Author Topic: September Cycling Challenge 2015  (Read 26238 times)

Salivanth

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #50 on: September 10, 2015, 07:45:01 AM »
Rode 14 km (8.7 miles) to karate today, then did a karate lesson. Was quite nervous about how it would turn out, but weirdly, even though the ride was pretty taxing, I was able to handle karate just fine after a short rest.

On the topic of "You just have to finish the ride", my route is great for that. The start, for me, has been the hardest in both rides so far. But I tell myself "Just make it through the first three kilometres (2 miles)". The reason for that is that a big downhill section ends around the 2 mile mark. By the time I've gone through that, the last thing I want is to turn around and go back UP those hills just to drive to where I need to go, so I just keep going. It's similar to the strategy I used while running. If I do a 4-mile run, I tell myself to make it through the first 2, and then my hands are tied, I have to go back. And I'm so impatient that I'd rather run than walk.

I'm definitely enjoying the biking so far, even though the hills are an unpleasant reminder that I've slacked off on exercise during the first semester of university, and I'm still fatter than I'd like. Every hill is my body yelling at me "Lose some weight, dumbass." I can see why biking is so recommended. When I don't do much physical activity, it's easy to forget how much fitter I still want to be. Biking shines a magnifying glass on this particular flaw, and won't let me look away. I think it's time to go back on a weight loss diet.

mskyle

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #51 on: September 10, 2015, 08:43:58 AM »
Any tips about reducing chain wear? I am apparently hard on my chains... just needed to replace my chain (and cassette!) after only about 1000 miles. I trust my bike shop not to replace things that don't need to be replaced, and it was shifting really poorly, so I don't doubt that it needed it, and I guess even if I go through a couple of chains a year that's still a fairly reasonable expense compared to my other transportation options, but it seems like other people are getting more life out of their chains.

I do ride in very bad weather and am not always great about washing down the bike after rain and snow and salt... mostly I'm just not sure where/how to do it (no outdoor covered space, and although I know some people will wash their bikes in the bath, that is not for me!). I have a new watering can and could probably use that to give the drive train a quick rinse after a bad-weather ride. I'm going to get a chain measuring tool, too, to make it easier to notice when the chain is getting old.

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #52 on: September 10, 2015, 08:52:08 AM »
Rode 14 km (8.7 miles) to karate today, then did a karate lesson. Was quite nervous about how it would turn out, but weirdly, even though the ride was pretty taxing, I was able to handle karate just fine after a short rest.

On the topic of "You just have to finish the ride", my route is great for that. The start, for me, has been the hardest in both rides so far. But I tell myself "Just make it through the first three kilometres (2 miles)". The reason for that is that a big downhill section ends around the 2 mile mark. By the time I've gone through that, the last thing I want is to turn around and go back UP those hills just to drive to where I need to go, so I just keep going. It's similar to the strategy I used while running. If I do a 4-mile run, I tell myself to make it through the first 2, and then my hands are tied, I have to go back. And I'm so impatient that I'd rather run than walk.

I'm definitely enjoying the biking so far, even though the hills are an unpleasant reminder that I've slacked off on exercise during the first semester of university, and I'm still fatter than I'd like. Every hill is my body yelling at me "Lose some weight, dumbass." I can see why biking is so recommended. When I don't do much physical activity, it's easy to forget how much fitter I still want to be. Biking shines a magnifying glass on this particular flaw, and won't let me look away. I think it's time to go back on a weight loss diet.

Glad to have you here, and happy you are getting value from biking. It is a bit on the addictive side, and the benefits soon become even more obvious. I can't help but think of a picture that TGC has on his site. I really just want to get that stencil and paint it in all the bike lanes.

I used to struggle against conditions, like tired legs or strong winds, thinking I should be biking in a particular way, hitting a particular speed, feeling a particular way in my body, and making it to work in a particular amount of time. But then I realized that was silly. For me there isn't one way to ride; it isn't a game where I'm constantly leveling up and needing to maintain that level. Every ride is exactly as it should be. It happens as it happens, and not only do I get where I'm going, I enjoy the trip instead of fighting against it. So now there is no feeling bad about a ride and no blerch. Whatever the conditions, I ride. This has affected other areas of my life as well. I used to think that unless I struggled and strived and tried really hard to make myself absolutely awesome, that I would not accomplish anything and sort of slip into a giant puddle of lazy uselessness. I can say that I had it completely backwards.

That is an outstanding way of looking at things! I still need to figure out a good way to reconcile it with my thoughts on biking. I always try to beat my previous record, but I'm also cool if I don't. I like pushing myself, but biking is so much more than that. I don't lose sight of all the awesomeness, but I could see how that could happen if you do view things as a way to level up. Thanks for the insight!

Any tips about reducing chain wear? I am apparently hard on my chains... just needed to replace my chain (and cassette!) after only about 1000 miles. I trust my bike shop not to replace things that don't need to be replaced, and it was shifting really poorly, so I don't doubt that it needed it, and I guess even if I go through a couple of chains a year that's still a fairly reasonable expense compared to my other transportation options, but it seems like other people are getting more life out of their chains.

I do ride in very bad weather and am not always great about washing down the bike after rain and snow and salt... mostly I'm just not sure where/how to do it (no outdoor covered space, and although I know some people will wash their bikes in the bath, that is not for me!). I have a new watering can and could probably use that to give the drive train a quick rinse after a bad-weather ride. I'm going to get a chain measuring tool, too, to make it easier to notice when the chain is getting old.

I don't necessarily rinse off my bike, but I do make sure I regularly lube the chain. That seems to have reduced my wear quite a bit. You're not shifting when it's too hard or anything like that I'm assuming, right?

