Author Topic: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?  (Read 12234 times)

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Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« on: September 11, 2013, 01:25:12 AM »
I've been looking for a bike to ride around, probably not to work for the moment. The type of route that I'd probably ride would be 10-15 miles (average about 13 miles) each way with good sized hills, not high slope, but long hills.

Anyone make this type of trip on a commuter bike or should I get a road bike? I'd like a commuter bike, I know it might not have as many "speeds"/gear but does it matter if I'm trying to "ride fast"?

here are two bikes that I'm looking at, might not be these but that type. I'm not sure if it is a "commuter" or not, that's a new bike term for me so I might not be using it correctly.
https://kansascity.craigslist.org/bik/3960274117.html
https://columbiamo.craigslist.org/bik/3977894253.html

edit: If I get a road bike, but I'd want a women's on/aka step through. Does anyone feel like I would have image problems riding one? Not that I care a lot, I rode one throughout childhood but what about as an adult?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 01:27:16 AM by eyem »

gooki

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 02:18:05 AM »
The first bike looks ok, talk them down $20 or so. Do you have many hills?

I wouldn't ride a folding bike that distance every day.

And no, there'd be no image problems riding a road bike.

Wesmon

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 05:09:08 AM »
Don't do the folding bike unless you have storage issues at your destination. For the convenience of folding you give up other minor areas.

The Schwinn looks like a fine bike.  A commuter is more comfortable. Just make sure it fits properly.

Wes

Rollin

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 06:22:29 AM »
I'm in the opposte camp from the other replies.  The Schwinn is very heavy, does not have an efficient riding position, and would be difficult to ride for that distance, especially with hills.  The folder would be more efficient, but still at that distance would be a challenge.

I'd look for a lighter weight touring style bike.  That is, almost like a "road bike," but with a little longer wheel base and more stable ride (different frame angles).  They will likely have a place to attach a rack and fenders too.  They generally come with a little wider tires than most road bikes and are therefore more comfortable, but still ride efficiently.

You may want to try something like this:

http://kansascity.craigslist.org/bik/4008652373.html
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 06:56:45 AM by Rollin »

GuitarStv

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 06:35:05 AM »
I'm in the opposte camp from the other replies.  The Schwinn is very heavy, does not have an efficient riding position, and would be difficult to ride for that distance, especially with hills.  The folder would be more efficient, but still at that distance would be a challenge.

I'd look for a lighter weight touring style bike.  That is, almost like a "road bike," but with a little longer wheel base and more stable ride (different frame angles).  They will likely have a place to attach a rack and fenders too.  They generally come with a little wider tires than most road bikes and are therefore more comfortable, but still ride efficiently.

+1

I use a hybrid bike in the winter and a touring bike in the summer.  If you have to cycle any distance it's more comfortable to be on a more efficient bike.

lackofstache

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 07:34:09 AM »
Get a hybrid or touring (cantilever brakes, plenty of tire clearance). That Schwinn would not make a good commuting bike, as has been stated. Good bikes don't have more gears just to go faster, they have them so you can ride well w/ additional weight, when you hit a hill, etc. Search for a Trek 7.2-7.5 FX. Those are generally pretty cheap used & will get you what you're after.

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2013, 08:15:38 AM »
Hm, thanks, I didn't know if the road bike type bikes would be a good fit, I always saw them as "slim" meaning I didn't think I could load groceries/things on the back of them well even if I could physically attach something to it to hold things. But I'll look around and research more into them

I'll look for a touring bike then, I wasn't looking to spend $100, probably half that so the ones in picture were just to see a picture of what I meant by commuter. Since I don't know bike frames well enough to talk about.

