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General Discussion => Throw Down the Gauntlet => Topic started by: Tass on November 08, 2017, 02:10:59 PM

Title: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 08, 2017, 02:10:59 PM
This is a thread for those of us getting started on biking more often to catalogue our progress and challenge each other, as well as for those of you more experienced with bikes to give us tips if you like!

Why to start biking:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/22/curing-your-clown-like-car-habit/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/22/curing-your-clown-like-car-habit/)

Consider the gauntlet thrown.



I bought a Trek FX 7.0 2016 in August for $200 off Craigslist. Since then I have made it my goal to go biking 3 times a week - a goal I am mostly failing at, but improving in pursuit of - and to visit the grocery store exclusively by bike. Last weekend I did a practice trip to work for the first time (10 miles round trip including three major hills). I was successful, but I don't quite feel ready to brave the same trip during rush hour, work a full day in the middle, and head home in the dark.

Incidentally, I've also started swimming recently, which is hopefully also contributing to an improved endurance. Getting my tires properly inflated and my seat adjusted to the proper height were also like a magical automatic endurance boosts. And I've started waking up and heading to work earlier in hopes of being able to do both-directions commuting in daylight, despite the time change.

So, my current goals:
What are you working on?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: marielle on November 08, 2017, 02:29:01 PM
I'm hoping to build up to biking to work at least one day a week, which 18 miles each way. Possibly driving to work on Friday, biking home, then biking back to work Monday.

I need to start biking nearly daily to the pool hall (I'm also out of practice with pool), which should help build up the endurance. And, of course, to the grocery store. I need to stop making excuses for not biking to the grocery store recently. There are actually two stores within reasonable walking distance, but I've been choosing to DRIVE to Aldi/Lidl instead which is very facepunch-worthy.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: haypug16 on November 08, 2017, 02:34:03 PM
Hi Tass, thanks for starting this thread. I have been wanting to use my bike instead of my car more and more.

I live about 9 miles from work and have biked a total of 2 times! Ridiculous I know. It's a fairly easy ride with no big hills and took me about 45+ mins the couple times I've done it. This is about twice my driving commute time but I get the added bonus of saving money and exercising.

My short term goal is to bike to work any day it's over 50 degrees. I may lower the temp on this goal but I have to see what this feels like. I really hate the cold. I should have started this goal in the spring, oh well.

Long term goal is to bike 100% of the time (or if it's icy/dangerously cold then to take the bus on those few days) This will allow me to get rid of my car and all the other expenses that go with it, like $1,600 a year car insurance.

It's looking like tomorrow will be 47 so I am going to just go for it. I bike along a bus route so god forbid I get to cold (I think it's probably unlikely) then I can hop on the bus.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 08, 2017, 09:14:01 PM
My current goals are to train up for my vacation in Dec.  There will be some big climbs, so I am trying to get in the realm of a 4000-5000 ft day.  My friends are pretty strong, so I am trying to climb my bootie off right now.  Currently at 3300 ft day.  I've been taking personal time off once a week or so to train.  It's hard, cause the weather is getting colder now where I live.

I've commuted to work by bike, all year long, for the last decade.  We moved out of our suburbia home, and rented it out.  We moved to a house that is 2.5 miles from my work.  I have two main commuter bikes.  I have a full fendered Giant Seek1 that is great for rainy days and dry pavement.  I also have a plus sized bike for when the snow flies.  My plus bike is a Specialized Fuse pro.  When the snow is here, I run studs on both bikes.  Sometimes, on dry days I ride my CX bike for fun and playtime.  That one is a Specialized CruX pro race.   It is full carbon and has no rack, but I just wear a backpack on those racy days.

My tips for riding year round are:

Have a bike that can carry a rack.  Getting stuff off your back is nice. Panniers are worth it.  I like Arkels for the ease of how they come on and off.  If you park your bike in a high theft zone, it helps to have things that aren't a pain to take on and off.  Arkels go on with a swift movement I can do it one handed.

Get some good weather gear.  If you can stay warm, it makes the ride easier.  Layer up, and have high vis gear.

Think about getting a set of bar mitts for when it's really cold.  They are amazingly warm. The wind stays off your hands which is really nice. 

Keep your warm gear organized and at the ready.  Nothing is worse than running around trying to find your balaclava, when you are on the way out.

Get a good set of lights.  Nightrider makes a good durable light.  It's usb rechargeable. I use my nightrider for night mountain bike riding too.  I have a 950 for my head and run a 650 on the bars.  Lots of lumens is needed for night mountain biking.  For commuting, a 650 is more than bright enough.  If you are concerned about safety, you can even get reflector tape for your bike.  My seek came equipped with a bunch of that kind of reflective stuff.  It helps to be seen.

As far as grocery shopping, we tend to drive for that.  Most of what we buy is produce and easily bruised items.  Fruit is expensive enough to have it bang around on a bike ride.  Our truck sits so much, that running the fluids is a good thing for us.  We gladly drive to the grocery. The grocery store is about 3 miles away, and we tend to go only once a week so it's a big load of stuff.  No matter how hard I have tried, I can't seem to get nectarines, peaches, pears or softer items home without them getting destroyed.

That's my list of tips.  Some of you may think my gear is expensive and the opposite of money moustache guidelines, but I get pro deals and never pay retail.  Biking is my one vice in spending.  It well makes up for itself in my super fitness.  I use biking as a way to fight my MS.  Stay strong for lifetime health.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 08, 2017, 09:16:21 PM
When it gets too snowy, you can consider a ski to work, if your area is conducive for that.  Sometimes, I walk on those really bad days if the snow is not ideal for a ski to work.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Abe on November 08, 2017, 09:24:13 PM
I live a mile from work so am biking nearly every day. Trying to get the wife to bike with me to grocery stores, etc. Have to get the baby acclimated to it, he's not a big fan yet.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: marielle on November 09, 2017, 06:26:26 AM
Accidentally rode 12 miles yesterday instead of 8, but it wasn't too bad despite wet roads and light misting. The 18 mile ride to work is starting to seem a little more achievable.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on November 09, 2017, 07:04:29 AM
I haven't cycled for over a year now. Really need to just bring the bloody bike to get new tyres fitted and get back on it. It seems astonishing to me that it has been over a year already. Having moved to a new town, I've been a bit nervous anyway about finding the right routes, having to drive in traffic more frequently, having to contend with masses of other cyclists on relatively narrow cycle paths (student town, there are a LOT of cyclists here). I learned to ride a bike as a kid but have never been a very good cyclist. I should stop letting nerves be an excuse though.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on November 09, 2017, 07:42:33 AM
Hi everybody! I'm the newbiest cycling newbie imaginable: I just learned to ride a bike in August. I haven't been able to spend as much time biking as I would have liked between then and now, because I've been training for a half marathon and haven't had the bandwidth to deal with two cardio-based sports at once. But I've still made SO much progress from wobbling around a parking lot, to actually accomplishing life tasks with my bike!

I live two miles away from work, so my eventual goal is to bike MWF (I have to drive Tuesday/Thursday, and often walk MF at this point). My most frequent bike errand is hopping back and forth from the library, since the streets are really quiet and it's an easy 5-mile round trip. I've managed to ride to work twice at this point, and am looking forward to spending more time on the bike once my race is over on Saturday. I'm reasonably competent at this point, but I get nervous in traffic and I know I need a LOT more miles before I'm going to start feeling confident. I'm looking forward to incorporating some long weekend rides into my routine, since I live in an area with very cool bike paths.

I've kept my gear pretty low-tech at this point--just bike, lights, helmet, and a lock. I don't want to invest in more than the basics until I know I'll actually use them, but I think my next step will be panniers or a rack. Fortunately I should be pretty good on cold-weather gear, since most of my stuff from running should cross over.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Kmp2 on November 09, 2017, 09:24:20 AM
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bikeyface/8718709629/ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/bikeyface/8718709629/)


Yes - after three years I have biked in blizzard on a holiday weekend - and the parking was marvelous!

I have a walk and bike circle around my home - if my errand is within that circle than I really have to justify not biking and driving instead... when I justify driving it gives me a solid reason to work on so that I bike next time. Didn't leave enough time, too much to carry, too cold etc... those are problems I can solve just maybe not that day.

Secondly - I do as many errands as I can within that circle... Kids activities, shopping, groceries, even date nights :)

It's a learning curve and there is much to learn - but once you do it really is no harder than driving. Easier a lot of the time.

The hardest thing for me was getting back on my bike after a negative car/bike incident. Usually a guy in the truck yelling at me for doing exactly what I was supposed to do. I am constantly growing a thicker skin.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GnomeErcy on November 09, 2017, 09:32:44 AM
At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: DrumAllDay on November 09, 2017, 09:35:22 AM
I want to either buy or build a rack to hold my bike in the garage and learn how to do repairs and adjustments. Rather than paying $80 a year for a tune up, I just want to be able to to it myself. Will probably pursue this goal next spring as the snow will be flying shortly.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2017, 09:39:42 AM
I want to either buy or build a rack to hold my bike in the garage and learn how to do repairs and adjustments. Rather than paying $80 a year for a tune up, I just want to be able to to it myself. Will probably pursue this goal next spring as the snow will be flying shortly.

The only down side to doing things yourself is that it takes time.  You'll have to diagnose the problem, figure out what part needs to be replaced, order the part, and then figure out how to install it.  It's totally doable, but means that occasionally you'll end up with your bike out of commission for several days.  This is part of the reason I have two bikes (you can use the other one while one is undergoing repairs).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: DrumAllDay on November 09, 2017, 09:47:08 AM
I want to either buy or build a rack to hold my bike in the garage and learn how to do repairs and adjustments. Rather than paying $80 a year for a tune up, I just want to be able to to it myself. Will probably pursue this goal next spring as the snow will be flying shortly.

The only down side to doing things yourself is that it takes time.  You'll have to diagnose the problem, figure out what part needs to be replaced, order the part, and then figure out how to install it.  It's totally doable, but means that occasionally you'll end up with your bike out of commission for several days.  This is part of the reason I have two bikes (you can use the other one while one is undergoing repairs).
Yes thats true but I don't use my bike everyday. 8 miles away from work so I want to bike at least once a week when the weather is warm enough. I do have a backup bike (just a cheap Walmart bike) that I won from a raffle at work so I use that on small errands around town.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 09, 2017, 10:11:03 AM
Never get in altercations with vehicle drivers.  No matter what, they will win.  Avoid certain hand gestures, no matter how jerky they are.  We have to try to advocate and not instigate things further. 

When I have an alternation, I wave and smile.  It catches them off guard. A little bit of sugar goes a long way.

At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)

You might like an urban commuter or fitness bike.  Something with 700c wheels for efficiency.  Something with braze-ons for mounting a rack. Avoid Dept store bikes at all costs.  They cost you more in the long run, because they are garbage disposable type bikes.  If you want to save some cash, shop Craig's list or the local paper for a good used machine.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on November 09, 2017, 10:19:08 AM
Did my 26 mi RT commute a number of times over the summer.  Would like to sneak in a few on one of those warm winter days which seem to be becoming more common.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GnomeErcy on November 09, 2017, 10:20:36 AM
Never get in altercations with vehicle drivers.  No matter what, they will win.  Avoid certain hand gestures, no matter how jerky they are.  We have to try to advocate and not instigate things further. 

When I have an alternation, I wave and smile.  It catches them off guard. A little bit of sugar goes a long way.

At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)

You might like an urban commuter or fitness bike.  Something with 700c wheels for efficiency.  Something with braze-ons for mounting a rack. Avoid Dept store bikes at all costs.  They cost you more in the long run, because they are garbage disposable type bikes.  If you want to save some cash, shop Craig's list or the local paper for a good used machine.

Thanks for the initial guidance. I'm sure I'll have more questions when I finally get around to buying one but this is a great start, I appreciate the help.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2017, 10:27:19 AM
At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)


Build up your strength with lots of local trips first.  Then get a bike rack.


Drive to work one day, bike back.

Bike to work the next day, drive back.


26 miles is doable and can be quite a nice ride a couple times a week.  52 miles is getting more into bike enthusiast territory and is not for everyone.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 09, 2017, 10:35:35 AM
Never get in altercations with vehicle drivers.  No matter what, they will win.  Avoid certain hand gestures, no matter how jerky they are.  We have to try to advocate and not instigate things further. 

When I have an alternation, I wave and smile.  It catches them off guard. A little bit of sugar goes a long way.

At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)

You might like an urban commuter or fitness bike.  Something with 700c wheels for efficiency.  Something with braze-ons for mounting a rack. Avoid Dept store bikes at all costs.  They cost you more in the long run, because they are garbage disposable type bikes.  If you want to save some cash, shop Craig's list or the local paper for a good used machine.

Thanks for the initial guidance. I'm sure I'll have more questions when I finally get around to buying one but this is a great start, I appreciate the help.

I would be happy to tell you honestly about something that you find out there.  You can get a really good bike for just a few hundred bucks.

Another reference point is bicyclebluebook.com  It tends to sway towards being underpriced a little, but it's a good starting point for negotiation.  Be wary for those that think that their "upgrades"  are worth much for re-sale.  Bikes and upgrades do not hold value.  Just because someone says their bike is vintage, doesn't always correlate to value.   Best of luck to you.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GnomeErcy on November 09, 2017, 11:05:30 AM
At about 26 miles to my current work, I can't pull it off...

But on Monday I have a second interview for a job that's less than 5 miles. Really hoping I get that; pay would be comparable to what I've got now, and it'd save me time on the commute, not to mention the impact to my health and less wear and tear on my car, etc.

It'd be bikeable for sure, but part of my journey either takes me on a 55mph road where drivers are notoriously awful, or on an unpaved road which may pose some challenges during the winter depending on what the snow-clearing situation is (having never been on it in the winter, I'm not sure).

There's an additional challenge that I literally don't own a bike right now (facepunch incoming) and have no idea what to look for :)


Build up your strength with lots of local trips first.  Then get a bike rack.


Drive to work one day, bike back.

Bike to work the next day, drive back.


26 miles is doable and can be quite a nice ride a couple times a week.  52 miles is getting more into bike enthusiast territory and is not for everyone.

We have one car and the wife needs it to get to her job as of right now, so it's likely that it'd be something like - get dropped off at work with my bike, bike home - and then keep that up every day, since she works later than I would anyway.

Biking to my current work would be more like 33 miles because of the route. Don't think I'd consider that TBH :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 09, 2017, 11:13:41 AM
Have a bike that can carry a rack.  Getting stuff off your back is nice. Panniers are worth it.

Is that something you can add to any bike or do you need a special frame for it?

Hey, come join us over on the monthly cycling log! https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/november-cycling-challenge-2017/

Newbies are always welcome :-)

That looks awesome, thanks!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on November 09, 2017, 11:21:33 AM
I would dare say that ANYONE can ride 26 mi, its just a matter of how long it will take.  Leave early! 

Another thing that's a huge help is bike shorts.  If you aren't comfortable wearing them at least get underwear with a chamois and wear regular shorts over them.  I road my bike thousands of miles but would still be uncomfortable if I rode more than 10 mi without them.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2017, 11:39:50 AM
I would dare say that ANYONE can ride 26 mi, its just a matter of how long it will take.  Leave early! 

Another thing that's a huge help is bike shorts.  If you aren't comfortable wearing them at least get underwear with a chamois and wear regular shorts over them.  I road my bike thousands of miles but would still be uncomfortable if I rode more than 10 mi without them.

+1000 on the bike shorts.  I really fought for a long time to avoid wearing them.  I mean  . . . c'mon.  Spandex?

Unreal how much more comfortable they make a bike ride.  I was typically sore and chafing after anything much over 10 miles before using bike shorts.  I'll still get a little sore now and again, but typically when doing 100 mile rides.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Bayou Dweller on November 09, 2017, 01:56:44 PM
This post came at a perfect time.

I'm planning my first trip to work via bike tomorrow. Round trip it'll be 11.4 miles, so not too bad. ~32 minutes each way.

I'm stoked! Living in Texas, our winters are a joke, so this is really the best time of the year to commute for us. It'll be challenging to commute on the days when I can't wear jeans, but I don't think it'll be a big deal.

The current goal is to bike to work 2 days a week, and increase it to 4x. Friday I have my son, so I can't (there is a possibility I get a new job that is close to my sitter, and in that case I will bike!).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: marielle on November 09, 2017, 02:48:54 PM
I know I could just google for some of these answers, but I figured it could be useful information for others here all in one place instead of looking up every individual question.

What should I do when riding in rain/snow? Do I need to dry the bike ASAP and clean later? Clean and relube the chain each time it gets wet? I'm assuming it also depends on whether the roads get salted or not (mine typically don't where I live).

How often should I clean the chain with regular riding in dry weather? Should I do it based on miles or time? Is it possible to do this indoors? I'm thinking having a bucket underneath for catching dirty water maybe?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 09, 2017, 06:40:53 PM
Have a bike that can carry a rack.  Getting stuff off your back is nice. Panniers are worth it.

Is that something you can add to any bike or do you need a special frame for it?

Hey, come join us over on the monthly cycling log! https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/november-cycling-challenge-2017/

Newbies are always welcome :-)

That looks awesome, thanks!

Braze-ons are attachment points where you can easily attach a rack and other things to the bike.  Some bikes don't have them, so it can makes mounting a rack a little more difficult.  Example:  carbon bikes don't really have them.  You'd have to do a seat post mount or similar and it isn't ideal.  The seat post mounted panniers have a small weight limit, so groceries become an issue if you wanted to carry heavy loads.  Googe braze-ons and a plethora of pics will come up.  Bikes that are great commuters are like, the giant Seek, the specialized AWOL, Surly long haul trucker and bikes like that.  A touring bike would be a great commuter bike as well, as a fitness bike or an urban commuter style bike.  There are tons of bikes out there that would be great.  Even an older mountain bike would work, as long as you steer clear of Dept. store stuff.  You'll be miserable and hate a bike like a Mongoose or anything that Walmart sells.  They are tanks, and they ride horribly.   Not to mention the issues that Dept. store bikes have with build.  I have seen bikes from Walmart come in to our shop and they have their forks installed backwards.  Stuff like that is crazy and can be dangerous.  Imagine going down the road and your crankset falls off.  WTF!?

I doubt one would want a carbon bike for commuting anyway.  So maybe my point is moot anyway.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 09, 2017, 08:33:37 PM
Have a bike that can carry a rack.  Getting stuff off your back is nice. Panniers are worth it.

Is that something you can add to any bike or do you need a special frame for it?

Hey, come join us over on the monthly cycling log! https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/november-cycling-challenge-2017/

Newbies are always welcome :-)

That looks awesome, thanks!

Braze-ons are attachment points where you can easily attach a rack and other things to the bike.  Some bikes don't have them, so it can makes mounting a rack a little more difficult.  Example:  carbon bikes don't really have them.  You'd have to do a seat post mount or similar and it isn't ideal.  The seat post mounted panniers have a small weight limit, so groceries become an issue if you wanted to carry heavy loads.  Googe braze-ons and a plethora of pics will come up.  Bikes that are great commuters are like, the giant Seek, the specialized AWOL, Surly long haul trucker and bikes like that.  A touring bike would be a great commuter bike as well, as a fitness bike or an urban commuter style bike.  There are tons of bikes out there that would be great.  Even an older mountain bike would work, as long as you steer clear of Dept. store stuff.  You'll be miserable and hate a bike like a Mongoose or anything that Walmart sells.  They are tanks, and they ride horribly.   Not to mention the issues that Dept. store bikes have with build.  I have seen bikes from Walmart come in to our shop and they have their forks installed backwards.  Stuff like that is crazy and can be dangerous.  Imagine going down the road and your crankset falls off.  WTF!?

I doubt one would want a carbon bike for commuting anyway.  So maybe my point is moot anyway.

Haha, the reason I ask is that I already have a bike and I want to know if I'm doomed to backpacking it forever.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 09, 2017, 09:02:42 PM
Almost all bikes can be fitted with a rack.  Seriously.

I did a bike tour with a carbon Bianchi with no rack mounts.  I had to run a clamp on seatpost rack, but the weight limit is low.  If you are just carrying work stuff, it's no big deal. 

If you snap pics of your bike, I can probably tell you how to mount up a rack.  More often than not, there are ways to use a bolt on rack.  You have be able to know what kind of rack to buy as well.  They make tons of them, and they are specific to certain kinds of bikes

fat bike racks
disc/no disc
clamp on style
etc...etc...etc.

Snap some pics for me, and I would be happy to help.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Bayou Dweller on November 10, 2017, 06:05:28 AM
First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Askel on November 10, 2017, 07:23:30 AM
I know I could just google for some of these answers, but I figured it could be useful information for others here all in one place instead of looking up every individual question.

What should I do when riding in rain/snow? Do I need to dry the bike ASAP and clean later? Clean and relube the chain each time it gets wet? I'm assuming it also depends on whether the roads get salted or not (mine typically don't where I live).

How often should I clean the chain with regular riding in dry weather? Should I do it based on miles or time? Is it possible to do this indoors? I'm thinking having a bucket underneath for catching dirty water maybe?

No need to dry the bike right away. Bikes are designed to get wet.  I brush off accumulated snow/slush as needed though.  I also avoid letting a wet bike be exposed to freezing temperatures. I don't ride in salt, so have no useful advice there.  Fenders are a worthwhile investment if riding in conditions like these.

I lube my chain when it looks like it needs it. By that, I don't like it to look dry. If any doubt whether it's water or lube, dry with a rag. The interval is largely based on miles and conditions I ride through.

Investing in a chain cleaner makes the process much easier, and possible to do indoors. 

Hope this helps!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 10, 2017, 07:35:59 AM
I know I could just google for some of these answers, but I figured it could be useful information for others here all in one place instead of looking up every individual question.

What should I do when riding in rain/snow? Do I need to dry the bike ASAP and clean later? Clean and relube the chain each time it gets wet? I'm assuming it also depends on whether the roads get salted or not (mine typically don't where I live).

How often should I clean the chain with regular riding in dry weather? Should I do it based on miles or time? Is it possible to do this indoors? I'm thinking having a bucket underneath for catching dirty water maybe?

Chain cleaning is tricky because it depends on a bunch of stuff:
- What type of lube do you use (sticky lube will tend to pick up more crap than dry/wax type lubes)?
- What type of weather do you have (someone who rides in lots of rain will have different needs than someone who rides in a desert)?
- How far do you go?

I ride in a temperate climate . . . not too much rain during the summer, constant snow and salt during the winter.  In summer I do the following about once a week (150 - 200km):
- Wipe the chain, cassette, and chainrings clean with a rag
- Apply some light liquid bike lube (prolink pro gold is what I'm currently using)
- Wipe off excess lube from the chain before the next time I go riding
In the winter I do the same, but every 80 km (two short rides or one long one).  I use a heavy, sticky lube in the winter (White Lightning Wet Ride).

In addition to the above, I'll use a chain cleaner with some degreaser or take the chain off completely and soak overnight in degreaser every 2-3 months.  Then you dry it out and relube.



As far as bike cleaning goes:

Again, the conditions will dictate the cleaning necessary.  Riding in snow isn't too terrible for your bike.  Especially cold, clean, fluffly snow.  Riding on slushy, gritty, salty roads is really hard on components though - and that's what roads around here are like from mid November to mid April.  My approach is to fill a large watering can with hot soapy water immediately after I come home from a wet/slushy ride.  I pour some water over the chain, the cassette, and the chainrings, then over the rest of the frame.  Then bounce the bike a couple times to get most of the water off before it freezes.  I'll use a rag to quickly clean off surface much from the cassette and chainrings, and to dry the chain out.  Then I apply lube to the chain, brake pivots, and occasionally the derailleur pivots.  The whole procedure takes maybe 5 - 10 minutes once you know what you're doing.

^ This knocks the worst of the salt off everything and helps prevent corrosion.

BEFORE the winter happens I do some bike related winterproofing:
- Remove brakes and grease pivots with waterproof grease
- Check wheel bearings and re-grease with waterproof grease
- Remove any bolts into the bike frame and then grease with waterproof grease (all those bolts holding on your fenders and rack)
- Add fenders to the bike (keeps a lot of shit off your drivetrain)
- Take headset off and grease it with waterproof grease
- Grease cables with a light lube (prevents water from getting in the cable housings and playing hell with your shifting/braking when it freezes)

AFTER the winter I'll do the following:
- Measure chain for stretch and replace if necessary
- Replace cassette every two or three chains
- Replace cables every year (cable housings every two years)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on November 10, 2017, 07:41:49 AM
Just had my best-ever ride to work! Everything went smoothly, from having all of my stuff prepped by the back door, to riding through an intersection that I've walked every other time, to not having any panicky moments when cars were passing. It only took me 15 minutes, which is also a record. Third time's the charm, I guess :)

The test will be getting home. There's a good chance that I'll bail and walk most of it, but I'm going to stay patient with myself and stick to what I feel safe doing.

Dumb question: do I suck at biking, or is it actually harder to get up hills on a bike than it is on foot? I have to go up what I would classify as a "slight incline" both ways. I barely even notice it when I'm running the same route, but on the bike my quads are umm, fully engaged and I'm a little out of breath by the time I'm done. I'm in good cardio shape (e.g., I'll be doing a sub-1:45 half marathon on Saturday unless something really screwy happens) so it's weird to me that this slight incline hurts?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Askel on November 10, 2017, 07:46:05 AM
It gets easier. Cycling uses some different muscles than running. And in time you learn what cadence you operate most efficiently at and are better able to choose gears to make the most of it.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 10, 2017, 07:55:03 AM
A couple things regarding climbing hills and cycling:

- If you have a very heavy bike (or are carrying lots of stuff) it becomes exponentially harder to get up hills.  Don't carry stuff you don't need to!
- Most people new to cycling have their saddles set much too low . . . which makes putting power out to the pedals significantly harder.  A quick check to see if your saddle's at the correct position: put your heel on a pedal.  At the furthest position away from you, adjust your saddle so that your leg is completely straight with the heel on the pedal.  This gives pretty close to the ideal bend in your knee when you put the ball of your foot on the pedal and push normally.
(http://1mhowto.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/How-to-properly-adjust-the-bike-saddle-height1.jpg)
- Most people new to cycling pedal far too slowly.  When you pedal slowly and push hard, you end up causing muscle fatigue and don't use your aerobic system as much.  You want high RPMs (80 - 100 at least) when climbing to be efficient.  This will put more load on your heart and less on your legs (although they'll still burn occasionally).  Next time you're climbing, try going to an easier gear than you normally would and simply pedaling faster.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 10, 2017, 08:09:25 AM
I don't replace the cassette after every two chains.  If I have been good about my chain replacement, they last much longer than that.  I go through way more chains, before I do things to chainrings and cassettes.  Seems like an enormous waste of cash to replace after only two chains, IMHO.  I go through a chain or two every year.  If you are buying quality componentry it really lasts if you take care of it.  My seek1 is on the same cassette that has been there since 2013.  That bike has been ridden a ton.  I am very good about measuring my chain often. 

My chainrings have gotten ruined due to abuse on my MTB.  Like, bashing them into rocks and such, but normal wear should not require a cassette replacement after only two chains 

Cables and housings last pretty well if you have fully wrapped setups.  I replace them only when some lubrication no longer helps it from being sticky and hard to shift.  My brakes are all disc.  I make sure the pads are replaced before damage to rotors happens.

During Winter my bikes get full tear down, cleaning and rebuild. This keeps them tip top. Sometimes, I have to do some decent maintenance during season too.  Although, there really is no off season for me.  I just use the other ones, while some are in pieces.

Dry wax lube for the dry season, epic ride wet for the wet season.  It all depends on your conditions.  My MTB requires love before every ride. they are high performance machines. My commuter gets beat up, but it runs well without too much fret.  That thing is trusty.  My CX gets a lot of love, but it gets ran in extremely bad conditions a lot, and I try to keep it nice. 

My bikes:
Specialized SWORKS Stumpjumper FSR 2017
Specialized Fuse Pro 2017
Specialized CruX Pro Race 2017
Giant Seek1 Commuter bike 2013
Haro Steel reserve 2015

...and my husband has a similar sized fleet.

I work at a bike shop part time, and we have no kids.  Bikes are our passion.  This being said, our bike habit is like a crack habit.  I need to tone it down, because that is our biggest money sink.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 10, 2017, 08:18:42 AM
Just had my best-ever ride to work! Everything went smoothly, from having all of my stuff prepped by the back door, to riding through an intersection that I've walked every other time, to not having any panicky moments when cars were passing. It only took me 15 minutes, which is also a record. Third time's the charm, I guess :)

The test will be getting home. There's a good chance that I'll bail and walk most of it, but I'm going to stay patient with myself and stick to what I feel safe doing.