Salivanth

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #53 on: September 10, 2015, 10:16:07 AM »
Rode 14 km (8.7 miles) to karate today, then did a karate lesson. Was quite nervous about how it would turn out, but weirdly, even though the ride was pretty taxing, I was able to handle karate just fine after a short rest.

On the topic of "You just have to finish the ride", my route is great for that. The start, for me, has been the hardest in both rides so far. But I tell myself "Just make it through the first three kilometres (2 miles)". The reason for that is that a big downhill section ends around the 2 mile mark. By the time I've gone through that, the last thing I want is to turn around and go back UP those hills just to drive to where I need to go, so I just keep going. It's similar to the strategy I used while running. If I do a 4-mile run, I tell myself to make it through the first 2, and then my hands are tied, I have to go back. And I'm so impatient that I'd rather run than walk.

I'm definitely enjoying the biking so far, even though the hills are an unpleasant reminder that I've slacked off on exercise during the first semester of university, and I'm still fatter than I'd like. Every hill is my body yelling at me "Lose some weight, dumbass." I can see why biking is so recommended. When I don't do much physical activity, it's easy to forget how much fitter I still want to be. Biking shines a magnifying glass on this particular flaw, and won't let me look away. I think it's time to go back on a weight loss diet.

Glad to have you here, and happy you are getting value from biking. It is a bit on the addictive side, and the benefits soon become even more obvious. I can't help but think of a picture that TGC has on his site. I really just want to get that stencil and paint it in all the bike lanes.


Sounds about right :) MMM's "car clown" analogy really got to me as well. "If a car weighs 2 tons and you weigh 80 kg, 96% of the fuel you spend is spent getting your CAR where you need to go, not you. It's like buying 25 meals, eating one, and throwing the other 24 in the garbage." Now I can't stop thinking about that every time I drive, but hopefully I can bring my car usage down to once every two weeks by the end of the year. I have one tutoring client that I choose not to bike to, since I go from tutoring straight to karate, and biking is simply too slow to get there in a reasonable frame of time. I was going to say I can't bike there, but then I realised this is a lie; I choose to prioritise getting to karate on time over using a bike. This isn't a bad choice, in my opinion, but it's a choice, and I should be conscious that I am making it every time I do the drive.

This is admittedly not as bad as it could be, as I still need to get sixty hours of accompanied driving in to get my provisional license, and I do want to have a car license, even though I currently choose not to own a car. You never know what might happen in the future. I may need to borrow a car for an unbikeable errand every so often, or suffer an injury that prevents me biking while still permitting me to drive.

I should probably keep an eye out for these choices in other areas of my life, too. A choice is still a choice, even if I make a decision without ever realising I had an alternative.

TrMama

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #54 on: September 10, 2015, 11:02:28 AM »
Any tips about reducing chain wear? I am apparently hard on my chains... just needed to replace my chain (and cassette!) after only about 1000 miles. I trust my bike shop not to replace things that don't need to be replaced, and it was shifting really poorly, so I don't doubt that it needed it, and I guess even if I go through a couple of chains a year that's still a fairly reasonable expense compared to my other transportation options, but it seems like other people are getting more life out of their chains.

I do ride in very bad weather and am not always great about washing down the bike after rain and snow and salt... mostly I'm just not sure where/how to do it (no outdoor covered space, and although I know some people will wash their bikes in the bath, that is not for me!). I have a new watering can and could probably use that to give the drive train a quick rinse after a bad-weather ride. I'm going to get a chain measuring tool, too, to make it easier to notice when the chain is getting old.

Yeah, keeping it clean and lubed will extend it's life. However, riding in wet weather is terrible for chains. All that road grit gets in the links and acts like internal sandpaper. I also have to replace my chains pretty frequently.

One thing I've realized in the past year though is that rear casettes with more gears require thinner, more expensive chains than cassettes with fewer gears. The thinner chains are stupidly expensive and prone to breaking. I ride a silly carbon racing style road bike and it has a correspondingly silly 10-speed rear cassette. When those gears wear out I'm going to replace them, and the chain, with an 8-speed. It'll be cheaper and more durable. I live in a hilly area so I don't need the higher end gears anyway. I'm either grinding uphill in a low gear or coasting down without pedaling.


jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #55 on: September 10, 2015, 08:32:24 PM »
[...] I'm either grinding uphill in a low gear or coasting down without pedaling.

I recently switched out my SO's MTB tires with slicks. Now she coasts down hills faster than I can pedal in a high gear. One day...:)

Fun fact: My best mileage ever was in January of this year (306 Miles), because it was the first winter biking I did, and was totally motivated not to drive at all that month, even though I wasn't necessarily liking it. Best mileage in winter is awesome.

Other Fun Fact: As of my ride home this evening, that's the only month I have to beat now (told you I'm leveling up, Nancy). I broke 155 miles, and it's only the 10th. Getting rid of my car was an awesome decision for me. Now I just need to quit smoking (again). I need to get some of those candy cigarettes or something though. I get the best looks when I pull up on my bike all sweaty and kicking ass, and then light a smoke. Totally feeds my superiority complex when I am smoking a cigarette and see people driving in giving me super hilarious looks.

mskyle

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #56 on: September 11, 2015, 07:47:13 AM »
Now I just need to quit smoking (again). I need to get some of those candy cigarettes or something though. I get the best looks when I pull up on my bike all sweaty and kicking ass, and then light a smoke. Totally feeds my superiority complex when I am smoking a cigarette and see people driving in giving me super hilarious looks.


Haha, I agree you should stop smoking (for your health!) but I do love anything that conveys that biking is not just for the obsessively fit. Maybe get yourself a cupholder and keep a Big Gulp in it at all times.

