Author Topic: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat  (Read 25849 times)

Villanelle

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #350 on: October 27, 2018, 09:56:57 PM »
My plan to avoid the right hook is to be painfully slow.  lol

sixwings

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #351 on: October 27, 2018, 10:46:37 PM »
Yeah I'm always super careful about cars turning right, any car slowing down I'll start to watch for any signs they may be turning. I also bike pretty slowly, dont have my feet clipped into my pedals, and generally am very defensive. I've never had a problem or really even a close call and I bike 30-40km a day.

I have a friend who has been in 3 accidents, all from the right turn hook. He is a very fast, aggressive cyclist. He also does a lot of stupid stuff like cycle around stopped cars at stop lights so he doesnt have to unclip his feet from his pedals, etc. Don't be like him.

SeaKayEl

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #352 on: October 28, 2018, 09:36:07 AM »
Re: the right hook.  My take is drivers committing the hook (or near hook) arenít accustomed to cyclists riding at ďroad bikeĒ speed.  They underestimate the speed the cyclist is moving and think they can safely make the turn without a conflict.  Iíve seen it happen multiple times where the driver has the ďoh sh1tĒ look when they realize the cyclist is still next to them when they try to make the turn. The only way to prevent it is to be aware of your surroundings.

The other way to avoid it is to never pass a vehicle on the right when it's slowing or signalling at an intersection.  At intersections shoulder check, and if it's clear pass the vehicle on the left (or come to a stop and wait if it's not safe to do so).

I would never do that.  I see the right hook situation happen when an impatient motorist passes a cyclist then slows down to make a right turn.  By the time they are ready to make the turn, the cyclist has already caught up to them.

This just happened to me last week.  A car sped past me, beeped (I'm assuming to get my attention), and then turned into their driveway at a fast speed.  I could hardly believe it!

slipslop

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #353 on: October 28, 2018, 09:41:27 AM »
I find that I'm paranoid enough that I'm ringing my bike bell almost constantly, even around my fairly easy commute:
  • Car is parked but has brake lights on and I'm going to pass? Ring.
  • Car is out of my path but reversing into a parking space on my right? Ring.
  • Car is approaching an intersection and hasn't made eye contact? Ring.
  • Car is approaching an intersection and there are cars parked to my front, right, and I might not be very visible? Ring.
  • Car is approaching an intersection and looks like they intend to do only a "rolling stop" anywhere near me? Ring.
  • Car looks like it might make a right turn but doesn't have a signal on as I approach the intersection? Ring.
  • Passing any stopped delivery vehicle? Ring.

Part of me feels like I'm being really annoying. Part of me feels like it's helpful just to remind people that I'm there on the road with them.

katscratch

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #354 on: October 28, 2018, 11:42:57 AM »
I pretty much just assume no car driver ever can see me and adjust my speed/direction accordingly :)  I find that on my beefy cargo bike I get a lot more room in the lane from cars, but I also tend to ride a lot faster than on my 'regular' bike, so intersections are dicier as drivers don't expect my speed.


Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #355 on: October 28, 2018, 01:59:21 PM »
I find that I'm paranoid enough that I'm ringing my bike bell almost constantly, even around my fairly easy commute:
  • Car is parked but has brake lights on and I'm going to pass? Ring.
  • Car is out of my path but reversing into a parking space on my right? Ring.
  • Car is approaching an intersection and hasn't made eye contact? Ring.
  • Car is approaching an intersection and there are cars parked to my front, right, and I might not be very visible? Ring.
  • Car is approaching an intersection and looks like they intend to do only a "rolling stop" anywhere near me? Ring.
  • Car looks like it might make a right turn but doesn't have a signal on as I approach the intersection? Ring.
  • Passing any stopped delivery vehicle? Ring.

Part of me feels like I'm being really annoying. Part of me feels like it's helpful just to remind people that I'm there on the road with them.

Remember that only you are hearing every single one of those rings. A cyclist ringing a bell to catch your attention shouldn't be annoying to any reasonable driver.

I find I am still intimidated each morning by the fact that I have to BIKE to work, but the ride itself is more pleasant each time. On Friday I rode through a lovely mist on campus. Though, is there a trick for preventing my glasses from fogging up when I stop? I don't think it was the mist causing it - I think it's the heat/sweat off my face.

If we wouldn't mind returning the conversation to crotches... I have been biking in yoga pants and underwear. No problems so far. Am I tempting fate? I'm a lady, if that's relevant...

katscratch

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #356 on: October 28, 2018, 03:45:30 PM »
If your body and your bits are fine in the gear you're using, carry on :)

I have friends who wear jeans to commute year round. For myself it depends on the bike saddle and how long I'm riding.