Dumb question: do I suck at biking, or is it actually harder to get up hills on a bike than it is on foot? I have to go up what I would classify as a "slight incline" both ways. I barely even notice it when I'm running the same route, but on the bike my quads are umm, fully engaged and I'm a little out of breath by the time I'm done. I'm in good cardio shape (e.g., I'll be doing a sub-1:45 half marathon on Saturday unless something really screwy happens) so it's weird to me that this slight incline hurts?

Excellent.  and you don't suck.  Training is sports specific.  I can outpace a pretty fast runner.

Guitar Stv has great advice. 

Wearing bike gear like the padded shorts really does help. I wear my bike gear to work, and change into my stuff at work.  Even tho my ride is short, it helps.  My commute is in very cold weather.  Like, right now it is 20's in the morning, I have to bundle up.  I have a pair of bike pants that have a waterproof and windproof front and I wear shorts underneath. I like a thin wool shirt as my base on most days.  I decide other layers depending on hoe miserable it is.  In the Summer, I just wear my bike shop clothes.  It's a quick ride to my summer job.  I don't work much in the summer anyway.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: LittleWanderer on November 10, 2017, 08:30:17 AM
Haha, the reason I ask is that I already have a bike and I want to know if I'm doomed to backpacking it forever.

Tass, didn't you buy a Trek FX?  That will take a rack.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: evensjw on November 10, 2017, 08:30:49 AM
First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.

You'll definitely build up some body heat over six miles.  You should expect to be very cold at the start of the ride if you want to be comfortable by the end.  If you can give yourself a bit of cool down time before putting on work clothes, that can help so you don't just immediately sweat into them
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 10, 2017, 08:42:05 AM
First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.

You probably layered too much, though maybe you need gloves? As well as a lock to leave the bike at the bottom of those stairs!

Adjusting the seat height like GuitarStv said made a big difference to me. If it's the first time the bike has been ridden in a while did you also check the tire pressure? The tires should have the ideal pressure printed on them, but if you don't have a pressure gauge they at least shouldn't feel squishy under your fingers. Mine at 80psi have very little give to them.

Congrats on your ride, fluffmuffin!

Yes, MSquared, I did buy a Trek FX. Thanks for the note!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 10, 2017, 08:52:30 AM
I don't replace the cassette after every two chains.

I actually meant to type every 2-3 chains (and will correct the mistake).  I have been lazy about checking for chain wear in the past and was only getting about 2 chains worth of use out of a cassette on my winter bike, recently have been getting 3.  A new 8 speed cassette can be had for 20$, and a chain is 10$ so I wasn't getting too worked up about it.  Your comment really makes me wonder if I should just change the chain more frequently though.  What level of stretch do you change them at?


First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.

51 F is 10 degrees C right?  I think you were dressed much too warm.  You want to be a bit chilly when you get on the bike so that you're the right temperature ten minutes into your ride.

That's right around the borderline for me to start covering my legs, so if it's windy out I'd wear some light jogging tights over my bike shorts, if it's sunny and not too windy I'd go without.  On top I'd probably wear a very light weight sweater and either a windproof vest or a windbreaker.  At those temperatures I always wear gloves and something to cover my ears too.

Backpacks tend to be sweat factories.  I actually ride with one in the winter to keep warmer.  The backpack sits and blocks the release of heat from your core, which will really heat you up.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: IHATESCHOOLDEBT on November 10, 2017, 09:17:33 AM
My wife and I mountain bike pretty regularly, but I'm terrified to ride on the roads around here. We live in the mountains of East Tennessee. The locals here have their vices... some smoke meth, others "roll coal" in big lifted trucks, either way these curvy roads are most of the time treated like a race car track... I get nervous even in a car. I used to ride a DRZ400, but after having children I sold that for fear of them being without a father. I have read the blog post about fear, and have looked at the studies, but I still have fear. Am I being silly?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Bayou Dweller on November 10, 2017, 10:01:47 AM
You probably layered too much, though maybe you need gloves? As well as a lock to leave the bike at the bottom of those stairs!

Adjusting the seat height like GuitarStv said made a big difference to me. If it's the first time the bike has been ridden in a while did you also check the tire pressure? The tires should have the ideal pressure printed on them, but if you don't have a pressure gauge they at least shouldn't feel squishy under your fingers. Mine at 80psi have very little give to them.

First ride to work: complete.

I think I am more out of shape than I thought. It was only 5.8 miles or so. Steady pace the entire time. 51F outside, a t-shirt, long-sleeve button down (thin cotton), a hoodie, and a backpack on my back. By the time I got to my office (climbed 5 flights of stairs with the bike), I was sweating pretty hard. I can't imagine doing this when it's 80-100F, jeez.. I guess I have time to get used to it though...

Did I layer too much? My hands were the only part that was cold at first, but after 2 miles or so I was really warm.

51 F is 10 degrees C right?  I think you were dressed much too warm.  You want to be a bit chilly when you get on the bike so that you're the right temperature ten minutes into your ride.

That's right around the borderline for me to start covering my legs, so if it's windy out I'd wear some light jogging tights over my bike shorts, if it's sunny and not too windy I'd go without.  On top I'd probably wear a very light weight sweater and either a windproof vest or a windbreaker.  At those temperatures I always wear gloves and something to cover my ears too.

Backpacks tend to be sweat factories.  I actually ride with one in the winter to keep warmer.  The backpack sits and blocks the release of heat from your core, which will really heat you up.

Correct, it's 10C. Thanks for the advice, lesson learned, haha. It'll only be cold for 2 months or so here, so my main concern is building up even more sweat once summer comes. I'll check the tires too, thanks for that! I was wearing some ear plug that I use when I go shooting to keep the cold weather out of the insides of my ears. It makes them ache personally. That, a hat, and some sun glasses. Like y'all said, gloves would be ideal I think too.


You'll definitely build up some body heat over six miles.  You should expect to be very cold at the start of the ride if you want to be comfortable by the end.  If you can give yourself a bit of cool down time before putting on work clothes, that can help so you don't just immediately sweat into them

I used the advice from this article: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/06/08/bike-to-work-houston/

I figured it was appropriate since I am also from Houston. Anyways, I waited 5-6 minutes and I felt totally fine. Put my work shirt on, opened the office door, and all was back to normal. :)

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 10, 2017, 10:21:48 AM
I am not used to this quote feature.  So, I didn't want to quote the entire comment.  This is a reply for GuitarStv:

Replace your chain at 3/4 life.  If you do it at full life, you have already eaten away at your cassette and front chainrings.

One of my bikes is an XX1 eagle drivetrain, so you can imagine that I want to get as much use out of it as possible.  The gold bits are beauties, and I want them to last as long as I can.  BLING!

I do want to say that everyone has different styles of riding, replacement and price range.  I am not an expert.  I just have spent the last 25 years of my life as an avid cyclist. I have made enormous mistakes, learned, and adjusted often.  I used to ride a fat bike in the snow, now I am on a plus, who knows what is next.  Tractor belt e machines?  HAHA

Can we talk about bikes all day long?  I love this.  :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Askel on November 10, 2017, 11:39:59 AM
My wife and I mountain bike pretty regularly, but I'm terrified to ride on the roads around here. We live in the mountains of East Tennessee. The locals here have their vices... some smoke meth, others "roll coal" in big lifted trucks, either way these curvy roads are most of the time treated like a race car track... I get nervous even in a car. I used to ride a DRZ400, but after having children I sold that for fear of them being without a father. I have read the blog post about fear, and have looked at the studies, but I still have fear. Am I being silly?

Thinking that everybody on the road is some methed out redneck ready to roll coal on you might be a bit silly. However, having a healthy respect for roads with low visibility and fast moving traffic is not.   

I typically avoid such roads, because riding in fast moving traffic is just no fun, but sometimes you have to do it to get where you are going.  I deal with this by:
1. Staying seen. Lights, day-glo reflective vests, festive hawaiian shirts, whatever it takes. 
2. Ride respectfully. Try not to unnecessarily impede traffic. Pull over for a bit if you do.  Use hand signals. 
3. Stay aware. Look around, try and anticipate what people will do. Looking drivers in the eye really helps. 

Sure, there's the occasional nitwit that does something or yells something* out the window, but be happy- that means they saw you.  It's the ones that don't see you that will get you. 

*Best thing ever yelled out a car window at me: "GET A JOB, ASSHOLE!"
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: IHATESCHOOLDEBT on November 10, 2017, 12:05:56 PM
My wife and I mountain bike pretty regularly, but I'm terrified to ride on the roads around here. We live in the mountains of East Tennessee. The locals here have their vices... some smoke meth, others "roll coal" in big lifted trucks, either way these curvy roads are most of the time treated like a race car track... I get nervous even in a car. I used to ride a DRZ400, but after having children I sold that for fear of them being without a father. I have read the blog post about fear, and have looked at the studies, but I still have fear. Am I being silly?

Thinking that everybody on the road is some methed out redneck ready to roll coal on you might be a bit silly. However, having a healthy respect for roads with low visibility and fast moving traffic is not.   

I typically avoid such roads, because riding in fast moving traffic is just no fun, but sometimes you have to do it to get where you are going.  I deal with this by:
1. Staying seen. Lights, day-glo reflective vests, festive hawaiian shirts, whatever it takes. 
2. Ride respectfully. Try not to unnecessarily impede traffic. Pull over for a bit if you do.  Use hand signals. 
3. Stay aware. Look around, try and anticipate what people will do. Looking drivers in the eye really helps. 

Sure, there's the occasional nitwit that does something or yells something* out the window, but be happy- that means they saw you.  It's the ones that don't see you that will get you. 

*Best thing ever yelled out a car window at me: "GET A JOB, ASSHOLE!"

Thanks for the input, and the laugh at the end. haha Get a Job!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on November 10, 2017, 01:33:31 PM
Thanks for the tips on hills, GuitarStv and ACyclist! Looking at the photo, I think I might have my seat too low. I'll take a look at that over the weekend.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 10, 2017, 01:43:29 PM
HAHA!  Get a job, asshole.  I love that one.

One person yelled at me "Hippie!" 

:)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on November 10, 2017, 06:18:55 PM
HAHA!  Get a job, asshole.  I love that one.

One person yelled at me "Hippie!" 

:)

LOL!  Pretty sure there are some people that think I ride my bike to work because I can't "afford" the gas.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on November 13, 2017, 06:27:06 AM
- Most people new to cycling pedal far too slowly.  When you pedal slowly and push hard, you end up causing muscle fatigue and don't use your aerobic system as much.  You want high RPMs (80 - 100 at least) when climbing to be efficient.  This will put more load on your heart and less on your legs (although they'll still burn occasionally).  Next time you're climbing, try going to an easier gear than you normally would and simply pedaling faster.

My quads say thank you! I didn't end up changing my seat height--maybe I'm doing it wrong, but it just didn't feel comfortable set higher and it's not like I'm out there trying to race anybody--but this morning I went down to a gear that felt silly and focused on turnover. Cruised up the barely-hill and wasn't even out of breath.

How are all of my other fellow newbies doing this week? Did anybody get a great ride in over the weekend?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Bayou Dweller on November 13, 2017, 09:06:43 AM
HAHA!  Get a job, asshole.  I love that one.

One person yelled at me "Hippie!" 

:)

LOL!  Pretty sure there are some people that think I ride my bike to work because I can't "afford" the gas.

That's awesome.

Today a co-worker asked me, "Hey, why is your office door closed?"
Me: "Oh, I just rode my bicycle in so I was changing my shirt. Did you need to stop by?"
Co-worker: "MAN Y??????"
Me: "haha, I live pretty close.."
Co-worker: "LOL LOL"

I wasn't really sure how to reply.

Anyways, got in some miles this weekend. Biked and explored a bunch of news areas along the bayou. The weather was beautiful! Biked into work again this morning, hoping I can make this a regular thing.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 13, 2017, 11:15:29 AM
My husband and I had some great riding this weekend. 

Did a rain ride on Friday to just spin the legs on my commuter.  Saw a rainbow.  That was neat.

Went mountainbiking on Saturday to a local trail network.  The conditions were perfect.  Slightly cold, but the hero dirt made up for the cold.  I love riding perfect dirt.  When you tires grip like velcro and you're going rippin fast.  The cornering and going hard just makes me laugh and smile.  Kinda funny, I rode great except for a tiny stick that lodged through my rear triangle.  I heard it and opted to keep riding as I tried to pull it out as I continued to climb.  Well, that didn't work out so well.  I fell over and landed right on a hard pinecone.  The cone hit the side of my quad and really smarted. Low speed crashes can still hurt pretty good.  Got a nice bruise and have been trying to work out the kink with my foam roller.  Owie!

Sunday, I took out my CX and did some spinning and climbing at moderate pace.  It was a combo of pave/gravel/pave.  The wind was relentless. 

Today, I feel great and accomplished with the training.  5000 ft of climbing and 46 miles in all. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: LittleWanderer on November 14, 2017, 09:00:43 AM
Today a co-worker asked me, "Hey, why is your office door closed?"
Me: "Oh, I just rode my bicycle in so I was changing my shirt. Did you need to stop by?"
Co-worker: "MAN Y??????"
Me: "haha, I live pretty close.."
Co-worker: "LOL LOL"

Ugh, co-workers.  The amount of stupid comments I've received over the years is mind blowing.  Just keep riding and eventually they'll run out of things to say and shut up.  Unless it rains.  Then they always comment. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Kmp2 on November 14, 2017, 09:25:06 AM

That's awesome.

Today a co-worker asked me, "Hey, why is your office door closed?"
Me: "Oh, I just rode my bicycle in so I was changing my shirt. Did you need to stop by?"
Co-worker: "MAN Y??????"
Me: "haha, I live pretty close.."
Co-worker: "LOL LOL"


I always reply with
'Because it's faster than walking'
:D
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: marielle on November 14, 2017, 09:38:38 AM

That's awesome.

Today a co-worker asked me, "Hey, why is your office door closed?"
Me: "Oh, I just rode my bicycle in so I was changing my shirt. Did you need to stop by?"
Co-worker: "MAN Y??????"
Me: "haha, I live pretty close.."
Co-worker: "LOL LOL"


I always reply with
'Because it's faster than walking'
:D

That's hilarious. I'm definitely going to use that.

I haven't made much progress, the only places I've gone to have been further than 15 miles or close enough to walk. Tonight I'm replacing my phone battery which should help with bike adventures. My battery life is literally less than 10 minutes when I try to use navigation on it while biking. I also put a portable battery pack on my wishlist, which would be helpful for longer trips on the bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 14, 2017, 09:47:31 AM
I wanted to mention something about chains, that will help you extend the life of your chain. 

Some of you may already know this tip, so if you do just ignore me.  Please prevent yourself from cross chaining.  It stretches your chain and it is harder on your chainrings and cassette. A cross chain is being in the biggest gear in the back and the biggest in the front, or the smallest in the back and the smallest in the front.  There are much better options than a cross chain, with triples and doubles. If you are a 1x system, this of course does not apply to you.  If you have a double, it is not as bad as a triple, but still there are other options in your gears.  Many gears overlap themselves in feel factor.

Hope this made sense to the newcomers of our sport.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 14, 2017, 11:49:29 AM
I wanted to mention something about chains, that will help you extend the life of your chain. 

Some of you may already know this tip, so if you do just ignore me.  Please prevent yourself from cross chaining.  It stretches your chain and it is harder on your chainrings and cassette. A cross chain is being in the biggest gear in the back and the biggest in the front, or the smallest in the back and the smallest in the front.  There are much better options than a cross chain, with triples and doubles. If you are a 1x system, this of course does not apply to you.  If you have a double, it is not as bad as a triple, but still there are other options in your gears.  Many gears overlap themselves in feel factor.

Hope this made sense to the newcomers of our sport.

To clarify a tad:

(http://circuitcycle.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CROSS-CHAINING.jpg)

Basically, you want the chain to be as straight as possible between the big rings at the front and the little rings at the back, not at an angle as above.  Usually you'll hear this as extra noise from the drivetrain when you do it.

Side note - If you're on a 1x system, it does apply to you . . . but there's nothing you can do about it.  A 1x system is the same as always riding the middle chain ring of a triple.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 14, 2017, 12:06:57 PM
I wanted to mention something about chains, that will help you extend the life of your chain. 

Some of you may already know this tip, so if you do just ignore me.  Please prevent yourself from cross chaining.  It stretches your chain and it is harder on your chainrings and cassette. A cross chain is being in the biggest gear in the back and the biggest in the front, or the smallest in the back and the smallest in the front.  There are much better options than a cross chain, with triples and doubles. If you are a 1x system, this of course does not apply to you.  If you have a double, it is not as bad as a triple, but still there are other options in your gears.  Many gears overlap themselves in feel factor.

Hope this made sense to the newcomers of our sport.

To clarify a tad:

(http://circuitcycle.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CROSS-CHAINING.jpg)

Basically, you want the chain to be as straight as possible between the big rings at the front and the little rings at the back, not at an angle as above.  Usually you'll hear this as extra noise from the drivetrain when you do it.

Side note - If you're on a 1x system, it does apply to you . . . but there's nothing you can do about it.  A 1x system is the same as always riding the middle chain ring of a triple.  :P

I am very thankful that the eagle XX1 chains seem to have very good longevity.  ;)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: mucchad on November 14, 2017, 12:37:15 PM
following
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: MightyAl on November 14, 2017, 01:26:39 PM
I live in the middle of rural Indiana and have been contemplating cycling to work.  It is about 6 miles so it wouldn't be too bad but it is all county roads until I hit town.  The roads are narrow and people absolutely fly down them. 

Has anyone had to deal with these kinds of conditions and how do you cope? 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 14, 2017, 01:32:48 PM
I live in the middle of rural Indiana and have been contemplating cycling to work.  It is about 6 miles so it wouldn't be too bad but it is all county roads until I hit town.  The roads are narrow and people absolutely fly down them. 

Has anyone had to deal with these kinds of conditions and how do you cope?

I spend a lot of time cycling on rural and county roads.  It's very important to study the area . . . often there is a slightly less direct way to get  where you want that avoids the faster and busier roads.  If you can't avoid faster/busier roads, get very bright rear lights and wear a bright and reflective jacket.  Stay to the side of the road, but make sure you've got enough space to react to potholes and bumps up ahead.
 You'll eventually get used to cycling around faster moving traffic (although liking it is another matter).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 14, 2017, 02:17:00 PM
- Most people new to cycling pedal far too slowly.  When you pedal slowly and push hard, you end up causing muscle fatigue and don't use your aerobic system as much.  You want high RPMs (80 - 100 at least) when climbing to be efficient.  This will put more load on your heart and less on your legs (although they'll still burn occasionally).  Next time you're climbing, try going to an easier gear than you normally would and simply pedaling faster.

My quads say thank you! I didn't end up changing my seat height--maybe I'm doing it wrong, but it just didn't feel comfortable set higher and it's not like I'm out there trying to race anybody--but this morning I went down to a gear that felt silly and focused on turnover. Cruised up the barely-hill and wasn't even out of breath.

How are all of my other fellow newbies doing this week? Did anybody get a great ride in over the weekend?

I meant to and forgot! :O I got in a wimpy ride instead. Going to try to fit in the longer one today or tomorrow, but it's complicated with how early it gets dark now.

You might want to try gradually raising your seat a bit, if you think it should be higher but it's a question of comfort. I need to raise my seat a third time because I keep underestimating (a) how high it should be and (b) how much it helps.

Please prevent yourself from cross chaining.  It stretches your chain and it is harder on your chainrings and cassette. A cross chain is being in the biggest gear in the back and the biggest in the front, or the smallest in the back and the smallest in the front.

...whoops. At least I need a new chain anyway. Is it better to try to stick to mostly the middle gears?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on November 14, 2017, 02:40:59 PM

I am very thankful that the eagle XX1 chains seem to have very good longevity.  ;)

Even if you don't think your chain is going to wear out, it's still less efficient.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 14, 2017, 05:25:12 PM

I am very thankful that the eagle XX1 chains seem to have very good longevity.  ;)

Even if you don't think your chain is going to wear out, it's still less efficient.

HAHA!  Well, you may wonder why most manufacturers are moving to a 1X system.  It's great for MTB and CX.  1x is very popular these days.  Go into any bike shop and look at the drivetrains. 

It is more efficient, and lighter.  One less derailleur.  So less maintenance, better shifting, and lighter.   
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 14, 2017, 05:54:11 PM
You might want to try gradually raising your seat a bit, if you think it should be higher but it's a question of comfort. I need to raise my seat a third time because I keep underestimating (a) how high it should be and (b) how much it helps.

Please prevent yourself from cross chaining.  It stretches your chain and it is harder on your chainrings and cassette. A cross chain is being in the biggest gear in the back and the biggest in the front, or the smallest in the back and the smallest in the front.

...whoops. At least I need a new chain anyway. Is it better to try to stick to mostly the middle gears?

Your bike won't explode if you cross chain.  It just wears stuff out a bit faster, tends to cause rubbing and annoying noise, and is generally less efficient.

All you really have to remember is that if you're in your easiest (biggest) couple gears at the back, then go into your easiest (smallest) ring at the front.  If you're in your hardest (smallest) couple gears at the back, then go into your biggest ring at the front.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 14, 2017, 07:04:00 PM
I believe I misread. Correct me if I'm wrong: there is no problem with using the absolute lowest or absolute highest gear setting; the issue is using the lowest on one hand and highest on the other, where lowest/highest refers to number or difficulty rather than size. Yes? (i.e. using the hardest gear in the front and the easiest "climbing" gear in the back at the same time)

I am still learning all the terminology.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on November 14, 2017, 07:31:21 PM
You might want to try gradually raising your seat a bit, if you think it should be higher but it's a question of comfort. I need to raise my seat a third time because I keep underestimating (a) how high it should be and (b) how much it helps.

Please prevent yourself from cross chaining.  It stretches your chain and it is harder on your chainrings and cassette. A cross chain is being in the biggest gear in the back and the biggest in the front, or the smallest in the back and the smallest in the front.

...whoops. At least I need a new chain anyway. Is it better to try to stick to mostly the middle gears?

Your bike won't explode if you cross chain.  It just wears stuff out a bit faster, tends to cause rubbing and annoying noise, and is generally less efficient.

All you really have to remember is that if you're in your easiest (biggest) couple gears at the back, then go into your easiest (smallest) ring at the front.  If you're in your hardest (smallest) couple gears at the back, then go into your biggest ring at the front.

All the more reason that I love my 1x. 

...and why are there no emoticons on this site.  Are we too grown up for that? 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on November 28, 2017, 08:35:04 AM
Hey experts, can you help me think through a moment on my commute home? I'm never sure what to do with myself.

I have to go down a one-lane road with a bike lane. As it approaches Big Cross Street, it expands into three lanes and the bike lane disappears: so you've got a right turn lane, straight ahead lane, and a combo left turn/straight ahead lane. After the intersection, there are two travel lanes on my side of the street, and no bike lane. I need to proceed across Big Cross Street and then make a left turn a block later.

Currently, I'm riding in the bike lane until it phases out into the right turn lane, then hopping onto the sidewalk via a handy cut in the curb for the 20 remaining feet until the intersection. I wait at the corner until it's safe, then proceed across the intersection in the cross walk. I know riding on the sidewalk is bad, but I get rattled taking the straight-ahead travel lane because there's usually a long line of cars, and I can't stay right next to the curb because then I'm interfering with people trying to make a right turn. Where do I go?

Once I'm across the intersection, I wait until the line of cars has passed, then get back out into the right travel lane until I need to make the left turn a block later. Sometimes this means I have to come to a complete stop, though, since I'm working with four lanes of traffic, and there's no bike lane so I'm just standing in the road. This makes me nervous since sometimes I have to wait a while, and there's no easy way to get my bike up and down from the sidewalk there without dismounting. There's plenty of room for cars to pass but standing in a traffic lane just doesn't seem like a smart move.

What do I do with myself? In theory I could make the left turn at the original Big Cross Street via the left turn lane, but that spits me onto a busy road with a line of parked commuter cars that are also trying to get out (so lots of opening doors, people trying to bolt out of parallel spots before the next wave of traffic hits, etc.). I would also have to deal with a second busy intersection, while going up to the intersection that I'm using now means I'm on my own very quiet residential street the whole rest of the way home.

Help! Everything else is going smoothly at this point (knock on wood).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Kmp2 on November 28, 2017, 08:55:09 AM
Thechnically - you're supposed to go straight through in the straight through lane, if it's narrow (ie not enough room to pass a cyclist safely and stay in the lane), then you should be in the middle of the lane and wait with the cars, once through the intersection merge into the right lane (watching for right turning cars from the other direction and cars going straight through in the turn lane) until you need to turn left... and then yes wait in the traffic lane to turn. This works really well for fast, confident cyclists... slower cyclists are likely to get harassed and dangerously passed (I get to be both depending on how much cargo I carry)

Now cyclists get yelled at a lot, for doing what their supposed to and doing what their not, so really there are a lot of different ways to get through this and your risk depends on a lot of different things. Does the sidewalk have driveways/alleys/parking lot exits and entrances and are their many pedestrians... if it doesn't have many of those and you are a slower biker I would stay on the sidewalk and walk my bike through the major intersection... then I might stay on the sidewalk all the way until you make a left (if there's a crosswalk there just get off your bike and get cars to yield... then continue on your quiet residential street home.) If there is no crosswalk, I might even use the Big cross street (it has lights? or crosswalks?) to get to the other side of the street and continue a block on the sidewalk.

Again, when riding on the sidewalk, remember sightlines around corners are not built for speed, so go slower (jogging pace), be considerate to pedestrians, and get off your bike for major intersections.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 28, 2017, 10:22:14 AM
In general if you have to bike in a lane for cars, you'll be safer occupying the entire lane than hugging the curb (assuming you are appropriately visible). Hugging the curb in a narrow lane invites cars to pass you dangerously. In the middle of the lane, it's clear they need to change lanes if they want to go around.

This is only something I do during a short interlude in which the bike lane has been eaten by construction, though.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 28, 2017, 10:35:21 AM
Hey experts, can you help me think through a moment on my commute home? I'm never sure what to do with myself.

I have to go down a one-lane road with a bike lane. As it approaches Big Cross Street, it expands into three lanes and the bike lane disappears: so you've got a right turn lane, straight ahead lane, and a combo left turn/straight ahead lane. After the intersection, there are two travel lanes on my side of the street, and no bike lane. I need to proceed across Big Cross Street and then make a left turn a block later.

Currently, I'm riding in the bike lane until it phases out into the right turn lane, then hopping onto the sidewalk via a handy cut in the curb for the 20 remaining feet until the intersection. I wait at the corner until it's safe, then proceed across the intersection in the cross walk. I know riding on the sidewalk is bad, but I get rattled taking the straight-ahead travel lane because there's usually a long line of cars, and I can't stay right next to the curb because then I'm interfering with people trying to make a right turn. Where do I go?

Once I'm across the intersection, I wait until the line of cars has passed, then get back out into the right travel lane until I need to make the left turn a block later. Sometimes this means I have to come to a complete stop, though, since I'm working with four lanes of traffic, and there's no bike lane so I'm just standing in the road. This makes me nervous since sometimes I have to wait a while, and there's no easy way to get my bike up and down from the sidewalk there without dismounting. There's plenty of room for cars to pass but standing in a traffic lane just doesn't seem like a smart move.

What do I do with myself? In theory I could make the left turn at the original Big Cross Street via the left turn lane, but that spits me onto a busy road with a line of parked commuter cars that are also trying to get out (so lots of opening doors, people trying to bolt out of parallel spots before the next wave of traffic hits, etc.). I would also have to deal with a second busy intersection, while going up to the intersection that I'm using now means I'm on my own very quiet residential street the whole rest of the way home.

Help! Everything else is going smoothly at this point (knock on wood).

If you need to use the sidewalk because it's too dangerous, you should dismount your bike and walk.  Walk to the intersection, cross over at the intersection, walk (on the opposing sidewalk) to the next intersection, cross it, and then get on your bike and join back in with traffic.  If that's going too slow for you, then stay on the road.

I have a very similar intersection and left hand turn on my way to work every morning.  I ride the bike lane and start shoulder checking well before it has ended.  Merge over into the straight through lane near where the bike lane ends, and take the lane if it's very narrow.  Once you're past the intersection, signal your left turn, shoulder check, and move into the left lane as it becomes free.  I'll usually move to the left side of the lane at this point, this gives aggressive drivers the chance to floor it around me on the right hand side.  Signal, and then make your turn at the intersection.

If traffic is too busy or fast moving in your area for that (which happens), you could ride to the intersection where you need to make the left hand turn, and then dismount on the sidewalk.  Cross the street as a pedestrian, wait until there's a free spot in the traffic, and remount and continue on your way up the road.  (This bypasses the need to merge to the left lane entirely.)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on November 28, 2017, 11:57:41 AM
Thanks all. I'm a really slow biker so I worry about people getting road rage when I have to take the whole lane, but I know I need to work on getting over it. Fortunately there's quite a bit of bike traffic on this route, so most people are used to driving with cyclists.