Riding in this morning I realized another thing that may have contributed to chain wear for me this year: I got another bike with an internally-geared Sturmey-Archer hub, which can only be shifted when you're *not* pedaling (the worn-out bike has a standard derailleur). I suspect that, especially when I was first getting used to the new bike, I was sometimes shifting at the wrong times on the derailleur bike as well. I've mostly got it down now, but it is a little difficult switching back and forth.

The new (well, new to me) bike also has a complete chain case, so I should probably use that bike more in the rain, but it also has a wicker basket and a leather saddle, which I don't like to get wet... maybe I should switch out the basket so I can ride it more this winter.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2015, 07:48:55 AM by mskyle »

ohyonghao

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #57 on: September 11, 2015, 05:57:11 PM »
Any tips about reducing chain wear? I am apparently hard on my chains... just needed to replace my chain (and cassette!) after only about 1000 miles. I trust my bike shop not to replace things that don't need to be replaced, and it was shifting really poorly, so I don't doubt that it needed it, and I guess even if I go through a couple of chains a year that's still a fairly reasonable expense compared to my other transportation options, but it seems like other people are getting more life out of their chains.

I do ride in very bad weather and am not always great about washing down the bike after rain and snow and salt... mostly I'm just not sure where/how to do it (no outdoor covered space, and although I know some people will wash their bikes in the bath, that is not for me!). I have a new watering can and could probably use that to give the drive train a quick rinse after a bad-weather ride. I'm going to get a chain measuring tool, too, to make it easier to notice when the chain is getting old.

Yeah, keeping it clean and lubed will extend it's life. However, riding in wet weather is terrible for chains. All that road grit gets in the links and acts like internal sandpaper. I also have to replace my chains pretty frequently.

One thing I've realized in the past year though is that rear casettes with more gears require thinner, more expensive chains than cassettes with fewer gears. The thinner chains are stupidly expensive and prone to breaking. I ride a silly carbon racing style road bike and it has a correspondingly silly 10-speed rear cassette. When those gears wear out I'm going to replace them, and the chain, with an 8-speed. It'll be cheaper and more durable. I live in a hilly area so I don't need the higher end gears anyway. I'm either grinding uphill in a low gear or coasting down without pedaling.
There are a few things to consider when changing the number of gears.
1) Your shifters (guessing they are indexed brifters) are probably indexed for 10 so you may need to get new shifters - Sheldon Brown says that this shouldn't be a problem having extra clicks.
2) Your front and rear derailleurs are also designed for 10 gears and may not work well with the smaller cassette -  Sheldon Brown suggests that the rear derailleur probably doesn't care, and the front derailleur may only be a little fussy, so this may not be a large concern

One thing I would look at is maybe getting a new crankset.  Are you running a 53/39 or 52/39 crank?  You could switch to a compact which would be 50/34.  This doesn't require new cassette, derailleurs, or shifters, just an adjustment to the front derailleur to lower it, and possibly removing a couple links from the chain due to the smaller circumference.

Another thing to consider on the rear cassette is going for a lower geared rear, a standard set used on road bikes is 11/25, but you could switch to a 12/30 which is commonly used for climbing, this might allow you to be in the big ring more especially in combination with a 50/34 front crankset.

The real differences between the 7/8, 10, or 11 cassette is in the steps between shifts.  An 11 speed cassette has the same top speed as the 9 or 10 if the cassettes smallest cog only has 11 teeth, but you can maintain a smoother cadence between shifts because the steps are smaller.  With a 7 speed cassette with the same size small and large cogs you would have an average of 2 teeth change between each gear in an 11/25 setup, whereas a 10 speed would have 1.4 teeth change, or 6 with 1 tooth steps and 3 with 2 tooth steps.

Originally I thought you were wrong on the 10 speed being thinner, but Sheldon Brown suggests that you are correct.  Myself I put about 1600 known miles on my 10 speed before changing the chain and have since put another 1300 without it getting to the warning wear indication with the Park Tool chain wear tool.   This includes plenty of uphill, and racing.  I have not changed my rear cassette yet, which would have 3900 miles + however many the previous owner put on it.  I also got the bike in November and road it all winter and spring rain or shine.

More reading:
Sheldon Brown - Speed
Potomac Pedalers - Cycling Gears

Any tips about reducing chain wear? I am apparently hard on my chains... just needed to replace my chain (and cassette!) after only about 1000 miles. I trust my bike shop not to replace things that don't need to be replaced, and it was shifting really poorly, so I don't doubt that it needed it, and I guess even if I go through a couple of chains a year that's still a fairly reasonable expense compared to my other transportation options, but it seems like other people are getting more life out of their chains.

I do ride in very bad weather and am not always great about washing down the bike after rain and snow and salt... mostly I'm just not sure where/how to do it (no outdoor covered space, and although I know some people will wash their bikes in the bath, that is not for me!). I have a new watering can and could probably use that to give the drive train a quick rinse after a bad-weather ride. I'm going to get a chain measuring tool, too, to make it easier to notice when the chain is getting old.
As far as washing the bike goes, I've been horrible at this, but getting better.  During the wet season I'll at least wipe down the bike once I get home to keep the chain from rusting overnight, and lube at least once a week.  I've been getting into the habit of actually using degreaser and a toothbrush to clean the drivetrain once a week, and lo and behold my chain is actually silver!  I find the jockey wheels can be particularly grimmey.  It's actually fairly relaxing being in the garage with a beer and taking the time to clean the bike.  I use a folding bike stand for parking my bikes and they work great for doing maintenance.

Also for riding in inclement weather I highly recommend full fenders.  1) the will keep the mud off your back and water out of your face, and 2) they do the same for your drivetrain.  Full fenders on the rear will come around down to your bottom bracket, my road ones even have a little extra side covering on the drivetrain side.

Thanks everyone for the inspiring stories.  I've been feeling a little burned out recently and have been taking it easy on the extra rides, your stories help motivate me to keep being badass.  I'm probably going to end up riding to my friends house again this weekend unless my wife decides to come along, so should look forward to adding another 60+ miles on Saturday.