My regular glasses get too fogged up at stoplights from now until next summer. It's definitely the heat from my face. I wear sunglasses (with an amber lens for low light) that I already have or ski goggles once it's colder - they both are vented at the eyebrow to prevent fogging. I'm sure there are better solutions (like clear non-fog lab glasses bought cheap online) but that's what I've already got on hand.

TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #357 on: October 28, 2018, 08:11:30 PM »
Slide your glasses a tad further down your nose, so they're further away from your face. Then when you exhale, blow out through your mouth and kind of down towards your chest.

When that's not enough, just wipe them off with your fingers.

Re crotches: I find I can wear whatever I want; until I can't. Once a saddle sore appears, it takes months to go away. However, it may just be an age issue. I never used to have this problem when I was younger.

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #358 on: October 29, 2018, 09:15:47 AM »
Flat tire this morning!
$&%#£€¥?!!

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #359 on: October 29, 2018, 09:28:28 AM »
The other way to avoid it is to never pass a vehicle on the right when it's slowing or signalling at an intersection.  At intersections shoulder check, and if it's clear pass the vehicle on the left (or come to a stop and wait if it's not safe to do so).
I agree that if the vehicle is slowing without a signal indicating that they will turn left, you should be very cautious about passing on the right. If they are signaling a right turn, do not pass on right without clear eye contact with the driver assuring that they are waiting for you. I try to always take my right of way when it is safe to do so as it avoids delaying responsible drivers who know and follow the rules of the road.

I find it most difficult time to avoid this problem when passing cars that are accelerating after waiting at a red light but still going slow enough to execute the turn. If they aren't signaling, there no indication that they might not be proceeding straight until they are actually moving across your path.

TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #360 on: October 29, 2018, 09:38:19 AM »
Flat tire this morning!
$&%#£Ä•?!!

Drat! But you had the stuff to fix it and know what to do, right?

Two weeks ago I got a flat too. Someone had helpfully sprinkled drywall screws in the bike lane for about 500m worth of my commute. So not only was I late because I had to fix a flat, I also spent 20 minutes picking up all those screws so I won't get a flat every day for the next 6 months.

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #361 on: October 29, 2018, 09:57:14 AM »
Two weeks ago I got a flat too. Someone had helpfully sprinkled drywall screws in the bike lane for about 500m worth of my commute. So not only was I late because I had to fix a flat, I also spent 20 minutes picking up all those screws so I won't get a flat every day for the next 6 months.
I once identified a particular part of my commute where I was regularly picking up staples in my tire (my solution was to change my route - your solution was much better for the world).

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #362 on: October 29, 2018, 11:22:58 AM »
Flat tire this morning!
$&%#£€¥?!!

Drat! But you had the stuff to fix it and know what to do, right?

Two weeks ago I got a flat too. Someone had helpfully sprinkled drywall screws in the bike lane for about 500m worth of my commute. So not only was I late because I had to fix a flat, I also spent 20 minutes picking up all those screws so I won't get a flat every day for the next 6 months.
Oh jeez, that is horrible.

I tried pumping it up but it was dead. I threw it in my car and took it to the bike repair place at work. They told us at orientation that the ebikes are such that you pretty much need to be able to put it up on a stand to change a flat, so they recommended bringing them in instead. I was running late by then and am happy to let them change it for me while I work.

I woke up in a funk and really needed that bike to work this morning to work out the bad juju. Tomorrow!

Arbitrage

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #363 on: October 29, 2018, 02:39:30 PM »
I really need to force myself to change a flat at home, such that I'm not doing it for the first time in the cold/dark on the side of the road.  I keep saying it, but haven't facepunched myself into doing it yet.  The rear wheel in particular looks to be somewhat of a nightmare for my hub-mounted e-bike, and at this point I'm not quite sure I'd be able to do it.  I have the tools/tube, but it still looks like a bear.

Ok.  Going to do the front one this weekend.  Accountability and stuff.  Depending on the results of that, will schedule up a rear tire practice down the (figurative!) road.

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #364 on: October 29, 2018, 04:48:13 PM »
I really need to force myself to change a flat at home, such that I'm not doing it for the first time in the cold/dark on the side of the road.  I keep saying it, but haven't facepunched myself into doing it yet.  The rear wheel in particular looks to be somewhat of a nightmare for my hub-mounted e-bike, and at this point I'm not quite sure I'd be able to do it.  I have the tools/tube, but it still looks like a bear.

Ok.  Going to do the front one this weekend.  Accountability and stuff.  Depending on the results of that, will schedule up a rear tire practice down the (figurative!) road.
The bad news is that rear tires get punctured more frequently than front (in my experience much more frequently). One explanation is that a sharp object may be lying flat on the ground, but disturbed by the front tire ends up pointy side up when the rear tire rolls over. Learning to take both wheels on/off is important.