GuitarStv, I'm going to try what you outline tomorrow.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Askel on November 28, 2017, 12:50:23 PM
If there's lots of bike commuter traffic in the area, a fun thing to try and organize is a "bike train".  Check if there are any bicycle advocacy groups in your area- they may already be organizing them.

Every day, it follows a preset route with stops where everybody waits for 5 minutes or so to jump on the bike train. (usually at least one stop is someplace for coffee in the morning/beer in the evening). The group is led by a conductor who keeps the schedule and everybody together.

Folks can also join up or jump off whenever is convenient. 

It gives both safety in numbers as well as some people to chat with on the ride.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 28, 2017, 03:06:16 PM
Thanks all. I'm a really slow biker so I worry about people getting road rage when I have to take the whole lane, but I know I need to work on getting over it. Fortunately there's quite a bit of bike traffic on this route, so most people are used to driving with cyclists.

GuitarStv, I'm going to try what you outline tomorrow.

Don't give up hope . . . there's almost always a safe work-around to a troubling vehicular cycling situation when you give the scenario a lot of thought!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on November 28, 2017, 04:38:43 PM
Thanks all. I'm a really slow biker so I worry about people getting road rage when I have to take the whole lane, but I know I need to work on getting over it. Fortunately there's quite a bit of bike traffic on this route, so most people are used to driving with cyclists.

GuitarStv, I'm going to try what you outline tomorrow.

If you stick with it, it's pretty much inevitable that you will get faster.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: zeli2033 on December 03, 2017, 09:14:35 PM
Thanks all. I'm a really slow biker so I worry about people getting road rage when I have to take the whole lane, but I know I need to work on getting over it. Fortunately there's quite a bit of bike traffic on this route, so most people are used to driving with cyclists.

I worry about this as well. I'm a very new bike commuter (live two miles from work, been commuting by bike for 3 months now and going strong into rainy fall/winter!).

Living in a fairly bike-friendly town should make this simpler but it actually makes me more nervous when there are long lines of cars AND experienced cyclists behind me. Slowly but surely, I've been gaining a little more confidence the more I do it. Happy to see I'm not alone in this.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on December 04, 2017, 03:01:39 PM
Great to see a thread on this. Iíve commuted by bike for several years now. Iím based in the UK. Itís only just over 7 miles for me a day so nothing massively impressive.

Iím not sure if anyone can help me (maybe Canadian cyclists) but the biggest issue I have this time of year, when there is a frost is my hands. I wear three pairs of gloves but they are still frozen and hurt like crazy when I arrive at work! Anyone got any tips here please? All my other extremities are fine but my hands are in agony.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on December 04, 2017, 04:31:10 PM
Great to see a thread on this. Iíve commuted by bike for several years now. Iím based in the UK. Itís only just over 7 miles for me a day so nothing massively impressive.

Iím not sure if anyone can help me (maybe Canadian cyclists) but the biggest issue I have this time of year, when there is a frost is my hands. I wear three pairs of gloves but they are still frozen and hurt like crazy when I arrive at work! Anyone got any tips here please? All my other extremities are fine but my hands are in agony.

Invest in bar mitts.  They are worth it. I have these on my bike in Winter. 

https://www.modernbike.com/product-2126178521?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrcnAxMHx1wIVCsZkCh2T8gywEAQYAyABEgKT0_D_BwE

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on December 04, 2017, 05:56:36 PM
Iím not sure if anyone can help me (maybe Canadian cyclists) but the biggest issue I have this time of year, when there is a frost is my hands. I wear three pairs of gloves but they are still frozen and hurt like crazy when I arrive at work! Anyone got any tips here please? All my other extremities are fine but my hands are in agony.

I ride pretty comfortably down to about -8 C with two light weight pairs of jogging gloves layered.  A few things that work well for me:
- Keep your core and your arms warm.  If your core is warm enough, your body will shunt extra heat to your extremities.  If your core gets just slightly too cool, your body stops doing this as a survival mechanism.
- Your gloves should not be snug.  Things that are tight cut off your circulation, and circulation is needed to keep you warm.  They don't need to be hanging off you, but try going up a size and see if it helps.
- If possible get an outer layer that's windproof/waterproof and an inner layer that's insulating.

When it gets below -8 I will switch to heavy duty skiing gloves.  They're too thick to work STI shifters, so that's when I pull out the winter bike with bar ends.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on December 04, 2017, 06:34:57 PM
With bar mitts, most gloves are sufficient.  I can't say enough good things about these things.  If those are too expensive, some modified water jugs would do the trick.  The problem with the cold is the forward motion and the wind.  That can blow through most gloves.  Nice gloves are pretty expensive.  I have a pair of Castellis that are pretty divine, when I ride my bike without the bar mitts. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on December 04, 2017, 11:12:45 PM
Hi, thank you so much for all the replies, much appreciated. I have experimented with various glove styles and combinations over the years. Nothing seems to have worked. Often reviews are left by people saying their hands are toasty warm wearing them but they havenít worked for me.

My current combination is a silk glove (apparently skiers wear these?) followed by a neoprene layer followed by a thicker waterproof type glove. I just about have enough feel to change gears and brake here! I am travelling about 6:30am when I have the trouble. During the day and early evening I donít have the problem. The rest of my body is warm and my feet, ears etc donít have an issue.

Thanks very much for the links. Iíll take a look at some other products. I havenít seen bar mitts before. I have a downhill a few minutes in and itís definitely the airflow here that gets my hands off to a very cold start.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on December 05, 2017, 07:38:53 AM
The root problem of cold hands is a cold core.  When your core temp starts to fall, your body starts to shut off blood flow to your extremities.  The warmest gloves in the world aren't going to make a difference if your core isn't warm enough.  I would try adding another layer, like a vest.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on December 05, 2017, 07:41:15 AM
Hi, thank you so much for all the replies, much appreciated. I have experimented with various glove styles and combinations over the years. Nothing seems to have worked. Often reviews are left by people saying their hands are toasty warm wearing them but they havenít worked for me.

My current combination is a silk glove (apparently skiers wear these?) followed by a neoprene layer followed by a thicker waterproof type glove. I just about have enough feel to change gears and brake here! I am travelling about 6:30am when I have the trouble. During the day and early evening I donít have the problem. The rest of my body is warm and my feet, ears etc donít have an issue.

Thanks very much for the links. Iíll take a look at some other products. I havenít seen bar mitts before. I have a downhill a few minutes in and itís definitely the airflow here that gets my hands off to a very cold start.

This is going to seem very tacky, but I have seen some people use milk jugs crafted to the bars for the winter.  It works double duty, you can keep your hands dry and warmer.  It keeps the wind off well, and you can't beat the price.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Kmp2 on December 05, 2017, 08:52:33 AM
We have a few winter cyclists with Raynaud's syndrome - it contributes to poor circulation in the hands and therefore they struggle with cold hands. From what I've read, they survive using either the chemical hot packs (apparently you can put these in the fridge - to slow the reaction - after your morning ride and they will still work on the ride home) or even battery heated mitts/gloves.

I wear merino wool liners, and then down ski mitts. I can still reach my brakes and I have twist shift.  The liners are important for locking/unlocking so that my hands don't get to cold right at the start, as they never warm up. This works for me down to about -25C, but if I had a commute longer than about 30 minutes I would invest in bar mitts at that temp.

You can also get lobster gloves that keep more fingers together but still allow for shifting/braking, but I find mitts keep me toasty and nimble enough.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on December 05, 2017, 09:18:56 AM
My winter ride.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: haypug16 on December 05, 2017, 09:44:20 AM
Just added bar mitts to my amazon wish list. These look amazing and my hands always get cold so I think this will really be helpful riding in the winter.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on December 05, 2017, 10:16:52 AM
I wear 4 layers when itís very cold so I donít think my core is cold. Everything is fine except the hands. I do appreciate everyoneís comments on what they do. Some of the temperatures quoted are far below those that I have to put up with.

I have a fairly icy remote country lane that is never treated on the commute. It can be a bit treacherous. Iím wondering if on the very cold days I would be better off walking. My hands have always been fine walking. That way I avoid the treacherous lane and the cold hands. That may be the best way to proceed over the next couple of months or so.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ACyclist on December 05, 2017, 10:30:35 AM
It was 19 today for my ride.  My hands were toasty. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on December 05, 2017, 10:35:34 AM
I wear 4 layers when itís very cold so I donít think my core is cold. Everything is fine except the hands. I do appreciate everyoneís comments on what they do. Some of the temperatures quoted are far below those that I have to put up with.

I have a fairly icy remote country lane that is never treated on the commute. It can be a bit treacherous. Iím wondering if on the very cold days I would be better off walking. My hands have always been fine walking. That way I avoid the treacherous lane and the cold hands. That may be the best way to proceed over the next couple of months or so.

What kind of covering is on your handlebars?  Aluminum is a great conductor of heat away from the body.  Cork bar wrap, and some of the thicker rubber grips provide OK insulation about this.  If you have very thin grips this could be worsening your cold hands problem.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on December 05, 2017, 10:39:08 AM
My commuter is a rigid forked mountain bike. So the grips are the fairly standard rubber mountain bike size. They arenít thin. Thatís a good thought. The bar/grips doesnít feel cold. Iím sure its the air flow that is the culprit.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: eightyeighttoone on December 07, 2017, 12:12:16 AM
My wife and I mountain bike pretty regularly, but I'm terrified to ride on the roads around here. We live in the mountains of East Tennessee. The locals here have their vices... some smoke meth, others "roll coal" in big lifted trucks, either way these curvy roads are most of the time treated like a race car track... I get nervous even in a car. I used to ride a DRZ400, but after having children I sold that for fear of them being without a father. I have read the blog post about fear, and have looked at the studies, but I still have fear. Am I being silly?

Thinking that everybody on the road is some methed out redneck ready to roll coal on you might be a bit silly. However, having a healthy respect for roads with low visibility and fast moving traffic is not.   

I typically avoid such roads, because riding in fast moving traffic is just no fun, but sometimes you have to do it to get where you are going.  I deal with this by:
1. Staying seen. Lights, day-glo reflective vests, festive hawaiian shirts, whatever it takes. 
2. Ride respectfully. Try not to unnecessarily impede traffic. Pull over for a bit if you do.  Use hand signals. 
3. Stay aware. Look around, try and anticipate what people will do. Looking drivers in the eye really helps. 

Sure, there's the occasional nitwit that does something or yells something* out the window, but be happy- that means they saw you.  It's the ones that don't see you that will get you. 

*Best thing ever yelled out a car window at me: "GET A JOB, ASSHOLE!"

Thanks for the input, and the laugh at the end. haha Get a Job!

As someone who grew up in the northeast TN as a "local", I understand your concern regarding the combination of narrow, curvy, 2 lane mountain roads with NO shoulder on the one hand, and a not insignificant percentage of drivers who are either imitating Dale Earnhardt (rest in peace), or who maybe spilled their beer and are reaching for it down in the passenger seat.... Ok maybe I exaggerate a little.... But I feel ya. I live in Colorado now and biking here is a dream. I would be uncomfortable on a lot of roads in East TN (except Knoxville, JC, and few other spots.) On the other hand, the thrill of risking your life every day during your bike commute could add to the enjoyment. Some roads just aren't as bike friendly as others. That being said, didn't Lance Armstrong decide to start riding again after doing Beech Mtn, NC?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: marielle on December 07, 2017, 06:18:48 AM
Lesson learned this week: Bring some sort of glasses when riding because it might rain on the ride home. Thankfully it was a short ride!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: JanetJackson on December 07, 2017, 06:39:37 AM
Posting because I did my first work ride yesterday!
On Sunday the transmission blew in my old Honda... so for the day job I am using a company car and reimbursing for personal miles.  Well, on the two days a week that I don't go to the office, I have a dog walking business and serve a 5-mile and under radius.  Welp, I didn't want to reimburse the company, so I hopped on the bike I inherited from my grandfather when he passed away last year (he was an avid cyclist).
I served two clients and overall it was MAYBE a 3.5 mile round trip.  I did have to walk up the steepest hill in town at about halfway... I was in the lowest gear and standing, but baaaarely moving and tipping over.  I also got really sweaty and realized just how hard cycling is.  It was about 42 degrees here, but felt ok.
I neither feel encouraged or discouraged about cycling more- pretty neutral... But I think I'll likely try it for the two times a week that I serve pet clients.  I need to get a light, helmet, and lock (I had to bring my bike inside people's houses... not everyone will be cool with that).

Anyways... YAY!  I did it.  I was moving like molasses and heaving and panting (I don't even consider myself out-of-shape... so... hmmmm), but I DID IT!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: LittleWanderer on December 07, 2017, 07:29:29 AM
We have a few winter cyclists with Raynaud's syndrome - it contributes to poor circulation in the hands and therefore they struggle with cold hands. From what I've read, they survive using either the chemical hot packs (apparently you can put these in the fridge - to slow the reaction - after your morning ride and they will still work on the ride home) or even battery heated mitts/gloves.

I have Raynaud's and the chemical hot packs are a must for me every winter.  Better than sticking them in the fridge - put them in a washed out jar of baby food.  (Or ziplock bag, but I think the jar works better.)  They react to air, so when you take away the air, they stay good to use later. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: frompa on December 07, 2017, 01:43:33 PM
Posting because I did my first work ride yesterday!
On Sunday the transmission blew in my old Honda... so for the day job I am using a company car and reimbursing for personal miles.  Well, on the two days a week that I don't go to the office, I have a dog walking business and serve a 5-mile and under radius.  Welp, I didn't want to reimburse the company, so I hopped on the bike I inherited from my grandfather when he passed away last year (he was an avid cyclist).
I served two clients and overall it was MAYBE a 3.5 mile round trip.  I did have to walk up the steepest hill in town at about halfway... I was in the lowest gear and standing, but baaaarely moving and tipping over.  I also got really sweaty and realized just how hard cycling is.  It was about 42 degrees here, but felt ok.
I neither feel encouraged or discouraged about cycling more- pretty neutral... But I think I'll likely try it for the two times a week that I serve pet clients.  I need to get a light, helmet, and lock (I had to bring my bike inside people's houses... not everyone will be cool with that).

Anyways... YAY!  I did it.  I was moving like molasses and heaving and panting (I don't even consider myself out-of-shape... so... hmmmm), but I DID IT!

GOOD FOR YOU!!!! Even though you are in shape, you will get more in shape the more you ride, and there's nothing like hills to take care of that for you.  Good luck with your longer term plan!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: cazio on December 08, 2017, 08:29:38 PM
Joining! I start back to school in January and I plan to bike from home to school each day (and hopefully back - otherwise taking public transport and biking combo). I'm a total biking noob so it'll be a new experience for me!

I am incredibly lucky in that 90% of my route will be on a designated bike path - no busy roads to deal with beyond crossing one "highway" to get back on the path.  Best part - home to school is all downhill, and the uphill isn't that bad on the way back!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on December 10, 2017, 07:54:02 PM
I took a bike trip out to the bulk grocery store yesterday for my longest ride yet at 17.6 miles round trip. Mostly just for practice; I only bought one thing. I had a rain check I wanted to use before it expired. I did walk up the worst hill - almost a 10% grade for over half a mile. Geez. Got passed by a jogger going up that sucker.

I probably won't repeat that trip - I'd prefer to buy in bulk at the bulk store, and the bike infrastructure really broke down once we got close - but it's nice to know I can do it.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Suzanne on December 21, 2017, 04:54:44 AM
This is a thread for those of us getting started on biking more often to catalogue our progress and challenge each other, as well as for those of you more experienced with bikes to give us tips if you like!

Why to start biking:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/)
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/22/curing-your-clown-like-car-habit/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/22/curing-your-clown-like-car-habit/)

Consider the gauntlet thrown.



I bought a Trek FX 7.0 2016 in August for $200 off Craigslist. Since then I have made it my goal to go biking 3 times a week - a goal I am mostly failing at, but improving in pursuit of - and to visit the grocery store exclusively by bike. Last weekend I did a practice trip to work for the first time (10 miles round trip including three major hills). I was successful, but I don't quite feel ready to brave the same trip during rush hour, work a full day in the middle, and head home in the dark.

Incidentally, I've also started swimming recently, which is hopefully also contributing to an improved endurance. Getting my tires properly inflated and my seat adjusted to the proper height were also like a magical automatic endurance boosts. And I've started waking up and heading to work earlier in hopes of being able to do both-directions commuting in daylight, despite the time change.

So, my current goals:
  • All grocery trips by bike
  • One longer bike ride (over 5 mi) each weekend
  • Start biking to work once a week
  • Replace my rusty bike chain
What are you working on?

Yeah I am just working on my bike to bring house holds that my family needs. :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on January 03, 2018, 07:52:42 AM
First ride in single-digit temps this morning! Still need to work on dialing in the right layers. Hands and legs were fine. Feet were freezing, even in fleece-lined boots and thick socks. Core was sweaty, even after unzipping my coat halfway through. Head was a weird combination of too hot under the headband I put on midway because my ears were frigid, and too cold everywhere else.

I don't know why this is so much harder than dressing for running.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on January 03, 2018, 09:31:01 PM
My 2018 goal is to get to a point of regularly doing half of my travel miles by bike. Two days of work commute plus all grocery, library, beach, etc trips each week should achieve that. At this point I CAN bike to work - on a day off. Still feeling a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of working an entire day in the middle.

The days getting longer again will help.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on January 08, 2018, 06:44:30 AM
Got to experience my first car-induced crash this morning, hooray. I've been doing three days of bike-commuting and miscellaneous errands for a couple of months now, and I've found drivers to be polite, careful, and courteous. Except for this asshole.

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

I'd like to think that being smack in the middle of the car lane, instead of towards the right side, would have helped...but honestly I don't know that it would have, because this dude was driving really effing fast and clearly had no interest in respecting anyone else on the road.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on January 08, 2018, 09:26:41 AM
This is my second year riding. I've noticed while riding, driving or walking that there are always drivers that do things like that in bad weather. People that can't be bothered to change how they drive regardless of the road conditions. It's one of the reasons I prefer biking or taking transit in the winter, actually, because there are so many irresponsible drivers out on the busier roads.

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

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

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

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

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

There are quite a few bike shops here that have winter maintenance specials - priced very reasonably, most are less than the cost of a tank of gasoline. I love that option for people who ride consistently but don't have the space at home or the knowledge yet to do a lot of the routine work. You pay a membership and then can take your bike in as often as you want. My friends that use it take their bikes in weekly from December through April.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Kmp2 on January 08, 2018, 10:28:44 AM
@fluffmuffin, I hope you've stopped shaking! It sounds like good defensive biking on your part, and the snow probably cushioned your fall. I've only had one such near miss where I had to brake so hard I almost went over the handlebars. It took most of the day to calm down, and at least a week or two before I could relax on my commute again. I was told it is kind of like falling off a horse, the sooner your able to get back up the better - easier said than done.

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

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

I definitely over dress my feet and hands, and underdress my core. However if my hands and feet are still getting cold then I add a layer to my legs/arms (long underwear or leg warmers, or arm warmers).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on January 08, 2018, 11:28:58 AM
Oh @fluffmuffin I totally missed your story! That is a bummer :(

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

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

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

I just got a recommendation last week to use Weather Underground to check weather rather than the usual reports. It is extremely accurate in our cities, anyway - reports real temps from a bunch of neighborhood locations instead of just the airport, for example, so it's much better for knowing what the temp is like on my exact route.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on January 09, 2018, 08:10:52 AM
Thanks @katscratch and @Kmp2. I've got a couple of nice big bruises today, but am still okay! I actually grew up riding horses, so while it was stressful and upsetting, I don't think it's rattled me that much overall. I didn't have a problem getting back on to (very cautiously) complete my ride to work. I've gotten back on after way, way worse falls from horses. Back to the bike tomorrow!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on January 12, 2018, 06:03:21 PM
Took me an hour today to change my bike chain - I paid special attention to the derailleurs and then failed to thread the chain through the front gearshift correctly. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I didn't have to shorten my new chain at all, measuring it against the chain that came on the bike... and only after I was riding around testing it out did I realize that probably just means the last owner didn't know how to measure the chain length correctly.

Hopefully this means when I put the chain on for a third time (after I watch a youtube video on how to do it right) I'll discover I'm better at biking than I thought?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 12, 2018, 06:35:29 PM
Running a slightly too long chain doesn't really hurt anything.  It will just be a tad noisier and a few grams heavier.  Make sure you don't shorten it too much though - you can wreck your rear derailleur.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on January 12, 2018, 06:42:06 PM
Running a slightly too long chain doesn't really hurt anything.  It will just be a tad noisier and a few grams heavier.  Make sure you don't shorten it too much though - you can wreck your rear derailleur.

Hmm, in that case maybe I won't bother to shorten it. My fingers are still sore from pinching that quicklink.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dogboyslim on January 26, 2018, 03:15:20 PM
All I have to say is Chamois Butt'r:
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZeeMcc5IL._SX355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 26, 2018, 03:21:10 PM
It's not as fun a name as
(https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1278/4939/products/DZnuts_mens_pro_chamois_cream.jpg?v=1494011268)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dogboyslim on January 26, 2018, 03:30:02 PM
Anything is fine, but day after day in the saddle, especially if things don't fully dry between rides can lead to a need for a cream of some sort to stave off major skin disasters.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on February 02, 2018, 05:00:36 PM
I go to the nearby university (2 miles down the road) 2-4 times a week, and I'm considering leaving my bike at work to cut down on driving that distance. In order to be worthwhile, though, I also need my bike at home to be able to bike to the library on weekends, so I'd be leaving my car at work on weekends. Perfectly safe, but I'm worried about the lack of flexibility this complicated arrangement might entail.

Cons:
- requires night biking
- biking to grocery from work involves busier roads
- complicated and inflexible
- have to figure out how to bike with a viola strapped to me
- only saves 7 miles of driving a week over what I do now

Pros:
- the university is safe to bike and probably flatter than home
- forces me to bike to work once a week (but to/from are split on different days, and I can do the hard part on a weekend)
- I have roommates with cars who work in the same place as me, should an emergency arise
- adds 20 miles of biking a week to my current average (12 miles)

Not sure if it's worth it. I might give it a trial week when I have a slow period.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on February 02, 2018, 05:25:08 PM
No harm in giving it a try.  You don't have to commit 100% either, you could just do every other weekend.

A viola is small enough that you can fit 'em in a hard case in a big backpack, which is the route I'd take.  Stuff bounces around more in panniers/baskets than on your back because your knees and arms work as shock absorbers the whole time you're cycling.

Cycling at night is no biggie.  Get some very bright lights and some reflective stuff and you should be fine.

The key benefit to this is not money saved (although there should be a bit in that category), it's in added daily exercise.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on February 03, 2018, 11:40:52 PM
Found my bike with my first flat when I tried to take it to the grocery today. :/ Guess that's another useful skill to learn sooner rather than later.

Thus far I've mostly thrown small but necessary expenses into the bike without concern - helmet, lock, new chain + tool, new light. Now probably a new tube, maybe better reflective gear, a new strap so I can transport my viola... it's probably approaching $100 now, on top of the $200 for the bike itself. I suppose if I save even $3 in gas every month that's still a 12% annual return, I'm just wondering how far I need to follow this pattern.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Overflow on February 04, 2018, 06:09:37 AM
Posting to following.

I bike 95% of the time to work, but it's less than a mile through neighborhood streets. Nothing compared to what some of you guys do. But, it's still Michigan so snowstorms aren't rare on my commute.

However, I am still an extreme bike novice so I need to be on here to learn from the masters.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on February 04, 2018, 08:02:37 AM
@Tass I found the first 12-18 months I was biking I had similar expenses pop up regularly. This year I haven't spent a thing yet because I have all the basics sorted out for year-round cycling.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: sixup on February 04, 2018, 08:15:23 AM
Been riding my ebike to work and back (20 mile round trip) all winter in NJ, except for a few days when the snow was ridiculous and I had yet to get my studded tire.

I finally did get one, just for the front, and it's been a huge help. Had one day where it snowed pretty hard and a few icy road/trail days, but the front tire gave me pretty good traction overall.

With that said, I had my first little tumble last week. Made it all the way to my work parking lot in the morning and totally wasn't thinking. Turned into it and as soon as my back tire crossed the threshold from street to parking lot it just shot out from under me. Not a big deal at all, was going maybe 5-8 mph at most. With all the layers I had on, didn't even get a scrape. Little knee bruise. Luckily I think only one person was around to see it lol. I think I managed to go down pretty gracefully though :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: mountain mustache on February 04, 2018, 10:31:33 AM
I should preface this by saying that I've worked in the bike industry since I have been an adult working person, and so you generally are harassed for driving your car to work, ha! But, I commuted through 5 winters in Colorado, 5-15 miles each way ( depending on the job) and I really enjoyed it, and learned a lot!
Key things for me:
 1.  Get a mountain bike for commuting. Now, I own about 3 of these (for racing, riding, etc) but I think a mountain bike makes the most sense for year round commuting if you only want to own 1 bike. Preferably a hardtail of the metal variety (steel, aluminum, titanium), could be rigid, or have front suspension. Sure, wider tires are a bit slower on dry pavement, but riding through slush and ice and snow feels so much safer with knobby trail tires. I never found the need for studs, just ran lower pressure depending on the surface. Mountain bikes usually come with disc brakes (better stopping in all weather), low gears (for your steep hills), and honestly are just more stable for any abrupt moves you might have to make in traffic. Knobby tires also allow you to "bail"  aka hit the dirt when you feel like a car is being unsafe. I also feel like I take up more space in the road when I'm on the mountain bike, which makes me feel more visible. You can put racks, fenders, whatever floats your boat on a mountain bike with plenty of room.

2. Bar mitts, Bar mitts, Bar mitts. This cannot be emphasized enough. Just buy them! They are not that expensive, and make a HUGE difference. I went two winters freezing my fingers off in my -5 degree rated ski gloves...nothing takes the chill out of a 2 mile downhill start when it is -10 outside! The bar mitts enable you to wear lighter gloves, which means you have more braking, and shifting function with your fingers. Which means you will be safer.

3. Winter Shoes. This is a big one, and also a more expensive one. I also was stubborn on the uptake with winter shoes, and regret it because some of my toes have never been the same after 2 winters of sub zero commuting in my summer riding shoes. Lake makes in my opinion the best winter shoes out there, but you can't go wrong with 45 North either. If you're on flat pedals, any winter snow boot will function just fine as well, as long as it is WATERPROOF and insulated. I commuted on clipless pedals, so went with a more cycling specific setup in the Lake MX303 shoes...which I purchased new 4 years ago, and they still look perfect.

4. Lights. Not just any lights either, you need bright, day time running lights that are specifically for extreme visibility. I wouldn't ride or commute without a Bontrager Flare R light. My interaction with cars since using this light has been remarkably different. It has an irregular beam pattern which grabs drivers attention, and it is bright enough to be seen a mile away. The front light they make to pair with this light is also excellent, and they both make perfect night time lights for the way home. They are also USB rechargeable, so no pesky batteries to worry about! Don't skimp and buy cheap Blinky lights, it's your life! It's worth it!

5. Fenders. Doesn't matter how cheap they are, most fenders work great. Just get them...nothing worse than a cold, wet butt after a 12 mile ride into work.

6. Cycling clothes. Personally, I never rode to work in the clothing I was wearing all day. You get sweaty, and/or wet from snow/rain, etc...it's just not worth it. Just a pair of basic black cycling shorts works, and in the winter I wear waterproof baggy pants over, and then a basic base layer, fleece mid layer, and waterproof jacket over (if it's snowing/raining). In the summer I'm all about the tank tops( some sort of wicking running top)  and riding shorts! The less clothing the better, it gets warm when you're toting your lunch and clothes and shoes!

7. Bag. Make sure it's waterproof, and has enough room for all your crap. If you've got a rack system, awesome! Ortlieb makes great roll top, waterproof panniers. I've found if I'm carrying things on my back, a traditional backpack works best, and messenger bags end up being really uncomfortable after about 2-3 miles. Better to distribute the weight evenly, than killing that one shoulder with all the weight.

I could probably list so many things, but TLDR right? The biggest thing I picked up from commuting so much was always have gear for the worst conditions...I recommended a waterproof bag...not because it rains every day, but why would you have something that would't protect you if it did? We always say here in CO, there's no bad weather, just bad gear. If you're prepared for anything, you'll have way less excuses, and find yourself enjoying the commuting process a ton! I can remember so many mornings being the only bike on the road, because it snowed 6 inches overnight, and it was zero out...it always felt so special, like I had this privilege of first tracks in the snow, with no one else around! Commuting by bike became my mental health time, to process my day after work, or prepare myself for work in the morning. It's the best!

