Author Topic: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat  (Read 29429 times)

plainjane

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #250 on: August 28, 2018, 06:30:32 AM »
Apparently I need a new stem, and my bike is too old for them to have one in stock. So I went to two shops, and the second one suggested I go to the DIY shop up the street because they have old bits from donated bikes they've stripped for parts. They don't seem concerned about me riding on the bike in the meantime.

And my squealing back brake is a great way to convince cars not to turn right into me at intersections. Much more effective than a cheery bell.
Are you up for fixing the squeaky brakes yourself? 
[]
https://www.ilovebicycling.com/how-to-fix-squeaky-bike-brakes/

Thanks for the link! I think it's an alignment issue. Not sure if I really want to fix it though - it is _very_ effective at getting attention when I need it. I can brake quietly in most non-emergency situations, and sometimes for emergency situations there isn't time for a bell or a mental space to remember to shout.

Freedomin5

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #251 on: August 28, 2018, 07:59:29 AM »
Joining this thread because the tips from the seasoned pros are great!

Iím hoping to bike more because since DDís school moved to a new location, itís faster to bike (~30 minutes) than to take public transportation (1 hr 15 min). We donít have a car. The total ride is approx. 9 km on city roads, in Chinese traffic, in the largest city in China, with 8 bajillion other scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, bicycles, cargo bikes, etc. all driven by aggressive Chinese drivers.

Iím a total newbie and not a bike connoisseur at all. I have an e-bike that cost about $400 (Yunbike), which is a higher-end Chinese brand. They bill themselves as being a ďsmart bikeĒ because you can bind your bike to your phone via an app that tracks your distance, battery power remaining, etc. Itís quite light and works wonderfully well, allowing me to pedal when I feel like it, but coast when Iím tired. And I donít get to work too sweaty. And riding up hills becomes really easy, even when it is 100F (~35-38C) in high humidity) outside.

Welcome Freedomin5.

Keep us updated on how your commuting is going.

Thanks for the warm welcome!

Weíve biked two days in a row now. So far, itís been good. The weather has cooled a bit and itís only 30C now. The hairiest part of the ride is one particular intersection where we are crossing 14 lanes of traffic (7 in each direction), half of those lanes are on-ramps onto a major highway. I think Iíve figured out the safest way to cross ó there is safety in numbers so I try to bike in the middle of the 10-15 other bikes/mopeds/scooters trying to cross this massive avenue. Which basically means Iím biking as fast as possible with electric pedal assist on so I can keep up with the mopeds.

Other than that, itís a really nice ride on dedicated bike lanes that are separated from the road by barriers. My butt does tend to get a bit sore after the first hour or so but I donít want to upgrade it too much because that also upgrades the chances of the bike being stolen. Is there some kind of padded seat cover than I can just slip on top of my regular old seat? And take with me when I park my bike?

My goal is to work my way up so that Iím using pedal assist less and my own leg power more. Today, I biked a total of 31 km (20 miles). Biked to work after dropping DD off at school. Took me 1.25 hours to go 15 km, but that was because there were a TON of traffic lights and lots of other bikes on the road. I mustíve spent at least 15-20 minutes just waiting at red lights. It was still faster than if I had taken a taxi/bus since I was biking in rush hour traffic.

hadabeardonce

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #252 on: August 28, 2018, 11:55:50 AM »
The other annoying thing you gotta remember is that you tend to get used to how your bike is setup . . . so sometimes even if you change it for the better, it will initially feel worse until you do a few longer rides on it.  :P

Wait until you start swapping saddles, trying to find something that's comfortable for 6 hours.
It's been a long time(20 years) since I've ridden for such a long time(6 hours). Local bike shops have group rides that I've been thinking about joining in on. Going beyond my usual commute distance would be good and I've been itching to go farther.

Careful, don't scare off the newbies with all this talk of dialing in fit for long rides, better to take that to https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/guitarstv's-long-bike-ride-tips!/.
Toy's R Us is gone, so a kid can't be a kid anymore... do I really need to admit that I'm not much of a newbie too?

I experimented with clipping in and using a backpack for the last few months.

Swapped out my SPDs back for my Power Grips and my first ride (which I did not have my feet in the straps) with the PGs had my feet flying off the pedals!  I didn't realize how much I took advantage of pulling up on the pedals on the back end of the pedal rotation. 

Installed my rack and pannier back on as well.  For commuting and errands around town, the PGs and pannier are a much better option for me.
I like SPDs, but I'm able to leave a spare pair of shoes at work. There are some SPD compatible shoes that'll allow you to blend in with the normies or pedals which have a larger platform for normal shoes, like the Shimano M324. Clipless pedals helped with some knee pain I was having, so it would be hard to switch back.

The hairiest part of the ride is one particular intersection where we are crossing 14 lanes of traffic (7 in each direction), half of those lanes are on-ramps onto a major highway. I think Iíve figured out the safest way to cross ó there is safety in numbers so I try to bike in the middle of the 10-15 other bikes/mopeds/scooters trying to cross this massive avenue. Which basically means Iím biking as fast as possible with electric pedal assist on so I can keep up with the mopeds.

