Author Topic: September Cycling Challenge 2015  (Read 26229 times)

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #100 on: September 16, 2015, 08:23:12 PM »
I'm actually jealous of your commute. ~30 miles per day would be awesome. Are you riding an e-bike now? I think you could probably cut your time down just with practice. I've decreased my time by about 25 minutes over the past year, just with conditioning.

What is your commute like?

I don't have an e-bike yet, just a road bike. And you're right, there is plenty of room for improvement. I'm in pretty good shape, but that was my first ride over 10 miles in many years.
Right now it's 9.2 miles. It was something like 10 earlier, and before the challenges, I had a16 mile commute. ~10 is when I really started doing it regularly, though. The longer the ride, the more I get accomplished at work.

Optimiser

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #101 on: September 16, 2015, 10:35:17 PM »
I did a bit of looking and found a great deal on cycling pants/tights ($26!) on Nashbar. If anyone is looking for cycling pants to prepare for the coming cold, this is the best deal I've seen in the months I've been looking.  "These tights are designated factory seconds solely due to a slight discoloration of the external Nashbar logo." Just thought I would pass it along!

Thanks. That deal was too good for me to pass up.

Salivanth

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #102 on: September 17, 2015, 06:21:41 AM »
Rode my bike Monday and Tuesday, for 30.5 km (19 miles) combined, but ran into a brake problem on Tuesday. Specifically, a lack thereof. Took it into the shop today, and apparently the bike was originally put together poorly; the brakes are tied up and the gears are bad. It's going to cost 40 bucks to get it serviced, but on the plus side, if the gears were bad before, that might mean the bike is easier to ride when I get it back. The guy at the shop said it should be good for at least a few months after the service, and 50 bucks for the bike + 40 for the service is still cheaper than paying for a new one.

I also saw a 30-dollar seat cover the other day when buying a pannier. Designed to make riding more comfortable on the ass. I was quite tempted to buy it, but decided that I would hold off until I lost the weight I needed to lose. Then I can get it if I still want it. Triply good solution. Encourages me to lose weight, lets me have a few months to see if my butt gets used to the seat on it's own, and makes me wait to see if I really want to buy it.

Looking forward to getting back into it next week.

Cookie78

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #103 on: September 17, 2015, 08:03:38 AM »
Keeping the wind off me is my top priority, especially my neck and my ears.

A balaclava (full head) or neck gaiter plus ear warmer is a lot easier to deal with than a scarf on a bike. I always had issues with the scarf "escaping" and being a real PITA/hazard when riding.

I too recommend the balaclava, even though I never had trouble with the scarf, just that the scarf didn't cover my head.  The biggest help the scarf had was keeping the wind from going down through the neck.  Another idea for the balaclava is to sew an extra piece of cloth to help keep it in your jacket if the balaclava is a little short.

Good ideas. :) I don't have any problems with the scarf at all. I just use it for my neck mostly and my face for the first few minutes. My hood covers my head quite well. 1C this morning and I felt it a little bit more. Pulled my hood a little more over my forehead this morning. The only place I feel the wind now is in my eyes. For the first few minutes they start watering, but after that they don't bother me. Also through the holes in my shoes, but that's not an issue.

Kmp2

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #104 on: September 17, 2015, 01:40:51 PM »
That actually reminded me of something I wanted to ask (to those of you who don't know...kmp2 posted one of our awesome winter biking pictures):

Edit: I was wondering if the shortness of breath, nausea and lethargy was pregnancy or smoke...

So you are riding while pregnant? And you already have a kid (I don't know that if it's true, but saw you posted in the Biking with Kids thread)? Very badass!!

Welcome again to everyone, and congrats to everyone rocking it!!

I am sort of biking while pregnant, I actually started out really well for month 2 &3... but have trailed off in month 4 and now almost 5. Partly our hot summer, partly my never ending all day morning sickness (lasted until 3 weeks post partum with my first so I'm not all that surprised it didn't clear up like it 'should'). Gagging and being light headed on a bike is just not fun!

Now my hybrid is uncomfortable, the seat is much to narrow, and I'm too hunched over.  I did pick up a oldie cheap 3-spd upright bike from the goodwill bike shop in town :) - I have thoroughly enjoyed a few bikes to the store with my handlebar basket :). It's a most awesome granny bike!

I am pretty sure I won't even be switching my tires on my hybrid over to my studded ones this year - I think my OB would freak! It will likely be late march or april before I'm back on my bike.