I should also mention that I am a lucky duck now and live less than a mile from work! I feel like I've earned it after 5 winters of living pretty far, haha! It's still cold and snowy, but now I can walk if I feel like it and not worry about all the gear, which is a nice treat.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on February 04, 2018, 11:32:52 AM
I've had these thoughts a few times while reading this thread and haven't quite figured out how to articulate them in a gentle way. My own disclaimer - I'm comfortable enough biking year-round and part of my local cycling community enough now to take advice and use the parts that work for me, but I've only been riding for 18 months after about 10 years off a bike entirely and only riding a beach cruiser before that.

I worry sometimes in these discussions about the disconnect of someone who has cycled for a long time between offering super helpful advice and gear tips versus just encouraging people to get out there, trying it out for themselves and improving along the way. The many people I see commuting to work at all hours on crappy Walmart bikes, in jeans and normal shoes, aren't reading lists online of what they need. They may not have other options for transport and having been carless not by choice myself in the past I know some people are probably miserable during their commute, but they show it's possible to start out with just a bike.

Cycling in many regions tends to already have a lot of barriers to finding a decent bike (for what people want to use it for) with proper fit without judgment. Your posts (and others upthread that are also super informative and equally well-intentioned) are not judgmental at all but it's a very different perspective than someone who is totally new to cycling.

I definitely mean no disrespect - I've found some of the things on these lists make winter commuting especially fun rather than just bearable - but I wouldn't want anyone lurking and reading a thread specifically asking for newbie support to be discouraged from just trying it out because they don't have something specific that a seasoned cyclist has.

My thoughts really aren't even directed at any one advice post in particular - it's more a nagging thought about cycling in general. I've been at city committee meetings asking how to get more folks bike commuting. The biggest conversion rates have come from people who started out doing monthly low speed social rides with a local non profit that is incredibly welcoming to newbies, so it's a subject that I've spent a lot of time thinking and talking about in the last year or so.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on February 04, 2018, 11:43:25 AM
^ I started out with a bike, a helmet, and a lock. Admittedly it's always summer here so I don't have to worry about winter preparedness, but I am definitely a minimalist about the gear I need.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ElizaStache on February 06, 2018, 01:09:57 PM
I just bought my bike this weekend! I'm looking forward to getting to the point where I can do my 6.5 mile with slight incline trip to work nearly every day. I haven't been on a bike in years.

I come from a family of cyclists, I used to do track racing at the velodrome that was right by my house. my dad and brother were always more into it. I got hit by a car while I was on my bike while on my way to school when I was 16, so I wasn't too happy. I've always been happy to walk or take the bus for bikeable distances. Unfortunately I don't have a bus that runs by my work, and I'm unhappy driving that short of a distance, so I'm trying it out.

It's interesting that there's an interurban trail right by my place that gets me part of the way to work much safer than if I tried to go along the busy road, which would be much too dangerous even if I was more experienced. I'm still finalizing my route and now I just need to practice it a few times before I go for the actual commute to make sure I'm not late or too out of shape to do it.

I also need to buy a bell, a repair kit, lights, and a lock. I have a reflective vest for now. I have a Cookie Monster jersey.

I'm looking forward to seeing if I can refill my car tank once every other month instead of the once a month I'm at right now.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Thegoblinchief on February 06, 2018, 04:28:43 PM
I just bought my bike this weekend! I'm looking forward to getting to the point where I can do my 6.5 mile with slight incline trip to work nearly every day. I haven't been on a bike in years.

I come from a family of cyclists, I used to do track racing at the velodrome that was right by my house. my dad and brother were always more into it. I got hit by a car while I was on my bike while on my way to school when I was 16, so I wasn't too happy. I've always been happy to walk or take the bus for bikeable distances. Unfortunately I don't have a bus that runs by my work, and I'm unhappy driving that short of a distance, so I'm trying it out.

It's interesting that there's an interurban trail right by my place that gets me part of the way to work much safer than if I tried to go along the busy road, which would be much too dangerous even if I was more experienced. I'm still finalizing my route and now I just need to practice it a few times before I go for the actual commute to make sure I'm not late or too out of shape to do it.

I also need to buy a bell, a repair kit, lights, and a lock. I have a reflective vest for now. I have a Cookie Monster jersey.

I'm looking forward to seeing if I can refill my car tank once every other month instead of the once a month I'm at right now.

6.5 is a nice doable distance. When you look at route options, consider options that make it longer if it gets you onto a trail or a street with very clear bike lanes. I actually prefer a lot of busy streets in my city because if theyíre a state highway or other major arterial they have very nice bike lanes, and cars are somewhat accustomed to seeing cyclists, unlike on some streets that seem safer/quieter. But YMMV and comfort level definitely increases  over time :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robtown on February 07, 2018, 09:51:47 PM
Hello,

I few years ago I used to cycle commute but my job moved to far away with very dangerous roads.     I've now moved back within 11 miles but my fitness level is poor.   I have a lot of bikes, mostly road, bought used / or built from parts.   I've flipped (bought and sold) bikes to fund my addiction.   I have all the bike clothes needed for the rest of my life,  shoes, helmets,  LED headlights and taillights.
 
I'll start back commuting with the warmer weather - probably around April.  To start building stamina (I'm 61 yo and overweight)  but still commute I picked up an eBike.  I also have a very cool eTrike but it needs some battery work.

I find that commuting lets me get riding in while saving some time.   It is the perfect start and end of a work day.

Robert
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on February 12, 2018, 04:56:32 PM
I have a 10mi roundtrip commute that I've been doing on a 26" mtb, but I'm thinking about getting a road bike. The gearing seems like it would be beneficial for getting to work faster and with less or an equal amount of physical effort (which may allow me to bike in more often.) I may wait until I've built up more strength and really feel like I've outgrown the mtb. I'm kicking myself for not getting 26x1.5 slick tires instead of the 26x2.0 I got last year. The weight savings could have been nice and the weather/road conditions I have to deal with don't require anything special... Sunny California, bike lanes all the way.

GCN posted a great youtube video on bike commuting tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deuWgGzNCK8

Gear recommendations:
Bontrager ION 800 R taillight & Flare R taillight - USB Rechargeable, Adjustable(solid, strobe, different intensities), solid mounts available.
Shimano PD-M520 clipless pedals & SPD shoes - Helps maintain a good bike fit, reduce/prevent pain.
C9 Champion clothes - Target has 30% off deals every once in a while.
Bontrager H5 Hard-Case Ultimate Tires

What's in my backpack?
Spare tube
Tire patch kit
Tire levers
Pump
Multi-tool
Change of clothes, wallet, keys, phone...


Panniers and a rack looked kind of cool, but probably an unnecessary expense.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Thegoblinchief on February 13, 2018, 04:44:24 AM
@hadabeardonce unless you plan to use the MTB for off road riding a lot, why not just get the slicks? New tires are a lot cheaper than a whole new bike and youíll get an awful lot of the benefit of a road oriented bike by reducing rolling resistance. Gearing, at least on the MTB I owned, isnít too much different from a road bike at non race-level output and speeds.

ETA: or get the slicks and use them just as a way to get more biking in and buy time searching for a good deal on your next ride.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on February 13, 2018, 10:23:48 AM
@hadabeardonce unless you plan to use the MTB for off road riding a lot, why not just get the slicks? New tires are a lot cheaper than a whole new bike and youíll get an awful lot of the benefit of a road oriented bike by reducing rolling resistance. Gearing, at least on the MTB I owned, isnít too much different from a road bike at non race-level output and speeds.

ETA: or get the slicks and use them just as a way to get more biking in and buy time searching for a good deal on your next ride.
@HarbingerofBunnies The tires I have are slicks, but they are wider than I probably need. I didn't know they were available in 26x1.5 and 26x2.0 when I bought them locally, so the bike shop sold me the wider size.

I can't find the drag 'n' drop gear calculator that I normally use, but this one works: http://www.bikecalc.com/gear_speed

21.7mph = (Wheel (Rim: 26" Tire: 2.0)) (Chainring (Min: 22 Max: 44)) (Cog (Min: 11 Max: 34)) Cadence: 75 rpm
27.1mph = (Wheel (Rim: 700c Tire: 28)) (Chainring (Min: 34 Max: 50)) (Cog (Min: 11 Max: 28)) Cadence: 75 rpm

Gain 5.4mph of top speed at the same cadence, just based on gear ratios. That doesn't factor in the higher tire pressures, more aerodynamic rider position, and overall lighter bike. Plus there's the comfort of knowing I'm nearly 25% faster... in my mind =P If a road bike gets me to pedal in to work more often, it could be worth the expense.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on February 13, 2018, 12:49:11 PM
Just for the record, this conversation is going entirely over my head.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on February 13, 2018, 06:24:45 PM
I would absolutely make the switch to a road bike.  It is a night and day difference for all the reasons you listed.  Itís like running in hiking boots.  Can it be done?  Yes.  Is it efficient?  No.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on February 13, 2018, 06:43:10 PM
I would absolutely make the switch to a road bike.  It is a night and day difference for all the reasons you listed.  Itís like running in hiking boots.  Can it be done?  Yes.  Is it efficient?  No.

You can do it both ways, you just go faster for less effort on a road bike.  My commute is 11 miles each way.  I averaged close to 50 minutes when I started out on a heavy, slightly too small for me old mountain bike with an upright position and knobby tires.  Same route is just over 40 minutes on my much lighter road bike with slick tires.  I've improved as a cyclist, but a lot of that difference is being able to get my back parallel with the ground, my arms closer in, and having a lighter frame.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Thegoblinchief on February 14, 2018, 04:54:08 AM
I would absolutely make the switch to a road bike.  It is a night and day difference for all the reasons you listed.  Itís like running in hiking boots.  Can it be done?  Yes.  Is it efficient?  No.

You can do it both ways, you just go faster for less effort on a road bike.  My commute is 11 miles each way.  I averaged close to 50 minutes when I started out on a heavy, slightly too small for me old mountain bike with an upright position and knobby tires.  Same route is just over 40 minutes on my much lighter road bike with slick tires.  I've improved as a cyclist, but a lot of that difference is being able to get my back parallel with the ground, my arms closer in, and having a lighter frame.

I havenít had a commute in a couple years (I work at home, full time homeschooler and part time homesteader/very small scale farmer), but I think I noticed a similar gain, though my MTB had knobbies so I wasnít sure how much of the gain was attributable to the smoothness of the road tires versus the thickness of the tires.

My old road commuter didnít quite fit me, though it was better than the MTB. I just picked up an even better fitting bike. Will be interesting to see how much better it rides when salt season ends, Iím not subjecting this one to salt like I did my old one so Iíve got a few weeks wait yet.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: cazio on March 20, 2018, 09:44:59 AM
It's been a long time since I've posted in this thread, but I have some updates!

Long story short, commuting the 12-ish miles to school has only happened twice thus far. But it's 98% bike path which is great! My obstacles are mostly darkness (I have a front light that's strong but haven't tried it out in the dark), timing (waking up for an 8AM class sucks to begin with when I wake up at the time I do, 20 minutes earlier sounds like death lol), and weather.

As for the actual biking part, my concerns are really about the weight I have on my bike. I have a rear bike basket that has a ton of weight in it. My backpack is something like 25lbs, plus my Kyptonite lock that's 10lbs, so it really offsets my weight when I'm going uphill. Hasn't been too much of a problem, but it really slows me down.

On that note, Google Maps said my bike route should take something like 35-45minutes, but it takes me more like an hour. Obviously the more I do it the faster I'll be, but I'm kind of unsure if that's the case. I mean I don't have quads of steel or anything but I'm definitely in shape and yet other bikers just fly by me.  Hopefully I get faster as time goes on!

In the meantime I drive ~4 miles to the bus stop and take the bus (free with my tuition) for the remaining 10 miles.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Thegoblinchief on March 20, 2018, 10:12:08 AM
@cazio  I wouldnít worry about weight unless weíre talking rider plus cargo getting over 300lbs. Past that and some wheels will potentially come out of true faster.

On speed, try using Strava or another app to track your ride. An average speed including street crossings, traffic lights, etc should be 11-12mph or higher. Iím just getting back into cycling after a year break and am seeing average speeds a bit over 13. When I was in full shape on similar routes a few years back I think I was normally seeing 15 or so.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on March 20, 2018, 10:19:38 AM
I've said it before, but double check your tires are full to the specified pressure and that your seat is high enough. Both made a big difference for me.

Otherwise, could it just be that others are riding lighter, more aerodynamic road bikes? Around here there are lots of serious cycling athletes with fancy bikes, and even if I were in the same physical condition as them (I'm not) I would never expect my hybrid, or myself with a heavy bag, to keep up.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 20, 2018, 11:28:49 AM
As for the actual biking part, my concerns are really about the weight I have on my bike. I have a rear bike basket that has a ton of weight in it. My backpack is something like 25lbs, plus my Kyptonite lock that's 10lbs, so it really offsets my weight when I'm going uphill. Hasn't been too much of a problem, but it really slows me down.

Strip down the stuff you carry with you on your bike to essentials only.

Leave your 10 lb lock locked up at the rack at work!  Bring your key only.

Bring in your lunch/change of clothes on a day that you don't bike in so you don't need to carry so much stuff.

Getting that weight off your bike will make you noticeably faster going up hills, and your wheels will thank you for it too.



Once you get the weight down, there are a lot of little things you can do to speed up.  Drop your handlebars down so that your back is closer to parallel with the road.  Cut your handlebars narrower so you can get your elbows in.  Wear very tight clothing that doesn't flap around at all.  Use clipless pedals.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on March 20, 2018, 11:51:15 AM
I must admit I like carrying my bike lock, clothes and lunches etc as it adds to the work out element of the commute. My commute is just less than 4 miles though so I may feel differently if it was three times as long! All of GuitarStv's advice is great. If you can get a system in place for what you carry when, and a well ordered routine so you are never running late, then combined with a lighter bike you'll never want to travel anywhere by car ever again.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: cazio on March 21, 2018, 02:40:22 PM
Thanks for all of the advice, guys! I biked today and made it in about 50 minutes. It had snowed about 2 inches overnight but the bike path was clear!

@GuitarStv I wish I could! Unfortunately I'm biking to college, so I can't leave my lock, and I have to bring all my stuff with me wherever I go. I'm tempted to leave my lock, but the university has a pretty strict policy and they could probably (attempt) to cut it pretty quickly, especially if it's just a lock and no bike. It's not so bad though, but I did have to hop off on one hill because when I lose too much sped on an incline I start to pop a wheelie D:

@Tass Yes! I read about that in this thread earlier and I've got my bike at the right height and my tire pressure is good. Definitely a big help! Some of the people who fly by me seem to be just out on a fun ride, but there was also a lady with two huge packs on an uphill that flew by me like I was walking! Crazy. I also feel like I'm pedaling constantly to keep a consistent pace, which can get annoying, as I like to glide. :)

@HarbingerofBunnies Thanks for the tip! I just downloaded Strava, I'll give it a try on my ride home! That will probably help me get a better picture.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ElizaStache on April 02, 2018, 01:53:27 PM
I finally did it, 2 months after my first post. After successful procrastination, tire/tube replacements, and enough practice rides, I made it to work on time this morning.
Turns out my bike commute is actually 7.3 miles, as opposed to my car commute which is 5.3. It took me 50 minutes, with my dorky directions taped to my handlebars. There were very few cars on the road at that hour and I felt very safe the entire time.
Since my work is only me and the owner, he was very impressed and took a pic of me and my bike and sent it to his family and some friends that his office manager is a badass! Little stuff like that makes me feel very valued here.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 02, 2018, 02:01:25 PM
I finally did it, 2 months after my first post. After successful procrastination, tire/tube replacements, and enough practice rides, I made it to work on time this morning.
Turns out my bike commute is actually 7.3 miles, as opposed to my car commute which is 5.3. It took me 50 minutes, with my dorky directions taped to my handlebars. There were very few cars on the road at that hour and I felt very safe the entire time.
Since my work is only me and the owner, he was very impressed and took a pic of me and my bike and sent it to his family and some friends that his office manager is a badass! Little stuff like that makes me feel very valued here.

Nice job!

You're brave cycling to work the first time without knowing all the directions.  I actually did a dry run on the weekend before my first time riding to work.


For the undoubtedly many times in the future you will wow others and have pictures taken with your bike - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv4Li18UILM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv4Li18UILM)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Thegoblinchief on April 03, 2018, 07:42:58 AM
Nice job!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ElizaStache on April 03, 2018, 10:18:01 AM
Thanks! I have done the ride twice before, but I'm just terrible with directions most of the time, so I wanted it just in case. I think I have the landmarks memorized now.

I think I need to perfect The Cherry Picker, that will be my new signature bike pic style!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on April 18, 2018, 02:57:01 AM
Well done, ElizaStache! And so nice to have a job and boss that can make you feel like that.

I haven't cycled for over a year now. Really need to just bring the bloody bike to get new tyres fitted and get back on it. It seems astonishing to me that it has been over a year already. Having moved to a new town, I've been a bit nervous anyway about finding the right routes, having to drive in traffic more frequently, having to contend with masses of other cyclists on relatively narrow cycle paths (student town, there are a LOT of cyclists here). I learned to ride a bike as a kid but have never been a very good cyclist. I should stop letting nerves be an excuse though.
Many, many moons later, I actually brought my bike to be fixed on Monday. I pumped up the tyres and actually rode it there. It's not far, maybe a bit less than a ten-minute walk, but I wasn't going to make it before they closed otherwise. Was a little bit shaky but it was only for a few minutes so I knew it'd be okay. Hard to cycle when somehow the brake lever had slipped (been pushed?, who knows) down so that it was hitting off my knee. Anyway, I'll be able to pick it up at the weekend with fancy schmancy puncture-proof tyres and everything else that needs doing all fixed. Presumably they'll remove all the cobwebs in the process of fixing it. :)

Only thing troubling me now is that sharp pain I was feeling in my left knee. Cycling is supposed to be the thing I can do to try and improve arthrosis symptoms and I haven't noticed that pain using an exercise bike. Will have to see how it goes at the weekend and maybe have a chat with the physio.
Title: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: lexde on April 19, 2018, 08:13:04 AM
Hi guys! I just moved a lot closer to work (1.5 miles away!!) and really see no reason NOT to bike to work on days where I don’t have court or travel. My office’s dress code is now casual (jeans and blouse) for attorneys, so it will be easy to bike to work without bringing a change of clothes.

I’m going to do my first dry run this weekend (maybe more than once) since my office is in the middle of downtown and that’s kind of terrifying! After that, I plan to bike as many days as I can to save wear and tear and avoid fighting for parking spots at my apartment. Win/win.

Google maps says it should take just as long to bike as to drive, too. I just got a tune-up from the bike shop and new set of brake pads so I am good to go. I need to learn how to do tune ups on my own though to save some $$.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 19, 2018, 08:22:31 AM
Well done, ElizaStache! And so nice to have a job and boss that can make you feel like that.

I haven't cycled for over a year now. Really need to just bring the bloody bike to get new tyres fitted and get back on it. It seems astonishing to me that it has been over a year already. Having moved to a new town, I've been a bit nervous anyway about finding the right routes, having to drive in traffic more frequently, having to contend with masses of other cyclists on relatively narrow cycle paths (student town, there are a LOT of cyclists here). I learned to ride a bike as a kid but have never been a very good cyclist. I should stop letting nerves be an excuse though.
Many, many moons later, I actually brought my bike to be fixed on Monday. I pumped up the tyres and actually rode it there. It's not far, maybe a bit less than a ten-minute walk, but I wasn't going to make it before they closed otherwise. Was a little bit shaky but it was only for a few minutes so I knew it'd be okay. Hard to cycle when somehow the brake lever had slipped (been pushed?, who knows) down so that it was hitting off my knee. Anyway, I'll be able to pick it up at the weekend with fancy schmancy puncture-proof tyres and everything else that needs doing all fixed. Presumably they'll remove all the cobwebs in the process of fixing it. :)

Only thing troubling me now is that sharp pain I was feeling in my left knee. Cycling is supposed to be the thing I can do to try and improve arthrosis symptoms and I haven't noticed that pain using an exercise bike. Will have to see how it goes at the weekend and maybe have a chat with the physio.

I have a tentative diagnosis for your knee problem.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: lexde on April 19, 2018, 08:25:12 AM
@Moonwaves — I’m not a very good cyclist either. We will manage though, we just need to do it!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on April 19, 2018, 12:42:42 PM
Well done, ElizaStache! And so nice to have a job and boss that can make you feel like that.

I haven't cycled for over a year now. Really need to just bring the bloody bike to get new tyres fitted and get back on it. It seems astonishing to me that it has been over a year already. Having moved to a new town, I've been a bit nervous anyway about finding the right routes, having to drive in traffic more frequently, having to contend with masses of other cyclists on relatively narrow cycle paths (student town, there are a LOT of cyclists here). I learned to ride a bike as a kid but have never been a very good cyclist. I should stop letting nerves be an excuse though.
Many, many moons later, I actually brought my bike to be fixed on Monday. I pumped up the tyres and actually rode it there. It's not far, maybe a bit less than a ten-minute walk, but I wasn't going to make it before they closed otherwise. Was a little bit shaky but it was only for a few minutes so I knew it'd be okay. Hard to cycle when somehow the brake lever had slipped (been pushed?, who knows) down so that it was hitting off my knee. Anyway, I'll be able to pick it up at the weekend with fancy schmancy puncture-proof tyres and everything else that needs doing all fixed. Presumably they'll remove all the cobwebs in the process of fixing it. :)

Only thing troubling me now is that sharp pain I was feeling in my left knee. Cycling is supposed to be the thing I can do to try and improve arthrosis symptoms and I haven't noticed that pain using an exercise bike. Will have to see how it goes at the weekend and maybe have a chat with the physio.

I have a tentative diagnosis for your knee problem.  :P

LOL Wrong side, I'm afraid. My bike is not one of those fancy ones with brakes on both sides. :D
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ElizaStache on April 25, 2018, 10:40:00 AM
So I'm back to directions taped on my handlebars, since I had to make the phone call of shame this morning. My regular route has a main intersection that is closed for construction until November. There were no signs put up in the last week or anything for warn people, so I called my husband to rescue me and take me to work. I didn't know any alternate routes when I was on the side of the road, so my night in shining armor (in a white 99 Volvo S70) swooped me off my irritated feet.
I'm hoping the alternate route Google Maps suggested will be good, hopefully with bike lanes, since I'm now giving up the Interurban Trail that was incredibly convenient. Bummer.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dogboyslim on April 25, 2018, 11:55:20 AM
21.7mph = (Wheel (Rim: 26" Tire: 2.0)) (Chainring (Min: 22 Max: 44)) (Cog (Min: 11 Max: 34)) Cadence: 75 rpm
27.1mph = (Wheel (Rim: 700c Tire: 28)) (Chainring (Min: 34 Max: 50)) (Cog (Min: 11 Max: 28)) Cadence: 75 rpm

Gain 5.4mph of top speed at the same cadence, just based on gear ratios. That doesn't factor in the higher tire pressures, more aerodynamic rider position, and overall lighter bike. Plus there's the comfort of knowing I'm nearly 25% faster... in my mind =P If a road bike gets me to pedal in to work more often, it could be worth the expense.
I know this post is old, but I will point out that just because it is the same cadence doesn't mean it is the same power output.  going 5.4 mph faster at the same cadence may still be 100 more watts of power to maintain that cadence.  My experience is that the benefit of road gearing is the closer gears, that let me make little gearing adjustments with minor speed changes to keep me at my preferred cadence.  In short, Yes, I think you'd be faster on a road bike, but more because of aerodynamics and a slight benefit of keeping your sustained power output paired with a cadence that is comfortably uncomfortable.  I'd expect more a benefit of 1-2 mph, not 5.  Just my $.02
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 25, 2018, 12:24:22 PM
21.7mph = (Wheel (Rim: 26" Tire: 2.0)) (Chainring (Min: 22 Max: 44)) (Cog (Min: 11 Max: 34)) Cadence: 75 rpm
27.1mph = (Wheel (Rim: 700c Tire: 28)) (Chainring (Min: 34 Max: 50)) (Cog (Min: 11 Max: 28)) Cadence: 75 rpm

Gain 5.4mph of top speed at the same cadence, just based on gear ratios. That doesn't factor in the higher tire pressures, more aerodynamic rider position, and overall lighter bike. Plus there's the comfort of knowing I'm nearly 25% faster... in my mind =P If a road bike gets me to pedal in to work more often, it could be worth the expense.
I know this post is old, but I will point out that just because it is the same cadence doesn't mean it is the same power output.  going 5.4 mph faster at the same cadence may still be 100 more watts of power to maintain that cadence.  My experience is that the benefit of road gearing is the closer gears, that let me make little gearing adjustments with minor speed changes to keep me at my preferred cadence.  In short, Yes, I think you'd be faster on a road bike, but more because of aerodynamics and a slight benefit of keeping your sustained power output paired with a cadence that is comfortably uncomfortable.  I'd expect more a benefit of 1-2 mph, not 5.  Just my $.02

I started out riding an old mountain bike, and there are a lot of things built in that slow you down on them:
- The big knobby tires are incredibly heavy, but more importantly  . . . they don't roll well at all.  You're fighting against them all the time.
- The upright position makes you into a wind sail, slowing you down whenever you start going quickly.
- The gearing was so light that I'd regularly spin it out on the flats (let alone on descents), limiting how quickly I could go.

I'd say that a 5 mph speed increase is not unreasonable to expect.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on April 25, 2018, 03:03:42 PM
Well, I collected my bike today, complete with brand new tyres. All good to go. I cycled home and yep, left knee definitely hurts when I cycle. Will have to see if it just stays at the current level of (bearable) pain, or if it gets worse on a longer ride or over a longer period of time. I also talked to the woman in the shop about exactly what the best route is to get from here to where I walk. I really didn't want to have to be cycling along the main road. It's already pretty crowded and would involve cycling between the lane for cars and the lane for the tram. But there are quieter parallel roads she told me about and then once I get to the edge of my town, I can cross over and have to cycle up the hill a bit (good chance I might end up walking for this bit, even though it's not that steep really) and then I have a good run of quiet road/cycle lane through the vineyards until I get to the big town. Will need to go back down to the main road to get around the graveyard (but the main road is wider in the big town, with a cycle lane on the side of it) and then shortly after that I can turn off onto quieter roads again. Feeling semi-positive about it. Going to try it out on Saturday.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 25, 2018, 06:22:37 PM
Well, I collected my bike today, complete with brand new tyres. All good to go. I cycled home and yep, left knee definitely hurts when I cycle. Will have to see if it just stays at the current level of (bearable) pain, or if it gets worse on a longer ride or over a longer period of time. I also talked to the woman in the shop about exactly what the best route is to get from here to where I walk. I really didn't want to have to be cycling along the main road. It's already pretty crowded and would involve cycling between the lane for cars and the lane for the tram. But there are quieter parallel roads she told me about and then once I get to the edge of my town, I can cross over and have to cycle up the hill a bit (good chance I might end up walking for this bit, even though it's not that steep really) and then I have a good run of quiet road/cycle lane through the vineyards until I get to the big town. Will need to go back down to the main road to get around the graveyard (but the main road is wider in the big town, with a cycle lane on the side of it) and then shortly after that I can turn off onto quieter roads again. Feeling semi-positive about it. Going to try it out on Saturday.

Couple of ideas on the knee pain if it's just when you're riding:
- Is your saddle adjusted so that it's straight (not tilted to either side at all)?  Sometimes this can put strange stresses on one or the other leg.
- Is your saddle height adjusted properly (put both your heels on the pedals and spin them around . . . you should just be able to complete the circle without leaning in the saddle one way or another)?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Thegoblinchief on April 26, 2018, 06:36:41 AM
@Moonwaves  Echoing above, but Iíve found saddle height so legs are almost fully extended to be absolutely critical for knee pain. My mom, whose knees got eventually bad enough to need double replacement, has always said the same thing about saddle height and her knee comfort.

Saddle fore and aft adjustment can help a bit too.

Plus, unless you donít have speeds, using a speed that lets you have a high cadence will take a lot of stress off the knees. You want to spin more than strain/push each pedal.

Do your knees bother you in other activities? Tried orthotics?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 26, 2018, 07:39:52 AM
Yep, mashing a really heavy gear is tougher on your knees too.

If your knees flare out as you're pedaling that can also cause problems because you end up putting forces at strange angles into them.  You want them to track pretty much straight up and down as much as possible.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on April 26, 2018, 07:51:28 AM
Thanks @GuitarStv and @furrychickens. I think the saddle is ok but will check it out properly. It didn't feel any different than when I was using the bike regularly last, which was nearly two years ago, just before I moved house. And it was the moving house that fecked up my knees. I was living on the fourth floor with no lift in my old town and spent the last three or four weeks traipsing up and down those bloody stairs at least six or eight times a day. And moving in to my new place (thankfully only on the 2nd-and-a-half floor in the new place) had a similar very high amount of up and down stairs during the move. I was extremely sore and stiff and not quite able to walk properly for weeks afterwards. And that was weeks when I was just starting my part-time (20 hours a week) job and had plenty of time for resting and recuperating. That was April and May. And June. And July.

