Author Topic: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat  (Read 8537 times)

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #100 on: January 03, 2018, 09:31:01 PM »
My 2018 goal is to get to a point of regularly doing half of my travel miles by bike. Two days of work commute plus all grocery, library, beach, etc trips each week should achieve that. At this point I CAN bike to work - on a day off. Still feeling a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of working an entire day in the middle.

The days getting longer again will help.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #101 on: January 08, 2018, 06:44:30 AM »
Got to experience my first car-induced crash this morning, hooray. I've been doing three days of bike-commuting and miscellaneous errands for a couple of months now, and I've found drivers to be polite, careful, and courteous. Except for this asshole.

I live in a city that got hammered with bomb cyclone snow. The roads are generally clear at this point, so I figured I'd be okay to ride to work this morning. I was going through an intersection as the light turned yellow, riding in the travel lane because I could see that the bike lane wasn't clear. The light turns red as I'm clearing the intersection. Then this asshole comes FLYING up behind me running the red light, and I have to take a nice dive into a five-inch ice bank. I whacked my knee pretty good, but am otherwise okay. Other cars waiting at the now-red light rolled down their windows and told me that the dude was a jerk and they couldn't believe he was driving like that, so at least I got some solidarity.

I'd like to think that being smack in the middle of the car lane, instead of towards the right side, would have helped...but honestly I don't know that it would have, because this dude was driving really effing fast and clearly had no interest in respecting anyone else on the road.

katscratch

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #102 on: January 08, 2018, 09:26:41 AM »
This is my second year riding. I've noticed while riding, driving or walking that there are always drivers that do things like that in bad weather. People that can't be bothered to change how they drive regardless of the road conditions. It's one of the reasons I prefer biking or taking transit in the winter, actually, because there are so many irresponsible drivers out on the busier roads.

I use a backpack in the winter for warmth. I get sweaty no matter what - I could be wearing a t-shirt and I'd still sweat, so I like the heat holding help of a pack when it's cold out.

I'm still figuring out how to layer properly. I borrowed my son's mountain bike for winter commuting last year and the bar mitts were pure heaven. Keeping wind off my hands made such a huge difference. This year I'm riding my steel drop handlebar bike and have been layering thin gloves under ski gloves. They've been ok but my hands do feel cold getting back on the bike after it's been locked outside (I keep it inside at home).

I use the chemical warmers in my boots because my toes are chronically cold in winter. I've learned that if I can keep my arms warm I mentally feel warmer overall so I always wear wool arm warmers that I bought cheap off amazon. Ski goggles if it's below 25F or so, and a face mask around that temp. If it's warmer than that I prefer just a buff or scarf.

Basically it's a lot of fussing and trying different things until I figure out what works best in different conditions and for different rides (commuting vs. a social ride etc).

My favorite thing about riding in the winter is that last week at -11F I was toasty warm on my bike, whereas I would have been freezing in my car that would have never warmed up in time to be comfortable.

There are quite a few bike shops here that have winter maintenance specials - priced very reasonably, most are less than the cost of a tank of gasoline. I love that option for people who ride consistently but don't have the space at home or the knowledge yet to do a lot of the routine work. You pay a membership and then can take your bike in as often as you want. My friends that use it take their bikes in weekly from December through April.
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Kmp2

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #103 on: January 08, 2018, 10:28:44 AM »
@fluffmuffin, I hope you've stopped shaking! It sounds like good defensive biking on your part, and the snow probably cushioned your fall. I've only had one such near miss where I had to brake so hard I almost went over the handlebars. It took most of the day to calm down, and at least a week or two before I could relax on my commute again. I was told it is kind of like falling off a horse, the sooner your able to get back up the better - easier said than done.

After 3 winters I have pretty much dialed down how to stay warm. For the most part, I like to bike in my regular work clothes and strive to go at a pace that keeps me warm without working up a sweat. If I'm out on more of a faster longer commute with the goal to change and shower at work, then I always carry a back up down vest/jacket in case I have a flat and have to walk or bus anywhere. Being sweaty and underdressed is a dangerous combo in the winter.

I found having a thermometer outside my door (instead of relying on the weather report), and a journal to record what I wore.. sometimes road conditions (you work a lot harder in the slush!), really helped me figure out just how to dress.

I definitely over dress my feet and hands, and underdress my core. However if my hands and feet are still getting cold then I add a layer to my legs/arms (long underwear or leg warmers, or arm warmers).

katscratch

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #104 on: January 08, 2018, 11:28:58 AM »
Oh @fluffmuffin I totally missed your story! That is a bummer :(

I'm glad you're mostly okay and it sounds as though you reacted quickly!