And yes I have a 2.5 year old who is desperately trying to get daddy to let her ride her own bike to the dayhome, instead of riding in the bike seat ;), even though she is still far from mastering her run bike.

Kmp2

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #105 on: September 17, 2015, 01:55:25 PM »
@ Cookie78

Last year was my first winter biking season - and I found September and Ocbtober, to be mostly about just getting used to the dark,and figuring out what to wear in 5 degree C chunks as it got colder.

When to add long johns, switch to winter boots, two pairs of socks, winter gloves/mitts/liners??? It takes some figuring out - and I often packed an extra pannier of warm gear just in case I ran into problems and had to walk/wait for a lift. Below zero I actually ended up dressing a lot like I would to go cross country skiiing.

Oh - and remember that it can be warm first thing in the morning, but much colder going home... daytime lows don't always happen first thing in the morning.

Keep it up, the fall can be filled with fantastic rides!

Jack

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #106 on: September 17, 2015, 08:20:55 PM »
I'm on my second week of bike commuting, and I've ridden three of four of those days. I missed Monday for a stupid reason: I stayed up late Sunday night finishing something I should have done earlier, and I had a dentist appointment that morning. The dentist's office is right on my route so I had no real excuse, but the combination of tired + in a hurry + not wanting to be sweaty at the dentist was just enough of a rationalization... : (

The rest of the week I've been making up for it though, since I've cycled to an after-work activity on all three days. That meant instead of going home via a 6.5 mile route along small roads and rail trails in the afternoon, I've been riding straight through downtown Atlanta for a total distance of more like 10 miles, and doing half of it after dark. (On that note, I've also realized I need a better headlight.)

It's crazy to think that some of you are already talking about cold-weather gear; here in Atlanta I'm still wearing shorts and a T-shirt! Admittedly, I briefly considered putting on a jacket Tuesday morning, but half a mile down the road I was warmed up enough that I didn't miss it.

I also saw a 30-dollar seat cover the other day when buying a pannier. Designed to make riding more comfortable on the ass. I was quite tempted to buy it, but decided that I would hold off...

Good call. According to the expert, soft bike saddles can actually be less comfortable than properly-fitting firm ones. Besides, if the saddle is wrong, a seat cover won't fix it.

I did a bit of looking and found a great deal on cycling pants/tights ($26!) on Nashbar. If anyone is looking for cycling pants to prepare for the coming cold, this is the best deal I've seen in the months I've been looking.  "These tights are designated factory seconds solely due to a slight discoloration of the external Nashbar logo." Just thought I would pass it along!

Thanks. That deal was too good for me to pass up.

Are those things men's only, or unisex? I wonder if I should buy my wife some, too.

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #107 on: September 18, 2015, 05:38:28 AM »
It's crazy to think that some of you are already talking about cold-weather gear; here in Atlanta I'm still wearing shorts and a T-shirt! Admittedly, I briefly considered putting on a jacket Tuesday morning, but half a mile down the road I was warmed up enough that I didn't miss it.

Are those things men's only, or unisex? I wonder if I should buy my wife some, too.

The cold didn't even cross my mind either, which is why I haven't done any real posts about it. It was only comments here that made me think of it. I'm still doing shorts and t-shirts, too. As far as the bib type things go, those seem like a good deal, but the feedback I received a while ago said that the only benefit of them is around the waist area. If you have a jersey that stays tight or below the pants (I tuck mine into shorts I wear over my biking shorts). Just a thought.

TheContinentalOp

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #108 on: September 18, 2015, 01:42:56 PM »
I just got back from a 6-day 450 mile biking/camping trip up and down the Delmarva Peninsula. It rained the first night and the campsite was pretty soggy, aside from that lots of sunshine, scenery and historic sites.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #109 on: September 21, 2015, 06:18:37 PM »
Sorry I fell so behind logging miles.  Caught up now, though!

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #110 on: September 22, 2015, 06:01:32 AM »
I'm glad I don't get rattled on a bike. On my way home yesterday, an actual city bus came up in the same lane and honked as it passed less than a foot away. Considering that I was obeying all cycling laws, and even had lights on during the daytime (I don't always do that...but I do when I ride streets, which doesn't happen often - I love this damn city), I was a little surprised that a professional driver, especially one that works for the city, was this ignorant of the laws. Didn't really bother me, more of an annoyance. On the super plus side, I found that this page exists. So I'm going to report the driver of the city bus, and I'll actually use this very handy tool I didn't know exist to report the 3 lights that don't detect cyclists (there is actually a section on the form for that!!). So hopefully the lights will get fixed, and they'll teach the driver of this 40000lb vehicle that perhaps they need to be a bit more aware of the laws and their surroundings.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #111 on: September 22, 2015, 06:18:08 AM »
Some of my worst experiences have been with city buses, particularly because the bike lanes usually double as the bus lanes on many streets. A lot of the bus drivers seem to try and drive like a car, having no conception for the size (and mass) of their vehicle.