But as I've been researching, I came across something called a gear hub? Where they are suppose to be more reliable, and I remember my chain falling off my bike often enough that if a gear hub gets rid of this. The disadvantage is it loses to the gear ratio. I'm not entirely sure what this means though, I mean the example I found was each pedal rotation it could travel 5.5 meters on a derailer but a gear hub bike would make 3 meters. Does this mean I'd be traveling almost half as slow on that kind of bike?

this bike if out of my price range, but it sure sounds cool. It's automatic shifter hooked me :)
https://kansascity.craigslist.org/bik/4028045239.html

correct me if I'm wrong, but I could just buy a bike frame, take off the derailer the put in a gear hub and make the bike into one that uses it right? Or is it more complicated than that? Like the auto vs manual transmissions and how you can't just drop one into the other

GuitarStv

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 10:04:41 AM »
The chain tends to fall off most often because your derailleurs are not adjusted properly.  Usually you need to rebuild the rear wheel around the a different hubs . . . it's not a simple task, and they're typically pretty expensive.  I think you need special shifters as well.

Hubs don't have the same range of shifting that's possible with open gears.  That means that your hardest gear will not be as hard, and your easiest gear will not be as easy.

I've always like the idea of hubs (especially on a winter bike), but they're pricey.

Spudd

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2013, 11:05:54 AM »
With a $50 budget you may have a hard time finding a nice bike. I took a look at your local CL and picked out the following that I thought looked like a reasonable option. It's not a step-through, though.

http://kansascity.craigslist.org/bik/4060186585.html 

Features you will want:
- multiple speeds, this makes riding up hills a lot easier. You don't need more than ~9 speeds. More is OK, but not usually necessary.
- Smooth-ish tires. Mountain bikes often come with knobby tires designed for riding on trails. If you're riding on the road this will make the effort much greater.
- Rack or basket to carry your things. Wearing a backpack is more tiring and you'll arrive at your destination with a sweaty back.

Regarding internal geared hubs, it's not easy to convert from a derailleur type bike to an internally geared hub, and it would be very expensive. Internally geared hubs are nice but they tend to have fewer speeds and are much less widely available.

There's actually no such thing as a "commuter bike", FYI. This is just a name people use for bikes that are decent for commuting, and you can easily use a touring bike, cyclocross bike, mountain bike, etc, as long as it has the features you need for your commute.

Rollin

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2013, 11:18:27 AM »
I didn't realize that you had a $50 budget so the bike in my thread above wouldn't fit that.  However, the bike shown would be very good for what you are planning to do.  You might get it for less - maybe $100 or so since it is a step-thru (they are less popular and should sell for less).


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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2013, 12:36:03 PM »
The mixte frame is a good way to go for a step thru; I see a lot of these on the bike path during my commute.  Here's an example: http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/4058925402.html.  The one in the link is outside your price range, but it lets you know what one looks like.

Concerning the internally geared hubs, I used one for a while.  One thing I liked was being able to change gears while standing still at a stop sign/light.  The biggest concern I had was getting a flat (luckily never had one).  Disconnecting the gear link and using a wrench to remove the wheel is much harder than only releasing the quick release on a derailleur geared bike.

I commute on a road bike (titanium Mongoose without fenders) during the summer and a touring bike (Surly LHT with fenders/racks) during the winter.

A 13 mile commute is a good distance to ride twice daily, so get the best bike you can.  You'll be much happier.

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2013, 12:45:31 PM »
I didn't mean $50 was my hard limit, it's just one I threw out not knowing how much a "good" bike would cost that isn't on the expensive side. I just see listings like this one for $10 bikes https://topeka.craigslist.org/bik/4017612291.html, so I thought $50 would get me one in good shape

here's an elevation map of the route I got from google

So at the start of the trip I'd have a hill that goes up about 200 feet (is this a big hill?) but it lasts about 2 miles :( then I got another one similiar to it at the end of the trip. Since I walk that hill and back for a 4 mile walk almost every other day as exercise, and I didn't think it was so bad walking it, but I see people struggling to ride bikes up it though. I may just get off and walk the bike (takes maybe 10 minutes? but it takes them just as long to "ride" up it too).