I haven't ridden much on rural roads with any traffic, but in the city I usually have a sense of the vehicles that are going to just plow ahead regardless of where in the lane I am.

@Kmp2 I definitely need to keep a journal of my clothing this year! I feel like I'm learning all over again this year.

I just got a recommendation last week to use Weather Underground to check weather rather than the usual reports. It is extremely accurate in our cities, anyway - reports real temps from a bunch of neighborhood locations instead of just the airport, for example, so it's much better for knowing what the temp is like on my exact route.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 11:31:07 AM by katscratch »
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fluffmuffin

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #105 on: January 09, 2018, 08:10:52 AM »
Thanks @katscratch and @Kmp2. I've got a couple of nice big bruises today, but am still okay! I actually grew up riding horses, so while it was stressful and upsetting, I don't think it's rattled me that much overall. I didn't have a problem getting back on to (very cautiously) complete my ride to work. I've gotten back on after way, way worse falls from horses. Back to the bike tomorrow!

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #106 on: January 12, 2018, 06:03:21 PM »
Took me an hour today to change my bike chain - I paid special attention to the derailleurs and then failed to thread the chain through the front gearshift correctly. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I didn't have to shorten my new chain at all, measuring it against the chain that came on the bike... and only after I was riding around testing it out did I realize that probably just means the last owner didn't know how to measure the chain length correctly.

Hopefully this means when I put the chain on for a third time (after I watch a youtube video on how to do it right) I'll discover I'm better at biking than I thought?

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #107 on: January 12, 2018, 06:35:29 PM »
Running a slightly too long chain doesn't really hurt anything.  It will just be a tad noisier and a few grams heavier.  Make sure you don't shorten it too much though - you can wreck your rear derailleur.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #108 on: January 12, 2018, 06:42:06 PM »
Running a slightly too long chain doesn't really hurt anything.  It will just be a tad noisier and a few grams heavier.  Make sure you don't shorten it too much though - you can wreck your rear derailleur.

Hmm, in that case maybe I won't bother to shorten it. My fingers are still sore from pinching that quicklink.

dogboyslim

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #109 on: January 26, 2018, 03:15:20 PM »
All I have to say is Chamois Butt'r:

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #110 on: January 26, 2018, 03:21:10 PM »
It's not as fun a name as

dogboyslim

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #111 on: January 26, 2018, 03:30:02 PM »
Anything is fine, but day after day in the saddle, especially if things don't fully dry between rides can lead to a need for a cream of some sort to stave off major skin disasters.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #112 on: February 02, 2018, 05:00:36 PM »
I go to the nearby university (2 miles down the road) 2-4 times a week, and I'm considering leaving my bike at work to cut down on driving that distance. In order to be worthwhile, though, I also need my bike at home to be able to bike to the library on weekends, so I'd be leaving my car at work on weekends. Perfectly safe, but I'm worried about the lack of flexibility this complicated arrangement might entail.

Cons:
- requires night biking
- biking to grocery from work involves busier roads
- complicated and inflexible
- have to figure out how to bike with a viola strapped to me
- only saves 7 miles of driving a week over what I do now

Pros:
- the university is safe to bike and probably flatter than home
- forces me to bike to work once a week (but to/from are split on different days, and I can do the hard part on a weekend)
- I have roommates with cars who work in the same place as me, should an emergency arise
- adds 20 miles of biking a week to my current average (12 miles)

Not sure if it's worth it. I might give it a trial week when I have a slow period.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #113 on: February 02, 2018, 05:25:08 PM »
No harm in giving it a try.  You don't have to commit 100% either, you could just do every other weekend.

A viola is small enough that you can fit 'em in a hard case in a big backpack, which is the route I'd take.  Stuff bounces around more in panniers/baskets than on your back because your knees and arms work as shock absorbers the whole time you're cycling.

Cycling at night is no biggie.  Get some very bright lights and some reflective stuff and you should be fine.

The key benefit to this is not money saved (although there should be a bit in that category), it's in added daily exercise.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #114 on: February 03, 2018, 11:40:52 PM »
Found my bike with my first flat when I tried to take it to the grocery today. :/ Guess that's another useful skill to learn sooner rather than later.

Thus far I've mostly thrown small but necessary expenses into the bike without concern - helmet, lock, new chain + tool, new light. Now probably a new tube, maybe better reflective gear, a new strap so I can transport my viola... it's probably approaching $100 now, on top of the $200 for the bike itself. I suppose if I save even $3 in gas every month that's still a 12% annual return, I'm just wondering how far I need to follow this pattern.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #115 on: February 04, 2018, 06:09:37 AM »
Posting to following.