On normal bikes dealing with the chain/derailleur makes the process slightly harder than the front, but I'd be surprised if it is very difficult to deal with the motor's wiring connection. A stand to hold the bike would certainly be nicer than flipping the bike over onto its handlebars and saddle, especially with the extra weight of the battery / motor and with electronic controls on the handlebar. I suppose you could disconnect everything you need to disconnect with the bike upright, then carefully lay the bike on its right side to take the wheel off.

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #365 on: October 29, 2018, 08:27:14 PM »
At 55lb it is kind of a beast to manhandle. I managed to get it into and out of my little car, but barely.

Luckily I got the bike repair shop at work to take a look. They replaced the rear tire as it was apparently shot. I suppose 1000+ miles on a tire will do that.

I can only imagine how interesting my 1 year-old would find a half-dissembled bike. ;)

slipslop

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #366 on: October 29, 2018, 10:38:55 PM »
Tried a new shower room at work today. It is much nicer than the one I was using before. It's got several little personal changing areas + showers. Of course, I have the problem that I get water everywhere when showering, so my stuff ends up getting all wet... Somehow have to re-learn how to shower so that it doesn't look like I've flooded the room when I leave...

carozy

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #367 on: October 29, 2018, 11:17:10 PM »
Hi, I'm joining.  Lots of good info here.  I'm just starting to commute by bike for my current job (used to commute for my previous job over a year ago, but that was only 1/2 an hour bike ride).  It's 9.5 miles which is long for me.  I took my heavy ebike and managed it in 53 minutes this morning.  It was fun and the time went by fast.  Better than sitting in traffic!  I'll see if I can keep this up.  I wish I had a bit more scenic route, but at least there were long stretches of good bike lanes and what hills there were were easily managed with the ebike.

DS

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #368 on: October 30, 2018, 07:52:37 AM »
Tried a new shower room at work today. It is much nicer than the one I was using before. It's got several little personal changing areas + showers. Of course, I have the problem that I get water everywhere when showering, so my stuff ends up getting all wet... Somehow have to re-learn how to shower so that it doesn't look like I've flooded the room when I leave...

How clean is the floor? Do you put your towel down on the floor to step on when you get out? Dries the feet and the floor at the same time.

Money Badger

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #369 on: October 30, 2018, 08:11:32 PM »
Keep up the good work Freedomin5!

On my quest, the old bike has been upgraded!   New derailleur to fix the slipping gears, brakes, tires, a rear rack that will hold panniers if I get really motivated about this and a kick-ass USB-rechargeable headlight (thanks GuitarStv) plus a new MIPS helmet.   Promised myself this would have to do until I drop 20 lbs and get my fitness level up to where it needs to be...   Last bit is the cold weather bar mitts.   Then my reward will be a new ride in 6 months or so after I see how the bike (and my motivation) hold up through the winter months.

First real ride after the upgrades went great!   Just 6 and a half miles with decent hills and 50/50 gravel/paved roads averaged just under 10MPH (bike is NOT a higher end bike, nor am I a higher end fitness level (yet ;-)).    First ride with significant road traffic (thankfully in an area used to bikers) so that was educational for sure...   Now added rear view mirrors to bike and helmet to avoid pooping myself with the folks who come up behind quietly, then FLOOR IT when going by...   Fitness level and riding style lessons abounded as well...  Hit a wall on the tougher hill section, but then really recovered with a 2nd kick to finish up the last 2.5 miles.   Now also a Strava site user to keep up the stats, improve and build some cred' there.   Keepin' on, keepin' on!

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #370 on: October 30, 2018, 11:28:05 PM »
Keep up the good work Freedomin5!

On my quest, the old bike has been upgraded!   New derailleur to fix the slipping gears, brakes, tires, a rear rack that will hold panniers if I get really motivated about this and a kick-ass USB-rechargeable headlight (thanks GuitarStv) plus a new MIPS helmet.   Promised myself this would have to do until I drop 20 lbs and get my fitness level up to where it needs to be...   Last bit is the cold weather bar mitts.   Then my reward will be a new ride in 6 months or so after I see how the bike (and my motivation) hold up through the winter months.