In August I started to try walking a bit more again but even just a 4km walk left me very sore. Went to the doctor, who thought maybe I'd damaged my meniscus and sent me to the orthopaedic doctor. He took xrays and told me that actually, my having been so overweight for so long meant that I now had the beginnings of arthrosis (the kind he'd normally only expect to see in a woman much older than me). He was, to be perfectly honest, not very nice and didn't seem to notice that I had not really taken this news well. Told me to lose drastic amounts of weight and that cycling might help somewhat as the rotating movement is what's needed to generate more of the fluid around the joint that you need. Or I could pay Ä200 a go to get injections into my knees that might help somewhat but are not covered by insurance.

To be perfectly honest, I spent several months trying to mentally process what felt like a massive blow so that it's only now (a year and a half later) that I'm actually really trying to get going on the weight loss and cycling. I'm not entirely convinced the pain I felt was directly related to the arthosis, it was a sharper pain than the swollen, dull kind of pain I have slowly gotten used to anytime I've moved a bit more than usual but I'll give the cycling a go for a week or so to see if it gets better or worse and then decide if I need to go to the doctor (a new one!) again. It's a three-speed bike and in my old, very flat, town I just left it in 2nd gear all the time. I'll see how it goes here. I have another "movement" appointment with the physio in a couple of weeks and will ask her about it, too.

I do need new orthotics so would have to go to the doctor again soon anyway. I need the orthotics thanks to extremely high arches (thanks to short tendons in my legs) and have used them for years now.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on April 26, 2018, 07:56:22 AM
If your knees flare out as you're pedaling that can also cause problems because you end up putting forces at strange angles into them.  You want them to track pretty much straight up and down as much as possible.
This is definitely a problem and not just cycling. Working on it with the physio but the simple truth is that I have very fat legs and straight is not entirely possible in every movement. I'm still a bit cautious and trying to find the balance between push through this and it'll get better as you lose weight or be careful you don't entirely fuck things up beyond redemption.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 26, 2018, 08:38:48 AM
Good news is that cycling is a great way to build strength in your legs while being lower impact on your joints.  (Swimming is another good way to do this).  Jogging (and even walking) can be hard on your knees, so be careful not to do too much of this too often while ramping up the distance and intensity of your exercise program.  Becoming stronger is more of a marathon than a sprint . . . you need slow, but regular increases in the difficulty of what you're doing over a very long period of time.

Try putting the bike into a gear (or two) easier than you would normally use and spin the pedals much faster than you normally would.  This should help with the knee discomfort and keep you moving (essential to losing weight).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on April 28, 2018, 09:26:37 AM
Well, I made it. According to google it's just over 9km (which is about five and a half miles) and it took me 43 minutes. I had to get off and walk twice. The first time, actually, I didn't even get off the bike. I was so close to the top of the incline I just sort of walked the bike forward/waddled while trying to actually get the gear to change down to first. The second time was because I didn't take the right turn and ended up going up the hill instead of down to the main road. I only half did this by mistake, partially I wanted to see how it would go. But again, it took too long for the gear to change and I just stalled completely. Oh well. I know now to turn off left at that point and not to up up PanoramastraŖe - you'd think I'd have copped on to the clue in the name to it being a higher up than everywhere else part of town!

I made a conscious effort to keep checking if I was keeping my legs as straight as possible and it did help. I had a bit of pain in both knees but not too much. I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the day and see how they are. Have to go to a choir thing at a hall right over the other side of my the small town I live in early tomorrow morning and am planning to cycle. It's only about 2.5km away so should be just enough to stretch out a bit. And hopefully the, er, delicate bits that are feeling particularly delicate at the moment will have recovered on time for me to contemplate sitting up on the bike again. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 28, 2018, 09:30:56 AM
Change gears early.  If you see a hill in front of you, change to a gear that's a bit too easy for you so that you're prepared.  You can't shift without stopping your pedaling, so if you're grinding up a hill with lots of tension on the chain it's actually to late to try and go into your easier gear.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on April 28, 2018, 09:42:38 AM
It was one of those downhill followed immediately by uphill. I thought the momentum from the downhill would keep me going until I got the gear changed. I definitely do need to practice changing gear more though.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ElizaStache on May 10, 2018, 10:18:03 AM
Yesterday I was walking through the first floor hallway of my condo building to drop off a package for someone and came out the door to the bike rack to find my bike gone. I last rode it on Sunday, practicing my new ride to work. Sometime between then and last night someone decided to take it.

All of the bikes on that rack, and the rest of the building for that matter, are unlocked. I figured it would be okay, but I guess not. I wonder if the owner of one of the other bikes was mad at me because it's a tight squeeze on the rack and sometimes my bike gets caught on the others. I put up a note asking for it back. I asked all of the neighbors on that floor if they had seen anything, and in the process met new residents, so I guess that's a plus. The replacement bike will live in my unit, on the third floor.

I'm checking Craigslist, FB Marketplace, local FB Buy/Sell groups, Offer Up to see if it shows up. I called a pawn shop and even the bike shop I bought it from. I'm filing a police report when I go home, so they at least know the crime happened.

I'm just pissed that I've only had the damn thing since mid-February and even though I have the savings to cover it, I wasn't anticipating this kind of expense so soon. I'm mad someone stole it from our common area in the locked building. I hope they enjoy that funky little bike that wasn't actually so good for commuting and parts are a pain in the ass to find.

I re-read the blog post about MMM's misplaced bike, I hope mine comes back too. I'm lucky I've experienced no crimes in my neighborhood in the 2 years I've lived here, and I know better now. I'm thankful for my little 'stache so I can buy a replacement and NOT file a homeowner's insurance claim like many people suggested I do, because that's not what the policy is for. I don't need a Go Fund Me, and even though my avid cyclist brother offered to pitch in for a new one, I am glad I'm not relying on it.

/rant
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on May 10, 2018, 11:18:32 AM
@ElizaStache oh no! That really sucks, I'm so sorry.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on May 10, 2018, 01:32:57 PM
Always lock your bike.  U-lock through the rear wheel in the rear triangle, and a cable through the front wheel is a bare minimum.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on May 11, 2018, 09:46:35 AM
I'm finally comfortable with my bike security (fairly expensive $1700 e-bike, purchased in early March).  With my $200 bike, not nearly so paranoid; never used more than a cable lock.  Of course, I haven't really left it out anywhere.

My solution for peace of mind:
Kryptonite U-lock Mini 7 - not quite the highest security level, but does have $2500 insurance and by all accounts would take an angle grinder to destroy/remove.  Rear triangle. 
https://www.amazon.com/Kryptonite-Evolution-Mini-7-Bicycle-KryptoFlex/dp/B074K6KSY5

Hexlox wheel/saddle locks.  Removed the quick-release levers and replaced them with locked hex keyed skewers.  Don't have to lock the front wheel as a result, and keeps my saddle and suspension seat post safer.  I do have a cable, but I don't bother; the Hexlox is much more secure (cable would serve as a visual deterrent only, really).
https://hexlox.com/
(If you're interested in these, I can give you a code to save/earn us both a bit of money).

Finally, for those situations where I'm less comfortable, I add a cinch ring chain lock.  The biggest benefit to this is being able to lock my bike much more easily when there aren't well-designed bike racks around.  Won't be using this to commute, as work is pretty secure.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X6E0NO0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Perhaps it's overkill; perhaps not.  This is what makes me comfortable running errands around a big city.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on May 13, 2018, 01:12:16 AM
Anyone here using a 1x system on a road orientated bike for their commute? Standards seem to change at a relentless pace and Iím sure sometimes the bike industry changes things for changes sake. However 1x seems to be a really good concept for a commuter. Less parts to go wrong, maintain and replace, much simpler cleaning, quiet and efficient, less likelihood of slipping a chain and being stood in the cold and rain trying to put it back on.

Iím a bit worried about gear gappage but with the correct chainring choice it shouldnít be difficult to tailor something to a particular commute. Is it me or are some of the changes in recent years, disc brakes, trend to wider tyres, and 1x all seeming to be quite good for the commuter/recreational rider?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Thegoblinchief on May 13, 2018, 04:54:08 AM
My area is just hilly enough that Iíd worry about knee strain with a single speed.

If I was still commuting, I might have picked one up for the nasty winter rides though, as top speed is less important and the rear derailer is a pain to maintain in icy, snowy, salty conditions.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on May 13, 2018, 05:42:25 AM
Sorry furrychickens I was referring to systems where there is a single chainring at the front, cassette as normal at the back. A single speed is too limiting I think certainly for my routes and I agree with the knee concerns.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Thegoblinchief on May 13, 2018, 05:52:32 AM
Sorry furrychickens I was referring to systems where there is a single chainring at the front, cassette as normal at the back. A single speed is too limiting I think certainly for my routes and I agree with the knee concerns.

Ah, I donít know that dropping to a single chainring really saves much in maintenance/complexity terms, but I rarely switch rings on my 3 chainring bikes so Iíd say go for it if you see a bike set up that way.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: fluffmuffin on May 14, 2018, 06:07:51 AM
Okay crew, can we talk about bike commuting in the summer? It's been hitting 90 pretty consistently the last couple of weeks (ugh). Mornings have been okay so far, which is when I have to look presentable, but that's not gonna last. Any tips or tricks for not looking like a tomato-faced sweaty mess when I get to work?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on May 14, 2018, 08:36:04 AM
Okay crew, can we talk about bike commuting in the summer? It's been hitting 90 pretty consistently the last couple of weeks (ugh). Mornings have been okay so far, which is when I have to look presentable, but that's not gonna last. Any tips or tricks for not looking like a tomato-faced sweaty mess when I get to work?

Pedelec/e-bike!  Letting the bike do most of the work in the morning, then getting my exercise on the way home. 

Well, that will be my approach, though it's not (in most cases) as mustachian, I suppose.  I know that others have touted a personal wipe 'bath' of sorts if you have no shower access, though I would certainly continue to sweat for a while.  I'm sure some who have actually lived this will speak up.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dogboyslim on May 14, 2018, 10:08:16 AM
Anyone here using a 1x system on a road orientated bike for their commute? Standards seem to change at a relentless pace and Iím sure sometimes the bike industry changes things for changes sake. However 1x seems to be a really good concept for a commuter. Less parts to go wrong, maintain and replace, much simpler cleaning, quiet and efficient, less likelihood of slipping a chain and being stood in the cold and rain trying to put it back on.

Iím a bit worried about gear gappage but with the correct chainring choice it shouldnít be difficult to tailor something to a particular commute. Is it me or are some of the changes in recent years, disc brakes, trend to wider tyres, and 1x all seeming to be quite good for the commuter/recreational rider?

Calculate the speed at your preferred cadence and translate it to each gear.  If your preferred riding speed isn't at one of those gears, you need a different chain ring, or if you can't adjust the chain ring teeth to what you want, don't go 1x.  Also, bigger gaps toward high end and low end are generally okay if you have small gaps around your normal riding speed.  I've stayed away from these personally and have found happiness with a 50/34 x 12x30 11-speed setup.  My curiosity is still there though, so if you try it please report back.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on May 14, 2018, 10:42:18 AM
Okay crew, can we talk about bike commuting in the summer? It's been hitting 90 pretty consistently the last couple of weeks (ugh). Mornings have been okay so far, which is when I have to look presentable, but that's not gonna last. Any tips or tricks for not looking like a tomato-faced sweaty mess when I get to work?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dogboyslim on May 14, 2018, 11:13:27 AM
Okay crew, can we talk about bike commuting in the summer? It's been hitting 90 pretty consistently the last couple of weeks (ugh). Mornings have been okay so far, which is when I have to look presentable, but that's not gonna last. Any tips or tricks for not looking like a tomato-faced sweaty mess when I get to work?
  • Ride in different clothes. Shorts, shirt... I bought some Champion athletic wear on clearance from Target and I've liked it.
  • Ditch the backpack. I've been leaving a few things at work and riding with a spare set of clothes in Topeak BackLoader.
  • Leave some extra deodorant and a beach towel at work. Drink water to cool down.
  • Use some unscented baby wipes.
I added one.  These really have helped me cool down.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: plainjane on May 14, 2018, 12:09:02 PM
Okay crew, can we talk about bike commuting in the summer? It's been hitting 90 pretty consistently the last couple of weeks (ugh). Mornings have been okay so far, which is when I have to look presentable, but that's not gonna last. Any tips or tricks for not looking like a tomato-faced sweaty mess when I get to work?

As others have mentioned, a full change of clothing, giving yourself 5 minutes after you arrive at work to have your body calm down. I like to wash my face quickly as that seems to help every cool down more quickly.

I.e. you will look tomato-faced when you first arrive, but expect that, and give yourself a chance. I used to try to put on makeup too quickly and not let my face calm down from all the blood really pumping. Now I take another 5 minutes and it makes a big difference.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on May 14, 2018, 02:36:30 PM
@ bike lock conversation - apparently I don't know the best way to do this. I have a small U lock but no cable lock, and I usually lock the frame to the rack at the front. I know not to lock only my front wheel, but should I be locking at the back instead?

At night it lives in our gated parking garage, and when I ride it around it's mostly in low-traffic areas - grocery store and library, primarily.

Lock: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005YPKL5U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on May 14, 2018, 02:42:31 PM
Anyone here using a 1x system on a road orientated bike for their commute? Standards seem to change at a relentless pace and Iím sure sometimes the bike industry changes things for changes sake. However 1x seems to be a really good concept for a commuter. Less parts to go wrong, maintain and replace, much simpler cleaning, quiet and efficient, less likelihood of slipping a chain and being stood in the cold and rain trying to put it back on.

Iím a bit worried about gear gappage but with the correct chainring choice it shouldnít be difficult to tailor something to a particular commute. Is it me or are some of the changes in recent years, disc brakes, trend to wider tyres, and 1x all seeming to be quite good for the commuter/recreational rider?

Calculate the speed at your preferred cadence and translate it to each gear.  If your preferred riding speed isn't at one of those gears, you need a different chain ring, or if you can't adjust the chain ring teeth to what you want, don't go 1x.  Also, bigger gaps toward high end and low end are generally okay if you have small gaps around your normal riding speed.  I've stayed away from these personally and have found happiness with a 50/34 x 12x30 11-speed setup.  My curiosity is still there though, so if you try it please report back.

I don't understand the benefit of a 1x system at all.  You are going to be cross chaining any time you're going really slow or fast, you've only got one ring at the front to wear, you are going to have big jumps between your gear selections, and front derailleurs are ridiculously easy to set up and require virtually no maintenance other than changing cables every few years so there's no real benefit there either.

That said, I ride a front triple (50 - 39 - 30) with an 11-25 on the back.  Which makes me a weirdo.  :P  About 40% of my time is in the big ring, and 55% is in the middle ring . . . but for that 5% that I need it (often at the bottom ), it's really nice to have the granny gear.

I also don't understand gravel bikes, which appear to be the reinvention of touring bikes - robust build, clearance for big tires, wide wheel base, more upright.  (I'll give gravel bikes a nod for having disc brakes though, so at least there's difference.)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on May 14, 2018, 02:45:28 PM
@ bike lock conversation - apparently I don't know the best way to do this. I have a small U lock but no cable lock, and I usually lock the frame to the rack at the front. I know not to lock only my front wheel, but should I be locking at the back instead?

At night it lives in our gated parking garage, and when I ride it around it's mostly in low-traffic areas - grocery store and library, primarily.

Lock: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005YPKL5U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

(https://i0.wp.com/edmontonbikes.ca/uploads/page/preventing-your-bike-from-being-stolen/lockyourbikehowtolockdiagra.gif)

The rear wheel and frame are the most expensive parts of your bike.  Always lock them with the U-lock (unlike in the picture above left).  If you don't have a cable, take your front wheel off (release your brake, loosen the quick release skewer, lift the front of the bike and it'll fall out) and lock it in the U-lock as shown above.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on May 14, 2018, 02:46:33 PM
@ bike lock conversation - apparently I don't know the best way to do this. I have a small U lock but no cable lock, and I usually lock the frame to the rack at the front. I know not to lock only my front wheel, but should I be locking at the back instead?
GCN did a video on how to lock a bike: https://youtu.be/IXNASUSivqg?t=2m47s

I've heard of supergluing BBs into the allen key bolts to keep people from quickly plucking parts, but I haven't done it myself. I try to keep my bike indoors at home and at work.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on May 14, 2018, 02:52:23 PM
@ bike lock conversation - apparently I don't know the best way to do this. I have a small U lock but no cable lock, and I usually lock the frame to the rack at the front. I know not to lock only my front wheel, but should I be locking at the back instead?
GCN did a video on how to lock a bike: https://youtu.be/IXNASUSivqg?t=2m47s

I've heard of supergluing BBs into the allen key bolts to keep people from quickly plucking parts, but I haven't done it myself. I try to keep my bike indoors at home and at work.

That's what Hexlox are for.  More expensive, sure, but more secure, and with the benefit that you can actually remove the parts yourself.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dogboyslim on May 14, 2018, 02:58:47 PM
That said, I ride a front triple (50 - 39 - 30) with an 11-25 on the back.  Which makes me a weirdo.  :P  About 40% of my time is in the big ring, and 55% is in the middle ring . . . but for that 5% that I need it (often at the bottom ), it's really nice to have the granny gear.

A 50/34 can be set-up with an 11-32.  34/32 is easier than 30/25.  Road triples can be quirky to set-up the front derailleur.  I liked my road triple, but when I got my current bike they were all but extinct.  I'm okay with the compact gearing now that I know how to ride with it.

I also don't understand gravel bikes, which appear to be the reinvention of touring bikes - robust build, clearance for big tires, wide wheel base, more upright.  (I'll give gravel bikes a nod for having disc brakes though, so at least there's difference.)
I think they are just an extension of the "endurance road" geometry and a reflection of the fact that normal mortals want bigger tires for crappy roads, but they still want to "go fast."  I purchased mine because it gives me the ability to commute year-round (studded 700/35s don't fit road-bike frames), while in the summer still letting me be efficient enough to still ride group rides (700/28 slicks).  Its a do-it-all bike.  Not as good as a road bike at road biking, not as good as a touring bike at touring, but can do both reasonably well.  Since I don't race, its a great compromise bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on May 14, 2018, 03:23:31 PM
Thanks dogboyslim and GuitarStv for the comments. I currently ride a un-Mustachian road bike and a rigid forked mountain bike I use as a commuter/winter bike. With FIRE now the goal (found MMM last September) I was thinking of selling both and replacing with something endurance orientated with room for bigger tyres. I quite liked the thought of the simplicity of owning a single bike where a change of tyres gives a good range of use. As dogboyslim says a compromise bike but a good one.

I donít race, rarely ride longer than 4 hours and the introduction of discs and resultant capacity for wider tyres means the do-it-all bikes really arenít as much of a compromise as they used to be. My roadie is 50/34 11-32 which is a good range of gears. I felt if I did make the move to a single bike I should consider 1x for the benefits I mentioned but I appreciate there are disadvantages too. I donít know anyone that has used 1x hence no real knowledge of its real world use.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on May 14, 2018, 05:10:33 PM
I was recently researching neutering my dedicated 26" mtb commuter bike by making it a 1x...

This video covered a few methods - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8VcULbVmyo
Park Tool went further in depth regarding gearing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_uQvusbTJM

Not sure if it's worth buying a narrow wide chain ring and crank arms. It would be kind of cool to go from 44t to 48t since my route is pretty flat.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on May 14, 2018, 05:56:12 PM
That said, I ride a front triple (50 - 39 - 30) with an 11-25 on the back.  Which makes me a weirdo.  :P  About 40% of my time is in the big ring, and 55% is in the middle ring . . . but for that 5% that I need it (often at the bottom ), it's really nice to have the granny gear.

A 50/34 can be set-up with an 11-32.  34/32 is easier than 30/25.  Road triples can be quirky to set-up the front derailleur.  I liked my road triple, but when I got my current bike they were all but extinct.  I'm okay with the compact gearing now that I know how to ride with it.

Sure you can get the same gearing range . . . but the difference is all about the steps between cogs and the wear on the whole system.  Three rings up front mean that you get more (way more) miles between changing chain rings.  Ten or eleven gears on your cassette means that you are always able to find the perfect gear for the terrain you're running on.  The weight penalty is negligible, and the mechanical complexity is really not high (after setting the H/L screws, I've not had to touch my front derailleur other than tensioning it with a barrel adjuster after replacing the cable).


I also don't understand gravel bikes, which appear to be the reinvention of touring bikes - robust build, clearance for big tires, wide wheel base, more upright.  (I'll give gravel bikes a nod for having disc brakes though, so at least there's difference.)
I think they are just an extension of the "endurance road" geometry and a reflection of the fact that normal mortals want bigger tires for crappy roads, but they still want to "go fast."  I purchased mine because it gives me the ability to commute year-round (studded 700/35s don't fit road-bike frames), while in the summer still letting me be efficient enough to still ride group rides (700/28 slicks).  Its a do-it-all bike.  Not as good as a road bike at road biking, not as good as a touring bike at touring, but can do both reasonably well.  Since I don't race, its a great compromise bike.
[/quote]

That's what a touring bike is!  Throw some 38s or 40s on it and take it off-road, or load it down and ride comfortably.  With 28s mounted, you'll have no issues keeping up on a road ride.  When I can't . . . well, it ain't the bike that's holding me back.

I'm telling you, the mountain bike was the replacement for the touring bike because road bikes became twitchy/impractical things.  Then someone remembered that drop bars are better than flat bars.  Now they're pushing gravel/endurance bikes that are basically the same thing as old touring bikes . . . but they've got to make 'em different somehow.  So they're attacking perfectly good front derailleurs.  That's not progress in my books.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on May 14, 2018, 07:09:47 PM
The rear wheel and frame are the most expensive parts of your bike.  Always lock them with the U-lock (unlike in the picture above left).  If you don't have a cable, take your front wheel off (release your brake, loosen the quick release skewer, lift the front of the bike and it'll fall out) and lock it in the U-lock as shown above.

I'll switch to the back. Not actually sure if the lock is big enough to go around the frame and the back wheel, but I'll check. I didn't realize the back wheel cost more than the front, but I suppose the whole gear system is back there.

I've taken the front wheel off before - to transport it in a car trunk when I first got it - and it was a huge pain. Not feeling particularly fond of the idea of repeating that every time I lock the bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on May 15, 2018, 07:48:58 AM
The rear wheel and frame are the most expensive parts of your bike.  Always lock them with the U-lock (unlike in the picture above left).  If you don't have a cable, take your front wheel off (release your brake, loosen the quick release skewer, lift the front of the bike and it'll fall out) and lock it in the U-lock as shown above.

I'll switch to the back. Not actually sure if the lock is big enough to go around the frame and the back wheel, but I'll check. I didn't realize the back wheel cost more than the front, but I suppose the whole gear system is back there.

I've taken the front wheel off before - to transport it in a car trunk when I first got it - and it was a huge pain. Not feeling particularly fond of the idea of repeating that every time I lock the bike.

There are different ways to do it.  I've found that this method (locking the rear rim and lower chainstay) will usually work even with very small U-locks:

(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/2a/8e/de/2a8ede4979ce5b08f292dc81245f5505.jpg)

Taking the front wheel off and putting it back on gets pretty quick with practice.  I can do it in about 30 seconds, although it took me closer to 5 minutes when I was just learning how.  That's actually why locking the front wheel is a thing you should do.  You could also just replace the quick release skewer with an anti-theft one such as this: https://pinheadlocks.com/store/en/wheel-locks/7-front-wheel-lock.html#/key-without_key (https://pinheadlocks.com/store/en/wheel-locks/7-front-wheel-lock.html#/key-without_key), which I'd figure is at least as safe as carrying around a cable lock.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on May 15, 2018, 08:14:35 AM
The rear wheel and frame are the most expensive parts of your bike.  Always lock them with the U-lock (unlike in the picture above left).  If you don't have a cable, take your front wheel off (release your brake, loosen the quick release skewer, lift the front of the bike and it'll fall out) and lock it in the U-lock as shown above.

I'll switch to the back. Not actually sure if the lock is big enough to go around the frame and the back wheel, but I'll check. I didn't realize the back wheel cost more than the front, but I suppose the whole gear system is back there.

I've taken the front wheel off before - to transport it in a car trunk when I first got it - and it was a huge pain. Not feeling particularly fond of the idea of repeating that every time I lock the bike.

You can - and probably should, unless you're racing - replace the quick release skewers with hex bolt skewers.  You can then add locks to those if you wish, depending upon your bike.  I'd still lock the rear wheel and frame with the U-lock, but in a pinch, at least the hex bolt skewers require a thief to have a tool and take more than 2 seconds to steal your wheel.  (Granted, only perhaps 10-15 seconds with a tool).  Of course, it'd only take a few seconds for a thief with a pair of cable cutters to deal with a cable, as well.  Still, I see it as balancing the inconvenience to yourself and the inconvenience to a thief, taking into account the cost of the bike/bike components and the costs of the security measures.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on May 15, 2018, 08:26:29 AM
The rear wheel and frame are the most expensive parts of your bike.  Always lock them with the U-lock (unlike in the picture above left).  If you don't have a cable, take your front wheel off (release your brake, loosen the quick release skewer, lift the front of the bike and it'll fall out) and lock it in the U-lock as shown above.

I'll switch to the back. Not actually sure if the lock is big enough to go around the frame and the back wheel, but I'll check. I didn't realize the back wheel cost more than the front, but I suppose the whole gear system is back there.

I've taken the front wheel off before - to transport it in a car trunk when I first got it - and it was a huge pain. Not feeling particularly fond of the idea of repeating that every time I lock the bike.

You can - and probably should, unless you're racing - replace the quick release skewers with hex bolt skewers.  You can then add locks to those if you wish, depending upon your bike.  I'd still lock the rear wheel and frame with the U-lock, but in a pinch, at least the hex bolt skewers require a thief to have a tool and take more than 2 seconds to steal your wheel.  (Granted, only perhaps 10-15 seconds with a tool).  Of course, it'd only take a few seconds for a thief with a pair of cable cutters to deal with a cable, as well.  Still, I see it as balancing the inconvenience to yourself and the inconvenience to a thief, taking into account the cost of the bike/bike components and the costs of the security measures.

Kinda leads to the old joke:

A 30 lb bike only needs a 1 lb lock to be safe.  A 15 lb bike needs a 16 lb lock to be safe.  Therefore, every bike weights the same amount.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: haypug16 on June 25, 2018, 08:00:49 AM
Finally I did it! Rode my bike to work for the first time this year. A good portion of the ride is through the woods on trails and I got a little lost so it ended up taking about 20 mins longer than it should have but I did it and I don't mind having the extra time outside in the woods anyway. The ride should be about 8.5 miles but I think I probably added a half mile to that. On the way home I'm going a different way so I can stop by the grocery store.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: plainjane on June 25, 2018, 04:38:17 PM
Congrats!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Bayou Dweller on July 10, 2018, 06:25:01 AM
Finally I did it! Rode my bike to work for the first time this year. A good portion of the ride is through the woods on trails and I got a little lost so it ended up taking about 20 mins longer than it should have but I did it and I don't mind having the extra time outside in the woods anyway. The ride should be about 8.5 miles but I think I probably added a half mile to that. On the way home I'm going a different way so I can stop by the grocery store.

Congrats!

I've been riding to work for at least 6 months now (about 2-3x a week). I love it! Yesterday I took my first trip to the grocery store, which is going to be a new thing for me now I think. It was so nice not having to deal with parking, and according to G maps it took me 11 minutes to get there, and a car would've taken 10, so.. not bad!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on July 10, 2018, 08:28:19 AM
I'm on my 10th day of bike commuting.  I'm loving it!  Since I started two weeks ago, I haven't driven myself alone in a car anywhere.  Aiming for biking in every day, but we'll see how much rainy, dark winter days test my resolve.  I live in SoCal, so it should be doable year-round, though driver-imposed danger on wet, dark roads possibly being the thing to give me pause.  I did buy some rain gear recently, so I won't have that excuse. 

We, like much of the country, are in the midst of a heat wave.  The temps have come down, but the humidity is crazy high for this area right now.  Still, I've been taking it extra easy on the ride in (a luxury afforded me by my electric bike) and have managed to continue wearing my work clothes for the ride in without overmuch sweating.  Since I don't bake extra time into my morning for a post-ride shower (nor do I want to - I get up early enough already), I'm in a learning process for how much exertion I can tolerate, based upon the temps and humidity outside.  It's not been bad, but I need to resist the urge to kick up the speed at times.

I'm also learning little tweaks here and there to my route, based upon learning traffic patterns and scoping out alternatives.  One intersection in particular is annoying me during the commute home in rush hour traffic; during low traffic times, I can easily veer over to the left lane from the bike lane and turn at the light.  Not doable safely during the traffic-choked ride home, though.  There don't seem to be many good alternatives to waiting through two crosswalks, but I've got an idea I'm going to try tonight. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: 3for3 on July 12, 2018, 10:14:09 AM
I would like to join this thread for accountability. Rode my bike to work for the second time today! I was totally jelly-legged upon arrival.