I bike 95% of the time to work, but it's less than a mile through neighborhood streets. Nothing compared to what some of you guys do. But, it's still Michigan so snowstorms aren't rare on my commute.

However, I am still an extreme bike novice so I need to be on here to learn from the masters.

katscratch

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #116 on: February 04, 2018, 08:02:37 AM »
@Tass I found the first 12-18 months I was biking I had similar expenses pop up regularly. This year I haven't spent a thing yet because I have all the basics sorted out for year-round cycling.
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sixup

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #117 on: February 04, 2018, 08:15:23 AM »
Been riding my ebike to work and back (20 mile round trip) all winter in NJ, except for a few days when the snow was ridiculous and I had yet to get my studded tire.

I finally did get one, just for the front, and it's been a huge help. Had one day where it snowed pretty hard and a few icy road/trail days, but the front tire gave me pretty good traction overall.

With that said, I had my first little tumble last week. Made it all the way to my work parking lot in the morning and totally wasn't thinking. Turned into it and as soon as my back tire crossed the threshold from street to parking lot it just shot out from under me. Not a big deal at all, was going maybe 5-8 mph at most. With all the layers I had on, didn't even get a scrape. Little knee bruise. Luckily I think only one person was around to see it lol. I think I managed to go down pretty gracefully though :)

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #118 on: February 04, 2018, 10:31:33 AM »
I should preface this by saying that I've worked in the bike industry since I have been an adult working person, and so you generally are harassed for driving your car to work, ha! But, I commuted through 5 winters in Colorado, 5-15 miles each way ( depending on the job) and I really enjoyed it, and learned a lot!
Key things for me:
 1.  Get a mountain bike for commuting. Now, I own about 3 of these (for racing, riding, etc) but I think a mountain bike makes the most sense for year round commuting if you only want to own 1 bike. Preferably a hardtail of the metal variety (steel, aluminum, titanium), could be rigid, or have front suspension. Sure, wider tires are a bit slower on dry pavement, but riding through slush and ice and snow feels so much safer with knobby trail tires. I never found the need for studs, just ran lower pressure depending on the surface. Mountain bikes usually come with disc brakes (better stopping in all weather), low gears (for your steep hills), and honestly are just more stable for any abrupt moves you might have to make in traffic. Knobby tires also allow you to "bail"  aka hit the dirt when you feel like a car is being unsafe. I also feel like I take up more space in the road when I'm on the mountain bike, which makes me feel more visible. You can put racks, fenders, whatever floats your boat on a mountain bike with plenty of room.

2. Bar mitts, Bar mitts, Bar mitts. This cannot be emphasized enough. Just buy them! They are not that expensive, and make a HUGE difference. I went two winters freezing my fingers off in my -5 degree rated ski gloves...nothing takes the chill out of a 2 mile downhill start when it is -10 outside! The bar mitts enable you to wear lighter gloves, which means you have more braking, and shifting function with your fingers. Which means you will be safer.

3. Winter Shoes. This is a big one, and also a more expensive one. I also was stubborn on the uptake with winter shoes, and regret it because some of my toes have never been the same after 2 winters of sub zero commuting in my summer riding shoes. Lake makes in my opinion the best winter shoes out there, but you can't go wrong with 45 North either. If you're on flat pedals, any winter snow boot will function just fine as well, as long as it is WATERPROOF and insulated. I commuted on clipless pedals, so went with a more cycling specific setup in the Lake MX303 shoes...which I purchased new 4 years ago, and they still look perfect.

4. Lights. Not just any lights either, you need bright, day time running lights that are specifically for extreme visibility. I wouldn't ride or commute without a Bontrager Flare R light. My interaction with cars since using this light has been remarkably different. It has an irregular beam pattern which grabs drivers attention, and it is bright enough to be seen a mile away. The front light they make to pair with this light is also excellent, and they both make perfect night time lights for the way home. They are also USB rechargeable, so no pesky batteries to worry about! Don't skimp and buy cheap Blinky lights, it's your life! It's worth it!

5. Fenders. Doesn't matter how cheap they are, most fenders work great. Just get them...nothing worse than a cold, wet butt after a 12 mile ride into work.

