order the part, and then figure out how to install it.  It's totally doable, but means that occasionally you'll end up with your bike out of commission for several days.  This is part of the reason I have two bikes (you can use the other one while one is undergoing repairs).
Yes thats true but I don't use my bike everyday. 8 miles away from work so I want to bike at least once a week when the weather is warm enough. I do have a backup bike (just a cheap Walmart bike) that I won from a raffle at work so I use that on small errands around town.

ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2017, 10:11:03 AM »
Never get in altercations with vehicle drivers.  No matter what, they will win.  Avoid certain hand gestures, no matter how jerky they are.  We have to try to advocate and not instigate things further. 

When I have an alternation, I wave and smile.  It catches them off guard. A little bit of sugar goes a long way.

At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)

You might like an urban commuter or fitness bike.  Something with 700c wheels for efficiency.  Something with braze-ons for mounting a rack. Avoid Dept store bikes at all costs.  They cost you more in the long run, because they are garbage disposable type bikes.  If you want to save some cash, shop Craig's list or the local paper for a good used machine.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2017, 10:19:08 AM »
Did my 26 mi RT commute a number of times over the summer.  Would like to sneak in a few on one of those warm winter days which seem to be becoming more common.


GnomeErcy

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2017, 10:20:36 AM »
Never get in altercations with vehicle drivers.  No matter what, they will win.  Avoid certain hand gestures, no matter how jerky they are.  We have to try to advocate and not instigate things further. 

When I have an alternation, I wave and smile.  It catches them off guard. A little bit of sugar goes a long way.

At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)

You might like an urban commuter or fitness bike.  Something with 700c wheels for efficiency.  Something with braze-ons for mounting a rack. Avoid Dept store bikes at all costs.  They cost you more in the long run, because they are garbage disposable type bikes.  If you want to save some cash, shop Craig's list or the local paper for a good used machine.

Thanks for the initial guidance. I'm sure I'll have more questions when I finally get around to buying one but this is a great start, I appreciate the help.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2017, 10:27:19 AM »
At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)


Build up your strength with lots of local trips first.  Then get a bike rack.


Drive to work one day, bike back.

Bike to work the next day, drive back.


26 miles is doable and can be quite a nice ride a couple times a week.  52 miles is getting more into bike enthusiast territory and is not for everyone.

ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2017, 10:35:35 AM »
Never get in altercations with vehicle drivers.  No matter what, they will win.  Avoid certain hand gestures, no matter how jerky they are.  We have to try to advocate and not instigate things further. 

When I have an alternation, I wave and smile.  It catches them off guard. A little bit of sugar goes a long way.

At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)

You might like an urban commuter or fitness bike.  Something with 700c wheels for efficiency.  Something with braze-ons for mounting a rack. Avoid Dept store bikes at all costs.  They cost you more in the long run, because they are garbage disposable type bikes.  If you want to save some cash, shop Craig's list or the local paper for a good used machine.

Thanks for the initial guidance. I'm sure I'll have more questions when I finally get around to buying one but this is a great start, I appreciate the help.

I would be happy to tell you honestly about something that you find out there.  You can get a really good bike for just a few hundred bucks.

Another reference point is bicyclebluebook.com  It tends to sway towards being underpriced a little, but it's a good starting point for negotiation.  Be wary for those that think that their "upgrades"  are worth much for re-sale.  Bikes and upgrades do not hold value.  Just because someone says their bike is vintage, doesn't always correlate to value.   Best of luck to you.

GnomeErcy

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2017, 11:05:30 AM »
At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)


Build up your strength with lots of local trips first.  Then get a bike rack.


Drive to work one day, bike back.

Bike to work the next day, drive back.


26 miles is doable and can be quite a nice ride a couple times a week.  52 miles is getting more into bike enthusiast territory and is not for everyone.

We have one car and the wife needs it to get to her job as of right now, so it's likely that it'd be something like - get dropped off at work with my bike, bike home - and then keep that up every day, since she works later than I would anyway.

Biking to my current work would be more like 33 miles because of the route. Don't think I'd consider that TBH :)

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2017, 11:13:41 AM »
Have a bike that can carry a rack.  Getting stuff off your back is nice. Panniers are worth it.

Is that something you can add to any bike or do you need a special frame for it?