Jack

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #58 on: September 11, 2015, 06:54:59 PM »
I just joined the challenge! I realize it's almost halfway through September, but my company's office didn't open until this Wednesday and until then I was working from home.

I'm moderately overweight and out of shape -- I've always enjoyed biking, but for the past few years my lifestyle (clown-car commute, and then telecommute) has not been conducive to it. Plus I'm lazy.

My commute is 6.5 miles each way, with some moderate hills at each end and an almost-flat multi-use rail trail in the middle. Because I'm so out of shape, it's taking me about 45 minutes to go those 6.5 miles. : ( I'm looking forward to getting faster...

I failed to bike commute on Wednesday. My rationalization was that it was raining and I wasn't sure if my "water-resistant" pannier would adequately protect my laptop. After that, I decided I won't take my laptop home in order to eliminate that excuse. Thursday and Friday were successes, though! In fact, on Thursday I felt pretty lucky: a storm was chasing me and it started monsooning shortly after I arrived home.

The plan is to bike commute every workday from now on, except for extenuating circumstances like needing to haul a carload of stuff or having to run an errand farther than biking-distance away. From now on, bad weather will not be considered an extenuating circumstance! (Except maybe ice -- it's not a factor for enough days per year to be worth getting studded tires, so I'll take transit those days.)

One of the things I've noticed is that being on a bike (especially with SPDs...cause walking in those shoes sucks), you still have to ride to get to your destination. Your feelings, your mood, your efficiency are all pretty much moot points. You still have to ride. After a few times just sucking it up and riding through honey (and 'wasting' time), you get to where you are going.
Very true. I have SPD pedals and after a couple of minutes by the side of the path sucking down water and feeling sorry for yourself, you realise there is no Plan B. And if that means crawling along at 10 km/h, then so be it.

SPDs are just fine for walking (I assume... I have Crank Brothers 'eggbeater' style instead, but they use the same 2-bolt attachment and similar cleats). The problem is the shoes, not the cleats. Swap out the road shoes for mountain-biking style ones, which have real treads and recessed attachment points, and you'll find it works much better.

(Look-style pedals are only compatible with road-style shoes, so if you had that kind you'd be screwed.)

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #59 on: September 11, 2015, 09:00:46 PM »
One of the things I've noticed is that being on a bike (especially with SPDs...cause walking in those shoes sucks), you still have to ride to get to your destination. Your feelings, your mood, your efficiency are all pretty much moot points. You still have to ride. After a few times just sucking it up and riding through honey (and 'wasting' time), you get to where you are going.
Very true. I have SPD pedals and after a couple of minutes by the side of the path sucking down water and feeling sorry for yourself, you realise there is no Plan B. And if that means crawling along at 10 km/h, then so be it.

SPDs are just fine for walking (I assume... I have Crank Brothers 'eggbeater' style instead, but they use the same 2-bolt attachment and similar cleats). The problem is the shoes, not the cleats. Swap out the road shoes for mountain-biking style ones, which have real treads and recessed attachment points, and you'll find it works much better.

(Look-style pedals are only compatible with road-style shoes, so if you had that kind you'd be screwed.)

Yeah, I get that. One of my former coworkers got some higher end hiking shoes with SPD cleats. They were much nicer and you could actually walk in them. I have a cheap set of shoes and dual platform pedals. I have heard that the hardness of regular SPDs is what allows for a better transfer of energy while pedaling. I haven't tested this, since I've always had really hard (and cheap) SPDs. Doing a touch of googling does make me want to look more into egg beaters. I always assumed they were just 4 sided SPD clips, but I was wrong.



Thegoblinchief

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #60 on: September 12, 2015, 05:40:37 AM »
At least from the touring diaries I read, you want a very stiff cycling  shoe when doing long distances regularly. I can definitely see the point, as my feet can get very sore near the balls of the toe from flexion pressing onto the pedal.

If I ever make it to SPDs I'll either get recessed cleats or just pack sandals in the pannier.

Optimiser

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #61 on: September 12, 2015, 07:28:22 PM »
I've been trying to work up the courage and motivation to start biking to work (13 miles each way). Reading through this thread is helping. My plan is to get an ebike eventually, but I need to save some more money first. If I can start riding to work a few times a week though, I'll be able to save up for an ebike quicker, so hopefully I can talk myself into doing it soon.

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #62 on: September 12, 2015, 07:37:16 PM »
I've been trying to work up the courage and motivation to start biking to work (13 miles each way). Reading through this thread is helping. My plan is to get an ebike eventually, but I need to save some more money first. If I can start riding to work a few times a week though, I'll be able to save up for an ebike quicker, so hopefully I can talk myself into doing it soon.

I'm glad the thread helps. We've been doing monthly challenges for a while now and they are all valuable. There are a lot of different ways to get into it (and you probably won't want to get an e bike once you are regularly riding). What's your biggest issue now?

Optimiser

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #63 on: September 12, 2015, 08:38:36 PM »
My main issue is time. I used to commute by bike to my last job, but it only took 5 minutes longer than driving. With my longer commute now it will probably be 30 minutes longer each way. With an ebike I could get to work a lot quicker, and maybe not need to shower when I got there.

My other issue is needing to eat more food. I've been working hard to gain weight for years, and I don't want to lose any weight. 26 miles of biking is a lot of extra food to cook, eat, and pay for.

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #64 on: September 12, 2015, 10:07:04 PM »
My main issue is time. I used to commute by bike to my last job, but it only took 5 minutes longer than driving. With my longer commute now it will probably be 30 minutes longer each way. With an ebike I could get to work a lot quicker, and maybe not need to shower when I got there.