Other than that...
"Crosses14Lanes" would be a great username. Maybe add "2x per day" as a tagline for extra street cred. That's commitment.

Moonwaves

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #253 on: August 29, 2018, 07:49:49 AM »
Is there some kind of padded seat cover than I can just slip on top of my regular old seat? And take with me when I park my bike?

There are removable padded bike seat covers available (I donít have any experience with them and therefore cannot make any recommendations). 

Yep, I just bought one of these a couple of weeks ago and it has definitely improved things for me. I just got the standard one they had in the bike shop rather than spending time researching best ones. At this stage, I just need to make things as easy as possible on myself. There was a choice of wide or narrow and it cost Ä15. I've generally left it on for now but I have to admit I've wondered if I'm being too trusting. I think I'll probably continue to leave it on when parked until the first time it gets taken. Either it won't and it's all good, or I'll replace it once and know better for the future.

Freedomin5

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #254 on: August 30, 2018, 05:06:53 AM »
For all you curious minds, here is how fourteen lanes of traffic in motion looks like.

In the second pic, I could only capture seven lanes. The other lanes are on the other side of the divider. So take that pic and double it to get a sense of the size of the intersection.

I also included a pic of the mass of motorists that I try to follow hen crossing a large intersection. I try to hide in the middle/back of the pack.

And just for fun I'm including a pic of cars trying to turn onto a road. I should preface this pic by saying that there was officially only one right turn lane and one left turn lane.

x02947

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #255 on: September 24, 2018, 08:03:37 AM »
Hi yíall!  Essentially a biking newb here- havenít rode a bike since wandering around my neighborhood as a kid.  Iíve been wanting to get in on the bike to work scene, and scored a free bike over the weekend (Sedona XL Giant bought new about 4-5 years ago with some panniers).  Definitely need to get a lot better at biking before I attempt to make the trip to work, though.  Eventually, I will make my first commute on a Friday before a 3-day weekend when traffic is super-light, then work towards Fridays, and hopefully eventually just make it an everyday thing.  I would love to go back to being a one-car family, but thatís a (much) longer term effort.
 
The problem I will eventually end up facing is that I have a nice, flat, 7 mile ride to work that has big car-lane-width shoulders for the first 6 miles and then turns into a mass of cloverleaf on/off ramps and entrance/exit lanes for the last mile. My place of work is smack in the middle of this.  For a car, itís very nice because itís essentially like a 50 mph interstate- people getting on and off donít mess with you. There is a back road/trail I think I could take that would only add 3 or so miles, but I will still have to deal with passing at least 4 ramp lanes (on and off for each direction of travel).  I think I would just need to stop in the shoulder, wait for a break in traffic, and then make my way across.  Small beans, I suppose, to experienced bikers, but it is what it is to me.  I would be perfectly happy to cut off the road and do a bit through the woods but this is an old military base and they find old WWII/WWI munitions all the time.  I can move my commute times a little bit, but not very much due to little ones at home/DW schedule/etc.  (okay, in the spirit of MMM it's not *can't* but *not willing to make that sacrifice/effort*)

There is practically no biking culture in the area, and that little which does exist is focused toward group rides after hours for cardio exercise.  In my 3 years working here Iíve seen someone biking at coming/going hours maybe 5 times?  And those were along the nice shoulder parts, not at the hectic part.

So, I know what I want to do, what I need to do to get there, and how to do it.  I guess Iím just posting for the sake of accountability?   

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #256 on: September 24, 2018, 08:56:45 AM »
Hi yíall!  Essentially a biking newb here- havenít rode a bike since wandering around my neighborhood as a kid.  Iíve been wanting to get in on the bike to work scene, and scored a free bike over the weekend (Sedona XL Giant bought new about 4-5 years ago with some panniers).  Definitely need to get a lot better at biking before I attempt to make the trip to work, though.  Eventually, I will make my first commute on a Friday before a 3-day weekend when traffic is super-light, then work towards Fridays, and hopefully eventually just make it an everyday thing.  I would love to go back to being a one-car family, but thatís a (much) longer term effort.
 
The problem I will eventually end up facing is that I have a nice, flat, 7 mile ride to work that has big car-lane-width shoulders for the first 6 miles and then turns into a mass of cloverleaf on/off ramps and entrance/exit lanes for the last mile. My place of work is smack in the middle of this.  For a car, itís very nice because itís essentially like a 50 mph interstate- people getting on and off donít mess with you. There is a back road/trail I think I could take that would only add 3 or so miles, but I will still have to deal with passing at least 4 ramp lanes (on and off for each direction of travel).  I think I would just need to stop in the shoulder, wait for a break in traffic, and then make my way across.  Small beans, I suppose, to experienced bikers, but it is what it is to me.  I would be perfectly happy to cut off the road and do a bit through the woods but this is an old military base and they find old WWII/WWI munitions all the time.  I can move my commute times a little bit, but not very much due to little ones at home/DW schedule/etc.  (okay, in the spirit of MMM it's not *can't* but *not willing to make that sacrifice/effort*)

There is practically no biking culture in the area, and that little which does exist is focused toward group rides after hours for cardio exercise.  In my 3 years working here Iíve seen someone biking at coming/going hours maybe 5 times?  And those were along the nice shoulder parts, not at the hectic part.