First real ride after the upgrades went great!   Just 6 and a half miles with decent hills and 50/50 gravel/paved roads averaged just under 10MPH (bike is NOT a higher end bike, nor am I a higher end fitness level (yet ;-)).    First ride with significant road traffic (thankfully in an area used to bikers) so that was educational for sure...   Now added rear view mirrors to bike and helmet to avoid pooping myself with the folks who come up behind quietly, then FLOOR IT when going by...   Fitness level and riding style lessons abounded as well...  Hit a wall on the tougher hill section, but then really recovered with a 2nd kick to finish up the last 2.5 miles.   Now also a Strava site user to keep up the stats, improve and build some cred' there.   Keepin' on, keepin' on!
Congrats! You sound pumped. :)

I got to ride again today after my flat which felt great. I also got to try this mega-dorky brim I added to my helmet to block the afternoon sun. It was effective and didn’t blow off, so successful.

slipslop

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #371 on: October 31, 2018, 02:16:08 AM »
How clean is the floor? Do you put your towel down on the floor to step on when you get out? Dries the feet and the floor at the same time.

Did exactly that this morning and somehow managed to fling water slightly less far than yesterday.

Also I changed my first flat since I started riding yesterday morning.

secondchance

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #372 on: November 02, 2018, 07:27:44 PM »
Slight setback ... I rode most of the month, but my brakes were slowly going and my newfound confidence in traffic began outstripping my braking power.  So, I fixed my brakes and made them SUPER snug. 

The next week I got cut off by a taxi, hit my brand new brakes, and went down hard. 😂 I'm fine but busted my knee (and various other parts) pretty good.  That was Tuesday night and I'm still limping.  Hoping to be back on the bike for Monday.

I did get up and finish my ride home 💪

I was scared this would put me off riding, but taking the subway in my convalescence just makes me miss it even more.  I vow to be more careful with my brakes and my routes! I was coming from an unfamiliar place and ended up having my accident on a dangerous stretch of road I could have avoided.

Be careful out there and stay warm ❤

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #373 on: November 03, 2018, 12:19:13 AM »
Biked to work every day this week! And biked home 4 out of 5. Me and the bike got a ride home from a coworker when lab dinner kept us there past dark.

The repetition made it a little harder - each day I was a little more tired than the day before - but I assume that effect will fade with practice.

Glad you're okay, @secondchance.

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #374 on: November 03, 2018, 07:46:27 AM »
Glad you are okay as well.

I biked four of five days this week a FI am still physically wiped out. That was at least my third week biking so I am not sure why it is still doing that to me. It doesn’t help that work has been crazy so I’ve had a lot of late nights. Those should be done for a little while though as of last night.

Freedomin5

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #375 on: November 03, 2018, 08:36:01 AM »
Yeah, me too, and Iíve been biking 3-4 times per week since August! I think itís because Iíve been pedaling more rather than depending on the electric assist on my ebike. Legs are kind of sore now.

I used to worry about being stinky and sweaty when I got to work, but guess what? No one actually cares, and apparently I donít actually stink that bad. At least no one has commented or gagged or run screaming from my office. I havenít even used the wipes that I carry in my bag in about a month.

TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #376 on: November 03, 2018, 09:23:55 AM »
The trick to not feeling gassed by Friday is to get fitter than you need to be for commuting. So if you can do some sort of cross training on the weekend it'll help.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #377 on: November 03, 2018, 06:51:58 PM »
The trick to not feeling gassed by Friday is to get fitter than you need to be for commuting. So if you can do some sort of cross training on the weekend it'll help.

Monday - No coffee
Tuesday - Half a cup of coffee
Wednesday - Big cup of coffee
Thursday - Double espresso
Friday - Three double espressos


:P

Money Badger

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #378 on: November 04, 2018, 05:45:38 PM »
Lessons learned in biking this weekend by "a friend"... 

Don't inflate your new tires w/intertubes on your bike with a full sized power air compressor and a car tire gauge that isn't very precise...

It is possible to get a "bad" replacement intertube with a bad valve that won't inflate with any form of air source or multiple air nozzles (or amount of colorful language for good measure).   

Having a buddy who owns a bike shop will easily address both issues above... but will involve a lot of laughing at your expense.

Buying a nice quality bike tire air pump with a pressure gauge that on both common types of air valves (Schrader & Presta) is worth every penny to avoid all 3 lessons above!    Yes, all these things were learned by that person.  ;)

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #379 on: November 04, 2018, 07:34:26 PM »
I've requested a pump with a pressure gauge for Christmas. (In my family there is a moratorium on buying things for yourself at this time of year.) Right now I just have a hand pump.

runbikerun

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #380 on: November 05, 2018, 10:14:03 AM »
A proper track pump makes a colossal difference. It takes about twenty seconds to get a road bike tyre to 80psi, as opposed to the effectively infinite length of time it takes to do the same thing with a portable pump.

never give up

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #381 on: November 05, 2018, 10:17:47 AM »
Yes and they can be used on the car too, rather than trusting unreliable garage air machines. A track pump is well worth it for someone regularly cycling.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #382 on: November 05, 2018, 10:21:09 AM »
Yes and they can be used on the car too, rather than trusting unreliable garage air machines. A track pump is well worth it for someone regularly cycling.