My other issue is needing to eat more food. I've been working hard to gain weight for years, and I don't want to lose any weight. 26 miles of biking is a lot of extra food to cook, eat, and pay for.

That is a good issue to have! I get the time thing when it comes to biking, though. Maybe bringing the bike to work one day and only riding home would help.

Salivanth

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #65 on: September 13, 2015, 05:14:54 AM »
Well, I've just done some back of the envelope maths. If I want to completely avoid owning a car next year, I need to bike ~100 km (62.5 mi) each week, assuming I take one trip to town each fortnight for random things on top of my karate and tutoring. In reality, this number is slightly lower, as tutoring is a 40 week per year profession at best.

Estimated costs of a car:

Fuel: $800/year (I don't travel much, but fuel in Australia is expensive.)
Registration: $850/year
Insurance: $1600/year (Quote for an under 26 with a provisional license. Could probably get this lower, but as will soon be apparent, there is no reason to.)
Maintenance: $800/year

Total cost: $4,050/year, or about $60,000 over ten years.

This also means that I get $4,050/year for riding 5,200 km (3,250 mi), which is about 78c/km ($1.25/mi). Assuming 16 kph (10 mph) pace, this means I get paid $12.50/hr just to ride the bike, completely ignoring all other benefits from doing so. Considering the bike and it's accessories cost me $87, if owning a bike means I don't have to buy a car, it pays for itself in about eight days.

Now I see why MMM recommends buying a new bike if you have to, as long as it makes it more likely that you'll stick to the habit and that you have a bike as soon as possible. Bloody eye opening.

And I definitely see why "fuzzy maths and hand-waving" is useful. These numbers are probably totally out of whack, but it doesn't matter. Even if I'm off by a factor of 2, I still don't want to pay 30 grand (approximately 350% of my savings) for a car. So I won't. Time to build up to biking 100 km per week. Not a bad side hustle; getting 12 bucks an hour to exercise and even enjoy myself!

Even more information; on my current student income, I'm managing to save about 50% by living with family and having very few expenses. This rate would go down to 25% if I owned a car, based on the above analysis. That one thing would cut my savings rate in HALF. And all I have to do to avoid that is get a bit fitter and get into the biking habit. Pretty good deal, if you ask me.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 05:20:16 AM by Salivanth »

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #66 on: September 13, 2015, 01:05:52 PM »
Team, I don't know if I mentioned it here, but at my new place I did get one of my new coworkers to start biking in at least once a week. It also turns out that he is a bit of a maker, and has crazy skills with a sewing machine. When I was looking at panniers and the like, Russ said something pretty accurate: There will always be pannier people, and there will always be backpack people. So this isn't for me (since I fall solidly into the pannier camp...back sweat makes me angry), but the thought and sewing skill that went into this was super cool. He made a vest with a series of loops to support weight. I didn't get a picture of his laptop bag, but it's just a sleeve that he sewed more hooks on, and uses a carabiner to attach it to the vest. The other cool thing is that he can carry anything he wants and even layer them if need be. Camelbak, storage, and the like. Here are the pictures.




I might make a poll in next month's challenge, just to see the stats on panniers and backpacks here. My initial guess is that there are probably more backpack people, since almost everyone has one, and this is a place about not buying things you don't need, but I've been wrong before (once), and my stupid expensive pannier did have a side effect of riding a whole lot more (while commuting...my cheap panniers [or nothing] are fine for recreational rides).

Butterfingers

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #67 on: September 14, 2015, 02:04:26 AM »
Nearly got creamed by a 4x4 this morning. Mostly my fault. First near miss in recent times and it's shaken me a bit. A healthy reminder to ride fucking conservatively around traffic that can kill you dead in seconds.

Quote
There will always be pannier people, and there will always be backpack people.

Pannier person here. Occasionally add a rucksack if I've got a lot to carry, but I don't like it.

Butterfingers

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #68 on: September 14, 2015, 02:13:23 AM »
Well, I've just done some back of the envelope maths. Estimated costs of a car: $4,050/year, or about $60,000 over ten years.
Doesn't sound too far off. Unfortunately for me Mrs Butterfingers would have my nuts if I sold the car, but I can still save 5,0008,000 over ten years by leaving it sitting on the driveway instead of commuting/shopping in it.

In Australia and the UK probably the single biggest dent most people can make in their outgoings is going car-free. Good for you.

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #69 on: September 14, 2015, 05:33:50 AM »
DH and I went out today and did 23.4 miles...for fun :)
I did a lot better with my breathing this time. I was consciously making myself take slow deep breaths when I started gasping and allowed myself to stop for breaks as needed.
I need to get a new doctor since we moved and when I do I'll talk to them about exercise induced asthma. I hate the idea of needing treatment but if it helps I'll deal with it

I told you that's how it starts. And just last month you were concerned about the poker game. Way to kick ass! And good job starting to problem solve the breathing issues.

[...]
In Australia and the UK probably the single biggest dent most people can make in their outgoings is going car-free. Good for you.

I think this could be the biggest single dent anyone can make, even when things are artificially cheaper like they are here in the US.

Salivanth

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #70 on: September 14, 2015, 06:47:18 AM »
[...]
In Australia and the UK probably the single biggest dent most people can make in their outgoings is going car-free. Good for you.

I think this could be the biggest single dent anyone can make, even when things are artificially cheaper like they are here in the US.

Depends on your circumstances. Some people waste significantly more than this. My own mother has a $100/week cigarette habit, 33% more than the cost of me getting a car. On the other hand, someone with a $100/week cigarette habit probably also makes car payments, which I didn't factor into cost savings, as I wouldn't have been making any. I have no idea how much car payments are for most people. Moving to a cheaper place could also give similar levels of savings, if you live in a larger/nicer place than you need.

