Author Topic: Biking to Work and other biking questions  (Read 1765 times)

bcbaseballman

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Biking to Work and other biking questions
« on: May 18, 2018, 02:20:29 PM »
Ok I have starting to think more seriously about biking to work and am just curious how far you all bike to get to work? my job is 10.5 miles from where I work do you think this is doable? How long would you estimate it would take to get there? Also at work we don't have a place where I would be able to clean up/take a shower so I would not be pushing myself  as fast as I could do so I don't get too sweaty. I think I am a fairly in shape person. most mornings I usually run 2-3 miles. So I feel like switching to biking wont be a stress on me at first.

What do you use to carry your personal items to work? Just carry a backpack or do you have something that mounts to the bike itself?

What is a good bike to get? I have not really rode a bike in multiple years  and honestly never had a better quality bike my whole like. Don't want to spend a whole lot on one at first but a good beginner bike.

I'm sure there have been these questions before but I could not find a good topic about them.

Thank You all

WildJager

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2018, 10:58:06 PM »
My bike commute isn't too bad because I designed it to be short.  But 10 miles is very doable.  Use google for your route and select bike as the mode of transportation, I've found that to be pretty accurate when you're not trying to break a sweat. 

I use a backpack and a top rear rack bag over the rear rack I mounted.  It's good for lunch and what not.  In the future I might use panniers, but my backpack is enough for regular trips to the grocery store. 

I got a base model Specialized hybrid.  Had a road bike, and while those are faster, they are just not good for modifications (such as fenders for wet and winter riding).  And I popped too many tires which made it not reliable.  A hybrid is just that, it mixes rugged bikes with road bikes which helps for commuting. 

Google: "site:forum.mrmoneymustache.com bike commute" and you'll find a ton of topics that are similar.  The search function in house is a bit broken due to the unexpected size of these forums.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2018, 06:36:33 AM »
Thereís probably hundreds of bike commuting threads buried in the forum over the years. Iím linking this one because itís current: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/start-biking-to-work-cycling-newbies-chat/

I like hybrids for commuting. My first one was a used Trek FX, I currently have a Giant Escape 2 bought new.

I did the backpack for a while, but get very sweaty. Panniers are great. Ortlieb are spendy but worth every penny in my book. Another option depending on what your bike storage looks like at home and work are little covered cargo trailers.

My commute was that distance, did it year round including in some serious snow storms. Good exercise, stress reduction, and allowed us to experiment with dropping to one car for a while, though weíre back to having 2 cars now. Google does a pretty good job of estimating route time, route options can change things. I personally preferred large main streets with bike lanes and dedicated bike paths versus smaller streets with no lanes. To get that combination, my route was actually a couple miles longer, but was more fun and less stress to ride.

Sometimes small tweaks to the route can avoid big hill climbs as well.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2018, 07:26:48 AM »

I avoid biking in the city with traffic.  It's not worth the risk.  There's actually quite a bit on that topic discussed in this current thread:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/medium-article-on-the-hidden-cost-of-cars/

As an alternative, I do my biking in a safer environment and additional means to stay fit and healthy.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2018, 07:52:11 AM »
As a driver I cringe when I have to pass a person on a bicycle. I have fear of hitting them. Some bikers are also rude and weave in and out of traffic and do not stop for traffic lights. In my area in the last few years a cop was biking to work and was killed in a traffic accident. I don't live in a big city either. He was killed in busy traffic. Another biker was on a very rural road with very little traffic and biking down a steep hill. At the bottom of the hill a car pulled out of a driveway. The biker hit the car and was killed. It was a freak accident. I know there have been other deaths by bikers but don't know details. All I can say is be careful, be courteous and obey traffic rules.

On another note, there are some kind of large body wipes that are meant just for circumstances of washing up when no shower is available. Not sure what they are called but saw them on Shark Tank.