My goal is to ride 2-3 times a week. The other 2-3 days I like visiting my kids at their daycare center (up hill from work) during my lunch break. Perhaps once I become more fit I do those visits by bike too.

I have not done any systematic exercise since before my 2.5 yr old twins were born. I am starting to get soft and want to be able to run around with my boys. Hopefully the bike can help me save some money and increase my fitness.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on July 13, 2018, 05:41:23 AM
I bought myself a gel-padded saddle cover. This should help a lot!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: plainjane on July 13, 2018, 06:16:42 AM
Rode bike in for 3rd time this week. And the seat adjustment seems to have helped with the knee pain substantially. However, I'm having an embarrassing amount of trouble adjusting to getting on the bike with the new height and the pannier frame. Like, I had to go to a curb. It's worth the re-learning curve for less pain.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on July 13, 2018, 07:03:36 AM
Rode bike in for 3rd time this week. And the seat adjustment seems to have helped with the knee pain substantially. However, I'm having an embarrassing amount of trouble adjusting to getting on the bike with the new height and the pannier frame. Like, I had to go to a curb. It's worth the re-learning curve for less pain.

Many people never learn the correct way to mount a bicycle.  Do the following:

- Stand over the top tube, with the saddle behind your butt and both feet on the ground.
- Put the cranks so that one crank arm is up and in front of you at about a 45 degree angle
- Stand on that crank and use it as a step to get up into the saddle.
- As you stand on that crank, the bike will start to move forward so that you can keep your balance (a stationary bike is very hard to balance on).

There's a good video of it here:
https://vimeo.com/112725801 (https://vimeo.com/112725801)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: MoneyMouse on July 19, 2018, 04:15:15 PM
Oooh, this is a perfect thread for me!

I just started biking to work regularly starting around 1.5 months ago.

I got a free bike (my mom's old one), but spent about $200 total on maintenance (it had never gotten maintenance before), a rack, lock, panniers, and helmet. I could probably have gotten the parts for cheaper, but I was in a hurry to get biking - and still under what I thought I would spend since I was originally eyeing a $300 bike.

I'm lucky in that there are painted or separated bike lanes almost the entire way to and from work.
On the way to, there are 2 blocks I have to bike without lanes. On the way home, depending on the route I take, it's either laned the whole way or half the way.

I bike 3-4 days a week right now, but I aim to get to 5 days.
I bike to the grocery store occasionally, but I really ought to make that a more regular occurrence. That said, I don't generally shop all that often and I am trying to go to Costco/Superstore which isn't bike-able for me where I live. But I will usually make small detours to those places when I'm out in the area for my extracurriculars which must use the car.

I'm wanting to bike year-round except for the most frigid winter months (I live in Alberta, Canada), but we'll see how that goes. I did walk to work in fairly cold weather, so the temperature isn't too bad for me - I'm more worried about handling ice and drivers in the winter.

I'm loving all the tips and resources in this thread. I'll have to read through it more after work today.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: haypug16 on July 31, 2018, 10:22:49 AM
How have a I seriously not ridden my bike to work since June 25th! Ridiculous! I plan to ride tomorrow and Thursday to make up for that.

*Side note I purchased a used Burley Encore from Craigslist for $90 :) So I can hitch that to my bike to do my grocery shopping, I can also throw my dog in the back to take for a ride since we don't have kids.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on July 31, 2018, 11:56:34 AM
NBD - My first road bike. It's a 2013 Trek Domane 2.0, which uses the same aluminum frame as the 2.3, but with a lower end Tiagra 4600 groupset(which is plush by my standards.) I replaced the saddle and bar tape last night. Rode it in to work this morning, despite a front wheel that needs truing and a rear tire that needs to be replaced. Should be a great bike to mess around with for a long time. It already feels quicker than my 26" mtb commuter, but the different handlebar setup is going to take a while to get used to.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on July 31, 2018, 12:30:10 PM
NBD - My first road bike. It's a 2013 Trek Domane 2.0, which uses the same aluminum frame as the 2.3, but with a lower end Tiagra 4600 groupset(which is plush by my standards.) I replaced the saddle and bar tape last night. Rode it in to work this morning, despite a front wheel that needs truing and a rear tire that needs to be replaced. Should be a great bike to mess around with for a long time. It already feels quicker than my 26" mtb commuter, but the different handlebar setup is going to take a while to get used to.

That's a nice bike!

Bars look pretty high though.  Get used to how drop bars feel for a bit, and then start playing around with your position on the bike.  Typically most people will find that having the bars 5 - 10 cm below the saddle is more efficient.  You can do this by removing spacers / flipping the stem around so it's not a riser.  Just make sure that you're comfortable on the drops.  You might also try moving the saddle back a bit further away from the bars . . . this reduces weight on the hands and recruits your core more while riding.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on August 01, 2018, 02:56:57 PM
That's a nice bike!

Bars look pretty high though.  Get used to how drop bars feel for a bit, and then start playing around with your position on the bike.  Typically most people will find that having the bars 5 - 10 cm below the saddle is more efficient.  You can do this by removing spacers / flipping the stem around so it's not a riser.  Just make sure that you're comfortable on the drops.  You might also try moving the saddle back a bit further away from the bars . . . this reduces weight on the hands and recruits your core more while riding.
Thanks! I found it on eBay from a local business(BicycleBlueBook) on the day eBay was offering a 20% off($50 max value) coupon: https://www.ebay.com/itm/2013-Trek-Domane-2-0-T-Size-54-cm-INV-33006/283061507936
Paid $476 total(including tax), which felt pretty good based on looking at prices for about a year. It's a newer bike than I expected to find. The endurance geometry frame sounded good for a beginner/commuter and the IsoSpeed gimmick felt like it would be an added bonus.

I spent some time trying to fit myself to it last night with the KOPS method - lowered the saddle a little and moved it forward a little. Watched some GCN and Bike Fit Adviser on YouTube. Wife said it looked like my back was at a 45deg angle. Replaced the 70mm 17deg stem with a 90mm 7deg and lowered the bars like you suggested. Things feel better. Core strength is something I need to work on which probably causes me to put a lot of pressure on my hands. I was trying to focus on relaxing my arms more today and utilizing the drops. You'd think just riding would make a person stronger overtime, but apparently I need to stretch and work out other muscles. Maybe I can get away with doing sit-ups in my cubicle during the day. Might raise the saddle and move it back again tonight...

Thanks for sharing the good info in this thread and your other one: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/guitarstv's-long-bike-ride-tips!/
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 02, 2018, 07:47:32 AM
That's looking better!  Stretching is very important to be able to comfortably hold an aerodynamic position for a long time.  I spent many years in Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and BJJ building up flexibility, which has served me well for cycling.  I particularly like the hurdler's stretch:
(http://www.advancedhealthphysio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/20171007_130702-300x276.jpg)
(Note, back is flat and the person is reaching forward with both arms to . . . NOT with spine bent and head tipping forward.)

The quad stretch:
(http://www.centerworks.com/wp-content/uploads/iStock_000019155350Medium-200x300.jpg)

The split stretch:
(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/77/16/6f/77166f0bea8027da384829c9d16c5454.jpg)
(Again, try to reach as far forward as possible rather than lower your head to the ground to prevent bending your spine funny ways)

And the glute stretch:
(https://life-cdn.global.ssl.fastly.net/life/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Glute-Stretches_Half-lord-of-the-fishes.jpg)


Hold the stretches for 40 seconds, release for 10 seconds, repeat 3x per side going a bit lower each time.  Stretch after you workout before you cool down, not before a workout when you're cool and you'll benefit more from them.  Generally speaking, the more flexible you are the lower you'll be able to comfortably get your front end, which means the less wind resistance you'll be fighting.


I personally think that the KOPS method is garbage (at least it doesn't work at all for me).  First of all, the concept doesn't make any sense (your knee position is going to change relative to the pedal spindle when you go up or down even the slightest hill, and when you stand it's completely different too).  It also doesn't really work if you have unusually long or short thighs.  If you're average sized, it's not a terrible way to get roughly in a the right position . . . but feel free to keep tweaking if it doesn't feel perfect.  For me, I need at least 40 km on a position change before I can decide if it's better or not.

Core strength is all well and good (I'd suggest heavy deadlifts and overhead barbell squats if you want to develop an incredibly strong core), but try playing around with bike fit first.  If you're feeling too much weight on your hands, remember that sliding the saddle back will reduce this.  (Don't believe me?  Try doing a squat with your shoulders forward.  Notice that to keep your balance your ass has to move pretty far back?  Now try doing the same without moving your ass backwards . . . you start falling forward.  When your saddle is too far forward, it forces extra weight on your hands because your center of balance is moved forward.  Also remember . . . because the seat tube is at an angle, every time you raise your saddle it it will move back a little.  Every time you drop it it will move forward a little.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: haypug16 on August 02, 2018, 07:54:23 AM
Finally I did it! Rode my bike to work for the first time this year. A good portion of the ride is through the woods on trails and I got a little lost so it ended up taking about 20 mins longer than it should have but I did it and I don't mind having the extra time outside in the woods anyway. The ride should be about 8.5 miles but I think I probably added a half mile to that. On the way home I'm going a different way so I can stop by the grocery store.

haypug!
What trails/routes do you use? 
I live in Bedford and have been commuting to work (in Lexington) since November.
I donít bike into Boston too often but use the Minuteman most of the way in to Alewife and then fan off from there.

My route to work takes me through the Fellsway reservation. I go from Malden to Woburn. About 40-50% of the ride is in the woods and the rest is on fairly low traffic areas.

Mr Pug and I ride the minuteman trail (and extension) sometimes to get out to Concord. We've even done the Minuteman to the Bedford to Billerica trail before. It was a nice ride but some parts were really close to the highway (as in the overpass!)

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: MoneyMouse on August 03, 2018, 08:39:18 AM
Question for some folks - what should I bring/get when I'm about to bike in the rain?

I don't have any real raincoats or anything, so I'm starting from scratch.
I have travel pants that I like to wear riding, but I'm not sure if they're waterproof.

I have tested my panniers when I got caught in a deluge a few weeks back - fortunately, everything stayed dry and protected.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 03, 2018, 08:53:00 AM
Question for some folks - what should I bring/get when I'm about to bike in the rain?

I don't have any real raincoats or anything, so I'm starting from scratch.
I have travel pants that I like to wear riding, but I'm not sure if they're waterproof.

I have tested my panniers when I got caught in a deluge a few weeks back - fortunately, everything stayed dry and protected.

You don't need anything waterproof to cycle in the rain.  Being wet for a little while won't kill you.  Just wear clothing that is weather appropriate so you don't get chilled.  If you're worried about clothing that you're bringing getting wet, wrap it in a plastic bag for extra insurance.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: MoneyMouse on August 03, 2018, 09:00:28 AM
Thanks, GuitarStv. :)

That's true.
I'm gonna have to figure out what clothing won't get me chilled. Where I live, rain is often accompanied by really cold winds.

I bought some water resistant zippered pack bags that I tend to keep my clothes in, so they should be fine.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 03, 2018, 09:22:44 AM
Thanks, GuitarStv. :)

That's true.
I'm gonna have to figure out what clothing won't get me chilled. Where I live, rain is often accompanied by really cold winds.

I bought some water resistant zippered pack bags that I tend to keep my clothes in, so they should be fine.

Just stay away from cotton.  Soaking wet cotton when it's cold is worse than being naked.  Most synthetic type sweaters and sweat-wicking sorts of shirts will stay warmer.  Wool is also great when wet.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on August 03, 2018, 04:32:51 PM
I got some overshoes for the next time it rains. Last time I got caught in a downpour and went through some puddles, my shoes filled up with water. That wasn't much fun. Lights are a must for safety.

Are there any recommendations on overall reach? I've been playing with different positions, moving the stem up and down, flipping the stem, slightly angling the bars, but wasn't sure if there's a formula or measurement I could use to determine where my grip on the hoods should be. I even saw some different bars with other reach sizes(85mm,100mm), compact drops, shallow drops... My current bars are 42cm wide and I was thinking of 40cm. I've ridden 4 days in a row to work on the bike, feeling fine after, but I'm trying to improve how I feel during the ride. I bet I just need to focus more on relaxing my arms, grip, etc.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 03, 2018, 05:52:23 PM
I got some overshoes for the next time it rains. Last time I got caught in a downpour and went through some puddles, my shoes filled up with water. That wasn't much fun. Lights are a must for safety.

Are there any recommendations on overall reach? I've been playing with different positions, moving the stem up and down, flipping the stem, slightly angling the bars, but wasn't sure if there's a formula or measurement I could use to determine where my grip on the hoods should be. I even saw some different bars with other reach sizes(85mm,100mm), compact drops, shallow drops... My current bars are 42cm wide and I was thinking of 40cm. I've ridden 4 days in a row to work on the bike, feeling fine after, but I'm trying to improve how I feel during the ride. I bet I just need to focus more on relaxing my arms, grip, etc.

Reach is a tricky one because there are so many ways to change it.  It seems like everything will throw reach off.

Wider bars shorten reach.
Raising your saddle increases reach.
Lowering your bars increases reach.
Saddle fore/aft changes reach.
Every bar has a different reach.
Reach to the drops is different than reach to the hoods, and changes a lot between bars.
You can change stem length to change reach.
The more your stem is angled up, the shorter your reach.

The best way to figure stuff out is to keep riding and adjusting things until you find a setup that you like and that's comfy.  My rule of thumb is to rest my hands on the hoods and hold my forearms parallel to the ground.  Your upper arm should be close to vertical (lower elbow no more than a half inch forward of this) if reach is about right.

It's only after big rides that I end up tinkering with position.  I can comfortably ride almost any bike for an hour.  On a two hour ride little things might start to annoy me.  On a four hour ride you'll know for sure if something is wrong with your fit.

:P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on August 06, 2018, 05:59:04 PM
Reach is a tricky one because there are so many ways to change it.  It seems like everything will throw reach off.

Wider bars shorten reach.
Raising your saddle increases reach.
Lowering your bars increases reach.
Saddle fore/aft changes reach.
Every bar has a different reach.
Reach to the drops is different than reach to the hoods, and changes a lot between bars.
You can change stem length to change reach.
The more your stem is angled up, the shorter your reach.

The best way to figure stuff out is to keep riding and adjusting things until you find a setup that you like and that's comfy.  My rule of thumb is to rest my hands on the hoods and hold my forearms parallel to the ground.  Your upper arm should be close to vertical (lower elbow no more than a half inch forward of this) if reach is about right.

It's only after big rides that I end up tinkering with position.  I can comfortably ride almost any bike for an hour.  On a two hour ride little things might start to annoy me.  On a four hour ride you'll know for sure if something is wrong with your fit.

:P
My bike and I abide by your rule of thumb and I've had comfortable rides since my last post, so the stem/handlebar/saddle position game is over. Gracias for your guidance.

Local shops wanted $30-$55 to true my front wheel and I would have had to wait like five days, so I picked up my own truing stand over the weekend. Wheels are looking good, which allowed the brakes to get more dialed in. I have some new calipers and catridge style pads+holders en route to finish off the bike. It's amazing how much work can go into bring a used bicycle up to snuff. Bar tape, saddle, stem, pedals, front & rear derailleur adjustment, chain lube, tires, tubes, etc. It should be a good bike for a long time and require very little maintenance after all this though.

*adds a spoke tensiometer to his Christmas list*
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 07, 2018, 08:46:16 AM
Oooh, once you get a tensiometer it's time to do some wheelbuilding!  Start checking out sales on hubs and rims in the fall, you can build them over the winter and have an awesome new wheelset for the spring.


:P


Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on August 07, 2018, 09:06:35 AM
Gonna pop in here in the hopes of giving myself some motivation.  I'm trying to work up to being able to bike to work (4 miles).  I started out with biking errands I usually walk, so 1-2 miles round-trip, and every time I've had to walk the bike back at least some of the way.  I live at the top of a hill, so that's part of the problem... I'm having trouble convincing myself to bike on my errands, when it's so much easier and less painful to walk, especially in the 90F heat.

Any advice on motivation to keep biking?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 07, 2018, 09:22:09 AM
Gonna pop in here in the hopes of giving myself some motivation.  I'm trying to work up to being able to bike to work (4 miles).  I started out with biking errands I usually walk, so 1-2 miles round-trip, and every time I've had to walk the bike back at least some of the way.  I live at the top of a hill, so that's part of the problem... I'm having trouble convincing myself to bike on my errands, when it's so much easier and less painful to walk, especially in the 90F heat.

Any advice on motivation to keep biking?

If it's easier and less painful to walk, there's something REALLY REALLY wrong going on.

Stuff to check:
- Is your saddle too low?  A low saddle robs your legs of power.  Put your heels on the pedals and spin them backwards.  You should just barely be able to contact the pedals at the bottom of each stroke without leaning your body from side to side on the saddle.  (This usually means that it's not possible to stay on the saddle and put a foot on the ground on each side of the bike.)
- Are you using your gearing correctly?  Pick an easy gear.  No, easier than that one.  Easier than that one.  Pick the easiest gear on your bike.  Now spin up the hill moving your legs quickly rather than grinding away slowly.  It will feel weird and like your legs are moving way too fast initially.  This takes pressure off your knees, and will reduce muscle pain (it will work your heart and cardiovascular system harder though).
- How are you carrying stuff on your bike?  If you're dangling goods from plastic bags on the handles it can make your bike really hard to control (and kinda dangerous).  Do you have a rack, or a backpack that you can use instead?
- Does your bike fit?  Are you on a frame that's way too big or way too small for you?  Is your saddle uncomfortable?  Does your back hurt?  Do your hands hurt?
- Are you brakes dragging?  Are your bearings spinning nicely?  Is your chain oiled?  All of this stuff makes it harder to cycle.
- Do you have a ridiculous or crap bike?  City/Dutch style bikes are great if you live in Holland.  If you live in a place with hills, they kinda suck . . . because they weigh a ton and don't have much gearing range.  Most cheap department store mountain bikes weigh a ton (although they've usually got a reasonably wide gearing range).  All children's bikes weigh a ton (my son's bike weighs as much as mine . . . and he's like three and a half ft tall).


You should be moving faster and easier on a bike . . . which should provide all the motivation you need to keep going!  2 miles is nothing, even when hilly that's like a 10 - 15 minute easy ride if all the above is addressed.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on August 07, 2018, 12:04:00 PM
Gonna pop in here in the hopes of giving myself some motivation.  I'm trying to work up to being able to bike to work (4 miles).  I started out with biking errands I usually walk, so 1-2 miles round-trip, and every time I've had to walk the bike back at least some of the way.  I live at the top of a hill, so that's part of the problem... I'm having trouble convincing myself to bike on my errands, when it's so much easier and less painful to walk, especially in the 90F heat.

Any advice on motivation to keep biking?

If it's easier and less painful to walk, there's something REALLY REALLY wrong going on.

Stuff to check:
- Is your saddle too low?  A low saddle robs your legs of power.  Put your heels on the pedals and spin them backwards.  You should just barely be able to contact the pedals at the bottom of each stroke without leaning your body from side to side on the saddle.  (This usually means that it's not possible to stay on the saddle and put a foot on the ground on each side of the bike.)  I'll recheck tonight, but I had set it as high as I could and still reach the pedals
- Are you using your gearing correctly?  Pick an easy gear.  No, easier than that one.  Easier than that one.  Pick the easiest gear on your bike.  Now spin up the hill moving your legs quickly rather than grinding away slowly.  It will feel weird and like your legs are moving way too fast initially.  This takes pressure off your knees, and will reduce muscle pain (it will work your heart and cardiovascular system harder though).Even on the easiest gear, it's still hard to get up the hill.
- How are you carrying stuff on your bike?  If you're dangling goods from plastic bags on the handles it can make your bike really hard to control (and kinda dangerous).  Do you have a rack, or a backpack that you can use instead?  Carrying in a backpack or on a rack
- Does your bike fit?  Are you on a frame that's way too big or way too small for you?  Is your saddle uncomfortable?  Does your back hurt?  Do your hands hurt?  It's not uncomfortable, and nothing's hurting beyond being really sore the next day
- Are you brakes dragging?  Are your bearings spinning nicely?  Is your chain oiled?  All of this stuff makes it harder to cycle.  I don't know how to check those things, but I took it to a bike shop for new tires last month, and they did a courtesy check
- Do you have a ridiculous or crap bike?  City/Dutch style bikes are great if you live in Holland.  If you live in a place with hills, they kinda suck . . . because they weigh a ton and don't have much gearing range.  Most cheap department store mountain bikes weigh a ton (although they've usually got a reasonably wide gearing range).  All children's bikes weigh a ton (my son's bike weighs as much as mine . . . and he's like three and a half ft tall).  Maybe?  It's an old Huffy, but the bike shop guy said it's a pretty good bike

You should be moving faster and easier on a bike . . . which should provide all the motivation you need to keep going!  2 miles is nothing, even when hilly that's like a 10 - 15 minute easy ride if all the above is addressed.

Downhill is great, I just coast most of the way there, and even coming back it's probably faster than walking, but it's a lot more sweat and effort and soreness to pay for that speed.

Addressed your comments above.  I'll double check the fit tonight, but as far as the bike itself goes, I did have a local bike shop look over it, and they said everything was working fine except the front shifter, which (in their opinion) I shouldn't need just riding around town.  I'm sure the bike isn't particularly light, but it should be rideable.

Most of the exercise I've gotten the last year or more has been walking, and I never carried much muscle anyway, so working a different set of muscles to bike feels a lot harder than just walking the mile.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 07, 2018, 12:12:40 PM
Ah, a Huffy.

The bike can be made ridiable, but it's probably never going to be fun (particularly when climbing hills).  The combination of the very heavy bike and general lack of strength might be the problem.

Focus on rule #5?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on August 07, 2018, 12:21:25 PM
Ah, a Huffy.

The bike can be made ridiable, but it's probably never going to be fun (particularly when climbing hills).  The combination of the very heavy bike and general lack of strength might be the problem.

Focus on rule #5?

Well, yeah.  I'm working on that.  Which is why I said I had a motivation problem, I never thought it was a technique problem.  Any advice on motivation?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 07, 2018, 12:32:06 PM
Go on longer bike rides.  Use the bike to go distances that you could never go by walking alone.  Keep track of the total distance you've gone each week, and try to beat it the next week.  Time yourself climbing your hill to get home each day and chart progress.  Try to ride with other people when you can.  Make small goals "I want to get up that hill without walking this time" and then make bigger goals "I'm going to go up and down that hill twice today".  Work your way up to "I'm going to ride 100 miles on my bike today".  Watch your body transform as you make it into a lean, mean, bike riding machine.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on August 07, 2018, 12:50:48 PM
I'm sorry, maybe I'm in the wrong thread.  I want to be able to bike to work to reduce my reliance on the car, not because I want to fit more biking into my week.  Biking is transportation and exercise for me, not a hobby.  I don't want to ride 100 miles in a day, ever.  I know a lot of people love to bike, but I'm not one of them.  I actually kinda dislike it, I just hate driving way more.

Honestly, your advice to go a distance I can't get by walking sounds like a great way to get stranded somewhere with no way home.

And the more I'm thinking about it (stewing about it?) the more I'm bothered by your previous comment about Rule #5.  I come here for help wanting to bike, because right now I don't want to bike, and your response is to toughen up?  I'm sure you didn't mean it like that, but it's kinda doing the opposite of giving me more motivation.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood, don't mind me.  I'll just go somewhere else.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 07, 2018, 01:25:40 PM
If you dislike riding a bike, I'm not sure that there's anything that anyone can possibly say that will convince you otherwise.  If riding your bike is misery, then walk.  Or use a scooter.  Roller blades.  Skateboard.  Pogo stick.  Unicycle.  Get an e-bike so you don't have to pedal.  Life is too short to force yourself to do stuff that you hate.  That's fine.  Everyone has different tastes and preferences.

As far as the rule #5 thing . . . You're starting out on a path to self improvement.  You have a long way to go.  It's a mistake pretending that it's always going to be easy.  Anything worth doing in life is going to be a bit of a struggle.  It's going to be tough.  There will be times where you're hurting and have to keep going.  There will be times when it's pouring freezing rain, there's a wild headwind, and you're miles from home.  There will be times when the hill beats you, when your bike breaks down on you, when you crash and lose some skin.  You are capable of overcoming all of those challenges.  Doing so will make you stronger and more resilient.  You'll be able to draw satisfaction from the fact that you were able to motivate yourself through the hard parts, and when you get one of those fun bits of cycling (the gorgeous sunny days, the downhill sections, the many little oddities and adventures that you find) you will know that you've really earned them.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on August 07, 2018, 01:44:57 PM
If you dislike riding a bike, I'm not sure that there's anything that anyone can possibly say that will convince you otherwise.  If riding your bike is misery, then walk.  Or use a scooter.  Roller blades.  Skateboard.  Pogo stick.  Unicycle.  Get an e-bike so you don't have to pedal.  Life is too short to force yourself to do stuff that you hate.  That's fine.  Everyone has different tastes and preferences.

I dislike driving a car, too, but I do that every damn day without complaint.  Walking, or roller blades, or a pogo stick will never make an effective replacement for getting to work.  Isn't that what this thread is supposed to be about, biking to work?  It's about transportation to a place I need to go, to make the money to support my life.  If life is too short to do things I hate, I shouldn't be driving either, or going to work at all for that matter.  Given that I need to get there, a bike might well be the least objectionable option.  If I could get that far, which I currently can't.

Walking is more pleasant, which is why I have trouble motivating myself to ride shorter distances, but I'll never be able to go 4 miles if I don't practice going 2 miles.  That's why I need help with motivation.  Is that really so strange?  I'm not asking for some magic words to make me like biking.  Just trying to find a reason to do it anyway, like any other chore.

Quote
As far as the rule #5 thing . . . You're starting out on a path to self improvement.  You have a long way to go.  It's a mistake pretending that it's always going to be easy.  Anything worth doing in life is going to be a bit of a struggle.  It's going to be tough.  There will be times where you're hurting and have to keep going.  There will be times when it's pouring freezing rain, there's a wild headwind, and you're miles from home.  There will be times when the hill beats you, when your bike breaks down on you, when you crash and lose some skin.  You are capable of overcoming all of those challenges.  Doing so will make you stronger and more resilient.  You'll be able to draw satisfaction from the fact that you were able to motivate yourself through the hard parts, and when you get one of those fun bits of cycling (the gorgeous sunny days, the downhill sections, the many little oddities and adventures that you find) you will know that you've really earned them.

I know it's not going to be easy, but you're mistaken that my goal is self-improvement.  My goal is to be able to get to work without burning fossil fuels.  I'm not doing it for the sunny days, the downhills, and the other 'fun bits,' though I'm sure I will come to enjoy them with time.  I just can't use those as the motivation to get through the hard parts, because that's not the point for me.

So what, I just give up and drive because biking isn't inherently enjoyable to me?  That's a hell of a cop-out.  Pretty anti-mustachian, too.

More importantly, Rule #5 is not "Keep working at it, it'll all be worth it when you get through."  It's "Harden the fuck up."  Telling someone with a motivation problem to suck it up is not exactly motivating.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on August 07, 2018, 02:03:02 PM
It was mentioned briefly, but try an e-bike.  Go to a store and give it a spin.  It should solve your hill problems (unless these are epic hills, at which point the e-bike could be worse due to weight and insufficient torque to overcome gearing and said weight). 

You might enjoy riding more, too.  My e-bike is a blast to ride, and I know I'm not the only one who feels that way.  There are options for conversion kits, as well as prices all about the spectrum if you end up wanting to proceed with it, but don't want to spend too much. 

Regarding fossil fuels (since you state that as motivation), I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations based upon my experience, and my carbon output is lower on my e-bike than it would be on a regular bike.  The electricity used emits less carbon than the food production that goes into the extra calories I would need on a regular bike.  Part of this might be particular to my situation, as I live in CA and the electricity produced here is fairly carbon-friendly.  Still, the electricity consumed is basically negligible.  About 1 kWh for 80 miles for me; I do burn extra calories as well on the e-bike, but not as many as I would on a regular bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on August 07, 2018, 02:12:13 PM
It was mentioned briefly, but try an e-bike.  Go to a store and give it a spin.  It should solve your hill problems (unless these are epic hills, at which point the e-bike could be worse due to weight and insufficient torque to overcome gearing and said weight). 

You might enjoy riding more, too.  My e-bike is a blast to ride, and I know I'm not the only one who feels that way.  There are options for conversion kits, as well as prices all about the spectrum if you end up wanting to proceed with it, but don't want to spend too much. 