6. Cycling clothes. Personally, I never rode to work in the clothing I was wearing all day. You get sweaty, and/or wet from snow/rain, etc...it's just not worth it. Just a pair of basic black cycling shorts works, and in the winter I wear waterproof baggy pants over, and then a basic base layer, fleece mid layer, and waterproof jacket over (if it's snowing/raining). In the summer I'm all about the tank tops( some sort of wicking running top)  and riding shorts! The less clothing the better, it gets warm when you're toting your lunch and clothes and shoes!

7. Bag. Make sure it's waterproof, and has enough room for all your crap. If you've got a rack system, awesome! Ortlieb makes great roll top, waterproof panniers. I've found if I'm carrying things on my back, a traditional backpack works best, and messenger bags end up being really uncomfortable after about 2-3 miles. Better to distribute the weight evenly, than killing that one shoulder with all the weight.

I could probably list so many things, but TLDR right? The biggest thing I picked up from commuting so much was always have gear for the worst conditions...I recommended a waterproof bag...not because it rains every day, but why would you have something that would't protect you if it did? We always say here in CO, there's no bad weather, just bad gear. If you're prepared for anything, you'll have way less excuses, and find yourself enjoying the commuting process a ton! I can remember so many mornings being the only bike on the road, because it snowed 6 inches overnight, and it was zero out...it always felt so special, like I had this privilege of first tracks in the snow, with no one else around! Commuting by bike became my mental health time, to process my day after work, or prepare myself for work in the morning. It's the best!

I should also mention that I am a lucky duck now and live less than a mile from work! I feel like I've earned it after 5 winters of living pretty far, haha! It's still cold and snowy, but now I can walk if I feel like it and not worry about all the gear, which is a nice treat.

katscratch

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #119 on: February 04, 2018, 11:32:52 AM »
I've had these thoughts a few times while reading this thread and haven't quite figured out how to articulate them in a gentle way. My own disclaimer - I'm comfortable enough biking year-round and part of my local cycling community enough now to take advice and use the parts that work for me, but I've only been riding for 18 months after about 10 years off a bike entirely and only riding a beach cruiser before that.

I worry sometimes in these discussions about the disconnect of someone who has cycled for a long time between offering super helpful advice and gear tips versus just encouraging people to get out there, trying it out for themselves and improving along the way. The many people I see commuting to work at all hours on crappy Walmart bikes, in jeans and normal shoes, aren't reading lists online of what they need. They may not have other options for transport and having been carless not by choice myself in the past I know some people are probably miserable during their commute, but they show it's possible to start out with just a bike.

Cycling in many regions tends to already have a lot of barriers to finding a decent bike (for what people want to use it for) with proper fit without judgment. Your posts (and others upthread that are also super informative and equally well-intentioned) are not judgmental at all but it's a very different perspective than someone who is totally new to cycling.

I definitely mean no disrespect - I've found some of the things on these lists make winter commuting especially fun rather than just bearable - but I wouldn't want anyone lurking and reading a thread specifically asking for newbie support to be discouraged from just trying it out because they don't have something specific that a seasoned cyclist has.

My thoughts really aren't even directed at any one advice post in particular - it's more a nagging thought about cycling in general. I've been at city committee meetings asking how to get more folks bike commuting. The biggest conversion rates have come from people who started out doing monthly low speed social rides with a local non profit that is incredibly welcoming to newbies, so it's a subject that I've spent a lot of time thinking and talking about in the last year or so.
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Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #120 on: February 04, 2018, 11:43:25 AM »
^ I started out with a bike, a helmet, and a lock. Admittedly it's always summer here so I don't have to worry about winter preparedness, but I am definitely a minimalist about the gear I need.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #121 on: February 06, 2018, 01:09:57 PM »
I just bought my bike this weekend! I'm looking forward to getting to the point where I can do my 6.5 mile with slight incline trip to work nearly every day. I haven't been on a bike in years.

I come from a family of cyclists, I used to do track racing at the velodrome that was right by my house. my dad and brother were always more into it. I got hit by a car while I was on my bike while on my way to school when I was 16, so I wasn't too happy. I've always been happy to walk or take the bus for bikeable distances. Unfortunately I don't have a bus that runs by my work, and I'm unhappy driving that short of a distance, so I'm trying it out.

It's interesting that there's an interurban trail right by my place that gets me part of the way to work much safer than if I tried to go along the busy road, which would be much too dangerous even if I was more experienced. I'm still finalizing my route and now I just need to practice it a few times before I go for the actual commute to make sure I'm not late or too out of shape to do it.

I also need to buy a bell, a repair kit, lights, and a lock. I have a reflective vest for now. I have a Cookie Monster jersey.