So, I know what I want to do, what I need to do to get there, and how to do it.  I guess Iím just posting for the sake of accountability?

How do pedestrians get around in this area?  Is it possible to get off your bike and walk on the sidewalk past the most worrying sections of road?

One section I bike commute through in Toronto is very with multiple on/off-ramps to major highways.  I'm able to get through it by being following the rules of the road, being confident, taking the lane when necessary, knowing my route very well, and making myself very visible (bright jacket, multiple rear lights, lots of reflective stuff).  It's not the most fun part of my commute though and would be daunting if you're new to bike commuting.

Definitely try a couple dry runs at very quiet times (Sunday mornings are great for this) to get a feel for the route before jumping in at rush hour.  My experience is that Fridays are often the scariest days to commute simply because people seem to be more rushed and in a worse mood.

x02947

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #257 on: September 25, 2018, 10:15:44 AM »
How do pedestrians get around in this area?  Is it possible to get off your bike and walk on the sidewalk past the most worrying sections of road?

The road my building is essentially a controlled access highway.  There literally are no sidewalks.  I work on a military base, so I just come in the gate and my building is a few miles down on the main entrance road.  The trail I mentioned is one of the exercise paths that just happens to go to the headquarters building across the street from me.  There are no crosswalks, no sidewalks, or anything else.  Other than a few exercise trails, itís just pure road.   

One section I bike commute through in Toronto is very with multiple on/off-ramps to major highways.  I'm able to get through it by being following the rules of the road, being confident, taking the lane when necessary, knowing my route very well, and making myself very visible (bright jacket, multiple rear lights, lots of reflective stuff).  It's not the most fun part of my commute though and would be daunting if you're new to bike commuting.

Absolutely- I can logically see that itís just a few spurts than should be easily done with said mitigation. I just gotta push myself off the ledge and do it.  The base actually requires several high visibility/reflective measures in order to bike on it. 

Definitely try a couple dry runs at very quiet times (Sunday mornings are great for this) to get a feel for the route before jumping in at rush hour.  My experience is that Fridays are often the scariest days to commute simply because people seem to be more rushed and in a worse mood.

The weekends are absolutely dead on my road so weekend trials are a great idea.  Slightly annoying as they close the entrance gates near me on the weekends so I have go to the other side of the base then through to my entrance, but thatís just an excuse and not a really good one, at that. 

Thanks for the support and advice!

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #258 on: September 26, 2018, 09:17:09 AM »
Coldest bike commute to date. Mid 50s F, ~13 C.

The wind was a bit biting, but I did okay with a jacket. I think gloves would have been VERY nice though.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #259 on: September 26, 2018, 10:31:06 AM »
Yep, I'm slowly getting to probe colder/less convenient commuting temperatures.  My morning commute is is in the dark, and via e-bike (read: faster speed/more wind, comparatively less heat generated from the body especially since I strive for no sweating in the morning).  I've found that I kind of wanted gloves at 58-59 F, but it was ok without.  Seems like full-fingered gloves will be the first modification as it gets colder, followed by something for my ears. 

Also, we're predicted to have some rain next week, so that'll be an adjustment.  I've got some gear; hopefully I've prepared well enough!  Going to have to cut down on my speed for both safety and comfort, I'm sure.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #260 on: September 26, 2018, 10:50:05 AM »
'Tis the season to light up.

I run a bright blinkie on my seat post and another on my backpack all the time now that it's usually overcast or rainy.  When it's very dark out I add in a bright headlight, two more lights on my backpack, and a blinking arm band on my signalling upper arm.  Yes, it's overkill . . . but lights are cheap and effective.

moof

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #261 on: September 26, 2018, 11:33:55 AM »
'Tis the season to light up.

I run a bright blinkie on my seat post and another on my backpack all the time now that it's usually overcast or rainy.  When it's very dark out I add in a bright headlight, two more lights on my backpack, and a blinking arm band on my signalling upper arm.  Yes, it's overkill . . . but lights are cheap and effective.
+1.  I started leaving my front 1400 lumen light in blinky mode starting this spring.  In broad daylight I have had a lot fewer cars try and turn through me or cut me off at driveways and intersections, clearly a few more cars see me in their mirrors than before.  Cars I never expected to yield often now do so rather than "going for it".  It is also fun to ride right up to driver side windows of cars that pull into the intersection and block my bike lane.  1400 lumens flashing 3' from your face is painful comeuppance.