Paul | pdgessler

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #112 on: September 22, 2015, 07:19:41 AM »
I just signed myself up for the challenge. I have a roughly 14 mi commute each way to my job in downtown Milwaukee. Most days I take the bus to work, and during the summer months I'll bring my bike in to work on the bus and ride it home.

But, that's not the level of "badassity" I could be at! My main excuses are the time factor and the daylight factor, especially as the days get shorter (I typically arrive at work before 6:30 am). But these are pretty wimpy excuses (I do have bike lights, after all...), so I'm hoping this challenge inspires me to "kick it up a notch"!

Plus, if I am able to step it up a notch, I can realize even more savings. My employer subsidizes half the cost of the Milwaukee County Transit System's Commuter Value Pass already, but if you bike to/from work at least half time in any one quarter, they will pay the entire cost of the pass for that quarter!

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #113 on: September 22, 2015, 08:01:29 AM »
Some of my worst experiences have been with city buses, particularly because the bike lanes usually double as the bus lanes on many streets. A lot of the bus drivers seem to try and drive like a car, having no conception for the size (and mass) of their vehicle.

Thank goodness for the GoPro. This particular section of street doesn't have a bike lane, and bikes are allowed to use the entire lane. It's in downtown COS, so it's actually illegal to have your bike on the sidewalk. I always assumed professional drivers (even government ones) would be more aware. I would have expected that from a regular vehicle, but not a bus. I guess I get spoiled considering I'm almost never on streets. I have the footage, so if nothing happens, I might reach out to the news outlets or something. Fun fact: he actually broke a law.

Quote from: CO State Law
42-4-1003. Overtaking a vehicle on the left

The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall allow the bicyclist at least a three-foot separation between the right side of the driver's vehicle, including all mirrors or other projections, and the left side of the bicyclist at all times.
[...]
Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class A traffic infraction.

I just signed myself up for the challenge. I have a roughly 14 mi commute each way to my job in downtown Milwaukee. Most days I take the bus to work, and during the summer months I'll bring my bike in to work on the bus and ride it home.

But, that's not the level of "badassity" I could be at! My main excuses are the time factor and the daylight factor, especially as the days get shorter (I typically arrive at work before 6:30 am). But these are pretty wimpy excuses (I do have bike lights, after all...), so I'm hoping this challenge inspires me to "kick it up a notch"!

Plus, if I am able to step it up a notch, I can realize even more savings. My employer subsidizes half the cost of the Milwaukee County Transit System's Commuter Value Pass already, but if you bike to/from work at least half time in any one quarter, they will pay the entire cost of the pass for that quarter!

Welcome.

Salivanth

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #114 on: September 22, 2015, 08:26:30 AM »
I just got a service for the second-hand bike I bought, after I had a problem with the brakes not working. The gears are fixed, the brakes work well, and the tires have been pumped up.

Holy crap, you guys, the difference is amazing. Going up hills is only a little easier, but that's still enough to turn my hardest hill from "Feeling like I'm going to die" to just "intense", and my second hardest hill from "intense" to just "hard". Big change. But on flat ground? Oh man, the change is night and day. Before, I would ride on flat ground in second gear. Now, I use fourth. Massive difference. Definitely increases my speed as well.

It's a more comfortable ride, too. I rode 14 km today (using my new pannier, too!) and I feel totally fine, like I could have happily rode quite a lot longer. I have a set of mini milestones I want to achieve now over the next few weeks.

This week: 18 km round trip to the grocery store.
Next week: 25 km round trip into town. (With a few hours break, as I'll be visiting my sister.)

If I can make the 25 km trip once, I can make it twice a week, and then it's only a short jump from that to thrice a week. I'll need to do a bit of night riding practice first, but once I can ride at night and ride 25-30 km thrice a week, my car usage will drop to nearly zero. I'll only need to drive on alternate Tuesdays, or when the weather is really horrible. (Naturally, I shall work on increasing my weather-related badassity as time goes on.)

I'll have to set myself a goal in next month's thread! My plan to nearly eradicate my car usage by the end of the year is seeming well ahead of schedule at the moment.