I'm looking forward to seeing if I can refill my car tank once every other month instead of the once a month I'm at right now.
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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #122 on: February 06, 2018, 04:28:43 PM »
I just bought my bike this weekend! I'm looking forward to getting to the point where I can do my 6.5 mile with slight incline trip to work nearly every day. I haven't been on a bike in years.

I come from a family of cyclists, I used to do track racing at the velodrome that was right by my house. my dad and brother were always more into it. I got hit by a car while I was on my bike while on my way to school when I was 16, so I wasn't too happy. I've always been happy to walk or take the bus for bikeable distances. Unfortunately I don't have a bus that runs by my work, and I'm unhappy driving that short of a distance, so I'm trying it out.

It's interesting that there's an interurban trail right by my place that gets me part of the way to work much safer than if I tried to go along the busy road, which would be much too dangerous even if I was more experienced. I'm still finalizing my route and now I just need to practice it a few times before I go for the actual commute to make sure I'm not late or too out of shape to do it.

I also need to buy a bell, a repair kit, lights, and a lock. I have a reflective vest for now. I have a Cookie Monster jersey.

I'm looking forward to seeing if I can refill my car tank once every other month instead of the once a month I'm at right now.

6.5 is a nice doable distance. When you look at route options, consider options that make it longer if it gets you onto a trail or a street with very clear bike lanes. I actually prefer a lot of busy streets in my city because if theyíre a state highway or other major arterial they have very nice bike lanes, and cars are somewhat accustomed to seeing cyclists, unlike on some streets that seem safer/quieter. But YMMV and comfort level definitely increases  over time :)
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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #123 on: February 07, 2018, 09:51:47 PM »
Hello,

I few years ago I used to cycle commute but my job moved to far away with very dangerous roads.     I've now moved back within 11 miles but my fitness level is poor.   I have a lot of bikes, mostly road, bought used / or built from parts.   I've flipped (bought and sold) bikes to fund my addiction.   I have all the bike clothes needed for the rest of my life,  shoes, helmets,  LED headlights and taillights.
 
I'll start back commuting with the warmer weather - probably around April.  To start building stamina (I'm 61 yo and overweight)  but still commute I picked up an eBike.  I also have a very cool eTrike but it needs some battery work.

I find that commuting lets me get riding in while saving some time.   It is the perfect start and end of a work day.

Robert

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #124 on: February 12, 2018, 04:56:32 PM »
I have a 10mi roundtrip commute that I've been doing on a 26" mtb, but I'm thinking about getting a road bike. The gearing seems like it would be beneficial for getting to work faster and with less or an equal amount of physical effort (which may allow me to bike in more often.) I may wait until I've built up more strength and really feel like I've outgrown the mtb. I'm kicking myself for not getting 26x1.5 slick tires instead of the 26x2.0 I got last year. The weight savings could have been nice and the weather/road conditions I have to deal with don't require anything special... Sunny California, bike lanes all the way.

GCN posted a great youtube video on bike commuting tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deuWgGzNCK8

Gear recommendations:
Bontrager ION 800 R taillight & Flare R taillight - USB Rechargeable, Adjustable(solid, strobe, different intensities), solid mounts available.
Shimano PD-M520 clipless pedals & SPD shoes - Helps maintain a good bike fit, reduce/prevent pain.
C9 Champion clothes - Target has 30% off deals every once in a while.
Bontrager H5 Hard-Case Ultimate Tires

What's in my backpack?
Spare tube
Tire patch kit
Tire levers
Pump
Multi-tool
Change of clothes, wallet, keys, phone...


Panniers and a rack looked kind of cool, but probably an unnecessary expense.
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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #125 on: February 13, 2018, 04:44:24 AM »
@hadabeardonce unless you plan to use the MTB for off road riding a lot, why not just get the slicks? New tires are a lot cheaper than a whole new bike and youíll get an awful lot of the benefit of a road oriented bike by reducing rolling resistance. Gearing, at least on the MTB I owned, isnít too much different from a road bike at non race-level output and speeds.

ETA: or get the slicks and use them just as a way to get more biking in and buy time searching for a good deal on your next ride.
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hadabeardonce

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #126 on: February 13, 2018, 10:23:48 AM »
@hadabeardonce unless you plan to use the MTB for off road riding a lot, why not just get the slicks? New tires are a lot cheaper than a whole new bike and youíll get an awful lot of the benefit of a road oriented bike by reducing rolling resistance. Gearing, at least on the MTB I owned, isnít too much different from a road bike at non race-level output and speeds.