Rear blinkies and reflective gear and stickers also make you stick out well, and indeed are cheap insurance.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #262 on: September 26, 2018, 12:46:31 PM »
Joining in. I'm not a bike commuting newbie, but I've been making a big effort to increase my frequency and convert more non-commuting trips to bike trips. So far, so good. I've only driven the car once in the past 2 weeks.

One of the ways I've done this is to invoke the n+1 rule. My fleet now includes a proper commuter bike with a rack and it isn't so fancy I can't leave it locked up unattended somewhere. It's been game changing. My other ride is a fancy pants carbon road bike. Although I still prefer the road bike, it's got some serious drawbacks.

I even managed a 3 point trip earlier this week that I was initially nervous about. The trip was home to work, then work to sports practice, then practice to home. I was most concerned about the last leg because it's a bit further than my normal route home, it's later through a slightly sketchy area and I was worried about being too tired from practice to make it home in a reasonable amount of time. Turns out all my worries were unfounded, although I may still opt to drive once it gets really dark and wet this winter.

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #263 on: September 27, 2018, 10:19:42 AM »
It is also fun to ride right up to driver side windows of cars that pull into the intersection and block my bike lane.  1400 lumens flashing 3' from your face is painful comeuppance.
I'm not sure what situation you're talking about here. If this is a driver who is waiting to turn right in the bike lane because there is no dedicated right hand turn lane, they are exhibiting correct behavior unless they cut off a cyclist when they entered the bike lane. If you're traveling straight, then pulling up along the left side of the vehicle is correct behavior, but I'd try to avoid annoying the driver with your light in this situation. If this is a driver who approached the intersection on a cross street from your right, they are likely exhibiting incorrect behavior. However, I can't picture a situation where pulling up close to their vehicle is the correct behavior for you unless you're executing a Copenhagen Left. If you're executing a Copenhagen Left, then the fact that they're blocking the bike lane forward does not interfere with your travel.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #264 on: October 10, 2018, 12:46:29 PM »
Biked to work today for the first time during the week, and the first time from my new place. I am not in shape! Puny little hills wiped me out. And even though I'm not carrying my bag on my back anymore it was still heavier than ideal - I could tell I was towing a weight. Time to reconsider whether I can leave my laptop at one place or the other.

I have a front light, two rear lights (one on the bike, one on the rack), a helmet light, and two flashing arm/leg bands. Not all of the route has a bike lane but it is all in a pretty heavily biked area so all the cars gave me plenty of room, and I made sure to claim the lane when appropriate. So I was wheezing but I felt pretty safe.

TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #265 on: October 10, 2018, 12:57:45 PM »
Biked to work today for the first time during the week, and the first time from my new place. I am not in shape! Puny little hills wiped me out. And even though I'm not carrying my bag on my back anymore it was still heavier than ideal - I could tell I was towing a weight. Time to reconsider whether I can leave my laptop at one place or the other.

Good for you! Can you leave any of your clothes or other things at work to lighten your load? I leave a pair of shoes, pair of jeans, my towel (I shower at the office) and shampoo. The towel and jeans come get switched out once/week. Doing this lightens my daily load considerably.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #266 on: October 10, 2018, 12:59:56 PM »
Leaving a pair of jeans here is an interesting idea!

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #267 on: October 10, 2018, 01:34:11 PM »
Biked to work today for the first time during the week, and the first time from my new place. I am not in shape! Puny little hills wiped me out. And even though I'm not carrying my bag on my back anymore it was still heavier than ideal - I could tell I was towing a weight. Time to reconsider whether I can leave my laptop at one place or the other.

Good for you! Can you leave any of your clothes or other things at work to lighten your load? I leave a pair of shoes, pair of jeans, my towel (I shower at the office) and shampoo. The towel and jeans come get switched out once/week. Doing this lightens my daily load considerably.

I do the same.  Although my towel/jeans get switched out more like once a month.  I keep shoes, soap, deodorant, and bike lock at work all the time.   :P

Freedomin5

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #268 on: October 11, 2018, 04:03:49 AM »
Just wanted to check in and say that I biked 46 km (28 miles) today, which Iím quite proud of, since I only started biking regularly in mid-August. It took me three hours (Shanghai city streets, a ton of traffic lights). My legs are a bit sore now. I must say, itís a lot easier to bike without stopping than to have to start and stop multiple times. Those last few traffics lights were rather painful.

ETA: Today, at the crazy 14-lanes-of-traffic intersection, I watched a long distance bus (think Greyhound bus) collide into a scooter. The bus was making a left turn and the scooter was running the light. The traffic lights were out at the intersection and there were two police officers directing traffic. So yeah, better slow (and safe) than sorry.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 04:16:00 AM by Freedomin5 »

runbikerun

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #269 on: October 11, 2018, 06:34:22 AM »
After almost three years of taking public transport to work, I'm back to being a bike commuter; the bike has been converted from a racing machine to a workhorse (aerobars removed, rear rack installed) and I've picked up panniers in lurid yellow for maximum visibility.