@ktsac, it looks like this one?
https://kansascity.craigslist.org/bik/4054266707.html. I might contact this poster actually. The top bar (does it have a name?) is lower so it looks like something that I'd like. I wasn't sure if the 12 speed listings I saw had enough "speed" but if the poster above says 9+ is good, I won't be afraid that 12 speed is too low. I also don't know if the price on it is good. Is mixte a frame type or a brand name? NVM about mixte, I looked it up :D

edit: I looked up the Fuji bike on bike blue book, http://www.bicyclebluebook.com/searchlisting.aspx?make=681&model=40996 and from what I can tell, for the $75 they want (I'd still try to negotiate though), it seems like it's really cheap. But I don't know if I should trust that site for where I'm located

edit again: Just for comparison sake, if 13 miles is a good distance by bike, what would a "short" distance be? Since I walk 3 miles one way to get to the store often, would a "short" bike distance be 5-10 miles then? It takes me about a hour to walk, and by my bike speed average, I could probably cover 10 miles in a hour as well (i'm not a fit biker)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 01:06:32 PM by eyem »

fallstoclimb

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2013, 02:27:22 PM »
edit again: Just for comparison sake, if 13 miles is a good distance by bike, what would a "short" distance be? Since I walk 3 miles one way to get to the store often, would a "short" bike distance be 5-10 miles then? It takes me about a hour to walk, and by my bike speed average, I could probably cover 10 miles in a hour as well (i'm not a fit biker)


Well, 13 miles isn't much if its a fitness training ride.  But for a commute, each way every day, yeah it'll get pretty old to do that on a heavy beater bike.   10 miles an hour sounds a reasonable goal for a commute if you are not accustomed to cycling.  If there aren't many stoplights and you don't weigh down your bike too much you'll probably end up faster. 

Hills are easy on geared bikes.  If you have a triple in the front you'll be able to do basically any hill.  I'd recommend the triple if you feel out of shape or if the hills seem steep.

Personally I would get a touring or cross bike.  I do a 6 mile commute on my Trek 7.2 hybrid, and while the ability to have a rack and fenders is nice, I'm used to a roadie position and feel like a dork on it.  I'm also morally against v-brakes as they're difficult to troubleshoot.   

Get the best, lightest bike you can afford, and not a folding bike unless it's necessary.  The nicer your bike, the more likely you'll be to stick with it.  Test ride any bike you're considering. 

Mike

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2013, 10:25:18 AM »
So at the start of the trip I'd have a hill that goes up about 200 feet (is this a big hill?) but it lasts about 2 miles :(
On average (2% grade), it's not a bad hill.  However, at mile one, I see a sharp ~70 foot climb over a relatively short distance.  That will set your legs on fire, and if you aren't in solid shape, you'll probably walk up that part.  I've seen what happens to recreational riders on 1/4 mile 10%+ grades, and it's not pretty.
Quote
then I got another one similiar to it at the end of the trip. Since I walk that hill and back for a 4 mile walk almost every other day as exercise, and I didn't think it was so bad walking it, but I see people struggling to ride bikes up it though. I may just get off and walk the bike (takes maybe 10 minutes? but it takes them just as long to "ride" up it too).
That second one is a mile long and ascends roughly 300 feet - nearly a 6% grade.  Yes, that is a significant hill, and yes, you will be walking up it until you are in good riding shape. 

Short, middle, and long distances by bike are in the eye of the beholder.  When I was training for century rides, I considered anything < 25 miles short, anything over 50 miles long, and anything in between "average".  Now that I'm training for duathlons 6x a week, my standard ride is around 20 miles, and my long ride is 35-40.  To each his/her own.

Rollin

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2013, 06:55:36 AM »
edit again: Just for comparison sake, if 13 miles is a good distance by bike, what would a "short" distance be? Since I walk 3 miles one way to get to the store often, would a "short" bike distance be 5-10 miles then? It takes me about a hour to walk, and by my bike speed average, I could probably cover 10 miles in a hour as well (i'm not a fit biker)


Well, 13 miles isn't much if its a fitness training ride.  But for a commute, each way every day, yeah it'll get pretty old to do that on a heavy beater bike.   10 miles an hour sounds a reasonable goal for a commute if you are not accustomed to cycling.  If there aren't many stoplights and you don't weigh down your bike too much you'll probably end up faster. 

Hills are easy on geared bikes.  If you have a triple in the front you'll be able to do basically any hill.  I'd recommend the triple if you feel out of shape or if the hills seem steep.

Personally I would get a touring or cross bike.  I do a 6 mile commute on my Trek 7.2 hybrid, and while the ability to have a rack and fenders is nice, I'm used to a roadie position and feel like a dork on it.  I'm also morally against v-brakes as they're difficult to troubleshoot.   