Butterfingers

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #115 on: September 22, 2015, 09:26:33 AM »
It's amazing the difference that a tune-up makes. Well worth the money, and even more worth learning to do it yourself! I'm just starting down that road, but it's nice to be able to adjust things and be fairly confident that you know what you're doing.

Butterfingers

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #116 on: September 22, 2015, 09:29:43 AM »
I've been off work (and so off the bike) for a few days. Came to work in the car this morning (naughty), but I need to get back on the bike as soon as this cough finally dies.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #117 on: September 22, 2015, 11:39:58 AM »
I just signed myself up for the challenge. I have a roughly 14 mi commute each way to my job in downtown Milwaukee. Most days I take the bus to work, and during the summer months I'll bring my bike in to work on the bus and ride it home.

But, that's not the level of "badassity" I could be at! My main excuses are the time factor and the daylight factor, especially as the days get shorter (I typically arrive at work before 6:30 am). But these are pretty wimpy excuses (I do have bike lights, after all...), so I'm hoping this challenge inspires me to "kick it up a notch"!

Plus, if I am able to step it up a notch, I can realize even more savings. My employer subsidizes half the cost of the Milwaukee County Transit System's Commuter Value Pass already, but if you bike to/from work at least half time in any one quarter, they will pay the entire cost of the pass for that quarter!

Paul - good luck! Milwaukee in general is a pretty easy city to ride at night in. If you continue to ride all the way into show season, be prepared to change your routes if they involve trails, as only some of the trails are maintained during the winter.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM.

Optimiser

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #118 on: September 23, 2015, 07:37:08 PM »
I bike commuted for the third time since starting last week. It's already getting easier. Every time I feel tired or discouraged I just remind myself it doesn't matter how hard I'm pedaling, if I don't stop, I will get there.

FoundPeace

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #119 on: September 24, 2015, 12:21:06 PM »
This week was shot by my getting the Flu. Finally came in to work by car today, but definitely not ready to bike yet. Hopefully next week. Hat's off to all of you cycling in the colder climates!

Some of my worst experiences have been with city buses, particularly because the bike lanes usually double as the bus lanes on many streets. A lot of the bus drivers seem to try and drive like a car, having no conception for the size (and mass) of their vehicle.

Thank goodness for the GoPro. This particular section of street doesn't have a bike lane, and bikes are allowed to use the entire lane. It's in downtown COS, so it's actually illegal to have your bike on the sidewalk. I always assumed professional drivers (even government ones) would be more aware. I would have expected that from a regular vehicle, but not a bus. I guess I get spoiled considering I'm almost never on streets. I have the footage, so if nothing happens, I might reach out to the news outlets or something. Fun fact: he actually broke a law.

Quote from: CO State Law
42-4-1003. Overtaking a vehicle on the left

The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall allow the bicyclist at least a three-foot separation between the right side of the driver's vehicle, including all mirrors or other projections, and the left side of the bicyclist at all times.
[...]
Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class A traffic infraction.

Glad you're OK? Do you always have a GoPro on you when you ride? Luckily I haven't had any close encounters yet, but that does sound really useful.

aetherie

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #120 on: September 24, 2015, 12:33:44 PM »
It's kind of cute how concerned my coworkers are about me biking in the winter. (Note: it's still 70 and sunny here.) Every time they see my bike, or someone says something about snow, or the forecast indicates it might be in the 50s at night, they get all "OMG WINTER IS COMING AETHERIE WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DOOOOO" - and I appreciate that they care about me but also, do they really think I haven't thought 2 months into the future? I'm tempted to respond with "Wait, you mean it's going to get cold THIS YEAR TOO?" but I'm keeping the sarcasm in check for now...

Optimiser

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #121 on: September 24, 2015, 01:20:57 PM »
My coworkers seem very concerned about the traffic, and how brave I must be to deal with all the lunatic drivers. I'm sure they will be equally concerned for me when the weather changes too.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #122 on: September 24, 2015, 02:01:11 PM »
It's kind of cute how concerned my coworkers are about me biking in the winter. (Note: it's still 70 and sunny here.) Every time they see my bike, or someone says something about snow, or the forecast indicates it might be in the 50s at night, they get all "OMG WINTER IS COMING AETHERIE WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DOOOOO" - and I appreciate that they care about me but also, do they really think I haven't thought 2 months into the future? I'm tempted to respond with "Wait, you mean it's going to get cold THIS YEAR TOO?" but I'm keeping the sarcasm in check for now...