I've been pumping my car's tires with my track pump for years now.  It's a good workout and saves me a dollar + trip to the gas station for air.

:P

TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #383 on: November 05, 2018, 10:30:54 AM »
So I managed to bike slightly more kms in October than in September. Just an extra 300m, but it felt like a pretty big accomplishment considering I lost an entire week early in the month after my back seized up. It's still not 100%, but at least I can get around again.

Another milestone is that when I was inflating the tires on my grocery trailer this weekend before heading to the store, I noticed both tires were pretty bald. The rubber was completely worn away in a couple spots. So, new tires were added to my list and will get installed this week. Bought the trailer in already well used condition, but I'm still impressed it's been used enough to wear out the tires.

never give up

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #384 on: November 05, 2018, 11:08:03 AM »
Yes and they can be used on the car too, rather than trusting unreliable garage air machines. A track pump is well worth it for someone regularly cycling.

I've been pumping my car's tires with my track pump for years now.  It's a good workout and saves me a dollar + trip to the gas station for air.

:P

Yes me too. I remember seeing some report that here in the U.K. 75% of all garage air machines are hugely inaccurate to the point you could be 15-20% out from what you think youíve put in. I was horrified, but had been using my track pump for several years by that point and vowed to use it on my car forever more. Youíre right, when all four tyres need filling itís a terrific workout.

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #385 on: November 05, 2018, 11:24:53 AM »
Not to work, but biking in general.

We went on a family ride yesterday with the two Littles in the trailer behind my ebike. They are getting pretty good about being okay back there. We ply them with books and snacks and water and then I got to listen to the big one tell me all the way hoke how the little one dumped her Cheerios all over the floor of the trailer. Whatevs, kiddo. I am rich. I can buy you more Cheerios! :)

Seriously though, my husband and I feel so great when we do these outings and I figure it is teaching the kids to suck it up and learn to appreciate with us.

Biking to work this morning was different with the time change. The sun was up so much higher that there were a lot more bicyclists on the roads and trails than I am used to seeing.

haflander

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #386 on: November 05, 2018, 12:15:47 PM »
I'm ecstatic to be officially joining this thread, woo! It's more for accountability with myself vs anything else. I'm in the application process for an apt that's 1.5 miles away from work. My plan is to walk on nice days, bike in hot/cold weather (or if in a hurry), and avoid driving to/from work as much as possible. I'll be moving at the end of this month, which is great timing because I can get acclimated to the weather before our semi-Winter begins, probably in January. Previous driving commute was only 10 miles but usually 30 minutes due to a bazillion stop lights, drivers, and no decent alternative. It'll be beyond awesome to exchange that drive with a walk and get there in about the same time or less! Way less on biking days!!

Route is only two roads and possibly a short trail for a shortcut (need to investigate). The last half is on a road that goes under a busy tollway and keeps on going right to my office building, including a little bike rack in the parking garage. Both roads have four lanes and big sidewalks, but a lot of entrances/exits for apts and offices that will necessitate wariness and caution. BONUS/HAZARD (not sure, maybe you can tell me?): right around halfway is an elementary school with school zone limits. My first thought was that this would help cars be more aware of pedestrians/bikers...then I thought that it might be a net negative if there's a lot of traffic and angry late parents zooming in their Tahoes. I live right next to an elementary school now and definitely avoid walking the dog in that time/area. JACKPOT: office building also has a gym with nice showers. Idk if walking to work would break a sweat in the morning, but I'll have showers if necessary. I guess the plan for now whether biking or walking is to use a backpack to bring clothes and then change at work.

I know ya'll are probably thinking I'm so spoiled and lucky with a microscopic commute. However, I'm really inspired by reading about your legit biking commutes and want to use your words here to help my resolve when it's cold/rainy. Happy to join the club.

Only 1 ? for now...what time do ya'll bike? What are the optimal times to avoid rush hour drivers? My office is pretty flexible on schedule. For example, my cube neighbor gets here early (not sure when) and leaves at 3 everyday!! wtf?!

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #387 on: November 05, 2018, 12:21:46 PM »
How fantastic that will be! I am one who tends to get in around 7:30 and leaves at 16:00 on the dot. In my old industry getting in by 7:00 was completely normal and no one blinked an eye at starting your work day at 6:00. Being on the road closer to 8:00 for me means many more cars and bikes on the road and more red lights.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #388 on: November 05, 2018, 01:17:17 PM »
Biking to work this morning was different with the time change. The sun was up so much higher that there were a lot more bicyclists on the roads and trails than I am used to seeing.