Regarding fossil fuels (since you state that as motivation), I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations based upon my experience, and my carbon output is lower on my e-bike than it would be on a regular bike.  The electricity used emits less carbon than the food production that goes into the extra calories I would need on a regular bike.  Part of this might be particular to my situation, as I live in CA and the electricity produced here is fairly carbon-friendly.  Still, the electricity consumed is basically negligible.  About 1 kWh for 80 miles for me; I do burn extra calories as well on the e-bike, but not as many as I would on a regular bike.

Thanks for weighing in.  I was hoping not to spend any more on the bike, at least until I know I'll actually use it enough to justify the expense, but maybe I should just bite the bullet.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 07, 2018, 02:19:11 PM
If life is too short to do things I hate, I shouldn't be driving either, or going to work at all for that matter.

Agreed.  Find a job that you don't hate within walking distance of a place you can rent.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on August 07, 2018, 02:25:12 PM

Agreed.  Find a job that you don't hate within walking distance of a place you can rent.

Are you being unhelpful on purpose?  We both know life's not that easy.  For instance, where I live isn't determined by my job alone, it also has to be in commuting distance of my husband's job.  I've been trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but so far you just seem to be offended that I don't enjoy your hobby like you do.  If you didn't have anything motivating to say, why did you respond to my post in the first place?

Anyway, congratulations.  I'm now more demoralized than I was when I asked for help.  Great job.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on August 07, 2018, 03:10:43 PM
Go on longer bike rides.  Use the bike to go distances that you could never go by walking alone.  Keep track of the total distance you've gone each week, and try to beat it the next week.  Time yourself climbing your hill to get home each day and chart progress.  Try to ride with other people when you can.  Make small goals "I want to get up that hill without walking this time" and then make bigger goals "I'm going to go up and down that hill twice today".  Work your way up to "I'm going to ride 100 miles on my bike today".  Watch your body transform as you make it into a lean, mean, bike riding machine.
@GuitarStv, looks like you're getting a little over zealous for cycling in the newbies thread. As always you have great advice for cyclists (thanks for your long distance cycling tips thread - I do want to do an century ride someday, but I know that's not for everyone - not even for everyone that likes cycling).
Oooh, once you get a tensiometer it's time to do some wheelbuilding!  Start checking out sales on hubs and rims in the fall, you can build them over the winter and have an awesome new wheelset for the spring.
A few years ago I looked into building my own (dished rear) wheel, but sourcing spokes appeared to be a problem. I could only find spokes at a reasonable price in bags of 50 - not great when you only need 18 in a particular length. Ended up spending about $250 on a hand-built wheel at a LBS.

@Raenia, Great job trying out biking on shorter errands. If you lived in flatter terrain, I'm sure you would have been much more successful working up to longer distances. Would your route to work involve more hills? Your old Huffy is probably fairly heavy. I think in your case, an e-bike might make a lot of sense. I'd look for someplace you can try one out on a hill similar to yours - you might even find you like it.

As far as spending money goes, it would be hard to justify the expense of a decent new e-bike based solely on the reduction of driving (easy to justify financially if it means you maintain fewer cars though).

In my city the local buses have bike racks, so a transit card in my pocket means I don't have to worry about being stranded. Do you know what resources for cycling your city has?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 07, 2018, 05:01:56 PM
It's better when you are building a wheel set.  Often both sides of the front and the NDS rear spokes are the same length . . . so for 32 spoked wheels you need 48 of one size, 16 of another.  Two bags of 50.  I've found good prices at JensonUSA for wheelsmith double butted and straight spokes.  I'd love to use Sapim CX Rays but they range from damned expensive to totally ridiculous depending on where you look.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on August 08, 2018, 07:39:43 AM
@Raenia, Great job trying out biking on shorter errands. If you lived in flatter terrain, I'm sure you would have been much more successful working up to longer distances. Would your route to work involve more hills? Your old Huffy is probably fairly heavy. I think in your case, an e-bike might make a lot of sense. I'd look for someplace you can try one out on a hill similar to yours - you might even find you like it.

As far as spending money goes, it would be hard to justify the expense of a decent new e-bike based solely on the reduction of driving (easy to justify financially if it means you maintain fewer cars though).

In my city the local buses have bike racks, so a transit card in my pocket means I don't have to worry about being stranded. Do you know what resources for cycling your city has?

Thanks for the tips!  We're already a 1 car household, so we wouldn't be able to drop the car maintenance/registration entirely.  Unfortunately the only savings will be for gas/mileage.  We're out in the suburbs, where the buses are much less available, but maybe I can plan out a route that goes by more bus stops as a back-up.  I'll have to check if the buses here usually have a bike rack, as well.  I should also check out the route I would use to get to work - I've looked on a map, but it's not quite the same as the car route I use (avoid some bad intersections, cut through a golf course) so it may have shallower grades that I can handle.

Hey Raenia,

Iíll throw out a few motivation suggestions with the hopes that one will stick!

I am a numbers person and really love looking at my biking stats. I bike for transportation and entertainment (not for exercise or trying to beat speed or distance PRs).  Itís motivating to see how many miles Iíve rode.  Apps like Strava compile your stats and give weekly/month/yearly stat totals.

Speaking of numbers, what about a running tally of calculating either how much gas you arenít using per day/week/month/etc. or how much time you are saving by biking rather than walking which you can use doing something else.

How about a commuting buddy?  Is there someone from your work that you can meet up with and bike in together?  Can you recruit someone to do it with you even 1-2 times a week to start?

What about an accountability partner that will check in with you (however often you need) to hold you accountable and also motivate you to reach your goals.

Would spending money (for instance buying an e bike like others have suggested) give you motivation to use it and not collect dust in storage?

Thanks for the ideas!  I don't have a smartphone to use an app, but I could probably whip up a spreadsheet to show miles/time saved/gas saved and enter the numbers when I get home.  A commuting buddy would be fantastic, unfortunately none of my coworkers live in the same area as me, and they are all much further away (I don't think any of them commute less than 40 min, many longer.)  Sadly, past evidence suggests that spending up-front is not effective as a motivator for me, but maybe I can figure a way to use it as a reward if I stick with it for a certain time...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on August 08, 2018, 03:38:57 PM
Oooh, once you get a tensiometer it's time to do some wheelbuilding!  Start checking out sales on hubs and rims in the fall, you can build them over the winter and have an awesome new wheelset for the spring.


:P
Haha, for now I just want the tensiometer for keeping my own wheels true and properly maintained. Maybe I'll turn wheel truing into a side gig later: "Wheels trued for $20 or your wheels back. (No warranty - Not liable for damages[even if clearly intentional].)"

Building or buying new wheels looks like a major expense. I'm not sure how much of a benefit I'd be able to feel and the cost could easily exceed the price I paid for the bike. I already regret looking up the weight of the wheels I have(which might be north of 2100g.) It's hard not to chase the "upgrade rabbit" or scratch the "new parts" itch. I've already failed in a few ways(as previously mentioned), I installed matching groupset calipers with Kool Stop pads last night and bought new Jagwire Pro shift and brake cables today - that has to be the end to it... right?

I still love the bike though. Ridden every day since I bought it. For anyone who's commuting on a 26" mtb and thinking about a road bike, the switch is worth it. I'm faster and I can ride every day.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 09, 2018, 07:22:28 AM
No pressure to build 'em or anything.  I waited five years until my wheelset was breaking spokes pretty regularly and the rims were wearing through from braking before changing mine out.  Going from a 2400 g wheelset to the 1750 gram wheelset that I built was a pretty dramatic change to the bike though.

Agreed on the difference between a road and mountain bike too.  Just the body position alone makes you significantly faster for the same effort.

:P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on August 09, 2018, 09:50:07 AM
A commuting buddy would be fantastic, unfortunately none of my coworkers live in the same area as me, and they are all much further away (I don't think any of them commute less than 40 min, many longer.)
Commute buddy doesn't have to be a co-worker, a neighbor who works in the same general area would work just as well. Of course co-workers are easier to meet with to discuss the idea.

Thanks for the ideas!  I don't have a smartphone to use an app, but I could probably whip up a spreadsheet to show miles/time saved/gas saved and enter the numbers when I get home.
I've done plenty of tracking my miles manually. You can get cycle computers to track distance (and speed) for less than $10. I do know that Strava also works on a tablet that has GPS.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 09, 2018, 09:54:24 AM
Thanks for the ideas!  I don't have a smartphone to use an app, but I could probably whip up a spreadsheet to show miles/time saved/gas saved and enter the numbers when I get home.
I've done plenty of tracking my miles manually. You can get cycle computers to track distance (and speed) for less than $10. I do know that Strava also works on a tablet that has GPS.

Manual tracking is pretty easy.  You'll find that you tend to cycle to/from the same places pretty regularly (home-work, home-library, home-grocery store) so it's mostly a matter of checking Google maps for the distance once and then simply tallying things up.

* Also worth tracking if you're in a hilly area is the height change that you ride.  Doing 10 km on the flat is totally different than doing 10 km with two thousand feet of climbing!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on August 09, 2018, 10:00:04 AM
No pressure to build 'em or anything.  I waited five years until my wheelset was breaking spokes pretty regularly and the rims were wearing through from braking before changing mine out.  Going from a 2400 g wheelset to the 1750 gram wheelset that I built was a pretty dramatic change to the bike though.

Agreed on the difference between a road and mountain bike too.  Just the body position alone makes you significantly faster for the same effort.

:P
I think I only got about 5000 miles on machine built 32 straight spoke rear wheels. Upgrading to hand built, 36 single butted spoke rear wheel has improved durability drastically. Never have had issues with machine built 32 straight spoke front wheels (did replace both wheels as a wheel set once, but probably didn't need to replace the front - do have rim brakes, so front rim will need replacing eventually).

It's better when you are building a wheel set.  Often both sides of the front and the NDS rear spokes are the same length . . . so for 32 spoked wheels you need 48 of one size, 16 of another.  Two bags of 50.  I've found good prices at JensonUSA for wheelsmith double butted and straight spokes.  I'd love to use Sapim CX Rays but they range from damned expensive to totally ridiculous depending on where you look.  :P
Good point about wheel set. 50 spokes is even enough for 32 front and 18 rear. I did think about going with a not dished wheel by swapping out my derailleurs for a NuVinci Nfinity hub.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on August 09, 2018, 10:11:06 AM
Manual tracking is pretty easy.  You'll find that you tend to cycle to/from the same places pretty regularly (home-work, home-library, home-grocery store) so it's mostly a matter of checking Google maps for the distance once and then simply tallying things up.

* Also worth tracking if you're in a hilly area is the height change that you ride.  Doing 10 km on the flat is totally different than doing 10 km with two thousand feet of climbing!
I do love that Google maps shows the elevation profile of the ride for cycling directions (although mine is usually simply "mostly flat"). An inexpensive cycle computer won't provide that (I believe Stava does).

If the motivation is reduced driving, the miles for the route you would have taken in the car is more important than the miles you actually biked (especially great if you have shortcuts you can take by bike; not so great if the car route is more direct due to avoiding high stress cycling situations).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Bayou Dweller on August 13, 2018, 05:51:14 AM
Just picked this up on a whim at the library (was on display).

Might be a good read for those just starting their commuting journeyóIíll let you know if I think itís worth the read!

How is everyoneís commuting going?
Triumphs? Obstacles? Challenges?

Happy biking!

Nice. I highly recommend "Just Ride" for the beginner commuter or one thinking about taking the plunge. Helps to detach yourself from any fears and to approach commuting by bike rationally (and also not like a racer, which the author likes to poke fun of, having been one himself).

I just finished a month straight of commuting only by bike to work. I even made it a point to only use my car if 1. I was leaving my city limits (which is quite large) or 2. my gf and I were going somewhere further than she was willing to walk (doesn't happen often, she doesn't have a bike - YET).

So this means going to work, getting groceries, taking the kid to parks, library, etc. all has been done by bicycle. Most noticeable things so far are my appetite is enormous and I feel like I'm never satiated. And I suddenly have a "ripped" stomach. It's not bodybuilder-like but it is noticeably different. The gf also said that lately I've been in a really good mood all of the time. Not sure if this has anything to do with biking but I like to think it is.

I've really come to detest driving in all honesty. I can feel the mental difference when driving a car versus riding a bike or walking. Stress vs a feeling of freedom. I drive to the burbs every weekend out of necessity and that's plenty of driving for me every week. I wish I could eliminate that but all my family lives in suburbs (south of me) and even my son stays with his mom in another suburb (north of me). There's just too much damn sprawl here.

Ok, rant over, bike commuting is going well :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: plainjane on August 13, 2018, 11:28:34 AM
A coworker reminded me that a batch of condos is just finishing up in my neighbourhood, and most of them are going to be getting on my public transit route. An even stronger argument for riding whenever possible.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on August 15, 2018, 04:55:16 PM
Just picked this up on a whim at the library (was on display).

Might be a good read for those just starting their commuting journeyóIíll let you know if I think itís worth the read!

How is everyoneís commuting going?
Triumphs? Obstacles? Challenges?

Happy biking!

Nice. I highly recommend "Just Ride" for the beginner commuter or one thinking about taking the plunge. Helps to detach yourself from any fears and to approach commuting by bike rationally (and also not like a racer, which the author likes to poke fun of, having been one himself).

I just finished a month straight of commuting only by bike to work. I even made it a point to only use my car if 1. I was leaving my city limits (which is quite large) or 2. my gf and I were going somewhere further than she was willing to walk (doesn't happen often, she doesn't have a bike - YET).

So this means going to work, getting groceries, taking the kid to parks, library, etc. all has been done by bicycle. Most noticeable things so far are my appetite is enormous and I feel like I'm never satiated. And I suddenly have a "ripped" stomach. It's not bodybuilder-like but it is noticeably different. The gf also said that lately I've been in a really good mood all of the time. Not sure if this has anything to do with biking but I like to think it is.

I've really come to detest driving in all honesty. I can feel the mental difference when driving a car versus riding a bike or walking. Stress vs a feeling of freedom. I drive to the burbs every weekend out of necessity and that's plenty of driving for me every week. I wish I could eliminate that but all my family lives in suburbs (south of me) and even my son stays with his mom in another suburb (north of me). There's just too much damn sprawl here.

Ok, rant over, bike commuting is going well :)
My mood improves the more I bike too, but my ripped stomach is still hiding under some other stuff. Props to you for all the biking.

There's certainly a different mindset to driving versus biking. When I pedal I can go as fast as I want to, I don't have to worry about parking, I feel less aggravated and more accomplished.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on August 15, 2018, 04:59:08 PM
Driving makes me angrier than anything else in my life except reading the news. People are so BAD at it! Not to mention rude!

So biking is a good way to improve my mood just by removing that frustration from my daily life.

Er, if only I did it more often...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on August 18, 2018, 03:00:08 PM
I really need more fluorescent/reflective materials like that if I ever want to commute in the evening.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: haypug16 on August 21, 2018, 01:09:21 PM
Yes! I need a bright/reflective vest like that but I'm in the No Clothes Shopping Challenge!!! Maybe that wont count since it's for safety reasons? ;)

I have been slacking terribly with biking to work. Ever time I'm like "tomorrow I'm going to ride" I check the weather and see it's going to rain, like tomorrow. So I plan to ride Thursday and Friday when it's not going to rain. I figure if I write it down here then I have to stick to it, right?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 21, 2018, 01:25:28 PM
Yes! I need a bright/reflective vest like that but I'm in the No Clothes Shopping Challenge!!! Maybe that wont count since it's for safety reasons? ;)

I have been slacking terribly with biking to work. Ever time I'm like "tomorrow I'm going to ride" I check the weather and see it's going to rain, like tomorrow. So I plan to ride Thursday and Friday when it's not going to rain. I figure if I write it down here then I have to stick to it, right?

Buy reflective patches and sew them on a jacket you already own, or your backpack.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on August 21, 2018, 01:50:40 PM
Yes! I need a bright/reflective vest like that but I'm in the No Clothes Shopping Challenge!!! Maybe that wont count since it's for safety reasons? ;)

I have been slacking terribly with biking to work. Ever time I'm like "tomorrow I'm going to ride" I check the weather and see it's going to rain, like tomorrow. So I plan to ride Thursday and Friday when it's not going to rain. I figure if I write it down here then I have to stick to it, right?

Buy reflective patches and sew them on a jacket you already own, or your backpack.

I've done up my backpack with reflective tape, but this sounds sturdier...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: haypug16 on August 22, 2018, 10:52:57 AM
Yes! I need a bright/reflective vest like that but I'm in the No Clothes Shopping Challenge!!! Maybe that wont count since it's for safety reasons? ;)

I have been slacking terribly with biking to work. Ever time I'm like "tomorrow I'm going to ride" I check the weather and see it's going to rain, like tomorrow. So I plan to ride Thursday and Friday when it's not going to rain. I figure if I write it down here then I have to stick to it, right?

Weíll hold you accountable!
Iíll be checking back Thursday & Friday to see how you made out

Thank you!!!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: haypug16 on August 23, 2018, 06:48:57 AM
I did it! Rode my bike to work 9.1 miles in 1 hour. Hoping to eventually cut that time down a little but it's a nice ride and spending an hour outside twice a day is lovely.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 23, 2018, 09:02:02 AM
I did it! Rode my bike to work 9.1 miles in 1 hour. Hoping to eventually cut that time down a little but it's a nice ride and spending an hour outside twice a day is lovely.

Right on!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on August 23, 2018, 09:57:00 AM
I did it! Rode my bike to work 9.1 miles in 1 hour. Hoping to eventually cut that time down a little but it's a nice ride and spending an hour outside twice a day is lovely.
Nice! The distance makes it pretty easy to calculate how fast you're traveling. That'll be some good exercise.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: plainjane on August 25, 2018, 11:45:26 AM
Took a corner too quickly, banged my forearm and the handlebar on a tall standing rock. The forearm is scraped. The handlebars are now tilted (still straight) so the left is about an inch lower than the right. Not immediately clear how to fix the handle, and it chewed up one of my new grips.

Put a bit of a damper on the rest of the ride, and I'm disproportionately bummed about having to take my bike in for service.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 25, 2018, 02:43:29 PM
If the handlebar is actually visibly bent, I'd suggest replacing it.  You don't know what kind of fatigue the aluminum has after a crash, and having your weakened bars snap is a good way to seriously hurt yourself in an accident.  Most bike shops will have some cheap bars that have been swapped off other bikes for 10-20$, so it's not a crippling expense.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on August 25, 2018, 06:21:57 PM
Joining this thread because the tips from the seasoned pros are great!

Iím hoping to bike more because since DDís school moved to a new location, itís faster to bike (~30 minutes) than to take public transportation (1 hr 15 min). We donít have a car. The total ride is approx. 9 km on city roads, in Chinese traffic, in the largest city in China, with 8 bajillion other scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, bicycles, cargo bikes, etc. all driven by aggressive Chinese drivers.

Iím a total newbie and not a bike connoisseur at all. I have an e-bike that cost about $400 (Yunbike), which is a higher-end Chinese brand. They bill themselves as being a ďsmart bikeĒ because you can bind your bike to your phone via an app that tracks your distance, battery power remaining, etc. Itís quite light and works wonderfully well, allowing me to pedal when I feel like it, but coast when Iím tired. And I donít get to work too sweaty. And riding up hills becomes really easy, even when it is 100F (~35-38C) in high humidity) outside.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on August 25, 2018, 09:21:17 PM
My swim class finished today. I've been using it as a crutch/excuse not to do other exercise on the weekends, which are also my best opportunity to get some biking in. I need to be in better shape if I want to bike to work regularly, so it's time to get back into practice.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on August 27, 2018, 12:03:50 PM
Reach is a tricky one because there are so many ways to change it.  It seems like everything will throw reach off.

Wider bars shorten reach.
Raising your saddle increases reach.
Lowering your bars increases reach.
Saddle fore/aft changes reach.
Every bar has a different reach.
Reach to the drops is different than reach to the hoods, and changes a lot between bars.
You can change stem length to change reach.
The more your stem is angled up, the shorter your reach.
Swapped parts around again this weekend...

Old Setup: 90mm Stem + 100mm Reach, 125mm Drop, 42cm Width Handlebars
New Setup: 100mm Stem + 85mm Reach, 125mm Drop, 40cm Width Handlebars + Lowered 1 spacer
10mm Increase + 15mm Decrease + ? Decrease + ? Increase

Effectively I may have done nothing but spend $40. The bike felt good this morning, maybe better. My forearms weren't hitting the bar while I was in the drops and the bar felt like it was in a more useable position. It could just be a placebo effect... the new stem looks nice.

I gotta stop doing stuff that requires re-wrapping the bar tape. I've had the bike for 4 weeks and I've re-wrapped the bars 3 times =P It is becoming like a calming meditation... unwrap the tape, wrap the tape, breathe in, breath out...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on August 27, 2018, 02:45:04 PM
The other annoying thing you gotta remember is that you tend to get used to how your bike is setup . . . so sometimes even if you change it for the better, it will initially feel worse until you do a few longer rides on it.  :P

Wait until you start swapping saddles, trying to find something that's comfortable for 6 hours.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on August 27, 2018, 03:24:40 PM
Careful, don't scare off the newbies with all this talk of dialing in fit for long rides, better to take that to https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/guitarstv's-long-bike-ride-tips!/ (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/guitarstv's-long-bike-ride-tips!/).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: plainjane on August 27, 2018, 03:30:35 PM
Apparently I need a new stem, and my bike is too old for them to have one in stock. So I went to two shops, and the second one suggested I go to the DIY shop up the street because they have old bits from donated bikes they've stripped for parts. They don't seem concerned about me riding on the bike in the meantime.

And my squealing back brake is a great way to convince cars not to turn right into me at intersections. Much more effective than a cheery bell.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on August 27, 2018, 05:26:27 PM
Apparently I need a new stem, and my bike is too old for them to have one in stock. So I went to two shops, and the second one suggested I go to the DIY shop up the street because they have old bits from donated bikes they've stripped for parts. They don't seem concerned about me riding on the bike in the meantime.

And my squealing back brake is a great way to convince cars not to turn right into me at intersections. Much more effective than a cheery bell.
Needing a new stem shouldn't be a reason you can't fix the rear brake.

If you're OK riding with it bent, it might not be be too bad - the part would be further weakened if you bent it back. The type of metal it is made of also has a big impact - generally the harder/stronger an alloy is the more brittle it is. Stay safe.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: plainjane on August 28, 2018, 06:30:32 AM
Apparently I need a new stem, and my bike is too old for them to have one in stock. So I went to two shops, and the second one suggested I go to the DIY shop up the street because they have old bits from donated bikes they've stripped for parts. They don't seem concerned about me riding on the bike in the meantime.

And my squealing back brake is a great way to convince cars not to turn right into me at intersections. Much more effective than a cheery bell.
Are you up for fixing the squeaky brakes yourself? 
[]
https://www.ilovebicycling.com/how-to-fix-squeaky-bike-brakes/

Thanks for the link! I think it's an alignment issue. Not sure if I really want to fix it though - it is _very_ effective at getting attention when I need it. I can brake quietly in most non-emergency situations, and sometimes for emergency situations there isn't time for a bell or a mental space to remember to shout.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on August 28, 2018, 07:59:29 AM
Joining this thread because the tips from the seasoned pros are great!

Iím hoping to bike more because since DDís school moved to a new location, itís faster to bike (~30 minutes) than to take public transportation (1 hr 15 min). We donít have a car. The total ride is approx. 9 km on city roads, in Chinese traffic, in the largest city in China, with 8 bajillion other scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, bicycles, cargo bikes, etc. all driven by aggressive Chinese drivers.

Iím a total newbie and not a bike connoisseur at all. I have an e-bike that cost about $400 (Yunbike), which is a higher-end Chinese brand. They bill themselves as being a ďsmart bikeĒ because you can bind your bike to your phone via an app that tracks your distance, battery power remaining, etc. Itís quite light and works wonderfully well, allowing me to pedal when I feel like it, but coast when Iím tired. And I donít get to work too sweaty. And riding up hills becomes really easy, even when it is 100F (~35-38C) in high humidity) outside.

Welcome Freedomin5.

Keep us updated on how your commuting is going.

Thanks for the warm welcome!

Weíve biked two days in a row now. So far, itís been good. The weather has cooled a bit and itís only 30C now. The hairiest part of the ride is one particular intersection where we are crossing 14 lanes of traffic (7 in each direction), half of those lanes are on-ramps onto a major highway. I think Iíve figured out the safest way to cross ó there is safety in numbers so I try to bike in the middle of the 10-15 other bikes/mopeds/scooters trying to cross this massive avenue. Which basically means Iím biking as fast as possible with electric pedal assist on so I can keep up with the mopeds.

Other than that, itís a really nice ride on dedicated bike lanes that are separated from the road by barriers. My butt does tend to get a bit sore after the first hour or so but I donít want to upgrade it too much because that also upgrades the chances of the bike being stolen. Is there some kind of padded seat cover than I can just slip on top of my regular old seat? And take with me when I park my bike?

My goal is to work my way up so that Iím using pedal assist less and my own leg power more. Today, I biked a total of 31 km (20 miles). Biked to work after dropping DD off at school. Took me 1.25 hours to go 15 km, but that was because there were a TON of traffic lights and lots of other bikes on the road. I mustíve spent at least 15-20 minutes just waiting at red lights. It was still faster than if I had taken a taxi/bus since I was biking in rush hour traffic.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on August 28, 2018, 11:55:50 AM
The other annoying thing you gotta remember is that you tend to get used to how your bike is setup . . . so sometimes even if you change it for the better, it will initially feel worse until you do a few longer rides on it.  :P

Wait until you start swapping saddles, trying to find something that's comfortable for 6 hours.
It's been a long time(20 years) since I've ridden for such a long time(6 hours). Local bike shops have group rides that I've been thinking about joining in on. Going beyond my usual commute distance would be good and I've been itching to go farther.

Careful, don't scare off the newbies with all this talk of dialing in fit for long rides, better to take that to https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/guitarstv's-long-bike-ride-tips!/ (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/guitarstv's-long-bike-ride-tips!/).
Toy's R Us is gone, so a kid can't be a kid anymore... do I really need to admit that I'm not much of a newbie too?

I experimented with clipping in and using a backpack for the last few months.

Swapped out my SPDs back for my Power Grips and my first ride (which I did not have my feet in the straps) with the PGs had my feet flying off the pedals!  I didn't realize how much I took advantage of pulling up on the pedals on the back end of the pedal rotation. 

Installed my rack and pannier back on as well.  For commuting and errands around town, the PGs and pannier are a much better option for me.
I like SPDs, but I'm able to leave a spare pair of shoes at work. There are some SPD compatible shoes that'll allow you to blend in with the normies or pedals which have a larger platform for normal shoes, like the Shimano M324. Clipless pedals helped with some knee pain I was having, so it would be hard to switch back.

The hairiest part of the ride is one particular intersection where we are crossing 14 lanes of traffic (7 in each direction), half of those lanes are on-ramps onto a major highway. I think Iíve figured out the safest way to cross ó there is safety in numbers so I try to bike in the middle of the 10-15 other bikes/mopeds/scooters trying to cross this massive avenue. Which basically means Iím biking as fast as possible with electric pedal assist on so I can keep up with the mopeds.

Other than that...
"Crosses14Lanes" would be a great username. Maybe add "2x per day" as a tagline for extra street cred. That's commitment.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Moonwaves on August 29, 2018, 07:49:49 AM
Is there some kind of padded seat cover than I can just slip on top of my regular old seat? And take with me when I park my bike?

There are removable padded bike seat covers available (I donít have any experience with them and therefore cannot make any recommendations). 

Yep, I just bought one of these a couple of weeks ago and it has definitely improved things for me. I just got the standard one they had in the bike shop rather than spending time researching best ones. At this stage, I just need to make things as easy as possible on myself. There was a choice of wide or narrow and it cost Ä15. I've generally left it on for now but I have to admit I've wondered if I'm being too trusting. I think I'll probably continue to leave it on when parked until the first time it gets taken. Either it won't and it's all good, or I'll replace it once and know better for the future.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on August 30, 2018, 05:06:53 AM
For all you curious minds, here is how fourteen lanes of traffic in motion looks like.

In the second pic, I could only capture seven lanes. The other lanes are on the other side of the divider. So take that pic and double it to get a sense of the size of the intersection.

I also included a pic of the mass of motorists that I try to follow hen crossing a large intersection. I try to hide in the middle/back of the pack.

And just for fun I'm including a pic of cars trying to turn onto a road. I should preface this pic by saying that there was officially only one right turn lane and one left turn lane.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: x02947 on September 24, 2018, 08:03:37 AM
Hi yíall!  Essentially a biking newb here- havenít rode a bike since wandering around my neighborhood as a kid.  Iíve been wanting to get in on the bike to work scene, and scored a free bike over the weekend (Sedona XL Giant bought new about 4-5 years ago with some panniers).  Definitely need to get a lot better at biking before I attempt to make the trip to work, though.  Eventually, I will make my first commute on a Friday before a 3-day weekend when traffic is super-light, then work towards Fridays, and hopefully eventually just make it an everyday thing.  I would love to go back to being a one-car family, but thatís a (much) longer term effort.
 