I'm beginning to feel like there might be something wrong with me reading this thread: in anything down to 60f, I ride in a short-sleeved jersey and skintight bib shorts. Below that, I'll add a light cycling jacket, and if it's approaching freezing I add skintight leggings and gloves. Part of it is vanity (I happen to think my legs look goddamn fantastic these days), part of it is being overenthusiastic (in skintight gear, I can save two or three minutes over ten miles), but mostly it's because I overheat and sweat profusely at the drop of a hat, so I wear as little as possible.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #270 on: October 11, 2018, 07:07:14 AM »
Everyone has different thresholds for temperature, but comfy depends on a lot of factors.  How long do you need to be cycling?  If my ride is a half hour or less I can get away with wearing much less clothing.  Is it pouring rain?  I find that I don't need as much clothing in snow as I do in rain.  If it's still I can get away with much less clothing than if it's windy.  Are you likely to get stuck in stop and go traffic?  If so, it's hard to maintain enough intensity to keep warm . . . whereas if your route is mostly quick moving you can hammer away the whole time.

I used to wear much less cycling clothing than I do now for a commute . . . but I've been caught out several times now where the temperature dips well below what was forecast and I've got a freezing 45 minute ride home.  I'd rather overheat and pour sweat than lose feeling in my fingers/toes, sneeze, and freeze.

dvdvrhs

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #271 on: October 11, 2018, 07:56:48 AM »
Rode today in a new personal low. 44įF or 6.6įC. Also had a 17 kph wind in my face. Any colder and I think I'll need different gear. Thanks to this thread for the inspiration!

runbikerun

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #272 on: October 11, 2018, 09:50:33 AM »
My commute is 16km - there are plenty of lights along the way, but I generally try to stay above 30kph when I'm moving. I'm lucky in that I live in a temperate country, so unpleasant weather surprises are extremely rare. We can go several years at a time without a snowfall that sticks.

Money Badger

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #273 on: October 12, 2018, 07:12:19 PM »
Did a short 4 mile track on a hilly gravel road tonight to get some tougher conditions in for eventual commute riding...  and the results were...

The bad: I'm fat and out of shape!   I realize there is 25 pounds more of me than my average weight a little over a year ago.  So this $hit has to change.    And my bike isn't exactly light and has some serious condition issues with crosschaining and the brakes.   The tires are also original (~10 years old now?).   Time for a tune up!

The good:  I did get to try out the new lights I put on the bike (great call GuitarStv) and made the biggest challenge hill by gearing down as suggested here.    This thread really helped so thanks from a bikin' newb'!

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #274 on: October 13, 2018, 01:33:15 PM »
I biked in a second time yesterday. It was easier without lugging the laptop, but I actually took more breaks. I figured if I'm going to keep this up as a habit I should enjoy it as much/hate it as little as possible, so I took a full hour catching my breath whenever necessary.* (I also ate too much for breakfast, I discovered, but that's easily remedied in the future.)

I haven't figured out how to transport items like my instrument (viola) or a yoga mat, so some days still require a carpool.

*EDIT: the whole trip took an hour with the breath-catching. I did not stop for an hour every time I got winded.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 05:07:23 PM by Tass »

secondchance

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #275 on: October 13, 2018, 02:28:03 PM »
Just started biking to work again -- 5.5 mi each way, which is perfect for me (about 30-40 minutes).

I don't want to make a big fuss out of special bike gear, but I tend to wear out my jeans on the seat and they rip in the inside of the thigh. TAfraid I need to start packing my outfit :(

Penn42

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #276 on: October 13, 2018, 02:35:58 PM »
Right now it's down to about 40 degrees F in the mornings.  I wear my work clothes (boots, double knee Carharts, work sweatshirt) to ride in.  Cutoff for gloves is about 45 degrees.  At 35 degrees I'll add a layer between my shirt and sweatshirt and add a scarf.  Down in the 20's I'll ad long john's under the pants.  My rain gear is the very light variety and it and my lunch I carry on my back (no pannier). 

I ride a Trek hybrid that needs a new bottom bracket and brake pads, but I've been lazy and am putting them off haha.

Current commute is 2.8 miles and is wholly on a paved riverside bike path.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #277 on: October 13, 2018, 07:23:25 PM »
Right now it's down to about 40 degrees F in the mornings.  I wear my work clothes (boots, double knee Carharts, work sweatshirt) to ride in.  Cutoff for gloves is about 45 degrees.  At 35 degrees I'll add a layer between my shirt and sweatshirt and add a scarf.  Down in the 20's I'll ad long john's under the pants.  My rain gear is the very light variety and it and my lunch I carry on my back (no pannier). 

I ride a Trek hybrid that needs a new bottom bracket and brake pads, but I've been lazy and am putting them off haha.

Current commute is 2.8 miles and is wholly on a paved riverside bike path.

