Author Topic: Looking into a commute bike  (Read 8958 times)

Joel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 774
  • Location: California
Looking into a commute bike
« on: April 30, 2016, 10:08:36 PM »
I recently got a job where I am no longer traveling to different locations for work all the time. With that said, my office is 7.5 miles from my house. There is a bike path that runs almost directly from my house to my work. I'm starting to look into getting a bike to commute to and from work.

I have to wear business casual at work, and there are no showers. The bike trail is pretty flat, but I like in Sacramento where it can get warm. I'm thinking I will wear exercise clothes into work and bring office clothes with me. As long as I take it easy in the morning, I don't expect it to be too warm yet. Then, in the evening, I won't have to worry about breaking a sweat.

I rode a cheap-o mountain bike as a teenager, but that's really it. I don't even know where to begin!

A friend of mine suggesting the following:

hybrid/commuter
aluminum frame
flat bars
rim brakes
700c x 28-32mm (25 min)
rack mounts

Any suggestions?!?

PhysicianOnFIRE

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 452
  • Location: Up North
    • Physician On FIRE
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 10:16:08 PM »
If you are going to be on a trail the whole way, I would look at a lightweight road bike. It will get you there faster with less effort. If you're going to be going up and down curbs and hitting potholes, maybe go with the commuter.

You could work up a decent sweat in 70-some degree weather going 7.5 miles.  Bummer there's no shower available at work.

Good luck!
-PoF

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1976
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2016, 10:21:53 PM »
If you are going to be on a trail the whole way, I would look at a lightweight road bike. It will get you there faster with less effort. If you're going to be going up and down curbs and hitting potholes, maybe go with the commuter.

You could work up a decent sweat in 70-some degree weather going 7.5 miles.  Bummer there's no shower available at work.

Good luck!
-PoF

Yeah, but it depends on the state of the trail. If it's got broken concrete and patched up bits everywhere, maybe a road bike isn't ideal.

Disc brakes might be worth looking into, especially if it's regularly wet.

Realistically though, a hybrid/commuter bike is probably suitable for most people, and if after riding a while you decide something else is more suited (road bike, etc), maybe look at getting another bike.

Another suggestion would be to leave a can of deodorant and a comb at work, just in case. Maybe it's worth riding at 80% in the morning to reduce the chance of sweating, especially in summer :)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4430
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2016, 01:27:32 PM »
Mrs. PoP commutes to work in Florida and swears by baby wipes!

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4771
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2016, 03:10:58 PM »
Find something on Craigslist for cheap and commute with it for a while - this will help you know what you personally want in a bike.

Friar

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 223
  • Location: England
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2016, 04:10:29 PM »
Don't be disheartened if you can't make the round trip when you first start.

I would advise doing some "dry runs" in your spare time and up them mileage as you go.

For example, ride 25% of the way to work and back home a few times - then 50% and so on.

spokey doke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 513
  • Escaped from the ivory tower basement
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2016, 07:52:09 AM »
As always, my recommendation is to go ride a bunch of bikes and see what matters to you, what fits and doesn't, get familiar with brands and parts.  Then, either:

1. get the one that fits you and your budget best based on what you've learned so far
2. get the cheapest one that you can live with, ride it and learn some basic repairs and maintenance, and as you spend time on it, you'll have a much better idea of the bike you really want/need (perhaps including that the cheapo bike off of CL is just fine (or not)).

FLBiker

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 972
  • Age: 43
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2016, 08:31:35 AM »
I've been biking to work in Florida for the past 8 years (5 miles).  Personally, I like aluminum mountain bikes w/ no suspension for commuting.  I have a Gary Fisher Mako.  I like the idea of a hybrid, but they tend to be more expensive.  And I ride too rough for a road bike.  In general, my goal isn't to make my bike as light as possible, because I'm doing it in part for exercise.

I use a rear rack with a milk crate ziptied / bungeed to it.  Again, not the lightest option, but a great way way carry a backpack.  And I have rim brakes, which I like because I know how to maintain them.  I've never had disc brakes, but they might be great.

I keep my work clothes in my office, and bike in shorts and a t-shirt.  Fortunately, I have my own office w/ a hook on the door, so I keep a couple pairs of pants / a bunch of shirts there.  Every so often, I'll bring them home and rotate stuff.  Personally, I don't find bike commuting (even in FL) that sweat inducing.  For one thing, I'm not biking at mid-day.  For another, it's flat and I'm not racing.

jda1984

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 179
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2016, 08:34:00 AM »
Mrs. PoP commutes to work in Florida and swears by baby wipes!

Seconded!

As far as a bike goes, anything but a full suspension mountain bike will get you there relatively efficiently.  If you have a bike, ride that for now and see what you like/dislike.  If you don't, Spokey Doke has good advice.