Hey, come join us over on the monthly cycling log! https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/november-cycling-challenge-2017/

Newbies are always welcome :-)

That looks awesome, thanks!

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2017, 11:21:33 AM »
I would dare say that ANYONE can ride 26 mi, its just a matter of how long it will take.  Leave early! 

Another thing that's a huge help is bike shorts.  If you aren't comfortable wearing them at least get underwear with a chamois and wear regular shorts over them.  I road my bike thousands of miles but would still be uncomfortable if I rode more than 10 mi without them.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2017, 11:39:50 AM »
I would dare say that ANYONE can ride 26 mi, its just a matter of how long it will take.  Leave early! 

Another thing that's a huge help is bike shorts.  If you aren't comfortable wearing them at least get underwear with a chamois and wear regular shorts over them.  I road my bike thousands of miles but would still be uncomfortable if I rode more than 10 mi without them.

+1000 on the bike shorts.  I really fought for a long time to avoid wearing them.  I mean  . . . c'mon.  Spandex?

Unreal how much more comfortable they make a bike ride.  I was typically sore and chafing after anything much over 10 miles before using bike shorts.  I'll still get a little sore now and again, but typically when doing 100 mile rides.

Bayou Dweller

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2017, 01:56:44 PM »
This post came at a perfect time.

I'm planning my first trip to work via bike tomorrow. Round trip it'll be 11.4 miles, so not too bad. ~32 minutes each way.

I'm stoked! Living in Texas, our winters are a joke, so this is really the best time of the year to commute for us. It'll be challenging to commute on the days when I can't wear jeans, but I don't think it'll be a big deal.

The current goal is to bike to work 2 days a week, and increase it to 4x. Friday I have my son, so I can't (there is a possibility I get a new job that is close to my sitter, and in that case I will bike!).

marielle

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2017, 02:48:54 PM »
I know I could just google for some of these answers, but I figured it could be useful information for others here all in one place instead of looking up every individual question.

What should I do when riding in rain/snow? Do I need to dry the bike ASAP and clean later? Clean and relube the chain each time it gets wet? I'm assuming it also depends on whether the roads get salted or not (mine typically don't where I live).

How often should I clean the chain with regular riding in dry weather? Should I do it based on miles or time? Is it possible to do this indoors? I'm thinking having a bucket underneath for catching dirty water maybe?

ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2017, 06:40:53 PM »
Have a bike that can carry a rack.  Getting stuff off your back is nice. Panniers are worth it.

Is that something you can add to any bike or do you need a special frame for it?

Hey, come join us over on the monthly cycling log! https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/november-cycling-challenge-2017/

Newbies are always welcome :-)

That looks awesome, thanks!

Braze-ons are attachment points where you can easily attach a rack and other things to the bike.  Some bikes don't have them, so it can makes mounting a rack a little more difficult.  Example:  carbon bikes don't really have them.  You'd have to do a seat post mount or similar and it isn't ideal.  The seat post mounted panniers have a small weight limit, so groceries become an issue if you wanted to carry heavy loads.  Googe braze-ons and a plethora of pics will come up.  Bikes that are great commuters are like, the giant Seek, the specialized AWOL, Surly long haul trucker and bikes like that.  A touring bike would be a great commuter bike as well, as a fitness bike or an urban commuter style bike.  There are tons of bikes out there that would be great.  Even an older mountain bike would work, as long as you steer clear of Dept. store stuff.  You'll be miserable and hate a bike like a Mongoose or anything that Walmart sells.  They are tanks, and they ride horribly.   Not to mention the issues that Dept. store bikes have with build.  I have seen bikes from Walmart come in to our shop and they have their forks installed backwards.  Stuff like that is crazy and can be dangerous.  Imagine going down the road and your crankset falls off.  WTF!?

I doubt one would want a carbon bike for commuting anyway.  So maybe my point is moot anyway.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2017, 08:33:37 PM »
Have a bike that can carry a rack.  Getting stuff off your back is nice. Panniers are worth it.

Is that something you can add to any bike or do you need a special frame for it?

Hey, come join us over on the monthly cycling log! https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/november-cycling-challenge-2017/

Newbies are always welcome :-)

That looks awesome, thanks!