You can get away cycling with a shot bottom bracket for quite a while (it just makes it a bit harder to go where you want), but don't neglect your brake pads!  They're four pieces of soft material that are all that stand between you and not stopping.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #278 on: October 16, 2018, 10:47:32 AM »
I'm not sure what it was, but my third bike to work today was enormously easier than either of the first two. Small slopes that were wiping me out just a few days ago were a breeze today. So this is your motivation to give it another go, if your commute seemed overwhelming last time you tried it!

I've lightened my load since my first trip, which helped, but it wasn't any lighter than my second attempt, so that doesn't fully explain the difference. I think it was some combination of being better rested (last week I was still recovering from a tough move) and getting the hang of my gears again, and knowing the best way to do so on this particular route. Today I only got passed by cyclists who were clearly working harder than I was, as opposed to the first time when those 1-speed rentals were whizzing past like I was on an invisible hill they didn't have to worry about. And I've optimized the route home so that more of it is through campus - can't go as fast, but feels more comfortable.

I did get my bike light stolen yesterday, though. $20 lesson not to leave it on my handlebars.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #279 on: October 16, 2018, 11:46:16 AM »
I'm not sure what it was, but my third bike to work today was enormously easier than either of the first two. Small slopes that were wiping me out just a few days ago were a breeze today. So this is your motivation to give it another go, if your commute seemed overwhelming last time you tried it!

I've lightened my load since my first trip, which helped, but it wasn't any lighter than my second attempt, so that doesn't fully explain the difference. I think it was some combination of being better rested (last week I was still recovering from a tough move) and getting the hang of my gears again, and knowing the best way to do so on this particular route. Today I only got passed by cyclists who were clearly working harder than I was, as opposed to the first time when those 1-speed rentals were whizzing past like I was on an invisible hill they didn't have to worry about. And I've optimized the route home so that more of it is through campus - can't go as fast, but feels more comfortable.

I did get my bike light stolen yesterday, though. $20 lesson not to leave it on my handlebars.

Tailwind.  :P

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #280 on: October 16, 2018, 12:04:16 PM »
I'm not sure what it was, but my third bike to work today was enormously easier than either of the first two. Small slopes that were wiping me out just a few days ago were a breeze today. So this is your motivation to give it another go, if your commute seemed overwhelming last time you tried it!

I've lightened my load since my first trip, which helped, but it wasn't any lighter than my second attempt, so that doesn't fully explain the difference. I think it was some combination of being better rested (last week I was still recovering from a tough move) and getting the hang of my gears again, and knowing the best way to do so on this particular route. Today I only got passed by cyclists who were clearly working harder than I was, as opposed to the first time when those 1-speed rentals were whizzing past like I was on an invisible hill they didn't have to worry about. And I've optimized the route home so that more of it is through campus - can't go as fast, but feels more comfortable.

I did get my bike light stolen yesterday, though. $20 lesson not to leave it on my handlebars.

Tailwind.  :P

Probably the bolded part had the biggest effect. Learning which gear to use and when is a skill. The good news is once you have the skill it doesn't go away. So, if you give up biking at some point and then pick it back up again, you'll still be faster than you were the first time you started biking.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #281 on: October 16, 2018, 12:20:22 PM »
Learning which gear to use and when is a skill. The good news is once you have the skill it doesn't go away. So, if you give up biking at some point and then pick it back up again, you'll still be faster than you were the first time you started biking.

Well that hasn't been my experience... I was doing okay with my gears when I was biking a bit more 6 months ago. ;)

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #282 on: October 16, 2018, 12:21:57 PM »
Occasionally I hit a perfect tailwind while going somewhere and it's incredible.  You feel light, powerful, and like an unstoppable force.  Then you go waaaaayyy too far and end up paying for it on the return trip.  :P

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #283 on: October 16, 2018, 12:28:51 PM »
Tailwind would be an annoying explanation. I was hoping this was a permanent change. :P

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #284 on: October 16, 2018, 01:24:25 PM »
Hi there! Can I join? I just switched jobs to one that is slightly closer. This new employer is lending me an ebike for the next six months with the caveat that I bike to work for at least 60% of my commutes. This is the start of week 2. The first week I biked 4 of 5 days. Today is Tuesday and the second day this week I have bikes so far.

My commute is about 9-10 miles each way. Technically someone other than me (stranger, more for, more time) would do this on a normal bike. The ebike was just that extra boost I needed to make the commute achievable with a bike for me. So far it is a ton of fun!

Freedomin5

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #285 on: October 18, 2018, 05:01:59 AM »
Welcome, ysette9! I love my ebike. I would never be able to carry myself and DD on the 10 mile round trip journey to and from school, and then pedal myself an additional 10 miles to work were it not for pedal assist.