ETA: or get the slicks and use them just as a way to get more biking in and buy time searching for a good deal on your next ride.
@HarbingerofBunnies The tires I have are slicks, but they are wider than I probably need. I didn't know they were available in 26x1.5 and 26x2.0 when I bought them locally, so the bike shop sold me the wider size.

I can't find the drag 'n' drop gear calculator that I normally use, but this one works: http://www.bikecalc.com/gear_speed

21.7mph = (Wheel (Rim: 26" Tire: 2.0)) (Chainring (Min: 22 Max: 44)) (Cog (Min: 11 Max: 34)) Cadence: 75 rpm
27.1mph = (Wheel (Rim: 700c Tire: 28)) (Chainring (Min: 34 Max: 50)) (Cog (Min: 11 Max: 28)) Cadence: 75 rpm

Gain 5.4mph of top speed at the same cadence, just based on gear ratios. That doesn't factor in the higher tire pressures, more aerodynamic rider position, and overall lighter bike. Plus there's the comfort of knowing I'm nearly 25% faster... in my mind =P If a road bike gets me to pedal in to work more often, it could be worth the expense.
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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #127 on: February 13, 2018, 12:49:11 PM »
Just for the record, this conversation is going entirely over my head.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #128 on: February 13, 2018, 06:24:45 PM »
I would absolutely make the switch to a road bike.  It is a night and day difference for all the reasons you listed.  Itís like running in hiking boots.  Can it be done?  Yes.  Is it efficient?  No.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #129 on: February 13, 2018, 06:43:10 PM »
I would absolutely make the switch to a road bike.  It is a night and day difference for all the reasons you listed.  Itís like running in hiking boots.  Can it be done?  Yes.  Is it efficient?  No.

You can do it both ways, you just go faster for less effort on a road bike.  My commute is 11 miles each way.  I averaged close to 50 minutes when I started out on a heavy, slightly too small for me old mountain bike with an upright position and knobby tires.  Same route is just over 40 minutes on my much lighter road bike with slick tires.  I've improved as a cyclist, but a lot of that difference is being able to get my back parallel with the ground, my arms closer in, and having a lighter frame.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #130 on: February 14, 2018, 04:54:08 AM »
I would absolutely make the switch to a road bike.  It is a night and day difference for all the reasons you listed.  Itís like running in hiking boots.  Can it be done?  Yes.  Is it efficient?  No.

You can do it both ways, you just go faster for less effort on a road bike.  My commute is 11 miles each way.  I averaged close to 50 minutes when I started out on a heavy, slightly too small for me old mountain bike with an upright position and knobby tires.  Same route is just over 40 minutes on my much lighter road bike with slick tires.  I've improved as a cyclist, but a lot of that difference is being able to get my back parallel with the ground, my arms closer in, and having a lighter frame.

I havenít had a commute in a couple years (I work at home, full time homeschooler and part time homesteader/very small scale farmer), but I think I noticed a similar gain, though my MTB had knobbies so I wasnít sure how much of the gain was attributable to the smoothness of the road tires versus the thickness of the tires.

My old road commuter didnít quite fit me, though it was better than the MTB. I just picked up an even better fitting bike. Will be interesting to see how much better it rides when salt season ends, Iím not subjecting this one to salt like I did my old one so Iíve got a few weeks wait yet.
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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #131 on: March 20, 2018, 09:44:59 AM »
It's been a long time since I've posted in this thread, but I have some updates!

Long story short, commuting the 12-ish miles to school has only happened twice thus far. But it's 98% bike path which is great! My obstacles are mostly darkness (I have a front light that's strong but haven't tried it out in the dark), timing (waking up for an 8AM class sucks to begin with when I wake up at the time I do, 20 minutes earlier sounds like death lol), and weather.

As for the actual biking part, my concerns are really about the weight I have on my bike. I have a rear bike basket that has a ton of weight in it. My backpack is something like 25lbs, plus my Kyptonite lock that's 10lbs, so it really offsets my weight when I'm going uphill. Hasn't been too much of a problem, but it really slows me down.

On that note, Google Maps said my bike route should take something like 35-45minutes, but it takes me more like an hour. Obviously the more I do it the faster I'll be, but I'm kind of unsure if that's the case. I mean I don't have quads of steel or anything but I'm definitely in shape and yet other bikers just fly by me.  Hopefully I get faster as time goes on!

In the meantime I drive ~4 miles to the bus stop and take the bus (free with my tuition) for the remaining 10 miles.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #132 on: March 20, 2018, 10:12:08 AM »
@cazio  I wouldnít worry about weight unless weíre talking rider plus cargo getting over 300lbs. Past that and some wheels will potentially come out of true faster.