Lastly, get a good U-lock and learn how to properly lock your bike.  My brother road to work twice about a year ago... the second time someone cut his cable lock and took off with his pretty much new bike in less than 5 seconds.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10574
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2016, 08:47:22 AM »
A few thoughts:
1) as others have suggested, 'building up' to a 7mi bike ride is a good idea.  It's very doable, but if you haven't biked in a while you might find the first several trips to be very strenuous.  Try going for a few trial-runs on the weekend. After biking 7mi each way for a few weeks it will seem a breeze and you'll likely hate having to get in a car to do the same commute.
2) give yourself plenty of time and you can minimize sweating.
3) buy fenders for your bike.

meghan88

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Ontario
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2016, 08:57:41 AM »
I've been biking to work in Florida for the past 8 years (5 miles).  Personally, I like aluminum mountain bikes w/ no suspension for commuting.  I have a Gary Fisher Mako.  I like the idea of a hybrid, but they tend to be more expensive.  And I ride too rough for a road bike.  In general, my goal isn't to make my bike as light as possible, because I'm doing it in part for exercise.

I use a rear rack with a milk crate ziptied / bungeed to it.  Again, not the lightest option, but a great way way carry a backpack.  And I have rim brakes, which I like because I know how to maintain them.  I've never had disc brakes, but they might be great.

I keep my work clothes in my office, and bike in shorts and a t-shirt.  Fortunately, I have my own office w/ a hook on the door, so I keep a couple pairs of pants / a bunch of shirts there.  Every so often, I'll bring them home and rotate stuff.  Personally, I don't find bike commuting (even in FL) that sweat inducing.  For one thing, I'm not biking at mid-day.  For another, it's flat and I'm not racing.
+1

I've been bike commuting my whole life on CL bikes.  My latest is a Trek 3700 that I bought for $80 (Canadian).  It's the best bike I've ever owned, and it's all I need.  My back-up bike is an old Suteki that weighs a ton but rolls just fine.

When I used to have a very hilly 9-mile ride to work, I'd keep my office clothes at the office and take a washcloth with me for a quick clean-up in the loo when I got there.  A rear rack + rack pack or milk crate works great, as knapsacks can get hot.  As a bonus, a milk crate is butt-ugly and serves as a good theft-deterrent, though I'd lock the bike up anyway.  Theft is my only worry so I bought an Abus "U" lock with a gift coupon - it cost as much as the bike!!

I agree with the idea of doing some dry runs.  If you haven't ridden regularly in a while, your seat might get a bit sore at first.  But really, 7.5 miles on the flat, especially on a trail (lucky you!!) is a very nice, do-able commute.

meghan88

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Ontario
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2016, 05:46:42 PM »
I meant to add the following:  a good cheap CL bike and milk crate / panniers / knapsack can also be used for grocery runs in addition to your daily commute to work.  It's amazing how much money you can save, and fitness and sense of well-being you can gain, by using a bike as much as possible for everything.

Please post an update once you get started!  It may seem daunting at first but, as others have said, stick with it and it'll get so easy to the point that getting in a car will be a nuisance.

FLBiker

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 972
  • Age: 43
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2016, 07:17:13 AM »
One other tip -- it may not be mustachean, but I love this mirror: http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Zone-Bicycle-Helmet-Mirror/dp/B003LVHZ4O

I've had mine for ~7 years, and the visibility is MUCH better than any other helmet mounted or handlebar mounted mirror that I've used.  And it's survived a couple accidents as well.

CatamaranSailor

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 145
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2016, 09:03:28 AM »
I bought a Trek 7.3 a few years back on sale. It's pretty much exactly what you listed in your post. I've been pleased with it. Paid $600.00 (it was new) without the gear. I'm sure you could find one on CL for about 1/2 that. I've more than made my money back on the gas savings alone, not counting the weight/health benefits.


GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13750
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2016, 09:36:43 AM »
The type of bike you're comfortable on will depend on your level of physical fitness and confidence cycling.

- You go faster for less effort with drop bars and a bent over position.
- You go faster for less effort with very smooth tires.
- Wider tires are very stable and will flat less often.

Whatever you get, get a bike that can fit a rack to carry stuff.  Panniers are nice, but a milk crate can work too.  Just keep the stuff off your back.  A backpack is more aerodynamic and isn't too uncomfy once you figure out not to pack too much, but your back will be drenched in sweat.

If you plan to cycle in the rain, or after rain (when it's still a little damp out), or in fog . . . it's worth fitting full length fenders on your bike.  They'll keep you dry, and keep the worst of the nasty stuff from the road out of your mouth/face and off  your ass.  Rim brakes work fine in the rain, but there's a little learning curve.  You'll need to brake a little bit earlier and more carefully until you get a feel for it.