Still, going carless is definitely a major one. For someone who's already reasonably smart with their money, you guys are probably right.

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #71 on: September 14, 2015, 08:18:24 AM »
DH and I went out today and did 23.4 miles...for fun :)
I did a lot better with my breathing this time. I was consciously making myself take slow deep breaths when I started gasping and allowed myself to stop for breaks as needed.
I need to get a new doctor since we moved and when I do I'll talk to them about exercise induced asthma. I hate the idea of needing treatment but if it helps I'll deal with it

I told you that's how it starts. And just last month you were concerned about the poker game. Way to kick ass! And good job starting to problem solve the breathing issues.
So an hour or two after the ride my legs started hurting so bad I was actually in tears. I was trying to make sure I stretched out thoroughly (when I go to the gym I spend 15 minutes just stretching) but it wasn't helping. I think I figured out it was more my knees than my thighs and 4 ibuprofen made me feel back to normal but that was excruciating. I did even cry from pain when I cut my heel in a creek requiring 9 stitches a couple of years ago. I now have much more sympathy for people with knee problems. I think I may need to raise my seat a little, I'd say my legs extend 90-95% of the way so I'm not way off but that may help.

Crazily enough I haven't quite made it past the mental barrier to actually ride my damn bike to work even though it's a whopping 3 miles (what if I'm sweaty/disheveled/helmet hair/rained on/etc?). I had myself all psyched up to do it today, but after hurting so bad yesterday I had visions of me crying at work with no way to get home. Except for some saddle soreness I feel 100% today so as long as that keeps up I'll plan on riding in tomorrow
Ouch. Sorry to hear about that. There are some really good links that have been posted here about proper positioning on the bike. My SO's ones hurt at first until we got the adjustments locked in. I'll try to look for the link later.

ohyonghao

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #72 on: September 14, 2015, 01:00:16 PM »
DH and I went out today and did 23.4 miles...for fun :)
I did a lot better with my breathing this time. I was consciously making myself take slow deep breaths when I started gasping and allowed myself to stop for breaks as needed.
I need to get a new doctor since we moved and when I do I'll talk to them about exercise induced asthma. I hate the idea of needing treatment but if it helps I'll deal with it

What I find helpful for breathing is sort of the opposite of a slow deep breath.  The reason why we start breathing harder while riding is to remove CO2 rather than for a need to take in more oxygen, so I've found that the exhale is more important than the inhale.  When I'm working hard going up a hill and find myself breathing heavily I'll concentrate on exhaling as hard as I can and let the inhale come in naturally, rather than forcing the inhale to be slow.  This allows me to exhale more deeply, exhaling more CO2, and to get a fuller breath.

Of course, if you have advice from a doctor feel free to adhere to that over the ramblings of someone on teh internetz.

TrMama

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #73 on: September 14, 2015, 01:25:07 PM »
There are a few things to consider when changing the number of gears.

Thanks for all the tips! My rear cassette should get me through the next winter and at that point I may start doing some more research. I hadn't realized it might be more complicated than just changing the rear cassette and chain. The front gears are a compact set and the rear is a granny-gear cassette (can't remember the actual #'s). Shifters are indexed brifters.

I originally got this bike new as a replacement for a previous bike that was stolen. Insurance paid for it and at the time I wasn't biking but thought I would get back into short course triathlon (I hate time trial bikes). So I bought the fanciest bike I could with the insurance payout.

Turns out I just really want to bike commute and all the fancy pants light components on this one cost a fortune to maintain/replace with all the commuting miles. I really like the frame though so my thought was just to replace the finicky components with cheaper, more durable ones as they wear out.

On another note, I'm so grateful to be a bike commuter this week. The clutch in my "new-to me" car died on Friday. I won't get the car back from the shop till Wednesday. No problem, I can just bike in the meantime!

ohyonghao

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #74 on: September 14, 2015, 05:21:20 PM »
There are a few things to consider when changing the number of gears.

Thanks for all the tips! My rear cassette should get me through the next winter and at that point I may start doing some more research. I hadn't realized it might be more complicated than just changing the rear cassette and chain. The front gears are a compact set and the rear is a granny-gear cassette (can't remember the actual #'s). Shifters are indexed brifters.

I originally got this bike new as a replacement for a previous bike that was stolen. Insurance paid for it and at the time I wasn't biking but thought I would get back into short course triathlon (I hate time trial bikes). So I bought the fanciest bike I could with the insurance payout.

Turns out I just really want to bike commute and all the fancy pants light components on this one cost a fortune to maintain/replace with all the commuting miles. I really like the frame though so my thought was just to replace the finicky components with cheaper, more durable ones as they wear out.

On another note, I'm so grateful to be a bike commuter this week. The clutch in my "new-to me" car died on Friday. I won't get the car back from the shop till Wednesday. No problem, I can just bike in the meantime!

As Sheldon Brown noted it may not be that big of a deal.  I'm grateful you brought your plans because it's helped me to understand even more about how bicycles work.  Going from a 9 or 10 speed to 7 or 8 should work, you'll have extra clicks on your brifter, which you may not even notice because the derailleurs limiter will prevent it from clicking again in the lowest gear.

If I were to do that I would go ahead and change the cassette and the chain and adjust the rear derailleur first.  Ride with it, see if there are any issues with shifting.  If the indexing is the problem then the next step would be to get new brifters, but going down to 7/8 gears means you aren't running Dura Ace, and not even Ultegra, so the Tiara or 105 brifters should be fairly affordable.  The derailleurs probably won't be much trouble, and you don't have to change both at the same time.  The only thing with doing the derailleur and brifters separately is you'd have to buy new cables, versus doing them together, but cables are by far cheaper than either of these components.

If you do decide to go ahead with it please report back! I'd love to hear how it goes.