When I still worked, I got that a lot. People shut up pretty fast when I would regularly be the first person in the department even on snow days. Around here, there were only maybe 1-2 days I thought to myself that even I was crazy for biking in them. But those are the days I remember the most (driving blizzards, flying at full speed over black ice thanks to studs, etc.)

wileyish

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #123 on: September 25, 2015, 07:47:51 PM »
Took my bike out during lunch today and as I was unlocking it I found that a black widow spider had taken up residence between my front fender and basket. Yikes! Not sure if she found her way there at the bike racks or if I gave her a lift to work this morning. Im not wildly afraid of spiders, but I was quietly relieved when a parking attendant grabbed a tissue and squished her for me. He got hero points from a bunch of ladies standing in line waiting for their cars.

Feeling grateful that she wasn't hiding under my seat as I was wearing a dress.

Salivanth

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #124 on: September 26, 2015, 08:47:35 AM »
Did my first full ride, riding to the nearest grocery store (near the outskirts of town) and back. Total distance was 18 km (11.25 miles).

I quite enjoyed the trip in. It's getting more enjoyable each time as it gets easier and I go a bit faster. I had a tailwind on the way in and almost no traffic, so I was going nice and fast and barely exerting myself for most of the ride. It's moments like that that make me wonder why more people don't cycle. Great way to spend 30-45 minutes. I've never been much of an outdoor person, but I far prefer this to driving a car.

The trip back out, on the other hand, was much harder. The route from my house to town is mostly downhill and flat ground. I also had a headwind on the way back. Headwind + hills = not fun. I had to get off my bike a couple of times to walk up some of the worst sections. My legs still hurt from the effort as I write this, but fortunately I'm not riding tomorrow.

The good news is, the worst hill on my route into town has gone from "Oh my god, I'm going to die" steadily all the way down to merely difficult over just a few weeks. So I look forward to the day where I can ride up all the uphill sections on both legs without too much trouble. The only way I'm going to get better at it is to keep doing it, after all.

Next step is the 25 km (15.6 mile) trip on Monday. That'll take me all the way into town and back out. The good news is, I'll be resting for a few hours between the trip in and the trip back, and the extra 7 km I didn't ride today is mostly flat. In fact, the only uphill section is on the way in, not the way out, and I've already made the trip in a few times.

Once I can ride the 25 km, I can officially start replacing my car trips, one by one :) I think my goal for October will be only using the car once per week, meaning that for most of the month I'll have to make the trip in and out of town twice a week, plus any extras for stuff I forget to get on the other trips.

Jack

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #125 on: September 27, 2015, 10:38:32 AM »
Last week I biked to work all five days, and biked to an event in Midtown on Saturday!

Amusing anecdote: my (early-1990s) bike's freewheel started acting up (the chain would go slack when I stopped pedaling or tried to pedal backwards). On Friday I decided to stop by one of the bike shops on the way home and ask for advice, since I figured they might be able to do a quick fix right there instead of me having to figure it out for myself. The guy looked at it and then told me (in pretty quick succession) (1) "Oh, if your freewheel is doing that, it's probably shot -- when they get like that they can't be fixed, only replaced." (2) "These Sun Tour components haven't been made in 15 years, so you'd have to switch to Shimano and replace the shifter and derailleur too." (3) "Given how old this bike is, maybe you should think about replacing it-- [noticing the good-condition, non-original paint job and customizations] --oh wait, you're probably pretty attached to it, huh?" I told him that if I needed to replace any parts I'd just scrounge something at the local bike co-op, thanked him for the advice, and left. Then I went home, looked up freewheels on sheldonbrown.com, learned how to oil the damn thing, and now it works perfectly again. That shady fucker tried to upsell me to a whole freaking new bike when all I needed was a squirt of grease! Sometimes I wonder why average people (who are terrified of DIY) spend so much more money than mustachians, then a situation like this reminds me.


jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #126 on: September 28, 2015, 11:18:43 AM »
My next bike purchase is going to be some sort of carrying device. I need a basket or a rack with panniers. I think I would have done a lot more miles if I'd had a way to use the bike to run errands but all I have is a drawstring backpack which is both uncomfortable and would hold in heat at my back (where all of my sweat happens). I'm also nervous about carrying my lunch to work in it since I don't quite trust my tupperware. It made it fine today (btw, I biked again today!) but it still makes me nervous

My first panniers were Avenir, and I found them to be pretty good entry level panniers. I actually still have their trunk bag in daily use. I already spent a stupid amount of money on my Arkel Commuter pannier, but these look pretty functional. I personally have this trunk bag and these panniers as well. There were some size comparisons in a previous month, but I don't know what month specifically.