On speed, try using Strava or another app to track your ride. An average speed including street crossings, traffic lights, etc should be 11-12mph or higher. Iím just getting back into cycling after a year break and am seeing average speeds a bit over 13. When I was in full shape on similar routes a few years back I think I was normally seeing 15 or so.
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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #133 on: March 20, 2018, 10:19:38 AM »
I've said it before, but double check your tires are full to the specified pressure and that your seat is high enough. Both made a big difference for me.

Otherwise, could it just be that others are riding lighter, more aerodynamic road bikes? Around here there are lots of serious cycling athletes with fancy bikes, and even if I were in the same physical condition as them (I'm not) I would never expect my hybrid, or myself with a heavy bag, to keep up.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #134 on: March 20, 2018, 11:28:49 AM »
As for the actual biking part, my concerns are really about the weight I have on my bike. I have a rear bike basket that has a ton of weight in it. My backpack is something like 25lbs, plus my Kyptonite lock that's 10lbs, so it really offsets my weight when I'm going uphill. Hasn't been too much of a problem, but it really slows me down.

Strip down the stuff you carry with you on your bike to essentials only.

Leave your 10 lb lock locked up at the rack at work!  Bring your key only.

Bring in your lunch/change of clothes on a day that you don't bike in so you don't need to carry so much stuff.

Getting that weight off your bike will make you noticeably faster going up hills, and your wheels will thank you for it too.



Once you get the weight down, there are a lot of little things you can do to speed up.  Drop your handlebars down so that your back is closer to parallel with the road.  Cut your handlebars narrower so you can get your elbows in.  Wear very tight clothing that doesn't flap around at all.  Use clipless pedals.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #135 on: March 20, 2018, 11:51:15 AM »
I must admit I like carrying my bike lock, clothes and lunches etc as it adds to the work out element of the commute. My commute is just less than 4 miles though so I may feel differently if it was three times as long! All of GuitarStv's advice is great. If you can get a system in place for what you carry when, and a well ordered routine so you are never running late, then combined with a lighter bike you'll never want to travel anywhere by car ever again.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #136 on: March 21, 2018, 02:40:22 PM »
Thanks for all of the advice, guys! I biked today and made it in about 50 minutes. It had snowed about 2 inches overnight but the bike path was clear!

@GuitarStv I wish I could! Unfortunately I'm biking to college, so I can't leave my lock, and I have to bring all my stuff with me wherever I go. I'm tempted to leave my lock, but the university has a pretty strict policy and they could probably (attempt) to cut it pretty quickly, especially if it's just a lock and no bike. It's not so bad though, but I did have to hop off on one hill because when I lose too much sped on an incline I start to pop a wheelie D:

@Tass Yes! I read about that in this thread earlier and I've got my bike at the right height and my tire pressure is good. Definitely a big help! Some of the people who fly by me seem to be just out on a fun ride, but there was also a lady with two huge packs on an uphill that flew by me like I was walking! Crazy. I also feel like I'm pedaling constantly to keep a consistent pace, which can get annoying, as I like to glide. :)

@HarbingerofBunnies Thanks for the tip! I just downloaded Strava, I'll give it a try on my ride home! That will probably help me get a better picture.


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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #137 on: April 02, 2018, 01:53:27 PM »
I finally did it, 2 months after my first post. After successful procrastination, tire/tube replacements, and enough practice rides, I made it to work on time this morning.
Turns out my bike commute is actually 7.3 miles, as opposed to my car commute which is 5.3. It took me 50 minutes, with my dorky directions taped to my handlebars. There were very few cars on the road at that hour and I felt very safe the entire time.
Since my work is only me and the owner, he was very impressed and took a pic of me and my bike and sent it to his family and some friends that his office manager is a badass! Little stuff like that makes me feel very valued here.
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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #138 on: April 02, 2018, 02:01:25 PM »
I finally did it, 2 months after my first post. After successful procrastination, tire/tube replacements, and enough practice rides, I made it to work on time this morning.
Turns out my bike commute is actually 7.3 miles, as opposed to my car commute which is 5.3. It took me 50 minutes, with my dorky directions taped to my handlebars. There were very few cars on the road at that hour and I felt very safe the entire time.
Since my work is only me and the owner, he was very impressed and took a pic of me and my bike and sent it to his family and some friends that his office manager is a badass! Little stuff like that makes me feel very valued here.

Nice job!

You're brave cycling to work the first time without knowing all the directions.  I actually did a dry run on the weekend before my first time riding to work.