PoutineLover

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2018, 08:14:16 AM »
It should take a little less than an hour, depending on the route and your fitness level. Always bike with fully pumped tires and lube your chain often. If you're worried about sweat,  bike in dri fit clothes and change at work, and use wipes to clean up in the bathroom. I have a little basket on the back of my bike to hold my stuff so my back doesn't get sweaty. There are certain risks to biking, but it's not as dangerous as some would lead you to believe. Wearing visible clothing, signaling, watching cars, making eye contact with drivers, and having good lights and a helmet goes a long way to mitigating the risk. Leave a safe space between yourself and parked cars, and don't be afraid to take the lane for your safety. I'd recommend going to a bike shop instead of shopping on craigslist if you don't know what to look for initially, and getting either a used or inexpensive bike to start. Good luck!

bcbaseballman

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2018, 07:31:41 AM »
Thank You all for your knowledge. My wife is nervous about having me bike to work as it would be on a couple of "slower traffic" main roads. I wish I had bike paths all the way there but you cant win them all. Wipes at work are a good idea for sweat! I will start to look into a hybrid bike. Here in Kansas everything is flat so I don't have to really worry about having anything that needs to climb any sort of hills really so that is nice. I think at first I am going to have to use a backpack and then hopefully move up to something like a basket to carry my stuff.

Again Thank You All!!

FLBiker

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2018, 03:01:59 PM »
I bike ~5 miles on not too busy roads in a not bike friendly city (Tampa).  It's hot a lot of the time, but I bike slow.  I change in my office but I don't shower.  I transport stuff in a backpack that I keep in a milk crate on a rear rack.  I personally hate wearing a backpack when I bike, but I like wearing one when walking around, so that's been a good solution for me.  It takes me ~25 minutes.  As far as a bike, I like an aluminum frame mountain bike with no suspension.  Currently (for the last 8 years) I've been riding a Gary Fisher Mako.  I don't like road bikes because they're too delicate (I like to be able to jump curbs, etc, if I have to).  I think I paid $250 8 years ago.

AMandM

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2018, 06:55:13 PM »
My husband bikes to work pretty often. Some of the main roads (the ones you'd take if you were driving) are busy and narrow and curvy, so he's figured out side routes and little detours that make his ride much safer but not much longer.  The quiet side streets parallel to the main streets, with stop signs at every corner, are infuriating to car commuters but perfect for cycling.

Dibbels81

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2018, 05:37:31 AM »
I'd recommend checking out purchasing an electric bicycle. I bought one for my commute (5.5 miles each way) and it takes a lot of the sweat work out of it. Plus it's fun as hell.

BoonDogle

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2018, 08:18:45 AM »
Thank You all for your knowledge. My wife is nervous about having me bike to work as it would be on a couple of "slower traffic" main roads. I wish I had bike paths all the way there but you cant win them all. Wipes at work are a good idea for sweat! I will start to look into a hybrid bike. Here in Kansas everything is flat so I don't have to really worry about having anything that needs to climb any sort of hills really so that is nice. I think at first I am going to have to use a backpack and then hopefully move up to something like a basket to carry my stuff.

Again Thank You All!!

I don't bike to work but have been biking safely on the roads for several years.  I also live in Kansas.  Biking is very safe, just be smart and learn what and where your risks are.  To answer your question, the distance you are talking about is very doable and I agree with others that a hybrid bike is the way I would do it.  I would give higher priority to lighter weight over front suspension, but that is personal preference.  10-12 miles per hour would be about right, depending on how many times you have to stop.  Wear a helmet, attach a blinking red light to the rear of your bike, wear bright clothes, obey traffic signals, use hand turn signals, etc.  You will be safe and healthier than if you drove.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2018, 08:55:39 AM »
I ride 11 miles each way to work, about half through relatively quiet suburbs and half through very busy city streets.  It takes about 40 - 45 minutes each way.  I personally would not bike to work if there weren't showers, as (especially during the summer) I sweat puddles on the ride.