Get the best, lightest bike you can afford, and not a folding bike unless it's necessary.  The nicer your bike, the more likely you'll be to stick with it.  Test ride any bike you're considering.

Very good advice here ^^

Hamster

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2013, 08:48:44 AM »
Late to the conversation, so probably redundant, but agree with a number of the above:

1) A commuter bike is whatever bike you use to commute, it's not a style of bike. For short flat commutes in amsterdam, an upright step through bike is a perfect commuter. For a 13 mile commute with hills, it would be really slow.

2) 200 feet gain over 2 miles is not a hill, even in Kansas city :-) With any bike with gears, you will have no problem.

3) Agree that a touring or cyclocross bike would be best frame style for commuting your distance. Ideally should have braze ons (fixed built-in attachment points) for racks/fenders.
 

onehappypanda

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2013, 07:15:02 AM »
I'm picking this one up for $50, if anyone think's it isn't worth that much let me know. I may see it and negotiate some more but I thought it was a fair price if it is in as good a condition as it looks.
https://kansascity.craigslist.org/bik/4054266707.html

Is this bike frame okay for the distance? I don't have experience telling

Looks like an OK deal to me and a good mix of not-too-heavy but sturdy enough to be commute-friendly. But I'm biased, I commute on an older Fuji too and happen to love it. If it's in good shape then you're getting a decent deal. Keep in mind with any older bike that repairs can really add onto the cost if it wasn't maintained properly - but you could learn to DIY many of the repairs if you're at all handy.

mm1970

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2013, 08:24:05 AM »
We ride 10 miles to work (or well, we used to), on a hybrid with slicks.  Yeah, it's not fast.  But it's fine.  I have 7 working gears.  And hills.

chardog

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2013, 06:25:50 PM »
here's an elevation map of the route I got from google


I don't know if I buy that profile.  It's been proven scientifically that Kansas Is Flatter Than a Pancake:
http://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume9/v9i3/kansas.html

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2013, 01:40:43 AM »
I'm on the Missouri side :) It's like a waffle, lots of pot holes and bumps/hills lol

edit: okay I feel dumb, but what's that joy stick on the handle bar and what does it do? I didn't ask and I don't know what to call it to google :(
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 02:06:44 AM by eyem »

drg

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2013, 02:43:09 AM »
Looks like your shifter to me?  Should be one on each side, one for the front derailleur and one for the back.  I don't see any on the downtube...

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2013, 08:11:37 AM »
hm okay... I've only seen shifters that are on the handle bar, that rotate/twist along the bar like a motorcycle's?

This is going to be interesting. I just found out the bike has quick release wheel too >.> have to learn how to use this as well.

So much for learning from my old walmart bike. At least I know which part is the pedal :P I'll need to find out what size tires to buy, these are worn out and I'm going to need new ones. I read about some kevlar tires? Not sure if I should get these or/and the thicker inside tube that doesn't get poked as easily. At least all told, I may have to spend around another $50? But I wasn't expecting not to spend any either, and I see it as a 1 time thing (well once for a year or two, I hope I don't need new tires that often).

Hamster

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2013, 10:37:39 AM »
Ok. It looks like you do have a steep section right at the 1 mile mark. The rest of the hill doesn't look bad. Just remember that is what makes you stronger.

All this talk of waffles and pancakes is making me hungry.

You will love the quick release. It's easier than bolts.
 
http://www.robertscycle.com/qr.html

I'd recommend you check out a basic cycling or bike maintenance book at the library, then just play with the bike. It's amazing how simple and elegant the bike's components are, even if they look intimidating at first.

Rollin

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2013, 02:48:35 PM »
Let us know how your riding goes.  If it were me I would do a little at a time - work up to it.

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2013, 12:54:41 PM »
Hm, I rode the bike for 2 hours, or rather I tried. I'm terrified of it. I can tell it's a good bike, it rolls straight but apparently I can't pedal up a sloped driveway, never mind hills. I have no idea how to do this, I know I'm on the wrong gear, but I don't know what gear is the right one. I should be on a "low" gear, but the shifter levers don't have numbers on it like my walmart bike did so I don't know how to tell if I'm on a high or low gear, I'm thinking eventually I'll be on the right one once the pedal moves but until then I'm guessing. I was told low means levers down, but how do I know it is really right?