For the undoubtedly many times in the future you will wow others and have pictures taken with your bike - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv4Li18UILM

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #139 on: April 03, 2018, 07:42:58 AM »
Nice job!
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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #140 on: April 03, 2018, 10:18:01 AM »
Thanks! I have done the ride twice before, but I'm just terrible with directions most of the time, so I wanted it just in case. I think I have the landmarks memorized now.

I think I need to perfect The Cherry Picker, that will be my new signature bike pic style!
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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #141 on: April 18, 2018, 02:57:01 AM »
Well done, ElizaStache! And so nice to have a job and boss that can make you feel like that.

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.
Many, many moons later, I actually brought my bike to be fixed on Monday. I pumped up the tyres and actually rode it there. It's not far, maybe a bit less than a ten-minute walk, but I wasn't going to make it before they closed otherwise. Was a little bit shaky but it was only for a few minutes so I knew it'd be okay. Hard to cycle when somehow the brake lever had slipped (been pushed?, who knows) down so that it was hitting off my knee. Anyway, I'll be able to pick it up at the weekend with fancy schmancy puncture-proof tyres and everything else that needs doing all fixed. Presumably they'll remove all the cobwebs in the process of fixing it. :)

Only thing troubling me now is that sharp pain I was feeling in my left knee. Cycling is supposed to be the thing I can do to try and improve arthrosis symptoms and I haven't noticed that pain using an exercise bike. Will have to see how it goes at the weekend and maybe have a chat with the physio.

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Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #142 on: April 19, 2018, 08:13:04 AM »
Hi guys! I just moved a lot closer to work (1.5 miles away!!) and really see no reason NOT to bike to work on days where I don’t have court or travel. My office’s dress code is now casual (jeans and blouse) for attorneys, so it will be easy to bike to work without bringing a change of clothes.

I’m going to do my first dry run this weekend (maybe more than once) since my office is in the middle of downtown and that’s kind of terrifying! After that, I plan to bike as many days as I can to save wear and tear and avoid fighting for parking spots at my apartment. Win/win.

Google maps says it should take just as long to bike as to drive, too. I just got a tune-up from the bike shop and new set of brake pads so I am good to go. I need to learn how to do tune ups on my own though to save some $$.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #143 on: April 19, 2018, 08:22:31 AM »
Well done, ElizaStache! And so nice to have a job and boss that can make you feel like that.

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.
Many, many moons later, I actually brought my bike to be fixed on Monday. I pumped up the tyres and actually rode it there. It's not far, maybe a bit less than a ten-minute walk, but I wasn't going to make it before they closed otherwise. Was a little bit shaky but it was only for a few minutes so I knew it'd be okay. Hard to cycle when somehow the brake lever had slipped (been pushed?, who knows) down so that it was hitting off my knee. Anyway, I'll be able to pick it up at the weekend with fancy schmancy puncture-proof tyres and everything else that needs doing all fixed. Presumably they'll remove all the cobwebs in the process of fixing it. :)

Only thing troubling me now is that sharp pain I was feeling in my left knee. Cycling is supposed to be the thing I can do to try and improve arthrosis symptoms and I haven't noticed that pain using an exercise bike. Will have to see how it goes at the weekend and maybe have a chat with the physio.

I have a tentative diagnosis for your knee problem.  :P

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #144 on: April 19, 2018, 08:25:12 AM »
@Moonwaves — I’m not a very good cyclist either. We will manage though, we just need to do it!

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #145 on: April 19, 2018, 12:42:42 PM »
Well done, ElizaStache! And so nice to have a job and boss that can make you feel like that.

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.
Many, many moons later, I actually brought my bike to be fixed on Monday. I pumped up the tyres and actually rode it there. It's not far, maybe a bit less than a ten-minute walk, but I wasn't going to make it before they closed otherwise. Was a little bit shaky but it was only for a few minutes so I knew it'd be okay. Hard to cycle when somehow the brake lever had slipped (been pushed?, who knows) down so that it was hitting off my knee. Anyway, I'll be able to pick it up at the weekend with fancy schmancy puncture-proof tyres and everything else that needs doing all fixed. Presumably they'll remove all the cobwebs in the process of fixing it. :)

Only thing troubling me now is that sharp pain I was feeling in my left knee. Cycling is supposed to be the thing I can do to try and improve arthrosis symptoms and I haven't noticed that pain using an exercise bike. Will have to see how it goes at the weekend and maybe have a chat with the physio.

I have a tentative diagnosis for your knee problem.  :P

LOL Wrong side, I'm afraid. My bike is not one of those fancy ones with brakes on both sides. :D