Before you cycle in traffic make sure that you're comfortable starting/stopping/turning on your bike.  There is a bit of a learning curve to riding traffic, but after a couple months you'll get the hang of it.  Learn when to take the lane, look well ahead for obstacles so that you're never swerving out in front of cars at the last moment, signal your turns by pointing in the direction you're going (most drivers don't know the proper bike hand signals).

I've used a hybrid and a road bike for the commute.  A road bike makes the commute faster and easier.  A hybrid puts you in a more upright position and tends to have wide handlebars, so it's easier to learn on.

Fenders are nice to have when it's raining, and when the road is wet after a rain.  They're must haves for the winter.

Use safety equipment.  Always wear a helmet.  Run a light on the front and rear of your bike any time it gets close to dusk/dawn or is overcast.  When in doubt, turn them on.  Wear fluorescent clothing in low light conditions.  Wear reflective stuff.  Make sure your brakes are in working condition.

Carry the minimum you can get away with.  Keep your heavy U-Lock and cable locked at your office bike rack.  If you can, bring your spare changes of clothing in to work on Monday, and pick it up on Friday.  Keep a pair of shoes at your desk.  What you do need to carry:  A mini pump, a multi-tool, a spare tube, tire levers (depends on your rim - often you can get away without them, but better safe than sorry), your lunch.  That's pretty much it.

Lady SA

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2018, 09:45:58 AM »
Sorry to slightly hijack your post, OP.
Question for ladies (or dudes if applicable) who do not have showers at work: how do you deal with helmet hair? I like biking into work, but my workplace does not have showers. I bike slow, so I don't get sweaty and I change at work, but my main problem is I always end up with a horrendous kink in my bangs and a weird dent ring around my head from the helmet. Dry shampoo is fine to disguise any sweat, but it doesn't fix the actual kinks.

My thought was to just dampen my hair in the bathroom to "reset" it, but then I need a dryer and brush to fix my bangs otherwise they get ridiculously floofy and frizzed. I can't imagine keeping a hairdryer at my desk (??), but I also need to not look absolutely ridiculous at work...

zhelud

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2018, 10:26:10 AM »
Sorry to slightly hijack your post, OP.
Question for ladies (or dudes if applicable) who do not have showers at work: how do you deal with helmet hair? I like biking into work, but my workplace does not have showers. I bike slow, so I don't get sweaty and I change at work, but my main problem is I always end up with a horrendous kink in my bangs and a weird dent ring around my head from the helmet. Dry shampoo is fine to disguise any sweat, but it doesn't fix the actual kinks.

My thought was to just dampen my hair in the bathroom to "reset" it, but then I need a dryer and brush to fix my bangs otherwise they get ridiculously floofy and frizzed. I can't imagine keeping a hairdryer at my desk (??), but I also need to not look absolutely ridiculous at work...

Why not keep a hairdryer at your desk?  I do, right in the drawer. 
Although lately I have not been fixing my hair after my ride- I just revel in my helmet hair.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2018, 10:44:44 AM »
Just buy a small travel hair dryer, brush and some mousse and hairbrush. Put in a small fabric bag and keep in your desk. No biggie!

You might try wearing a headband to absorb moisture from forehead.

You also might try using a silky scarf over your hair, under the helmet which might eliminate the groove in your hair. Or could you brush the back part of your hair forward and clip in place so when you take off the helmet you can flip that part of your hair down.

Maybe you could try pin curling your hair then when you get to work pull out the pins and you will have a curly doo.

Arbitrage

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Re: Biking to Work and other biking questions
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2018, 10:50:17 AM »
I'd recommend checking out purchasing an electric bicycle. I bought one for my commute (5.5 miles each way) and it takes a lot of the sweat work out of it. Plus it's fun as hell.

100% agree!  About 5 more weeks until I can finally start riding mine on a regular basis to work.  I started a thread on it a few months back.  It is definitely a blast.