I got up an hour earlier. Or rather, I got up at the same time and everyone else got up an hour later. Far less traffic and no lost sleep.

I know ya'll are probably thinking I'm so spoiled and lucky with a microscopic commute. However, I'm really inspired by reading about your legit biking commutes and want to use your words here to help my resolve when it's cold/rainy. Happy to join the club.

This thread is for people starting out on biking to work. There is no commute too easy for inclusion. :)

TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #389 on: November 05, 2018, 02:18:23 PM »
I'm ecstatic to be officially joining this thread, woo! It's more for accountability with myself vs anything else. I'm in the application process for an apt that's 1.5 miles away from work. My plan is to walk on nice days, bike in hot/cold weather (or if in a hurry), and avoid driving to/from work as much as possible. I'll be moving at the end of this month, which is great timing because I can get acclimated to the weather before our semi-Winter begins, probably in January. Previous driving commute was only 10 miles but usually 30 minutes due to a bazillion stop lights, drivers, and no decent alternative. It'll be beyond awesome to exchange that drive with a walk and get there in about the same time or less! Way less on biking days!!

Route is only two roads and possibly a short trail for a shortcut (need to investigate). The last half is on a road that goes under a busy tollway and keeps on going right to my office building, including a little bike rack in the parking garage. Both roads have four lanes and big sidewalks, but a lot of entrances/exits for apts and offices that will necessitate wariness and caution. BONUS/HAZARD (not sure, maybe you can tell me?): right around halfway is an elementary school with school zone limits. My first thought was that this would help cars be more aware of pedestrians/bikers...then I thought that it might be a net negative if there's a lot of traffic and angry late parents zooming in their Tahoes. I live right next to an elementary school now and definitely avoid walking the dog in that time/area. JACKPOT: office building also has a gym with nice showers. Idk if walking to work would break a sweat in the morning, but I'll have showers if necessary. I guess the plan for now whether biking or walking is to use a backpack to bring clothes and then change at work.

I know ya'll are probably thinking I'm so spoiled and lucky with a microscopic commute. However, I'm really inspired by reading about your legit biking commutes and want to use your words here to help my resolve when it's cold/rainy. Happy to join the club.

Only 1 ? for now...what time do ya'll bike? What are the optimal times to avoid rush hour drivers? My office is pretty flexible on schedule. For example, my cube neighbor gets here early (not sure when) and leaves at 3 everyday!! wtf?!

Rush hour in my town lasts for several hours, so avoiding it requires unreasonable time shifts. However, I actually prefer riding when the roads are nearly gridlocked vs when cars are moving faster. A big chunk of my commute is on a 2-3 lane highway with a nice wide shoulder. When traffic's at a near standsill, it's feels safer because of the low speed. Not sure what it's like in TX, but you may find something similar.

If you choose to ride on the sidewalk (I assume there's no bike lane or shoulder on the road) you're right to be very careful at each of those driveways. Those are what make riding on the sidewalk dangerous.

School zones are a mixed bag. Great that traffic is generally moving more slowly, but there are tons of distractions (kids everywhere) for both you and drivers. Plus, there's likely to be a lot of cars pulling in/out all around the school as kids get dropped off. School zones are only an issue for me in the morning because I don't leave the office till after the school zones are all cleared out for the day.

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #390 on: November 05, 2018, 11:04:00 PM »
Another flat! Thankfully this was only four blocks from home, but damn.

Grump grump grump.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #391 on: November 06, 2018, 07:52:09 AM »
Iíve officially biked over 1000km, according to the odometer on the bike! Havenít had any issues with the bike yet (knock on wood) but the brakes are a little wonky. One side is closer to the wheel than the other side and I donít know how to center it back. They still work and I donít bike fast (average 20km/hr) so Iím just making do for now.

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #392 on: November 06, 2018, 08:47:41 AM »
Iíve officially biked over 1000km, according to the odometer on the bike! Havenít had any issues with the bike yet (knock on wood) but the brakes are a little wonky. One side is closer to the wheel than the other side and I donít know how to center it back. They still work and I donít bike fast (average 20km/hr) so Iím just making do for now.
The good news is that when the brakes squeeze the rim they should self center on the rim so the brakes being off center when they are open should not cause braking power issues. If your wheel is true enough that you're not rubbing the closer break pad then there's not much harm to leaving it as is; however, if you can center your brakes, you could improve brake responsiveness by setting your open brake position to have a smaller overall gap from the rim. If the brake pad is rubbing the rim when you're not applying your brakes you are robbing yourself of power and wearing out your brake pad, so you should address the issue. One likely cause of the brake not retracting evenly is that the pivot points are starting to get gunked up and should be cleaned and lubed. It is also possible that the spring tension to pull the brakes away from the rim is not even (there are usually adjustment screws near the pivot points to adjust spring tension).