As it is I probably won't make my goal of doing more miles than I did in September. After today I'll be 13.5 miles short and it's supposed to rain the next two days. If it holds off I can just squeak past the goal so I'll be keeping a close eye on the weather

It still is September, right? What are you short of? Also, my confusion on this matter made me question reality for a bit. :)

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #127 on: September 28, 2015, 01:09:35 PM »
My next bike purchase is going to be some sort of carrying device. I need a basket or a rack with panniers. I think I would have done a lot more miles if I'd had a way to use the bike to run errands but all I have is a drawstring backpack which is both uncomfortable and would hold in heat at my back (where all of my sweat happens). I'm also nervous about carrying my lunch to work in it since I don't quite trust my tupperware. It made it fine today (btw, I biked again today!) but it still makes me nervous

My first panniers were Avenir, and I found them to be pretty good entry level panniers. I actually still have their trunk bag in daily use. I already spent a stupid amount of money on my Arkel Commuter pannier, but these look pretty functional. I personally have this trunk bag and these panniers as well. There were some size comparisons in a previous month, but I don't know what month specifically.
Thanks for the links! I'm so lost in shopping for accessories since I don't know what brands are good or crap. I think I like the look of the first one and Amazon recommended a rack and light set with it for a total of $70.40 that I might just spring for, though I am considering asking for this stuff for Christmas instead so I can ask for useful things this year. There's also a couple of used bike shops around me that I need to check out to see if they have any of this stuff

That's funny, I have a couple of those exact lights too. They work well for making sure you are visible (which is super important), but they aren't that great for actual night riding, in my experience.  They do okay, but I went for rechargeables after using those ones for about a year. Batteries are still mostly good in them on the GFs bike though.

Jack

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #128 on: September 28, 2015, 07:19:56 PM »
My next bike purchase is going to be some sort of carrying device. I need a basket or a rack with panniers. I think I would have done a lot more miles if I'd had a way to use the bike to run errands but all I have is a drawstring backpack which is both uncomfortable and would hold in heat at my back (where all of my sweat happens). I'm also nervous about carrying my lunch to work in it since I don't quite trust my tupperware. It made it fine today (btw, I biked again today!) but it still makes me nervous

On my bike, I have a Wald basket on one side and a Blackburn pannier on the other, and I like both of them. The pannier is big, cheap (on sale, as it is currently), and pretty sturdy, but only "water-resistant" rather than "water-proof." (As far as I can tell, good-quality "water-proof" panniers cost a lot more.) I figure that, for the difference in price, I can wrap stuff in a trash bag before putting it in the pannier, but so far I haven't needed to since the light rains I've ridden through haven't penetrated it.)

That's funny, I have a couple of those exact lights too. They work well for making sure you are visible (which is super important), but they aren't that great for actual night riding, in my experience.  They do okay, but I went for rechargeables after using those ones for about a year. Batteries are still mostly good in them on the GFs bike though.

I've been meaning to ask this for a few days: can anybody recommend a very bright, good-yet-cheap "actual night riding" light? I hear good things about Cree LED flashlights, but I'm looking for a specific recommendation (e.g. a link to a particular product).

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #129 on: September 29, 2015, 06:12:06 AM »
That's funny, I have a couple of those exact lights too. They work well for making sure you are visible (which is super important), but they aren't that great for actual night riding, in my experience.  They do okay, but I went for rechargeables after using those ones for about a year. Batteries are still mostly good in them on the GFs bike though.

I've been meaning to ask this for a few days: can anybody recommend a very bright, good-yet-cheap "actual night riding" light? I hear good things about Cree LED flashlights, but I'm looking for a specific recommendation (e.g. a link to a particular product).

I can give you my personal experiences with them. So one of my first lights recently was this combo, which is the one that showed bundled earlier. While the front light is bright enough to get attention during the day, the tail light isn't quite bright enough to do much of anything unless it's dark, which is fine if you have reflective gear. The headlight is relatively bright, but when I did a night ride through Garden of the Gods (Starlight Spectacular 2014 - no lights at all) I noticed that the way the lens works maintains a thin beam, and weird spots on the outside. Great for visibility of you, but not that great of visibility for you. The fact that they take standard AAA batteries instead of stupid CR2025 button batteries is nice. When winter was coming last year (insert GoT joke here), I knew that it wouldn't do for riding as early in the morning as I leave. So then I purchased this. The only bad thing about this is how slow it charges, the external battery pack, and the fact that it's a relatively proprietary AC adapter sucks. However, the battery life is pretty good, and the light is super bright and a nice wide beam. In the one run in that I've had with a deer at night, it wasn't quite bright enough to make it freeze, but it does a great job of providing visibility. This is my primary light to this day. And then, at some point, I acquired the headlight part of this combo. I have it strapped to my helmet, and on a couple of occasions when I didn't remember to charge my usual light, I had to use this one for night riding. I absolutely love the fact that they are USB rechargeable, and bright. I actually bought a set of these to replace the first light on my GFs bike. I did this primarily due to the rechargeable nature of them, and I'd rather she have them on during the day for each ride, and recharge when we get back.