Road bikes are scary! I go too fast downhill and have no idea how to make a turn without stopping, turning then pedaling again. I feel like I'm going to tip over when I try to turn the handle bar to make a turn (unlike on a slow moving mountain bike). The tires are so skinny that my balance isn't good (I'm hoping it'll get better). And I can't shift the bike either because I'm to scared to let go off the handle bars with one hand to shift! Other that that, I have no bruises except a damaged pride.

One thing I noticed is that there is not kick stand on the bike, it doesn't have a spot for it so it didn't fall off. I might visit a bike shop to see what alternatives they can suggest but any ideas would be nice.

At least for the price, I haven't sunk too much into it that I can't recover reselling it. I just don't know how to ride a bike anymore after not riding for 15 years :( whoever said nobody forgets how to ride a bike never met me.

edit: I should probably do it sooner than later, but I need a helmet too. I was going to wait until I can ride it well enough to know this isn't a passing hobby but where do I get one? I don't want to buy random sizes and walmart brands don't seem too trustworthy.

edit again: if it wasn't obvious, there's no way I'm going to be able to use the drop handle bars. I'm no going to move my hand an inch from where I put them and away from the brakes. Should I leave handle bars as is? Or can I somehow change them and put the shifters onto the handle bar too?
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 01:06:10 PM by eyem »

Hamster

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2013, 01:50:06 PM »
Sorry it's been such a rough start. It will get better.

My advice is to find a friend who knows at least a bit about bikes and is willing to spend a few hours with you. Find a flat empty parking lot and go practice for a while. Bring some tools along so they can help you adjust seat position, etc and identify if there are any problems that are making it feel less stable. I have a feeling that an awkward position may be part of the problem. Have them ride the bike too, and give you feedback. Then, relax as much as possible (easier said than done...). The more tense you are and the more you overcorrect, the harder it will be to ride. Also, the faster you go, the more stable you will be... Also easier said than done when worried.

Don't worry about gears at all to start. Have your friend help you start out in a middle gear. Just ride around for a while -  no shifting. Then once you are comfortable, move to just lifting one hand off the bars at a time. Once you can do that, then think about shifting. Once you get that all figured out, learn how to shift, and get the biking muscles tuned up, that should take care of the sloping driveway/hills. You will know the right gear by how hard it is to pedal. don't worry about "3rd gear, or 5th gear" - all that matters is how hard it is to pedal.

It sounds like it will be a while before you are commuting on the bike. That's fine. It will be so worth it when it clicks. It will click.

Good luck!
Keep calm and bike on!

Rollin

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2013, 02:44:25 PM »
Sounds as though you are a little rusty.  Just give it some time.  Get off the main roads and start slower.  Lower your expectations.  Try to have fun.  And GET A HELMET!

GuitarStv

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2013, 07:25:29 AM »
Gears can be a little tricky at first because the gears at the front operate the opposite way as the gears at the back.  Almost everything you need to know about gearing can be distilled into these three statements though:

Look at the gears on your rear wheel . . . the bigger the gear, the easier it is to pedal.

Look at the gears near your pedals . . . the smaller the gear, the easier it is to pedal.

Don't put the smallest rear gear and the biggest front gear because it puts the chain at a funny angle and will make a noisy sound.

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2013, 07:50:35 AM »
hm I found this page that kind of illustrates what gears to use, is this accurate enough?
http://zenhabits.net/beginners-guide-to-cycling/

It says to use the small front gear with the largest back gear. But if I was going uphill, wouldn't the smallest front and back be the lowest and best to use?
I used to hate riding uphill back when I was a kid because I was always on the highest gear trying to make it thinking high=easy, and hill=hard so I would make it easier using the largest gear combinations that I could. Anyways, I stopped riding later on because I made no progress back then.