Freedomin5

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #393 on: November 06, 2018, 03:34:49 PM »
Iíve officially biked over 1000km, according to the odometer on the bike! Havenít had any issues with the bike yet (knock on wood) but the brakes are a little wonky. One side is closer to the wheel than the other side and I donít know how to center it back. They still work and I donít bike fast (average 20km/hr) so Iím just making do for now.
The good news is that when the brakes squeeze the rim they should self center on the rim so the brakes being off center when they are open should not cause braking power issues. If your wheel is true enough that you're not rubbing the closer break pad then there's not much harm to leaving it as is; however, if you can center your brakes, you could improve brake responsiveness by setting your open brake position to have a smaller overall gap from the rim. If the brake pad is rubbing the rim when you're not applying your brakes you are robbing yourself of power and wearing out your brake pad, so you should address the issue. One likely cause of the brake not retracting evenly is that the pivot points are starting to get gunked up and should be cleaned and lubed. It is also possible that the spring tension to pull the brakes away from the rim is not even (there are usually adjustment screws near the pivot points to adjust spring tension).

@robartsd  Thanks, this is helpful! The brake pads are not touching the wheel (unless I squeeze the brakes), so I guess Iím okay. I do have a total noob question though ó what is a pivot point? Iíd like to try to clean/adjust the brake, but all the how-to websites refer to the pivot point, and I donít know which part of the brake it is.

singpolyma

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #394 on: November 06, 2018, 03:40:25 PM »
Iíve officially biked over 1000km, according to the odometer on the bike! Havenít had any issues with the bike yet (knock on wood) but the brakes are a little wonky. One side is closer to the wheel than the other side and I donít know how to center it back. They still work and I donít bike fast (average 20km/hr) so Iím just making do for now.
The good news is that when the brakes squeeze the rim they should self center on the rim so the brakes being off center when they are open should not cause braking power issues. If your wheel is true enough that you're not rubbing the closer break pad then there's not much harm to leaving it as is; however, if you can center your brakes, you could improve brake responsiveness by setting your open brake position to have a smaller overall gap from the rim. If the brake pad is rubbing the rim when you're not applying your brakes you are robbing yourself of power and wearing out your brake pad, so you should address the issue. One likely cause of the brake not retracting evenly is that the pivot points are starting to get gunked up and should be cleaned and lubed. It is also possible that the spring tension to pull the brakes away from the rim is not even (there are usually adjustment screws near the pivot points to adjust spring tension).

Is it not just a likely that the wheel is off-true? When my v-brake bikes start rubbing, that's usually the cause. Easy to fix on your own, still.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #395 on: November 07, 2018, 03:36:30 AM »
Hello friends! Very newbie cyclist here. Last week I rode in to work (8km) on Thursday morning, left my bike at work over the weekend then rode it home Monday afternoon. Tuesday I rode it to work and home. Today I caught the bus, tomorrow I hope to ride depending on weather and tushie-tenderness.
I have booked in for a half-day riding course run by the council to brush up on my road rules (no car for the last three years and in this new city you must ride on the road not the path, heavy fines apply) and make sure that all my google-fu as to the road rules are what they are teaching.
Any tips for making the cars less mad at you? (or maybe caring less?) People are beeping at me, or overtaking me without moving fully into the other lane (moving over just half into the lane and zooming past me in the middle of my lane close enough to touch if I stretched out my hand) and it's unsettling... I almost want to get a shirt with this logo or stick it to my backpack or something...
but would they read it? Doubt it...

Question: Do you have a video camera (like a dashcam) on your bike in case of accidents? If I get smooshed I feel like my parents will want to know who did it...

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #396 on: November 07, 2018, 07:06:44 AM »
Any tips for making the cars less mad at you? (or maybe caring less?)

If you're cycling sensibly (don't weave all over the road, don't be overly aggressive, signal your lane changes well in advance, use lights and reflectors at night, stop at traffic lights/stop signs, etc.), most drivers are going to be pretty reasonable.  You'll always get a few folks who are having a bad day and see you as a vulnerable person that they can take out their problems on.  Honestly, there's not too much that you can do beyond taking a moment to try and figure out if maybe you did something that triggered their anger, and then letting it go.