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #75 on: September 15, 2015, 03:14:09 AM »
What are peoples' thoughts on cycling with a cold? I have the telltale scratchy throat and shivers that herald an imminent bout, but I don't want to break my streak in the saddle. Is it advisable to power* on through? Forecast is for heavy rain tomorrow.

*Used in the very loosest sense

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #76 on: September 15, 2015, 05:07:03 AM »
What are peoples' thoughts on cycling with a cold? I have the telltale scratchy throat and shivers that herald an imminent bout, but I don't want to break my streak in the saddle. Is it advisable to power* on through? Forecast is for heavy rain tomorrow.

*Used in the very loosest sense
Any time something like that had happened to me, I'll power through the early stages and make sure that I take vitamins. 4/5 times it helped, and I never progressed beyond the early stages. Fifth time, once it got bad, I did have to skip a day. It probably has more to do with using more of my energy stores, so the multi vitamin probably did more, even though after riding in (actually about half way through the ride I started feeling better the other times). YMMV, though. If give yourself some extra time, just in case you have to slow down a bit.

Butterfingers

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #77 on: September 15, 2015, 06:53:15 AM »
Yeah, I think you're right. I'll keep cycling as long as I feel able. If it hits me hard, then it's time to move to plan B (diesel-powered transport).

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #78 on: September 15, 2015, 07:36:04 AM »
Yeah, I think you're right. I'll keep cycling as long as I feel able. If it hits me hard, then it's time to move to plan B (diesel-powered transport).

Head colds were generally fine. But if you start to feel super fatigued, it moves into chest, or when you have stomach/GI issues - definitely time to get off the bike. (Unless you have an e-bike and can use the "easy mode".)

ohyonghao

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #79 on: September 15, 2015, 05:02:36 PM »
Yeah, I think you're right. I'll keep cycling as long as I feel able. If it hits me hard, then it's time to move to plan B (diesel-powered transport).

Head colds were generally fine. But if you start to feel super fatigued, it moves into chest, or when you have stomach/GI issues - definitely time to get off the bike. (Unless you have an e-bike and can use the "easy mode".)

I guess I figured if a cold is getting so bad that I think I can't bike, I should probably do all my coworkers a favor and just stay home anyways.

Butterfingers

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #80 on: September 15, 2015, 10:52:31 PM »
I guess I figured if a cold is getting so bad that I think I can't bike, I should probably do all my coworkers a favor and just stay home anyways.
Reads like prophecy. Woke up early this morning with a hacking cough. No work for Mr Butterfingers today.

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #81 on: September 16, 2015, 07:43:22 AM »
I finally biked to work this morning!
Yes! You can walk that little bit taller today.

Optimiser

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #82 on: September 16, 2015, 07:48:22 AM »
Thanks to the encouragement from this thread, I rode by bike to my new job and back yesterday.

It was 25.8 miles total. The ride to work wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I found myself thinking maybe I didn't need to build an ebike, or at least I could probably get by with a smaller motor. Then throughout the day my legs felt pretty tired, and I wasn't looking forward to the ride home. The ride home was harder, and about 1 mph slower, but I made it. It sure would have been nice to have some electric assist to make the commute time shorter though.

I'll probably ride to work again sometime next week, but I don't think I'm going to do it more than once or twice a week. 2 hours is a lot of time to spend commuting everyday, and I don't want to have to eat an extra 1400 calories of healthy food every single day either. When I am able to build an ebike, if I can cut my ride time down to 30-40 minutes each way, I think I could manage doing that several times per week.

Optimiser

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #83 on: September 16, 2015, 07:56:47 AM »
.....my commute was 2.8 miles (one way)

You should still feel proud of your accomplishment! BTW, I'm jealous of your commute.

Butterfingers

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #84 on: September 16, 2015, 08:18:40 AM »
I finally biked to work this morning!
Yes! You can walk that little bit taller today.
You'd think so but then I read this:

Thanks to the encouragement from this thread, I rode by bike to my new job and back yesterday.

It was 25.8 miles total.
.....my commute was 2.8 miles (one way)
Sure what are you going to do? Go round in circles to make up the difference?

You had your task and you nailed it. Done. Now you just need to do it again tomorrow.

Cookie78

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #85 on: September 16, 2015, 08:41:26 AM »
I made it through all of June, July, August cycling every day to work. September I'm taking a break and just going to cycle the better weather days. I bought enough bus passes for 5 days and my goal is to not need more before October.

The last two days have been very cold and very wet and I took the bus. But today it was not wet, just cold (5c). I know many of you cycle in much colder temps and worse weather, but since losing 65 pounds a few years ago I get bitterly cold so quickly, with chills that don't go away for many hours.

Anyway, today I braved the cold.... dressed like it was -15c. Worked great. :D

Thegoblinchief

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #86 on: September 16, 2015, 09:07:10 AM »
Cookie - my main issue with cold, particularly those chills you're describing was wind penetration. I switched to wearing a rain/wind shell as my outermost layer. I end up a bit sweatier than I would with a non windproof outer (even with fewer layers) but I'll take that since I'm not shivering two hours later.

Nice job on the weight loss! I'm down about 90 pounds and it's amazing how different I feel.

ChuckCoggins

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #87 on: September 16, 2015, 09:07:16 AM »
Hello, all!

I am new to the forums, but I have been reading the MMM blog for a while.
Argentower actually pushed me on the website and the forums.

Long story short I was paying for a loan on a 2013 Jeep Wrangler and I ended up selling the Jeep two Friday's ago.
Then this past Friday I bought an electric bike. The EG Oahu 500EX. So I am planning on using this for my commute to and from work. At least until it starts snowing and it is no longer feasible to do so. I paid cash for the bike so I do not have any payments on the bike.