But if that is right, the bike has 12 combinations, 6 back gears, and 2 front gears. If I numbered the gears 1-6 (on smallest front gear) and 7-12 (now on biggest gear on front). Would I ever use gear 1 (smallest on both gears), or gear 12 (largest gears on both)? The webpage would have me riding on gear 6 most of the time or around there +/- a few gears from there. Is gears 3-9 the optimal range then for a casual rider?

So far I can ride straight on a flat road. Any kind of incline, I'm still having problems with. I'm also having problems shifting, it just doesn't want to work with me. I think I'm not pedaling enough to shift it, I thought it would shift as I press lever and the next step I take would be in next gear but it takes about 5 steps before I feel it click, but by this time I'm falling off the bike.

edit: I found a youtube of shifting, it makes sense somewhat. I tried it with the back wheel up in air and just hand pedaling it to see it work.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Drh4PHMQwKI Now I just have to put it into practice. Before I thought the distance I pressed lever down meant the gear it went to? Like a trombone where you pull slide out to 3rd position meant one note and another position meant another note. So on the lever, I couldn't figure out how to get it to low gear because I would press it a little only wanting to go down 1 gear step at a time. Now I just have to figure out how to go back up to higher gears. Time to play with bike some more. This is so different than my old mountain bike where there was numbers for gear and I just "dialed" to the number I wanted
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 08:11:43 AM by eyem »

Rollin

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2013, 08:19:46 AM »
Okay - I think you are making it too complicated.  Put the chain on the small ring in the front and leave it there.  Then, when you ride/peddle don't worry about the back cogs or what number gear you are in.  After that, peddle and shift until you find a comfortable rythm.  Done - enjoy!

Hamster

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2013, 08:49:38 AM »
I'd really focus on riding on a flat spot without worrying about gears until you are comfortable. Then worry about gears later.

Understanding how the gears work, though:
"Low gear" = small "gear" in front, big "gear" in back
"High gear" = Big "gear" in frong, small "gear" in back.

Why is this? Imagine a totally unrealistic bike, with 100 teeth on a huge front ring (attached to the pedals), and 10 teeth (small) on the tiny back cog (rear wheel). This would be a very high gear. Every time you turned your pedals around once, it would make the bike wheel rotate 10 times. It would take a LOT of force to push that, but if you could do it you'd move very fast.
On the "low gear side" If you had the small ring with 10 teeth in front, and big cog with 100 in back, you'd have to crank the pedals around 10 times just to turn the back wheel once. That would be a very low gear. Your legs would have to spin very fast (but without using much force) to make the bike move forward even very slowly, but you could climb the world's steepest hill (if you had training wheels so you didn't fall over from going so slowly!)

Don't worry about numbers for the gears. Once you are on the bike you will very quickly get a feel for it just pedaling around while you change the gears.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2013, 08:59:04 AM »
This will get easier.  I agree to the suggestions about getting a friend evaluating your fit (or even a bike shop, but tell them you just want a quick fit - not the fancy one - and they might charge you).  Once you are fit to your bike it will ride much better.  And, once you put some more time into it you will get much more comfortable.  I got my first road bike 3 years ago (and actually rode my first road bike, a Trek Madone(=fast and twitchy), while on a trip) - so I remember this feeling exactly.  You'll get the hang of it! 

For now I would focus on learning how to control the speed of the bike.  You say it is too fast downhill but you have brakes for a reason.  Are the brakes not working correctly?  Do you have too much 'squishiness' when you try to use them?  This can be adjusted.  Learn how to slowly "scrub" speed while descending and before turning with light squeezes of the brakes.

I also spent a lot of time trying to think my way through the gears.  Don't do this.  GuitarStv's statements really are the only things you need to know, but you don't even need to know them at this point.  Crosschaining (smallest rear gear and the biggest front gear) will probably make a grinding noise that you will hear, so if you notice it switch your right-hand shifter (the small ring), but if you don't notice it you won't break your bike.  You can just ignore this issue for now and worry about it later.  I recommend for the time being, putting the back gear (the small ring) on the middle setting, and just switch your front gear from high to low as you approach hills.  That's simple enough.  This will help you learn what each gear feels like.  Once you get the hang of that, start incorporating the back gear (small rings).  Eventually you will learn by feel, which is better than thinking it through.