Iíve also just recently realized that I love having the speedometer on my bike. Itís fun seeing that Iím averaging a faster speed each week, and that Iím using less power to do so. I also like the odometer. My goal this year is to get to 1000km. Iím already over 800km. I know that is not much for some of the more avid cyclists, but Iím a newbie who only got my ebike last year, so this is a big deal for me.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #286 on: October 18, 2018, 07:32:18 AM »
Love this thread for motivation! Not a newbie, but not as consistent as I want to be.  Now that the cold air is settling in, I need to keep motivated to get out there before 6am.  Its hard to get going, but feels great when I get in.   

Switched to an electric bike this summer.  What a change.  I am definitely not as hard core as you folks completely under your own power, but I make my 10 mile commute each way and get to my office by 6:30am- I love the fact that I can do it without feeling wiped out at the end of the day.   My pedal assist is like having a tailwind on demand!  I am so spoiled.  With the extra help, and not trying to go crazy fast, my commute is about 42-44 minutes in to work, and 50 minutes home (more uphills/more traffic).  My e-bike was a costco buy.  I worked out the numbers when I bought it in May so that 130 days of riding to work will pay it off vs the parking near my downtown building - When I drive, its a nissan leaf, so didn't factor in gas and for simplicity, didn't bother with wear and tear comparisons.  So far, I have 92 more bike commuting days to break even.  :)

I hope to see more posts from others to give myself the needed kick-in-the-tailwind-region this winter and stay on my bike. 

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #287 on: October 18, 2018, 09:20:05 AM »
How much were your ebikes, if you don’t mind sharing? I haven’t priced any out yet as I still have 5 months to use this one. This one is really nice and apparently costs something like $4k. I find myself debating about the cost, and whether I can justify it for taking me off the road four days a week. But then again if I frame it as my mental and physical health, perhaps the numbers don’t have to add up? I do feel so wonderful on days I bike.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #288 on: October 18, 2018, 09:58:43 AM »
My commute's getting easier each day! At this point I'm clumsier about actually getting together everything I need than I am about the biking process. Yesterday it took me nearly as long to get out the door - kept having to go back for something I forgot - as it did to actually get to work.

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #289 on: October 18, 2018, 10:23:34 AM »
My commute's getting easier each day! At this point I'm clumsier about actually getting together everything I need than I am about the biking process. Yesterday it took me nearly as long to get out the door - kept having to go back for something I forgot - as it did to actually get to work.
I agree that I am still clumsy about all of that also. I feel part of it is that I am adding gear over the first day I rode. Bike shorts (“butt shorts” as they are called in my household), bike gloves, wind breaker, little ear cover muff things to keep my ears warm in the morning. I am now looking into buying a sun visor to strap onto my helmet for the afternoon. I am going to look like such a fruitcake.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #290 on: October 18, 2018, 10:24:45 AM »
My commute's getting easier each day! At this point I'm clumsier about actually getting together everything I need than I am about the biking process. Yesterday it took me nearly as long to get out the door - kept having to go back for something I forgot - as it did to actually get to work.

Pack everything in your bag the night before.  Inflate your tires, put your lights and bottle* on your bike.  Then in the morning you just grab your bag and go.

* Don't do this when the temperature dips below frreezing.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #291 on: October 18, 2018, 11:58:45 AM »
I've already had a bike light stolen - I won't be putting that on the night before! My bike is in the garage 3 stories below my apartment. There's a lock on the bike room, but anyone from my complex could get access to it. (The bike is, of course, locked to a rack inside the locked room.)

I think more likely I can pack my bag the night before including with my light, water bottle, bungee net, and keys in it. Then rummage around in the morning to put them all in the right places on the bike.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #292 on: October 18, 2018, 01:16:54 PM »
I've already had a bike light stolen - I won't be putting that on the night before! My bike is in the garage 3 stories below my apartment. There's a lock on the bike room, but anyone from my complex could get access to it. (The bike is, of course, locked to a rack inside the locked room.)

I think more likely I can pack my bag the night before including with my light, water bottle, bungee net, and keys in it. Then rummage around in the morning to put them all in the right places on the bike.

Yeah, I was thinking more like in my garage.  Never leave stuff in a publicly accessible area.  Be very careful to lock your bike so that the wheels on QR skewers or QR seat posts can't be removed and stolen as well  . . . replacing a rear wheel is painfully expensive.

Just make a habit of leaving all your bike crap in the same location (ideally near the door) in your apartment then.  Same location is super important because it develops into a habit that you don't even have to think about.  When you're missing something it will scream out at you (front light is not to the left of my helmet!) after a while of doing this.

Freedomin5

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #293 on: October 18, 2018, 04:48:44 PM »
How much were your ebikes, if you donít mind sharing? I havenít priced any out yet as I still have 5 months to use this one. This one is really nice and apparently costs something like $4k. I find myself debating about the cost, and whether I can justify it for taking me off the road four days a week. But then again if I frame it as my mental and physical health, perhaps the numbers donít have to add up? I do feel so wonderful on days I bike.