Hope that helps.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #130 on: September 29, 2015, 08:43:55 AM »
I'm a big fan of Cygolite Metro (300 or higher) headlights and Cygolite Hotshot 2W taillights. I've gotten many positive comments from cyclist - and even drivers hailing me to ask what I had!

I've got 4 of each for me and the kids. Haven't done much night riding with them this year but we did a fair amount last year. They enjoy using the headlights as flashlights in the meantime, and the battery life is excellent.

On panniers it comes down to how much you care about:

1. Organization (if any)
2. Waterproofing
3. Ease of removal.

I decided I didn't care very much about #1 but cared a tons about 2&3 and got Ortlieb Classics, which are built to last but offer next to no internal organization.

ohyonghao

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #131 on: September 29, 2015, 07:49:10 PM »
This is a great review done every year: 2015 Lights Shootout.  It goes through a wide range of lights and prices.  I personally have the Nightrider 700, got it on sale I think from Nashbar with 20% off during a lights sale.  Works wonderfully.  Charge it about once a week, or more if I do a longer ride or expect to do a long ride soon where I would want it fully charged.

Another page on the same site: Light Patterns shows you all the different patterns from various lights that were tested.  You can see how different ones illuminated more to the sides, or further down, and their general brightness.

For actual cycling rides where I'm doing 30mph downhill and hitting a sharp corner I would suggest a helmet mount along with the handlebar one.  Nothing like coming up on a corner and realizing that you can't see around it.  Not a problem for most commuting I do, but being able to turn your head and see where you're looking would be nice.

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #132 on: September 30, 2015, 08:24:31 AM »
Rode to work today for the third day in a row and weather looks like it's going to let me finish the week without having to move my car out of the garage. After I get home I'll only be 2.3 miles short of beating my August mileage but I might not have time to squeeze those miles in. We want to take both bikes back to the shop for an adjustment now that they're broken in (they do this free for life) and/or we might be hanging out with friends.

Racks/panniers: I have three options for getting these; buying them from a local shop (expensive but fast), buying them online (cheaper but could take a week or so before I get them, or asking for them for Christmas (free but I'd have to wait months). The weather is getting to where I want a hoodie in the morning but not in the afternoon and I either have to cram it into my drawstring backpack (which is really uncomfortable I learned yesterday) or leave it at work and end up with a pile of hoodies at my desk until I drive the car. I suppose I could suck it up and get Amazon Prime and get two day shipping on the panniers JordanRead linked earlier, DH has been talking about getting it for a while now anyway and that would let me finish out at least September in more comfort. I'm just trying to not spend a ton of money and I know I'll still need fenders, lights, and fleece lined leggings (if I ride in much colder weather). Oh, and I've looked on the local craigslist and there have been no panniers listed so that's not an option

So here's a dumb question: Are bike rack pretty universal? If I were to buy this one (that Amazon suggested with the panniers) it should fit my bike correct?

First off, congrats on riding in again. It will become the most healthy addiction ever. Bike racks that aren't seat post (and I'm only saying this because I have 0 experience with them) usually will fit on any bikes IME. One part attaches to the hub/axle section of the rear tire, and the other part mounts to the top of the rear fork, but is adjustable. You might need a special rack for 29ers, but I'm not sure. If you have 26" tires, I can almost guarantee that it would be a fit. I think that is exactly the one I have, but I bought it second hand for $5 from a friend who upgraded, so I'm not certain. Don't forget to make sure you have it level. If you go with those panniers, one of the benefits of the top section (especially with shifty tupperware) when balanced properly is that your riding style controls the slop of your food. As long as you don't crash, you don't need to worry too much about leakage. I don't know exactly what part of the country you are in, but if you are going to be riding in super cold weather, a solid base layer that isn't cotton or fleece is invaluable.

AllieVaulter

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #133 on: September 30, 2015, 10:05:28 AM »
Rode to work today for the third day in a row and weather looks like it's going to let me finish the week without having to move my car out of the garage. After I get home I'll only be 2.3 miles short of beating my August mileage but I might not have time to squeeze those miles in. We want to take both bikes back to the shop for an adjustment now that they're broken in (they do this free for life) and/or we might be hanging out with friends.