I did my first actual work commute last night and it went really well. The ride home in the morning was a bit more difficult, but very easily done.
I look forward to logging bike miles with you all.

Keep up the great work everyone!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #88 on: September 16, 2015, 09:09:05 AM »
Chuck - no reason for snow to make biking no longer feasible ;)

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #89 on: September 16, 2015, 09:13:04 AM »
It should be interesting none the less lo!

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #90 on: September 16, 2015, 09:48:09 AM »
I feel like I end up repeating myself a lot between this thread and my journal but I had to share:

I finally biked to work this morning!

I read both your journal and this topic. Doesn't get old to me, and this is a great spot to post those biking wins. Don't worry about repeating yourself. You rocked it! Granted, I think Butterfingers made better comments congratulating you:

Yes! You can walk that little bit taller today.
You had your task and you nailed it. Done. Now you just need to do it again tomorrow.



Thanks to the encouragement from this thread, I rode by bike to my new job and back yesterday.

It was 25.8 miles total. The ride to work wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I found myself thinking maybe I didn't need to build an ebike, or at least I could probably get by with a smaller motor. Then throughout the day my legs felt pretty tired, and I wasn't looking forward to the ride home. The ride home was harder, and about 1 mph slower, but I made it. It sure would have been nice to have some electric assist to make the commute time shorter though.

I'll probably ride to work again sometime next week, but I don't think I'm going to do it more than once or twice a week. 2 hours is a lot of time to spend commuting everyday, and I don't want to have to eat an extra 1400 calories of healthy food every single day either. When I am able to build an ebike, if I can cut my ride time down to 30-40 minutes each way, I think I could manage doing that several times per week.
.....my commute was 2.8 miles (one way)

You should still feel proud of your accomplishment! BTW, I'm jealous of your commute.

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.

Hello, all!

I did my first actual work commute last night and it went really well. The ride home in the morning was a bit more difficult, but very easily done.
I look forward to logging bike miles with you all.

That is amazing. We have quite a few new people who are starting to commute via bike this month, so welcome to all of you, and way to make the leap. Everyone here will support that journey, so if you have questions, comments, concerns, or something that seems to be holding you back, feel free to post about it here. We do a new challenge every month, and I always post the 'next' challenge in here. The sheet will update and carry forward your historical data as well.

So I am planning on using this for my commute to and from work. At least until it starts snowing and it is no longer feasible to do so.

Chuck - no reason for snow to make biking no longer feasible ;)

I had not realized that it was actually getting cold enough to address this in the Northern Hemisphere (and the Southern Hemisphere people have already been rocking it). Since last November, I've been compiling a list of all comments and things related to winter biking. This includes issues with tech, clothing, bikes, and the like. I'll try to get that all polished and ready and post a link to it in next month's challenge.

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!!

Butterfingers

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #91 on: September 16, 2015, 09:59:26 AM »
I had not realized that it was actually getting cold enough to address this in the Northern Hemisphere (and the Southern Hemisphere people have already been rocking it). Since last November, I've been compiling a list of all comments and things related to winter biking. This includes issues with tech, clothing, bikes, and the like. I'll try to get that all polished and ready and post a link to it in next month's challenge.
Fantastic! Can you include a bit on winter maintenance, i.e. what we can (quickly) do at the end of the day after riding through slushy grit? I want to keep the gubbins from corroding away, but I don't really want to spend ages in the dark outside hosing the bugger down every day, then drying, then oiling, if it's not really necessary. As a winter rider you will have some insight. Perhaps something like "do this before/after every ride" and "do this once a week" kind of instructions would be really helpful.

Cookie78

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #92 on: September 16, 2015, 10:00:25 AM »
Cookie - my main issue with cold, particularly those chills you're describing was wind penetration. I switched to wearing a rain/wind shell as my outermost layer. I end up a bit sweatier than I would with a non windproof outer (even with fewer layers) but I'll take that since I'm not shivering two hours later.

Nice job on the weight loss! I'm down about 90 pounds and it's amazing how different I feel.

Awesome! Congrats. :)

Keeping the wind off me is my top priority, especially my neck and my ears.

I did wear two jackets today, one that seems to keep the wind off quite well, and another with a hood. And a thick scarf, winter gloves, long johns. I may have overdone it a little, but I didn't sweat much at all, and I wasn't too cold. I only had a very slight chill afterwards for about an hour.

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #93 on: September 16, 2015, 10:03:09 AM »
It started getting cold this week and I didn't look at the forecast on Monday, so my ride home was a bit chilly. After I got home I immediately went to Goodwill and found myself some good top layers that do a great job. Warm pants that would work well for cycling were nowhere to be found though.

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!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #94 on: September 16, 2015, 11:14:17 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.

ohyonghao

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #95 on: September 16, 2015, 12:44:13 PM »
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.

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #96 on: September 16, 2015, 04:21:53 PM »
I had a little buddy when I left work today

Biking in and already getting gifts!! Way to go!

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #97 on: September 16, 2015, 08:10:30 PM »
I think I've stumbled upon a sure fire way to make sure I keep biking with the weather turning cooler and wetter...  My husband left on a week long trip and took the (only) car with him.  Now, if I'm going to go to work (or anywhere else), I've got no choice but to bike it.  :) 

jordanread

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #98 on: September 16, 2015, 08:13:38 PM »
I think I've stumbled upon a sure fire way to make sure I keep biking with the weather turning cooler and wetter...  My husband left on a week long trip and took the (only) car with him.  Now, if I'm going to go to work (or anywhere else), I've got no choice but to bike it.  :)
Necessity is the mother of biking... Or something like that. I kicked my stuff into high gear by refusing to fix the fuel pump on my car. Good choice.

Optimiser

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Re: September Cycling Challenge 2015
« Reply #99 on: September 16, 2015, 08:18:12 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.