Braze-ons are attachment points where you can easily attach a rack and other things to the bike.  Some bikes don't have them, so it can makes mounting a rack a little more difficult.  Example:  carbon bikes don't really have them.  You'd have to do a seat post mount or similar and it isn't ideal.  The seat post mounted panniers have a small weight limit, so groceries become an issue if you wanted to carry heavy loads.  Googe braze-ons and a plethora of pics will come up.  Bikes that are great commuters are like, the giant Seek, the specialized AWOL, Surly long haul trucker and bikes like that.  A touring bike would be a great commuter bike as well, as a fitness bike or an urban commuter style bike.  There are tons of bikes out there that would be great.  Even an older mountain bike would work, as long as you steer clear of Dept. store stuff.  You'll be miserable and hate a bike like a Mongoose or anything that Walmart sells.  They are tanks, and they ride horribly.   Not to mention the issues that Dept. store bikes have with build.  I have seen bikes from Walmart come in to our shop and they have their forks installed backwards.  Stuff like that is crazy and can be dangerous.  Imagine going down the road and your crankset falls off.  WTF!?

I doubt one would want a carbon bike for commuting anyway.  So maybe my point is moot anyway.

Haha, the reason I ask is that I already have a bike and I want to know if I'm doomed to backpacking it forever.

ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2017, 09:02:42 PM »
Almost all bikes can be fitted with a rack.  Seriously.

I did a bike tour with a carbon Bianchi with no rack mounts.  I had to run a clamp on seatpost rack, but the weight limit is low.  If you are just carrying work stuff, it's no big deal. 

If you snap pics of your bike, I can probably tell you how to mount up a rack.  More often than not, there are ways to use a bolt on rack.  You have be able to know what kind of rack to buy as well.  They make tons of them, and they are specific to certain kinds of bikes

fat bike racks
disc/no disc
clamp on style
etc...etc...etc.

Snap some pics for me, and I would be happy to help.

Bayou Dweller

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2017, 06:05:28 AM »
First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.

Askel

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2017, 07:23:30 AM »
I know I could just google for some of these answers, but I figured it could be useful information for others here all in one place instead of looking up every individual question.

What should I do when riding in rain/snow? Do I need to dry the bike ASAP and clean later? Clean and relube the chain each time it gets wet? I'm assuming it also depends on whether the roads get salted or not (mine typically don't where I live).

How often should I clean the chain with regular riding in dry weather? Should I do it based on miles or time? Is it possible to do this indoors? I'm thinking having a bucket underneath for catching dirty water maybe?

No need to dry the bike right away. Bikes are designed to get wet.  I brush off accumulated snow/slush as needed though.  I also avoid letting a wet bike be exposed to freezing temperatures. I don't ride in salt, so have no useful advice there.  Fenders are a worthwhile investment if riding in conditions like these.

I lube my chain when it looks like it needs it. By that, I don't like it to look dry. If any doubt whether it's water or lube, dry with a rag. The interval is largely based on miles and conditions I ride through.

Investing in a chain cleaner makes the process much easier, and possible to do indoors. 

Hope this helps!
"nevertheless, my desire to just be a FUCKING IDIOT all day long is rapidly overtaking my ability to FUNCTION"  -tristan a. farnon, "A Comedy Crisis"

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2017, 07:35:59 AM »
I know I could just google for some of these answers, but I figured it could be useful information for others here all in one place instead of looking up every individual question.

What should I do when riding in rain/snow? Do I need to dry the bike ASAP and clean later? Clean and relube the chain each time it gets wet? I'm assuming it also depends on whether the roads get salted or not (mine typically don't where I live).

How often should I clean the chain with regular riding in dry weather? Should I do it based on miles or time? Is it possible to do this indoors? I'm thinking having a bucket underneath for catching dirty water maybe?

Chain cleaning is tricky because it depends on a bunch of stuff:
- What type of lube do you use (sticky lube will tend to pick up more crap than dry/wax type lubes)?
- What type of weather do you have (someone who rides in lots of rain will have different needs than someone who rides in a desert)?
- How far do you go?

I ride in a temperate climate . . . not too much rain during the summer, constant snow and salt during the winter.  In summer I do the following about once a week (150 - 200km):
- Wipe the chain, cassette, and chainrings clean with a rag
- Apply some light liquid bike lube (prolink pro gold is what I'm currently using)
- Wipe off excess lube from the chain before the next time I go riding
In the winter I do the same, but every 80 km (two short rides or one long one).  I use a heavy, sticky lube in the winter (White Lightning Wet Ride).