Don't get rid of the drop bars.  Eventually you will learn how to get into them on a downhill and you will love it  :)  It also actually increases your stability to be in the drops on a descent (probably with the caveat that your bike fits?).

Left

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #32 on: September 19, 2013, 09:21:19 AM »
Think i might start a thread in the journal section after this post for my updates/questions... since this thread seems to be becoming my journal and should be in the section.

But my progress so far, I went to a bike shop. I didn't plan to until Saturday though, but while I was riding bike and the chains came off. I couldn't get it back on because it fell off the derailer (how does this even happen, i thought it was threaded through it? and the chain didn't break either.). Anyways the bike shop took the chain apart and put it back on for me for $5 (I feel ripped off but I don't have the knowledge/tools for it. I tried youtubing it but all of the examples showed the chain still on the derailers and not off it on other side of frame). While I was there, they fitted me. But when I got home, I felt like I should have asked them to adjust the handle bars higher (do they go higher?, they just fixed the seat height for me). I have to lean forward to ride the bike and not sit upright like I would prefer to on this bike.

Second piece, I made my first bike adjustment myself. The back wheel kept rubbing on the breaks, I loosened them and centered them. I did notice that if I use the quick release knob too tight, it also makes the wheel not turn. Is this normal, should I get a newer one?

Also I feel fat riding the bike :( Friend told me I had a flat tire because when I sat on the bike, the wheel went bleh and got squished. The wheel are close to the optimal tire pressure I think, I'll pump them later. Can I use the gas station tire pump for bikes or is that too much pressure? Second, I can't ride up a slope yet. I'm making progress on riding on flat/level ground and I can make turns now. I also can't ride for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, muscles I didn't know I had make me cry when I try to ride longer. And I'll need to invest in a better seat, current one is too hard.

The turns still scare me, I can't make a 90 degree turn onto an intersecting street. I have to for some reason make a big circular turn into it and go to other side of road before turning. How do people take a turn onto another street without getting into an in coming lane for space?

@fallstoclimb, my breaks work but I still go downhill too fast. I don't know how to stay one speed (slowish) down the hill. If I hold breaks, I keep slowing/stop and if I don't use break, I keep picking up speed even if I don't pedal. I guess I haven't figured out how to use the breaks like I do on a car and I'm not pumping them correctly. I'm guessing people can shift gears to slow down, like engine breaking on cars?

the bike so far is performing well, only issue I got with it is that it makes a clicking noise as the wheel turns, which I suppose is normal. I just wish it didn't click so loud, is there a reason it clicks that loud? Like to let people know you are coming up to them?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 09:56:09 AM by eyem »

GuitarStv

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2013, 11:40:27 AM »
One thing that may help you out a bit regarding turning . . . when cycling you DON'T just turn with the handlebars.  Typically the handlebars make only very minute changes when turning.  If you're moving at any kind of speed you have to learn to lean the bike a bit to turn.  This sounds more scarey than it actually is.  I'd suggest you find a big empty parking lot or something to practice basic cycling skills for a bit so you get the feel for this.  Set up some pylons made of junk lying around and try going around the pylons at various speeds.

Bike wheels will naturally squish down a bit with a rider on them.  It is a really good idea to get a decent bike pump with a pressure gauge on it because it's very hard to tell the pressure in a tire just by squeezing and eyeballing it.  Something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Topeak-Blow-Sport-Floor-Pump/dp/B002B7LTBY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1379612251&sr=8-2&keywords=bike+floor+pump would work really well.  You can use gas station pumps to fill bike tires, but be aware that sometimes their pressure gauges are not calibrated properly.  I've heard stories of people blowing a tube filling up with them (but never done it myself).

A leaned over position is more efficient for cycling (you duck under the wind, so you go faster with less effort).  That's probably why the bike shop has your seat adjusted a little higher and the handlebars a little lower.  If you have trouble with this position it should be possible to adjust the handlebars up a bit.

You cannot shift gears to slow down like in a car.  When you stop pedaling on a bicycle, the bike wheels just spin.  If you are on a hill your bike will roll forward unless you're braking.  Again, some practice in a parking lot practicing and getting used to the amount of pressure needed on the brake levers to stop will really help you out with this.