Racks/panniers: I have three options for getting these; buying them from a local shop (expensive but fast), buying them online (cheaper but could take a week or so before I get them, or asking for them for Christmas (free but I'd have to wait months). The weather is getting to where I want a hoodie in the morning but not in the afternoon and I either have to cram it into my drawstring backpack (which is really uncomfortable I learned yesterday) or leave it at work and end up with a pile of hoodies at my desk until I drive the car. I suppose I could suck it up and get Amazon Prime and get two day shipping on the panniers JordanRead linked earlier, DH has been talking about getting it for a while now anyway and that would let me finish out at least September in more comfort. I'm just trying to not spend a ton of money and I know I'll still need fenders, lights, and fleece lined leggings (if I ride in much colder weather). Oh, and I've looked on the local craigslist and there have been no panniers listed so that's not an option

So here's a dumb question: Are bike rack pretty universal? If I were to buy this one (that Amazon suggested with the panniers) it should fit my bike correct?

First off, congrats on riding in again. It will become the most healthy addiction ever. Bike racks that aren't seat post (and I'm only saying this because I have 0 experience with them) usually will fit on any bikes IME. One part attaches to the hub/axle section of the rear tire, and the other part mounts to the top of the rear fork, but is adjustable. You might need a special rack for 29ers, but I'm not sure. If you have 26" tires, I can almost guarantee that it would be a fit. I think that is exactly the one I have, but I bought it second hand for $5 from a friend who upgraded, so I'm not certain. Don't forget to make sure you have it level. If you go with those panniers, one of the benefits of the top section (especially with shifty tupperware) when balanced properly is that your riding style controls the slop of your food. As long as you don't crash, you don't need to worry too much about leakage. I don't know exactly what part of the country you are in, but if you are going to be riding in super cold weather, a solid base layer that isn't cotton or fleece is invaluable.

My husband had a little difficulty getting a rack to fit on his bike.  I think it was because his bike has disk brakes, so the rear axle was a bit wider than most.  He just had to bend the vertical part of the rack a smidge to get the extra centimeter or so of clearance that he needed.  Not a big deal.  It was kind of funny though.  He'd never put a rack on a bike before so when he first put it on, he put it inside the frame of the bike.  That meant he couldn't shift to the outside gear because the rack was in the way. 

Another option, AerynLee, is to stop by a garage sale or goodwill or something and see if they don't have a bigger backpack for a couple bucks.  That way you would be a bit more comfortable waiting until Christmas for an actual set of panniers.  It sounds like you just need a bit more space -- and wider straps!  That makes a huge difference. 

Jack

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #134 on: September 30, 2015, 06:32:43 PM »
So here's a dumb question: Are bike rack pretty universal? If I were to buy this one (that Amazon suggested with the panniers) it should fit my bike correct?

Not only do not all racks fit all bikes, but not all panniers fit all racks.

For rack/bike fit: check to see if your bike has the correct braze-ons (at the rear axle and near the top of the seat stays), and that it does not use disc brakes. If that's the case, most racks should fit.

If you're lacking braze-ons, look for a rack that attaches to the seat post (one that attaches at the seat post and rear axle is better than one that attaches only at the seat post). Otherwise, your bike shop may be able to help you with some cheap little metal brackets for the front of the rack to attach to.

If you have disc brakes, look for a rack advertised as being disc brake compatible.

For pannier / rack fit, all I know is to try them out with each other and if they don't fit, pick a different pannier. (The blackburn one I recommended upthread is not the first one I tried, but it is the first one that fit.)

Now, back to headlights: what do y'all think of impossibly-cheap ones made by shady Chinese companies, like this? Worth the gamble? Or should I bite the bullet and get the theoretically-identical but "not a cheap imitation" one that's 4x as expensive?

Salivanth

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #135 on: October 01, 2015, 08:01:52 AM »
Can I sign up for being saved to the sheet at this late time? I'd like to keep the modifications I've made going into next month if possible :)

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #136 on: October 01, 2015, 08:14:06 AM »
Right now preferences from the forms are being persisted if you selected remember me. If, however, you made manual changes to your sheets, they won't persist. I do have some time today, so I might see about making that an option (or at least adding more options to the form).

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #137 on: October 01, 2015, 01:19:04 PM »
The next challenge (October Cycling 2015) is up!!!

Please follow the above link and ride on!!