In addition to the above, I'll use a chain cleaner with some degreaser or take the chain off completely and soak overnight in degreaser every 2-3 months.  Then you dry it out and relube.



As far as bike cleaning goes:

Again, the conditions will dictate the cleaning necessary.  Riding in snow isn't too terrible for your bike.  Especially cold, clean, fluffly snow.  Riding on slushy, gritty, salty roads is really hard on components though - and that's what roads around here are like from mid November to mid April.  My approach is to fill a large watering can with hot soapy water immediately after I come home from a wet/slushy ride.  I pour some water over the chain, the cassette, and the chainrings, then over the rest of the frame.  Then bounce the bike a couple times to get most of the water off before it freezes.  I'll use a rag to quickly clean off surface much from the cassette and chainrings, and to dry the chain out.  Then I apply lube to the chain, brake pivots, and occasionally the derailleur pivots.  The whole procedure takes maybe 5 - 10 minutes once you know what you're doing.

^ This knocks the worst of the salt off everything and helps prevent corrosion.

BEFORE the winter happens I do some bike related winterproofing:
- Remove brakes and grease pivots with waterproof grease
- Check wheel bearings and re-grease with waterproof grease
- Remove any bolts into the bike frame and then grease with waterproof grease (all those bolts holding on your fenders and rack)
- Add fenders to the bike (keeps a lot of shit off your drivetrain)
- Take headset off and grease it with waterproof grease
- Grease cables with a light lube (prevents water from getting in the cable housings and playing hell with your shifting/braking when it freezes)

AFTER the winter I'll do the following:
- Measure chain for stretch and replace if necessary
- Replace cassette every two or three chains
- Replace cables every year (cable housings every two years)
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 08:52:57 AM by GuitarStv »

fluffmuffin

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2017, 07:41:49 AM »
Just had my best-ever ride to work! Everything went smoothly, from having all of my stuff prepped by the back door, to riding through an intersection that I've walked every other time, to not having any panicky moments when cars were passing. It only took me 15 minutes, which is also a record. Third time's the charm, I guess :)

The test will be getting home. There's a good chance that I'll bail and walk most of it, but I'm going to stay patient with myself and stick to what I feel safe doing.

Dumb question: do I suck at biking, or is it actually harder to get up hills on a bike than it is on foot? I have to go up what I would classify as a "slight incline" both ways. I barely even notice it when I'm running the same route, but on the bike my quads are umm, fully engaged and I'm a little out of breath by the time I'm done. I'm in good cardio shape (e.g., I'll be doing a sub-1:45 half marathon on Saturday unless something really screwy happens) so it's weird to me that this slight incline hurts?

Askel

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2017, 07:46:05 AM »
It gets easier. Cycling uses some different muscles than running. And in time you learn what cadence you operate most efficiently at and are better able to choose gears to make the most of it.
"nevertheless, my desire to just be a FUCKING IDIOT all day long is rapidly overtaking my ability to FUNCTION"  -tristan a. farnon, "A Comedy Crisis"

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2017, 07:55:03 AM »
A couple things regarding climbing hills and cycling:

- If you have a very heavy bike (or are carrying lots of stuff) it becomes exponentially harder to get up hills.  Don't carry stuff you don't need to!
- Most people new to cycling have their saddles set much too low . . . which makes putting power out to the pedals significantly harder.  A quick check to see if your saddle's at the correct position: put your heel on a pedal.  At the furthest position away from you, adjust your saddle so that your leg is completely straight with the heel on the pedal.  This gives pretty close to the ideal bend in your knee when you put the ball of your foot on the pedal and push normally.

- Most people new to cycling pedal far too slowly.  When you pedal slowly and push hard, you end up causing muscle fatigue and don't use your aerobic system as much.  You want high RPMs (80 - 100 at least) when climbing to be efficient.  This will put more load on your heart and less on your legs (although they'll still burn occasionally).  Next time you're climbing, try going to an easier gear than you normally would and simply pedaling faster.

ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2017, 08:09:25 AM »
I don't replace the cassette after every two chains.  If I have been good about my chain replacement, they last much longer than that.  I go through way more chains, before I do things to chainrings and cassettes.  Seems like an enormous waste of cash to replace after only two chains, IMHO.  I go through a chain or two every year.  If you are buying quality componentry it really lasts if you take care of it.  My seek1 is on the same cassette that has been there since 2013.  That bike has been ridden a ton.  I am very good about measuring my chain often. 