People are beeping at me

Some people will go behind you and honk because they incorrectly believe that this is safer (by letting you know that they are there before they pass I guess?).  Not much you can do about this, beyond keep your cool and just ignore it.



overtaking me without moving fully into the other lane

You can try cycling further towards the middle of the lane, rather than staying as far to the right as possible.  There's some kind of psychological thing that goes on that makes a person driving really, really, really, not want to cross over the line into the next lane.  Often if you're cycling really far to the right, cars will pass you very closely in order to stay in the same lane as you.  When you ride a foot or two from the right you get more room to maneuver around obstacles (potholes/debris), but more importantly, it forces a car to cross that line and exit the lane in order to pass you.  Most cars don't care about close passing a cyclist, but are loathe to put a cyclist sized dent in their vehicle.  :P

almost want to get a shirt with this logo or stick it to my backpack or something

Unfortunately, the kind of person who is a dick to a cyclist isn't likely to change their behaviour by reading something on a cyclists back.



Question: Do you have a video camera (like a dashcam) on your bike in case of accidents? If I get smooshed I feel like my parents will want to know who did it...

Nope.  I don't think there's any real utility in having a camera while cycling.  Having a record of the accident doesn't prevent the accident, which is what you really want.

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #397 on: November 07, 2018, 08:57:17 AM »
Question: Do you have a video camera (like a dashcam) on your bike in case of accidents? If I get smooshed I feel like my parents will want to know who did it...

Nope.  I don't think there's any real utility in having a camera while cycling.  Having a record of the accident doesn't prevent the accident, which is what you really want.
I don't know. Take your recent hit-and-run. A video could be helpful to authorities in tracking down and prosecuting the offender. A video could also be used to get media attention helping to educate some drivers about their responsibilities towards cyclists. Having a record of a collision (it was not an accident - the driver intentionally put you in danger) doesn't prevent that collision, but it could prevent a future one.

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #398 on: November 07, 2018, 09:24:16 AM »
My first 5 out of 5 bike commute week last week.  I am a "fair weather" rider, and been averaging 1-3 days per week since 2015, and stopping through the winter.   This year, I'm trying to transition into a year round commuter.  Today I'm 3/3 for this week, plan to make it 5/5 for 2 weeks in a row.

It's getting colder and wetter in Chicago though.  How do you all deal with wet shoes/socks.  I have dress shoes I change into at work.  But my socks remained wet for most of the day.  I can get a separate pair of socks for work also, but then my sneakers are still wet when I put them back on to go home.  Are there any waterproof shoes that aren't winter boot-types that would work with biking?

TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #399 on: November 07, 2018, 09:37:47 AM »
Hello friends! Very newbie cyclist here. Last week I rode in to work (8km) on Thursday morning, left my bike at work over the weekend then rode it home Monday afternoon. Tuesday I rode it to work and home. Today I caught the bus, tomorrow I hope to ride depending on weather and tushie-tenderness.
I have booked in for a half-day riding course run by the council to brush up on my road rules (no car for the last three years and in this new city you must ride on the road not the path, heavy fines apply) and make sure that all my google-fu as to the road rules are what they are teaching.
Any tips for making the cars less mad at you? (or maybe caring less?) People are beeping at me, or overtaking me without moving fully into the other lane (moving over just half into the lane and zooming past me in the middle of my lane close enough to touch if I stretched out my hand) and it's unsettling... I almost want to get a shirt with this logo or stick it to my backpack or something...

Question: Do you have a video camera (like a dashcam) on your bike in case of accidents? If I get smooshed I feel like my parents will want to know who did it...

GuitarStv said all the things I was going to say.

After years of bike commuting, I'm finally to the point where I don't panic when I get honked at. Instead I think, "Great! They see me!". However, for years being honked at scared the ever loving crap out of me on a visceral level.

Ditto to the advice to ride further into the lane to force them to give you more space when they pass. You could also try one of these gizmos to give the cars a visual cue as to how far away they need to be. I've always wanted something like this, but with a bingo dabber or wet paint brush on the end, so if they make contact their car will get tagged.



Oooh, looks like someone's come up with a way to enforce the passing distance, https://www.citylab.com/life/2015/06/a-nifty-device-to-stop-cars-from-driving-too-close-to-bikes/397055/

I don't use a camera, but I don't think it's an awful idea. I live in a fairly cycling friendly town and the police take incidents seriously. I've called them a few times when a driver's actions have been egregiously dangerous. Thing is, it's only useful to call if you can get the plate# of the car. That can be hard to do in the one second it takes for the driver to speed away. It's even harder to get a decent description when your adrenaline is pumping. So a helmet mounted camera could help.

Of course the last time I reported a driver for nearly killing me the plate# and car description didn't match at all. The officer made it sound like the plates were likely stolen. Makes it hard to track down the offender.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 09:41:35 AM by TrMama »