I don't know how much you normally sweat while working out, I sweat a ton.  Personally, I'd be inclined to wear bike shorts and a t-shirt, and change at work.  This way if you do sweat a bit, it isn't going to be soaked into your nice work clothes.  Bike specific clothing will also keep you cooler while cycling, and will chafe less.  Chafing can get to be a really big deal in summer heat . . . you don't want to develop saddle sores if you're planning on doing this every day.  If you're not going to shower and it's really hot/humid out, it may be worth rubbing a little antibacterial chamois cream on your gentlemanly bits before your morning to prevent any problems.

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1662
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2016, 11:09:18 AM »
Second this:

The type of bike you're comfortable on will depend on your level of physical fitness and confidence cycling.

- You go faster for less effort with drop bars and a bent over position.
- You go faster for less effort with very smooth tires.
- Wider tires are very stable and will flat less often.

Whatever you get, get a bike that can fit a rack to carry stuff.  Panniers are nice, but a milk crate can work too.  Just keep the stuff off your back.  A backpack is more aerodynamic and isn't too uncomfy once you figure out not to pack too much, but your back will be drenched in sweat.

If you plan to cycle in the rain, or after rain (when it's still a little damp out), or in fog . . . it's worth fitting full length fenders on your bike.  They'll keep you dry, and keep the worst of the nasty stuff from the road out of your mouth/face and off  your ass.  Rim brakes work fine in the rain, but there's a little learning curve.  You'll need to brake a little bit earlier and more carefully until you get a feel for it.

I don't know how much you normally sweat while working out, I sweat a ton.  Personally, I'd be inclined to wear bike shorts and a t-shirt, and change at work.  This way if you do sweat a bit, it isn't going to be soaked into your nice work clothes.  Bike specific clothing will also keep you cooler while cycling, and will chafe less.  Chafing can get to be a really big deal in summer heat . . . you don't want to develop saddle sores if you're planning on doing this every day.  If you're not going to shower and it's really hot/humid out, it may be worth rubbing a little antibacterial chamois cream on your gentlemanly bits before your morning to prevent any problems.

Also:

1.  Being that you haven't rode much for a long time, I would definitely lean toward flat bar (as opposed to drop bar) and wider as opposed to narrower tires.  Very light bikes with super narrow tires are not very forgiving and in general take more skill and experience to ride.
2.  Baby wipes.

Clean Shaven

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 802
  • Location: Wild Wild West
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2016, 11:18:46 AM »
I recently got a job where I am no longer traveling to different locations for work all the time. With that said, my office is 7.5 miles from my house. There is a bike path that runs almost directly from my house to my work. I'm starting to look into getting a bike to commute to and from work.

I have to wear business casual at work, and there are no showers. The bike trail is pretty flat, but I like in Sacramento where it can get warm. I'm thinking I will wear exercise clothes into work and bring office clothes with me. As long as I take it easy in the morning, I don't expect it to be too warm yet. Then, in the evening, I won't have to worry about breaking a sweat.

I rode a cheap-o mountain bike as a teenager, but that's really it. I don't even know where to begin!

A friend of mine suggesting the following:

hybrid/commuter
aluminum frame
flat bars
rim brakes
700c x 28-32mm (25 min)
rack mounts

Any suggestions?!?

7.5 miles each way of flat bike path sounds like an ideal easy commute by bike. 

Living in Sacramento, you have Performance Bike locations near you -- you might want to stop in one of their shops and check out the options.  They also have more selections online, with free ship-to-store.

I generally agree with your friend's recommendations, though I prefer disc brakes.  Here's an option from Performance:
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1185492_-1_400316__400316

Joel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 774
  • Location: California
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2016, 12:58:39 PM »
Here's what I ended up going with:
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1170353_-1___

Rode it almost 13 miles home yesterday around the time I would be getting off work and it was fine, and I rode it 8 miles this morning the direction I would be headed to work and didn't have any issues with perspiration when I got done. My normal commute will only be 7.2 miles. Pretty excited!

That's not really easing into it, but I may start with bike commuting 2-3 days a week and build up to 5 days a week. There will still likely be days here and there where I need to drive in.

Thanks for your guys help

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13750
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2016, 05:38:41 PM »
Looks like a nice bike, I'm sure it will work out well for you.  Have fun!

k-vette

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
    • Bolton Ebikes
Re: Looking into a commute bike
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2016, 09:57:27 PM »
I'm only an hour or so from there.  In the summer you'll sweat, so be prepared and you'll be fine!  I was worried about it too.

Just another option that wasn't mentioned - ebikes!  I'm loving the ebike ride as an alternative to save time and the sweating.