My chainrings have gotten ruined due to abuse on my MTB.  Like, bashing them into rocks and such, but normal wear should not require a cassette replacement after only two chains 

Cables and housings last pretty well if you have fully wrapped setups.  I replace them only when some lubrication no longer helps it from being sticky and hard to shift.  My brakes are all disc.  I make sure the pads are replaced before damage to rotors happens.

During Winter my bikes get full tear down, cleaning and rebuild. This keeps them tip top. Sometimes, I have to do some decent maintenance during season too.  Although, there really is no off season for me.  I just use the other ones, while some are in pieces.

Dry wax lube for the dry season, epic ride wet for the wet season.  It all depends on your conditions.  My MTB requires love before every ride. they are high performance machines. My commuter gets beat up, but it runs well without too much fret.  That thing is trusty.  My CX gets a lot of love, but it gets ran in extremely bad conditions a lot, and I try to keep it nice. 

My bikes:
Specialized SWORKS Stumpjumper FSR 2017
Specialized Fuse Pro 2017
Specialized CruX Pro Race 2017
Giant Seek1 Commuter bike 2013
Haro Steel reserve 2015

...and my husband has a similar sized fleet.

I work at a bike shop part time, and we have no kids.  Bikes are our passion.  This being said, our bike habit is like a crack habit.  I need to tone it down, because that is our biggest money sink.

ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2017, 08:18:42 AM »
Just had my best-ever ride to work! Everything went smoothly, from having all of my stuff prepped by the back door, to riding through an intersection that I've walked every other time, to not having any panicky moments when cars were passing. It only took me 15 minutes, which is also a record. Third time's the charm, I guess :)

The test will be getting home. There's a good chance that I'll bail and walk most of it, but I'm going to stay patient with myself and stick to what I feel safe doing.

Dumb question: do I suck at biking, or is it actually harder to get up hills on a bike than it is on foot? I have to go up what I would classify as a "slight incline" both ways. I barely even notice it when I'm running the same route, but on the bike my quads are umm, fully engaged and I'm a little out of breath by the time I'm done. I'm in good cardio shape (e.g., I'll be doing a sub-1:45 half marathon on Saturday unless something really screwy happens) so it's weird to me that this slight incline hurts?

Excellent.  and you don't suck.  Training is sports specific.  I can outpace a pretty fast runner.

Guitar Stv has great advice. 

Wearing bike gear like the padded shorts really does help. I wear my bike gear to work, and change into my stuff at work.  Even tho my ride is short, it helps.  My commute is in very cold weather.  Like, right now it is 20's in the morning, I have to bundle up.  I have a pair of bike pants that have a waterproof and windproof front and I wear shorts underneath. I like a thin wool shirt as my base on most days.  I decide other layers depending on hoe miserable it is.  In the Summer, I just wear my bike shop clothes.  It's a quick ride to my summer job.  I don't work much in the summer anyway.

MSquared

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2017, 08:30:17 AM »
Haha, the reason I ask is that I already have a bike and I want to know if I'm doomed to backpacking it forever.

Tass, didn't you buy a Trek FX?  That will take a rack.

evensjw

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2017, 08:30:49 AM »
First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.

You'll definitely build up some body heat over six miles.  You should expect to be very cold at the start of the ride if you want to be comfortable by the end.  If you can give yourself a bit of cool down time before putting on work clothes, that can help so you don't just immediately sweat into them

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2017, 08:42:05 AM »
First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.

You probably layered too much, though maybe you need gloves? As well as a lock to leave the bike at the bottom of those stairs!

Adjusting the seat height like GuitarStv said made a big difference to me. If it's the first time the bike has been ridden in a while did you also check the tire pressure? The tires should have the ideal pressure printed on them, but if you don't have a pressure gauge they at least shouldn't feel squishy under your fingers. Mine at 80psi have very little give to them.

Congrats on your ride, fluffmuffin!

Yes, MSquared, I did buy a Trek FX. Thanks for the note!

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2017, 08:52:30 AM »
I don't replace the cassette after every two chains.