The rear wheel of a bike should make a gentle zzzzzing sound when you're going along and not pedalling.  Is this the clicking sound you're talking about?  It should not be very loud.

Spudd

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #34 on: September 19, 2013, 11:55:51 AM »
The clicking is most likely normal, if the bike shop looked at your bike. I wouldn't worry about it.

For the turning, you just need to practice. Slowing down is important if you want to make tighter turns, if you're going super fast then you will need a larger turning radius like you say. But I don't think you're going that fast yet, so it's probably just a matter of practice.

Going downhill, you can't shift gears to slow down. What I normally do is either keep my brakes applied lightly (they are analog, so it's not all-or-nothing, you can apply different degrees of pressure) and I stop braking if I'm going too slowly. This will become easy with practice.

drg

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Re: Does anyone ride a "commuter" bike?
« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2013, 02:50:23 PM »
Your shifters on this bike are likely "friction shifters" not "indexed" (like your old bike).  This means that you need to learn which gear you're in by feel, rather than numbers on the shifter lever.  But don't fear!  You'll get it in no time.

Quote from: eyem
I felt like I should have asked them to adjust the handle bars higher (do they go higher?, they just fixed the seat height for me). I have to lean forward to ride the bike and not sit upright like I would prefer to on this bike.
The handlebar height on this bike is most likely not adjustable without swapping out the stem (the part that connects the handlebars to the frame).  This type of bike lends itself to a more forward/less upright posture and is not really designed to be upright.  Your seat should be high enough that your knees are almost straight when the pedal is at the bottom, for optimum power.

Quote from: eyem
Second piece, I made my first bike adjustment myself. The back wheel kept rubbing on the breaks, I loosened them and centered them. I did notice that if I use the quick release knob too tight, it also makes the wheel not turn. Is this normal, should I get a newer one?
Did the bike shop check your brake pads?  Check them for wear, and replace if they are old.

Quote from: eyem
The wheel are close to the optimal tire pressure I think, I'll pump them later. Can I use the gas station tire pump for bikes or is that too much pressure?
Ideal pressure should be about 80-110 psi for road bike style tires.  Higher end of the range if you weigh more.  Keeping the tires pumped up will make for a faster ride, and will make it less likely you get a flat.


Quote from: eyem
Second, I can't ride up a slope yet. I'm making progress on riding on flat/level ground and I can make turns now. I also can't ride for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, muscles I didn't know I had make me cry when I try to ride longer. And I'll need to invest in a better seat, current one is too hard.
Practice on the flat first.  Play with the shifter.  If it takes less energy to push the pedals (you can spin them very fast, but don't actually move very fast), this is the end of the spectrum to go up the hill.

Quote from: eyem
The turns still scare me, I can't make a 90 degree turn onto an intersecting street. I have to for some reason make a big circular turn into it and go to other side of road before turning. How do people take a turn onto another street without getting into an in coming lane for space?
Practice in a big empty parking lot.  Use your weight to turn, not your arms.  Practice going in circles.  Don't think of it as a 90-degree turn, think more like an arc.  When turning right into a street, keep a bit away from the edge of the road.  When turning left, take the lane (i.e. be where the middle of the car would be), signal and keep your line the whole way through the turn.

Quote from: eyem
my breaks work but I still go downhill too fast. I don't know how to stay one speed (slowish) down the hill. If I hold breaks, I keep slowing/stop and if I don't use break, I keep picking up speed even if I don't pedal. I guess I haven't figured out how to use the breaks like I do on a car and I'm not pumping them correctly. I'm guessing people can shift gears to slow down, like engine breaking on cars?
You should be able to hold the brakes half-way to slow down without stopping.  You pick up speed going down hill because of gravity, even if you're not pedalling.  If you're not pedalling, just coasting, it doesn't matter what gear you are in.  Soon you will learn to appreciate the speed boost and just zoom down those hills =D.

Quote from: eyem
only issue I got with it is that it makes a clicking noise as the wheel turns, which I suppose is normal. I just wish it didn't click so loud, is there a reason it clicks that loud? Like to let people know you are coming up to them?
Probably the freewheel making the sound?  If so, normal.