My prices wonít apply to you, since Iím in China. I paid about $350 for my basic Chinese ebike. They do sell the exact same bike in the US for around $1000. The global (non-Chinese) website is https://www.uma.com/en

ETA: The English website is translated quite poorly. If in the off chance you can read Chinese, the site is https://www.uma.com.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 04:53:12 PM by Freedomin5 »

slipslop

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #294 on: October 18, 2018, 10:30:54 PM »
Just started week 2 of my first regular bike commute. It's a 5-mile commute with some great bike lanes on roads that aren't too scary. I'm on a hand-me-down bike, but I managed to adjust the rear derailleur so that I can get all 7 of the rear gears working. (Of course the chain fell off my front gears today, so that may be a fix for tomorrow.)

But new achievements every day. Yesterday I discovered that it hurts a lot less if I sit further back on my seat. Today I hit 16.5mph on a straightaway. A few days ago I started to feel stable enough that I'm not gripping the handlebars in terror for the whole ride. So far so good.

hadabeardonce

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #295 on: October 18, 2018, 11:13:18 PM »
Just started week 2 of my first regular bike commute. It's a 5-mile commute with some great bike lanes on roads that aren't too scary. I'm on a hand-me-down bike, but I managed to adjust the rear derailleur so that I can get all 7 of the rear gears working. (Of course the chain fell off my front gears today, so that may be a fix for tomorrow.)

But new achievements every day. Yesterday I discovered that it hurts a lot less if I sit further back on my seat. Today I hit 16.5mph on a straightaway. A few days ago I started to feel stable enough that I'm not gripping the handlebars in terror for the whole ride. So far so good.
Awesome!

https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.

slipslop

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #296 on: October 19, 2018, 05:54:38 AM »
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look.

I suspect that I'm having a couple of problems, which I'm slowly figuring out (much thanks to this thread, in fact.) The first was some chafing. I've started wearing bike shorts as underwear and that seems to help. The other problem is perineum soreness, and I think it's that I'm sitting too far forward on the saddle. When I push myself backwards, onto my buttocks, I'm much more comfortable. I'll likely try making some saddle adjustments over the weekend to see if I can push myself into a better position.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #297 on: October 19, 2018, 07:06:05 AM »
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look.

I suspect that I'm having a couple of problems, which I'm slowly figuring out (much thanks to this thread, in fact.) The first was some chafing. I've started wearing bike shorts as underwear and that seems to help. The other problem is perineum soreness, and I think it's that I'm sitting too far forward on the saddle. When I push myself backwards, onto my buttocks, I'm much more comfortable. I'll likely try making some saddle adjustments over the weekend to see if I can push myself into a better position.

If you find yourself sliding forward in the saddle, it's possible that you've got your saddle tilted with the nose slightly down.  Try to level it out a bit and see if that improves things.  It's also possible that your saddle is set a bit too far back on the rails (or that your stem is too long) if you find that you naturally feel like you want to sit at the nose all the time.  Try moving the saddle forward a few millimeters or putting on a shorter stem if this is the case.

Raenia

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #298 on: October 19, 2018, 08:46:11 AM »
After a few setbacks, I finally got the bike out again yesterday to run errands.  My rear light had broken and I wasn't comfortable riding without a light on my roads, but I finally ordered a new one.  I should be able to set up a crate on the rack, as well, which will hopefully be more comfortable than riding with a backpack.  I've also figured out that part of why it feels like it takes just as long to bike as to walk, is actually just getting the bike outside - we don't have a bike rack at our apartment building, which means I have to keep it in the storage locker in the basement.  Every time I want to bike, I have to go down, unlock the storage area, unlock our locker, pull the bike out, relock everything, haul it up a flight of stairs and out the door, and then I can finally walk it to the curb and get on.  Then the whole thing in reverse when I get back - open the main door with my keyfob, hold the door from closing while lifting the bike over the step/threshold, carry it down the stairs, etc.  It's a massive pain in the ass, but I don't think I have any better option right now.  I'll just have to push through the annoyance until we move next year.

In other news, riding in the cold sucks!  I need to get some gloves, and possibly grab a scarf to keep my neck warmer next time.

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #299 on: October 19, 2018, 08:49:21 AM »
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look.

I suspect that I'm having a couple of problems, which I'm slowly figuring out (much thanks to this thread, in fact.) The first was some chafing. I've started wearing bike shorts as underwear and that seems to help. The other problem is perineum soreness, and I think it's that I'm sitting too far forward on the saddle. When I push myself backwards, onto my buttocks, I'm much more comfortable. I'll likely try making some saddle adjustments over the weekend to see if I can push myself into a better position.
Not to delve too deeply into sensitive topics, but I want to ask about not wearing underwear with bike shorts. A friend of mine strongly discouraged me from wearing underwear and alluded to all sorts of disastrous consequences if I did. I only have one pair right now and don’t do laundry every day, so I’ve been wearing underwear. Is that going to lead to gangrene and losing important bits of my body or something equally catastrophic?