I actually meant to type every 2-3 chains (and will correct the mistake).  I have been lazy about checking for chain wear in the past and was only getting about 2 chains worth of use out of a cassette on my winter bike, recently have been getting 3.  A new 8 speed cassette can be had for 20$, and a chain is 10$ so I wasn't getting too worked up about it.  Your comment really makes me wonder if I should just change the chain more frequently though.  What level of stretch do you change them at?


First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.

51 F is 10 degrees C right?  I think you were dressed much too warm.  You want to be a bit chilly when you get on the bike so that you're the right temperature ten minutes into your ride.

That's right around the borderline for me to start covering my legs, so if it's windy out I'd wear some light jogging tights over my bike shorts, if it's sunny and not too windy I'd go without.  On top I'd probably wear a very light weight sweater and either a windproof vest or a windbreaker.  At those temperatures I always wear gloves and something to cover my ears too.

Backpacks tend to be sweat factories.  I actually ride with one in the winter to keep warmer.  The backpack sits and blocks the release of heat from your core, which will really heat you up.

IHATESCHOOLDEBT

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2017, 09:17:33 AM »
My wife and I mountain bike pretty regularly, but I'm terrified to ride on the roads around here. We live in the mountains of East Tennessee. The locals here have their vices... some smoke meth, others "roll coal" in big lifted trucks, either way these curvy roads are most of the time treated like a race car track... I get nervous even in a car. I used to ride a DRZ400, but after having children I sold that for fear of them being without a father. I have read the blog post about fear, and have looked at the studies, but I still have fear. Am I being silly?

Bayou Dweller

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2017, 10:01:47 AM »
You probably layered too much, though maybe you need gloves? As well as a lock to leave the bike at the bottom of those stairs!

Adjusting the seat height like GuitarStv said made a big difference to me. If it's the first time the bike has been ridden in a while did you also check the tire pressure? The tires should have the ideal pressure printed on them, but if you don't have a pressure gauge they at least shouldn't feel squishy under your fingers. Mine at 80psi have very little give to them.

First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.

51 F is 10 degrees C right?  I think you were dressed much too warm.  You want to be a bit chilly when you get on the bike so that you're the right temperature ten minutes into your ride.

That's right around the borderline for me to start covering my legs, so if it's windy out I'd wear some light jogging tights over my bike shorts, if it's sunny and not too windy I'd go without.  On top I'd probably wear a very light weight sweater and either a windproof vest or a windbreaker.  At those temperatures I always wear gloves and something to cover my ears too.

Backpacks tend to be sweat factories.  I actually ride with one in the winter to keep warmer.  The backpack sits and blocks the release of heat from your core, which will really heat you up.

Correct, it's 10C. Thanks for the advice, lesson learned, haha. It'll only be cold for 2 months or so here, so my main concern is building up even more sweat once summer comes. I'll check the tires too, thanks for that! I was wearing some ear plug that I use when I go shooting to keep the cold weather out of the insides of my ears. It makes them ache personally. That, a hat, and some sun glasses. Like y'all said, gloves would be ideal I think too.


You'll definitely build up some body heat over six miles.  You should expect to be very cold at the start of the ride if you want to be comfortable by the end.  If you can give yourself a bit of cool down time before putting on work clothes, that can help so you don't just immediately sweat into them

I used the advice from this article: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/06/08/bike-to-work-houston/

I figured it was appropriate since I am also from Houston. Anyways, I waited 5-6 minutes and I felt totally fine. Put my work shirt on, opened the office door, and all was back to normal. :)


ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2017, 10:21:48 AM »
I am not used to this quote feature.  So, I didn't want to quote the entire comment.  This is a reply for GuitarStv:

Replace your chain at 3/4 life.  If you do it at full life, you have already eaten away at your cassette and front chainrings.

One of my bikes is an XX1 eagle drivetrain, so you can imagine that I want to get as much use out of it as possible.  The gold bits are beauties, and I want them to last as long as I can.  BLING!

I do want to say that everyone has different styles of riding, replacement and price range.  I am not an expert.  I just have spent the last 25 years of my life as an avid cyclist. I have made enormous mistakes, learned, and adjusted often.  I used to ride a fat bike in the snow, now I am on a plus, who knows what is next.  Tractor belt e machines?  HAHA

Can we talk about bikes all day long?  I love this.  :)

Askel

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2017, 11:39:59 AM »
My wife and I mountain bike pretty regularly, but I'm terrified to ride on the roads around here. We live in the mountains of East Tennessee. The locals here have their vices... some smoke meth, others "roll coal" in big lifted trucks, either way these curvy roads are most of the time treated like a race car track... I get nervous even in a car. I used to ride a DRZ400, but after having children I sold that for fear of them being without a father. I have read the blog post about fear, and have looked at the studies, but I still have fear. Am I being silly?

