Author Topic: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat  (Read 4151 times)

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #100 on: January 03, 2018, 09:31:01 PM »
My 2018 goal is to get to a point of regularly doing half of my travel miles by bike. Two days of work commute plus all grocery, library, beach, etc trips each week should achieve that. At this point I CAN bike to work - on a day off. Still feeling a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of working an entire day in the middle.

The days getting longer again will help.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #101 on: January 08, 2018, 06:44:30 AM »
Got to experience my first car-induced crash this morning, hooray. I've been doing three days of bike-commuting and miscellaneous errands for a couple of months now, and I've found drivers to be polite, careful, and courteous. Except for this asshole.

I live in a city that got hammered with bomb cyclone snow. The roads are generally clear at this point, so I figured I'd be okay to ride to work this morning. I was going through an intersection as the light turned yellow, riding in the travel lane because I could see that the bike lane wasn't clear. The light turns red as I'm clearing the intersection. Then this asshole comes FLYING up behind me running the red light, and I have to take a nice dive into a five-inch ice bank. I whacked my knee pretty good, but am otherwise okay. Other cars waiting at the now-red light rolled down their windows and told me that the dude was a jerk and they couldn't believe he was driving like that, so at least I got some solidarity.

I'd like to think that being smack in the middle of the car lane, instead of towards the right side, would have helped...but honestly I don't know that it would have, because this dude was driving really effing fast and clearly had no interest in respecting anyone else on the road.

katscratch

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #102 on: January 08, 2018, 09:26:41 AM »
This is my second year riding. I've noticed while riding, driving or walking that there are always drivers that do things like that in bad weather. People that can't be bothered to change how they drive regardless of the road conditions. It's one of the reasons I prefer biking or taking transit in the winter, actually, because there are so many irresponsible drivers out on the busier roads.

I use a backpack in the winter for warmth. I get sweaty no matter what - I could be wearing a t-shirt and I'd still sweat, so I like the heat holding help of a pack when it's cold out.

I'm still figuring out how to layer properly. I borrowed my son's mountain bike for winter commuting last year and the bar mitts were pure heaven. Keeping wind off my hands made such a huge difference. This year I'm riding my steel drop handlebar bike and have been layering thin gloves under ski gloves. They've been ok but my hands do feel cold getting back on the bike after it's been locked outside (I keep it inside at home).

I use the chemical warmers in my boots because my toes are chronically cold in winter. I've learned that if I can keep my arms warm I mentally feel warmer overall so I always wear wool arm warmers that I bought cheap off amazon. Ski goggles if it's below 25F or so, and a face mask around that temp. If it's warmer than that I prefer just a buff or scarf.

Basically it's a lot of fussing and trying different things until I figure out what works best in different conditions and for different rides (commuting vs. a social ride etc).

My favorite thing about riding in the winter is that last week at -11F I was toasty warm on my bike, whereas I would have been freezing in my car that would have never warmed up in time to be comfortable.

There are quite a few bike shops here that have winter maintenance specials - priced very reasonably, most are less than the cost of a tank of gasoline. I love that option for people who ride consistently but don't have the space at home or the knowledge yet to do a lot of the routine work. You pay a membership and then can take your bike in as often as you want. My friends that use it take their bikes in weekly from December through April.
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Kmp2

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #103 on: January 08, 2018, 10:28:44 AM »
@fluffmuffin, I hope you've stopped shaking! It sounds like good defensive biking on your part, and the snow probably cushioned your fall. I've only had one such near miss where I had to brake so hard I almost went over the handlebars. It took most of the day to calm down, and at least a week or two before I could relax on my commute again. I was told it is kind of like falling off a horse, the sooner your able to get back up the better - easier said than done.

After 3 winters I have pretty much dialed down how to stay warm. For the most part, I like to bike in my regular work clothes and strive to go at a pace that keeps me warm without working up a sweat. If I'm out on more of a faster longer commute with the goal to change and shower at work, then I always carry a back up down vest/jacket in case I have a flat and have to walk or bus anywhere. Being sweaty and underdressed is a dangerous combo in the winter.

I found having a thermometer outside my door (instead of relying on the weather report), and a journal to record what I wore.. sometimes road conditions (you work a lot harder in the slush!), really helped me figure out just how to dress.

I definitely over dress my feet and hands, and underdress my core. However if my hands and feet are still getting cold then I add a layer to my legs/arms (long underwear or leg warmers, or arm warmers).

katscratch

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #104 on: January 08, 2018, 11:28:58 AM »
Oh @fluffmuffin I totally missed your story! That is a bummer :(

I'm glad you're mostly okay and it sounds as though you reacted quickly!

I haven't ridden much on rural roads with any traffic, but in the city I usually have a sense of the vehicles that are going to just plow ahead regardless of where in the lane I am.

@Kmp2 I definitely need to keep a journal of my clothing this year! I feel like I'm learning all over again this year.

I just got a recommendation last week to use Weather Underground to check weather rather than the usual reports. It is extremely accurate in our cities, anyway - reports real temps from a bunch of neighborhood locations instead of just the airport, for example, so it's much better for knowing what the temp is like on my exact route.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 11:31:07 AM by katscratch »
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fluffmuffin

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #105 on: January 09, 2018, 08:10:52 AM »
Thanks @katscratch and @Kmp2. I've got a couple of nice big bruises today, but am still okay! I actually grew up riding horses, so while it was stressful and upsetting, I don't think it's rattled me that much overall. I didn't have a problem getting back on to (very cautiously) complete my ride to work. I've gotten back on after way, way worse falls from horses. Back to the bike tomorrow!

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #106 on: January 12, 2018, 06:03:21 PM »
Took me an hour today to change my bike chain - I paid special attention to the derailleurs and then failed to thread the chain through the front gearshift correctly. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I didn't have to shorten my new chain at all, measuring it against the chain that came on the bike... and only after I was riding around testing it out did I realize that probably just means the last owner didn't know how to measure the chain length correctly.

Hopefully this means when I put the chain on for a third time (after I watch a youtube video on how to do it right) I'll discover I'm better at biking than I thought?

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #107 on: January 12, 2018, 06:35:29 PM »
Running a slightly too long chain doesn't really hurt anything.  It will just be a tad noisier and a few grams heavier.  Make sure you don't shorten it too much though - you can wreck your rear derailleur.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #108 on: January 12, 2018, 06:42:06 PM »
Running a slightly too long chain doesn't really hurt anything.  It will just be a tad noisier and a few grams heavier.  Make sure you don't shorten it too much though - you can wreck your rear derailleur.

Hmm, in that case maybe I won't bother to shorten it. My fingers are still sore from pinching that quicklink.