Thinking that everybody on the road is some methed out redneck ready to roll coal on you might be a bit silly. However, having a healthy respect for roads with low visibility and fast moving traffic is not.   

I typically avoid such roads, because riding in fast moving traffic is just no fun, but sometimes you have to do it to get where you are going.  I deal with this by:
1. Staying seen. Lights, day-glo reflective vests, festive hawaiian shirts, whatever it takes. 
2. Ride respectfully. Try not to unnecessarily impede traffic. Pull over for a bit if you do.  Use hand signals. 
3. Stay aware. Look around, try and anticipate what people will do. Looking drivers in the eye really helps. 

Sure, there's the occasional nitwit that does something or yells something* out the window, but be happy- that means they saw you.  It's the ones that don't see you that will get you. 

*Best thing ever yelled out a car window at me: "GET A JOB, ASSHOLE!"
"nevertheless, my desire to just be a FUCKING IDIOT all day long is rapidly overtaking my ability to FUNCTION"  -tristan a. farnon, "A Comedy Crisis"

IHATESCHOOLDEBT

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2017, 12:05:56 PM »
My wife and I mountain bike pretty regularly, but I'm terrified to ride on the roads around here. We live in the mountains of East Tennessee. The locals here have their vices... some smoke meth, others "roll coal" in big lifted trucks, either way these curvy roads are most of the time treated like a race car track... I get nervous even in a car. I used to ride a DRZ400, but after having children I sold that for fear of them being without a father. I have read the blog post about fear, and have looked at the studies, but I still have fear. Am I being silly?

Thinking that everybody on the road is some methed out redneck ready to roll coal on you might be a bit silly. However, having a healthy respect for roads with low visibility and fast moving traffic is not.   

I typically avoid such roads, because riding in fast moving traffic is just no fun, but sometimes you have to do it to get where you are going.  I deal with this by:
1. Staying seen. Lights, day-glo reflective vests, festive hawaiian shirts, whatever it takes. 
2. Ride respectfully. Try not to unnecessarily impede traffic. Pull over for a bit if you do.  Use hand signals. 
3. Stay aware. Look around, try and anticipate what people will do. Looking drivers in the eye really helps. 

Sure, there's the occasional nitwit that does something or yells something* out the window, but be happy- that means they saw you.  It's the ones that don't see you that will get you. 

*Best thing ever yelled out a car window at me: "GET A JOB, ASSHOLE!"

Thanks for the input, and the laugh at the end. haha Get a Job!

fluffmuffin

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2017, 01:33:31 PM »
Thanks for the tips on hills, GuitarStv and ACyclist! Looking at the photo, I think I might have my seat too low. I'll take a look at that over the weekend.

ACyclist

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #47 on: November 10, 2017, 01:43:29 PM »
HAHA!  Get a job, asshole.  I love that one.

One person yelled at me "Hippie!" 

:)

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #48 on: November 10, 2017, 06:18:55 PM »
HAHA!  Get a job, asshole.  I love that one.

One person yelled at me "Hippie!" 

:)

LOL!  Pretty sure there are some people that think I ride my bike to work because I can't "afford" the gas.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #49 on: November 13, 2017, 06:27:06 AM »
- Most people new to cycling pedal far too slowly.  When you pedal slowly and push hard, you end up causing muscle fatigue and don't use your aerobic system as much.  You want high RPMs (80 - 100 at least) when climbing to be efficient.  This will put more load on your heart and less on your legs (although they'll still burn occasionally).  Next time you're climbing, try going to an easier gear than you normally would and simply pedaling faster.

My quads say thank you! I didn't end up changing my seat height--maybe I'm doing it wrong, but it just didn't feel comfortable set higher and it's not like I'm out there trying to race anybody--but this morning I went down to a gear that felt silly and focused on turnover. Cruised up the barely-hill and wasn't even out of breath.

How are all of my other fellow newbies doing this week? Did anybody get a great ride in over the weekend?