The problem I will eventually end up facing is that I have a nice, flat, 7 mile ride to work that has big car-lane-width shoulders for the first 6 miles and then turns into a mass of cloverleaf on/off ramps and entrance/exit lanes for the last mile. My place of work is smack in the middle of this.  For a car, itís very nice because itís essentially like a 50 mph interstate- people getting on and off donít mess with you. There is a back road/trail I think I could take that would only add 3 or so miles, but I will still have to deal with passing at least 4 ramp lanes (on and off for each direction of travel).  I think I would just need to stop in the shoulder, wait for a break in traffic, and then make my way across.  Small beans, I suppose, to experienced bikers, but it is what it is to me.  I would be perfectly happy to cut off the road and do a bit through the woods but this is an old military base and they find old WWII/WWI munitions all the time.  I can move my commute times a little bit, but not very much due to little ones at home/DW schedule/etc.  (okay, in the spirit of MMM it's not *can't* but *not willing to make that sacrifice/effort*)

There is practically no biking culture in the area, and that little which does exist is focused toward group rides after hours for cardio exercise.  In my 3 years working here Iíve seen someone biking at coming/going hours maybe 5 times?  And those were along the nice shoulder parts, not at the hectic part.

So, I know what I want to do, what I need to do to get there, and how to do it.  I guess Iím just posting for the sake of accountability?   
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on September 24, 2018, 08:56:45 AM
Hi yíall!  Essentially a biking newb here- havenít rode a bike since wandering around my neighborhood as a kid.  Iíve been wanting to get in on the bike to work scene, and scored a free bike over the weekend (Sedona XL Giant bought new about 4-5 years ago with some panniers).  Definitely need to get a lot better at biking before I attempt to make the trip to work, though.  Eventually, I will make my first commute on a Friday before a 3-day weekend when traffic is super-light, then work towards Fridays, and hopefully eventually just make it an everyday thing.  I would love to go back to being a one-car family, but thatís a (much) longer term effort.
 
The problem I will eventually end up facing is that I have a nice, flat, 7 mile ride to work that has big car-lane-width shoulders for the first 6 miles and then turns into a mass of cloverleaf on/off ramps and entrance/exit lanes for the last mile. My place of work is smack in the middle of this.  For a car, itís very nice because itís essentially like a 50 mph interstate- people getting on and off donít mess with you. There is a back road/trail I think I could take that would only add 3 or so miles, but I will still have to deal with passing at least 4 ramp lanes (on and off for each direction of travel).  I think I would just need to stop in the shoulder, wait for a break in traffic, and then make my way across.  Small beans, I suppose, to experienced bikers, but it is what it is to me.  I would be perfectly happy to cut off the road and do a bit through the woods but this is an old military base and they find old WWII/WWI munitions all the time.  I can move my commute times a little bit, but not very much due to little ones at home/DW schedule/etc.  (okay, in the spirit of MMM it's not *can't* but *not willing to make that sacrifice/effort*)

There is practically no biking culture in the area, and that little which does exist is focused toward group rides after hours for cardio exercise.  In my 3 years working here Iíve seen someone biking at coming/going hours maybe 5 times?  And those were along the nice shoulder parts, not at the hectic part.

So, I know what I want to do, what I need to do to get there, and how to do it.  I guess Iím just posting for the sake of accountability?

How do pedestrians get around in this area?  Is it possible to get off your bike and walk on the sidewalk past the most worrying sections of road?

One section I bike commute through in Toronto is very with multiple on/off-ramps to major highways.  I'm able to get through it by being following the rules of the road, being confident, taking the lane when necessary, knowing my route very well, and making myself very visible (bright jacket, multiple rear lights, lots of reflective stuff).  It's not the most fun part of my commute though and would be daunting if you're new to bike commuting.

Definitely try a couple dry runs at very quiet times (Sunday mornings are great for this) to get a feel for the route before jumping in at rush hour.  My experience is that Fridays are often the scariest days to commute simply because people seem to be more rushed and in a worse mood.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: x02947 on September 25, 2018, 10:15:44 AM
How do pedestrians get around in this area?  Is it possible to get off your bike and walk on the sidewalk past the most worrying sections of road?

The road my building is essentially a controlled access highway.  There literally are no sidewalks.  I work on a military base, so I just come in the gate and my building is a few miles down on the main entrance road.  The trail I mentioned is one of the exercise paths that just happens to go to the headquarters building across the street from me.  There are no crosswalks, no sidewalks, or anything else.  Other than a few exercise trails, itís just pure road.   

One section I bike commute through in Toronto is very with multiple on/off-ramps to major highways.  I'm able to get through it by being following the rules of the road, being confident, taking the lane when necessary, knowing my route very well, and making myself very visible (bright jacket, multiple rear lights, lots of reflective stuff).  It's not the most fun part of my commute though and would be daunting if you're new to bike commuting.

Absolutely- I can logically see that itís just a few spurts than should be easily done with said mitigation. I just gotta push myself off the ledge and do it.  The base actually requires several high visibility/reflective measures in order to bike on it. 

Definitely try a couple dry runs at very quiet times (Sunday mornings are great for this) to get a feel for the route before jumping in at rush hour.  My experience is that Fridays are often the scariest days to commute simply because people seem to be more rushed and in a worse mood.

The weekends are absolutely dead on my road so weekend trials are a great idea.  Slightly annoying as they close the entrance gates near me on the weekends so I have go to the other side of the base then through to my entrance, but thatís just an excuse and not a really good one, at that. 

Thanks for the support and advice!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dvdvrhs on September 26, 2018, 09:17:09 AM
Coldest bike commute to date. Mid 50s F, ~13 C.

The wind was a bit biting, but I did okay with a jacket. I think gloves would have been VERY nice though.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on September 26, 2018, 10:31:06 AM
Yep, I'm slowly getting to probe colder/less convenient commuting temperatures.  My morning commute is is in the dark, and via e-bike (read: faster speed/more wind, comparatively less heat generated from the body especially since I strive for no sweating in the morning).  I've found that I kind of wanted gloves at 58-59 F, but it was ok without.  Seems like full-fingered gloves will be the first modification as it gets colder, followed by something for my ears. 

Also, we're predicted to have some rain next week, so that'll be an adjustment.  I've got some gear; hopefully I've prepared well enough!  Going to have to cut down on my speed for both safety and comfort, I'm sure.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on September 26, 2018, 10:50:05 AM
'Tis the season to light up.

I run a bright blinkie on my seat post and another on my backpack all the time now that it's usually overcast or rainy.  When it's very dark out I add in a bright headlight, two more lights on my backpack, and a blinking arm band on my signalling upper arm.  Yes, it's overkill . . . but lights are cheap and effective.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: moof on September 26, 2018, 11:33:55 AM
'Tis the season to light up.

I run a bright blinkie on my seat post and another on my backpack all the time now that it's usually overcast or rainy.  When it's very dark out I add in a bright headlight, two more lights on my backpack, and a blinking arm band on my signalling upper arm.  Yes, it's overkill . . . but lights are cheap and effective.
+1.  I started leaving my front 1400 lumen light in blinky mode starting this spring.  In broad daylight I have had a lot fewer cars try and turn through me or cut me off at driveways and intersections, clearly a few more cars see me in their mirrors than before.  Cars I never expected to yield often now do so rather than "going for it".  It is also fun to ride right up to driver side windows of cars that pull into the intersection and block my bike lane.  1400 lumens flashing 3' from your face is painful comeuppance.

Rear blinkies and reflective gear and stickers also make you stick out well, and indeed are cheap insurance.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on September 26, 2018, 12:46:31 PM
Joining in. I'm not a bike commuting newbie, but I've been making a big effort to increase my frequency and convert more non-commuting trips to bike trips. So far, so good. I've only driven the car once in the past 2 weeks.

One of the ways I've done this is to invoke the n+1 rule. My fleet now includes a proper commuter bike with a rack and it isn't so fancy I can't leave it locked up unattended somewhere. It's been game changing. My other ride is a fancy pants carbon road bike. Although I still prefer the road bike, it's got some serious drawbacks.

I even managed a 3 point trip earlier this week that I was initially nervous about. The trip was home to work, then work to sports practice, then practice to home. I was most concerned about the last leg because it's a bit further than my normal route home, it's later through a slightly sketchy area and I was worried about being too tired from practice to make it home in a reasonable amount of time. Turns out all my worries were unfounded, although I may still opt to drive once it gets really dark and wet this winter.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on September 27, 2018, 10:19:42 AM
It is also fun to ride right up to driver side windows of cars that pull into the intersection and block my bike lane.  1400 lumens flashing 3' from your face is painful comeuppance.
I'm not sure what situation you're talking about here. If this is a driver who is waiting to turn right in the bike lane because there is no dedicated right hand turn lane, they are exhibiting correct behavior unless they cut off a cyclist when they entered the bike lane. If you're traveling straight, then pulling up along the left side of the vehicle is correct behavior, but I'd try to avoid annoying the driver with your light in this situation. If this is a driver who approached the intersection on a cross street from your right, they are likely exhibiting incorrect behavior. However, I can't picture a situation where pulling up close to their vehicle is the correct behavior for you unless you're executing a Copenhagen Left. If you're executing a Copenhagen Left, then the fact that they're blocking the bike lane forward does not interfere with your travel.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on October 10, 2018, 12:46:29 PM
Biked to work today for the first time during the week, and the first time from my new place. I am not in shape! Puny little hills wiped me out. And even though I'm not carrying my bag on my back anymore it was still heavier than ideal - I could tell I was towing a weight. Time to reconsider whether I can leave my laptop at one place or the other.

I have a front light, two rear lights (one on the bike, one on the rack), a helmet light, and two flashing arm/leg bands. Not all of the route has a bike lane but it is all in a pretty heavily biked area so all the cars gave me plenty of room, and I made sure to claim the lane when appropriate. So I was wheezing but I felt pretty safe.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on October 10, 2018, 12:57:45 PM
Biked to work today for the first time during the week, and the first time from my new place. I am not in shape! Puny little hills wiped me out. And even though I'm not carrying my bag on my back anymore it was still heavier than ideal - I could tell I was towing a weight. Time to reconsider whether I can leave my laptop at one place or the other.

Good for you! Can you leave any of your clothes or other things at work to lighten your load? I leave a pair of shoes, pair of jeans, my towel (I shower at the office) and shampoo. The towel and jeans come get switched out once/week. Doing this lightens my daily load considerably.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on October 10, 2018, 12:59:56 PM
Leaving a pair of jeans here is an interesting idea!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 10, 2018, 01:34:11 PM
Biked to work today for the first time during the week, and the first time from my new place. I am not in shape! Puny little hills wiped me out. And even though I'm not carrying my bag on my back anymore it was still heavier than ideal - I could tell I was towing a weight. Time to reconsider whether I can leave my laptop at one place or the other.

Good for you! Can you leave any of your clothes or other things at work to lighten your load? I leave a pair of shoes, pair of jeans, my towel (I shower at the office) and shampoo. The towel and jeans come get switched out once/week. Doing this lightens my daily load considerably.

I do the same.  Although my towel/jeans get switched out more like once a month.  I keep shoes, soap, deodorant, and bike lock at work all the time.   :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on October 11, 2018, 04:03:49 AM
Just wanted to check in and say that I biked 46 km (28 miles) today, which Iím quite proud of, since I only started biking regularly in mid-August. It took me three hours (Shanghai city streets, a ton of traffic lights). My legs are a bit sore now. I must say, itís a lot easier to bike without stopping than to have to start and stop multiple times. Those last few traffics lights were rather painful.

ETA: Today, at the crazy 14-lanes-of-traffic intersection, I watched a long distance bus (think Greyhound bus) collide into a scooter. The bus was making a left turn and the scooter was running the light. The traffic lights were out at the intersection and there were two police officers directing traffic. So yeah, better slow (and safe) than sorry.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: runbikerun on October 11, 2018, 06:34:22 AM
After almost three years of taking public transport to work, I'm back to being a bike commuter; the bike has been converted from a racing machine to a workhorse (aerobars removed, rear rack installed) and I've picked up panniers in lurid yellow for maximum visibility.

I'm beginning to feel like there might be something wrong with me reading this thread: in anything down to 60f, I ride in a short-sleeved jersey and skintight bib shorts. Below that, I'll add a light cycling jacket, and if it's approaching freezing I add skintight leggings and gloves. Part of it is vanity (I happen to think my legs look goddamn fantastic these days), part of it is being overenthusiastic (in skintight gear, I can save two or three minutes over ten miles), but mostly it's because I overheat and sweat profusely at the drop of a hat, so I wear as little as possible.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 11, 2018, 07:07:14 AM
Everyone has different thresholds for temperature, but comfy depends on a lot of factors.  How long do you need to be cycling?  If my ride is a half hour or less I can get away with wearing much less clothing.  Is it pouring rain?  I find that I don't need as much clothing in snow as I do in rain.  If it's still I can get away with much less clothing than if it's windy.  Are you likely to get stuck in stop and go traffic?  If so, it's hard to maintain enough intensity to keep warm . . . whereas if your route is mostly quick moving you can hammer away the whole time.

I used to wear much less cycling clothing than I do now for a commute . . . but I've been caught out several times now where the temperature dips well below what was forecast and I've got a freezing 45 minute ride home.  I'd rather overheat and pour sweat than lose feeling in my fingers/toes, sneeze, and freeze.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dvdvrhs on October 11, 2018, 07:56:48 AM
Rode today in a new personal low. 44įF or 6.6įC. Also had a 17 kph wind in my face. Any colder and I think I'll need different gear. Thanks to this thread for the inspiration!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: runbikerun on October 11, 2018, 09:50:33 AM
My commute is 16km - there are plenty of lights along the way, but I generally try to stay above 30kph when I'm moving. I'm lucky in that I live in a temperate country, so unpleasant weather surprises are extremely rare. We can go several years at a time without a snowfall that sticks.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on October 12, 2018, 07:12:19 PM
Did a short 4 mile track on a hilly gravel road tonight to get some tougher conditions in for eventual commute riding...  and the results were...

The bad: I'm fat and out of shape!   I realize there is 25 pounds more of me than my average weight a little over a year ago.  So this $hit has to change.    And my bike isn't exactly light and has some serious condition issues with crosschaining and the brakes.   The tires are also original (~10 years old now?).   Time for a tune up!

The good:  I did get to try out the new lights I put on the bike (great call GuitarStv) and made the biggest challenge hill by gearing down as suggested here.    This thread really helped so thanks from a bikin' newb'!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on October 13, 2018, 01:33:15 PM
I biked in a second time yesterday. It was easier without lugging the laptop, but I actually took more breaks. I figured if I'm going to keep this up as a habit I should enjoy it as much/hate it as little as possible, so I took a full hour catching my breath whenever necessary.* (I also ate too much for breakfast, I discovered, but that's easily remedied in the future.)

I haven't figured out how to transport items like my instrument (viola) or a yoga mat, so some days still require a carpool.

*EDIT: the whole trip took an hour with the breath-catching. I did not stop for an hour every time I got winded.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: secondchance on October 13, 2018, 02:28:03 PM
Just started biking to work again -- 5.5 mi each way, which is perfect for me (about 30-40 minutes).

I don't want to make a big fuss out of special bike gear, but I tend to wear out my jeans on the seat and they rip in the inside of the thigh. TAfraid I need to start packing my outfit :(
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Penn42 on October 13, 2018, 02:35:58 PM
Right now it's down to about 40 degrees F in the mornings.  I wear my work clothes (boots, double knee Carharts, work sweatshirt) to ride in.  Cutoff for gloves is about 45 degrees.  At 35 degrees I'll add a layer between my shirt and sweatshirt and add a scarf.  Down in the 20's I'll ad long john's under the pants.  My rain gear is the very light variety and it and my lunch I carry on my back (no pannier). 

I ride a Trek hybrid that needs a new bottom bracket and brake pads, but I've been lazy and am putting them off haha.

Current commute is 2.8 miles and is wholly on a paved riverside bike path.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 13, 2018, 07:23:25 PM
Right now it's down to about 40 degrees F in the mornings.  I wear my work clothes (boots, double knee Carharts, work sweatshirt) to ride in.  Cutoff for gloves is about 45 degrees.  At 35 degrees I'll add a layer between my shirt and sweatshirt and add a scarf.  Down in the 20's I'll ad long john's under the pants.  My rain gear is the very light variety and it and my lunch I carry on my back (no pannier). 

I ride a Trek hybrid that needs a new bottom bracket and brake pads, but I've been lazy and am putting them off haha.

Current commute is 2.8 miles and is wholly on a paved riverside bike path.

You can get away cycling with a shot bottom bracket for quite a while (it just makes it a bit harder to go where you want), but don't neglect your brake pads!  They're four pieces of soft material that are all that stand between you and not stopping.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on October 16, 2018, 10:47:32 AM
I'm not sure what it was, but my third bike to work today was enormously easier than either of the first two. Small slopes that were wiping me out just a few days ago were a breeze today. So this is your motivation to give it another go, if your commute seemed overwhelming last time you tried it!

I've lightened my load since my first trip, which helped, but it wasn't any lighter than my second attempt, so that doesn't fully explain the difference. I think it was some combination of being better rested (last week I was still recovering from a tough move) and getting the hang of my gears again, and knowing the best way to do so on this particular route. Today I only got passed by cyclists who were clearly working harder than I was, as opposed to the first time when those 1-speed rentals were whizzing past like I was on an invisible hill they didn't have to worry about. And I've optimized the route home so that more of it is through campus - can't go as fast, but feels more comfortable.

I did get my bike light stolen yesterday, though. $20 lesson not to leave it on my handlebars.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 16, 2018, 11:46:16 AM
I'm not sure what it was, but my third bike to work today was enormously easier than either of the first two. Small slopes that were wiping me out just a few days ago were a breeze today. So this is your motivation to give it another go, if your commute seemed overwhelming last time you tried it!

I've lightened my load since my first trip, which helped, but it wasn't any lighter than my second attempt, so that doesn't fully explain the difference. I think it was some combination of being better rested (last week I was still recovering from a tough move) and getting the hang of my gears again, and knowing the best way to do so on this particular route. Today I only got passed by cyclists who were clearly working harder than I was, as opposed to the first time when those 1-speed rentals were whizzing past like I was on an invisible hill they didn't have to worry about. And I've optimized the route home so that more of it is through campus - can't go as fast, but feels more comfortable.

I did get my bike light stolen yesterday, though. $20 lesson not to leave it on my handlebars.

Tailwind.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on October 16, 2018, 12:04:16 PM
I'm not sure what it was, but my third bike to work today was enormously easier than either of the first two. Small slopes that were wiping me out just a few days ago were a breeze today. So this is your motivation to give it another go, if your commute seemed overwhelming last time you tried it!

I've lightened my load since my first trip, which helped, but it wasn't any lighter than my second attempt, so that doesn't fully explain the difference. I think it was some combination of being better rested (last week I was still recovering from a tough move) and getting the hang of my gears again, and knowing the best way to do so on this particular route. Today I only got passed by cyclists who were clearly working harder than I was, as opposed to the first time when those 1-speed rentals were whizzing past like I was on an invisible hill they didn't have to worry about. And I've optimized the route home so that more of it is through campus - can't go as fast, but feels more comfortable.

I did get my bike light stolen yesterday, though. $20 lesson not to leave it on my handlebars.

Tailwind.  :P

Probably the bolded part had the biggest effect. Learning which gear to use and when is a skill. The good news is once you have the skill it doesn't go away. So, if you give up biking at some point and then pick it back up again, you'll still be faster than you were the first time you started biking.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on October 16, 2018, 12:20:22 PM
Learning which gear to use and when is a skill. The good news is once you have the skill it doesn't go away. So, if you give up biking at some point and then pick it back up again, you'll still be faster than you were the first time you started biking.

Well that hasn't been my experience... I was doing okay with my gears when I was biking a bit more 6 months ago. ;)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 16, 2018, 12:21:57 PM
Occasionally I hit a perfect tailwind while going somewhere and it's incredible.  You feel light, powerful, and like an unstoppable force.  Then you go waaaaayyy too far and end up paying for it on the return trip.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on October 16, 2018, 12:28:51 PM
Tailwind would be an annoying explanation. I was hoping this was a permanent change. :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 16, 2018, 01:24:25 PM
Hi there! Can I join? I just switched jobs to one that is slightly closer. This new employer is lending me an ebike for the next six months with the caveat that I bike to work for at least 60% of my commutes. This is the start of week 2. The first week I biked 4 of 5 days. Today is Tuesday and the second day this week I have bikes so far.

My commute is about 9-10 miles each way. Technically someone other than me (stranger, more for, more time) would do this on a normal bike. The ebike was just that extra boost I needed to make the commute achievable with a bike for me. So far it is a ton of fun!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on October 18, 2018, 05:01:59 AM
Welcome, ysette9! I love my ebike. I would never be able to carry myself and DD on the 10 mile round trip journey to and from school, and then pedal myself an additional 10 miles to work were it not for pedal assist.

Iíve also just recently realized that I love having the speedometer on my bike. Itís fun seeing that Iím averaging a faster speed each week, and that Iím using less power to do so. I also like the odometer. My goal this year is to get to 1000km. Iím already over 800km. I know that is not much for some of the more avid cyclists, but Iím a newbie who only got my ebike last year, so this is a big deal for me.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Hopper on October 18, 2018, 07:32:18 AM
Love this thread for motivation! Not a newbie, but not as consistent as I want to be.  Now that the cold air is settling in, I need to keep motivated to get out there before 6am.  Its hard to get going, but feels great when I get in.   

Switched to an electric bike this summer.  What a change.  I am definitely not as hard core as you folks completely under your own power, but I make my 10 mile commute each way and get to my office by 6:30am- I love the fact that I can do it without feeling wiped out at the end of the day.   My pedal assist is like having a tailwind on demand!  I am so spoiled.  With the extra help, and not trying to go crazy fast, my commute is about 42-44 minutes in to work, and 50 minutes home (more uphills/more traffic).  My e-bike was a costco buy.  I worked out the numbers when I bought it in May so that 130 days of riding to work will pay it off vs the parking near my downtown building - When I drive, its a nissan leaf, so didn't factor in gas and for simplicity, didn't bother with wear and tear comparisons.  So far, I have 92 more bike commuting days to break even.  :)

I hope to see more posts from others to give myself the needed kick-in-the-tailwind-region this winter and stay on my bike. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 18, 2018, 09:20:05 AM
How much were your ebikes, if you don’t mind sharing? I haven’t priced any out yet as I still have 5 months to use this one. This one is really nice and apparently costs something like $4k. I find myself debating about the cost, and whether I can justify it for taking me off the road four days a week. But then again if I frame it as my mental and physical health, perhaps the numbers don’t have to add up? I do feel so wonderful on days I bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on October 18, 2018, 09:58:43 AM
My commute's getting easier each day! At this point I'm clumsier about actually getting together everything I need than I am about the biking process. Yesterday it took me nearly as long to get out the door - kept having to go back for something I forgot - as it did to actually get to work.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 18, 2018, 10:23:34 AM
My commute's getting easier each day! At this point I'm clumsier about actually getting together everything I need than I am about the biking process. Yesterday it took me nearly as long to get out the door - kept having to go back for something I forgot - as it did to actually get to work.
I agree that I am still clumsy about all of that also. I feel part of it is that I am adding gear over the first day I rode. Bike shorts (“butt shorts” as they are called in my household), bike gloves, wind breaker, little ear cover muff things to keep my ears warm in the morning. I am now looking into buying a sun visor to strap onto my helmet for the afternoon. I am going to look like such a fruitcake.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 18, 2018, 10:24:45 AM
My commute's getting easier each day! At this point I'm clumsier about actually getting together everything I need than I am about the biking process. Yesterday it took me nearly as long to get out the door - kept having to go back for something I forgot - as it did to actually get to work.

Pack everything in your bag the night before.  Inflate your tires, put your lights and bottle* on your bike.  Then in the morning you just grab your bag and go.

* Don't do this when the temperature dips below frreezing.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on October 18, 2018, 11:58:45 AM
I've already had a bike light stolen - I won't be putting that on the night before! My bike is in the garage 3 stories below my apartment. There's a lock on the bike room, but anyone from my complex could get access to it. (The bike is, of course, locked to a rack inside the locked room.)

I think more likely I can pack my bag the night before including with my light, water bottle, bungee net, and keys in it. Then rummage around in the morning to put them all in the right places on the bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 18, 2018, 01:16:54 PM
I've already had a bike light stolen - I won't be putting that on the night before! My bike is in the garage 3 stories below my apartment. There's a lock on the bike room, but anyone from my complex could get access to it. (The bike is, of course, locked to a rack inside the locked room.)

I think more likely I can pack my bag the night before including with my light, water bottle, bungee net, and keys in it. Then rummage around in the morning to put them all in the right places on the bike.

Yeah, I was thinking more like in my garage.  Never leave stuff in a publicly accessible area.  Be very careful to lock your bike so that the wheels on QR skewers or QR seat posts can't be removed and stolen as well  . . . replacing a rear wheel is painfully expensive.

Just make a habit of leaving all your bike crap in the same location (ideally near the door) in your apartment then.  Same location is super important because it develops into a habit that you don't even have to think about.  When you're missing something it will scream out at you (front light is not to the left of my helmet!) after a while of doing this.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on October 18, 2018, 04:48:44 PM
How much were your ebikes, if you donít mind sharing? I havenít priced any out yet as I still have 5 months to use this one. This one is really nice and apparently costs something like $4k. I find myself debating about the cost, and whether I can justify it for taking me off the road four days a week. But then again if I frame it as my mental and physical health, perhaps the numbers donít have to add up? I do feel so wonderful on days I bike.

My prices wonít apply to you, since Iím in China. I paid about $350 for my basic Chinese ebike. They do sell the exact same bike in the US for around $1000. The global (non-Chinese) website is https://www.uma.com/en (https://www.uma.com/en)

ETA: The English website is translated quite poorly. If in the off chance you can read Chinese, the site is https://www.uma.com (https://www.uma.com).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: slipslop on October 18, 2018, 10:30:54 PM
Just started week 2 of my first regular bike commute. It's a 5-mile commute with some great bike lanes on roads that aren't too scary. I'm on a hand-me-down bike, but I managed to adjust the rear derailleur so that I can get all 7 of the rear gears working. (Of course the chain fell off my front gears today, so that may be a fix for tomorrow.)

But new achievements every day. Yesterday I discovered that it hurts a lot less if I sit further back on my seat. Today I hit 16.5mph on a straightaway. A few days ago I started to feel stable enough that I'm not gripping the handlebars in terror for the whole ride. So far so good.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on October 18, 2018, 11:13:18 PM
Just started week 2 of my first regular bike commute. It's a 5-mile commute with some great bike lanes on roads that aren't too scary. I'm on a hand-me-down bike, but I managed to adjust the rear derailleur so that I can get all 7 of the rear gears working. (Of course the chain fell off my front gears today, so that may be a fix for tomorrow.)

But new achievements every day. Yesterday I discovered that it hurts a lot less if I sit further back on my seat. Today I hit 16.5mph on a straightaway. A few days ago I started to feel stable enough that I'm not gripping the handlebars in terror for the whole ride. So far so good.
Awesome!

https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: slipslop on October 19, 2018, 05:54:38 AM
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look.

I suspect that I'm having a couple of problems, which I'm slowly figuring out (much thanks to this thread, in fact.) The first was some chafing. I've started wearing bike shorts as underwear and that seems to help. The other problem is perineum soreness, and I think it's that I'm sitting too far forward on the saddle. When I push myself backwards, onto my buttocks, I'm much more comfortable. I'll likely try making some saddle adjustments over the weekend to see if I can push myself into a better position.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 19, 2018, 07:06:05 AM
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look.

I suspect that I'm having a couple of problems, which I'm slowly figuring out (much thanks to this thread, in fact.) The first was some chafing. I've started wearing bike shorts as underwear and that seems to help. The other problem is perineum soreness, and I think it's that I'm sitting too far forward on the saddle. When I push myself backwards, onto my buttocks, I'm much more comfortable. I'll likely try making some saddle adjustments over the weekend to see if I can push myself into a better position.

If you find yourself sliding forward in the saddle, it's possible that you've got your saddle tilted with the nose slightly down.  Try to level it out a bit and see if that improves things.  It's also possible that your saddle is set a bit too far back on the rails (or that your stem is too long) if you find that you naturally feel like you want to sit at the nose all the time.  Try moving the saddle forward a few millimeters or putting on a shorter stem if this is the case.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on October 19, 2018, 08:46:11 AM
After a few setbacks, I finally got the bike out again yesterday to run errands.  My rear light had broken and I wasn't comfortable riding without a light on my roads, but I finally ordered a new one.  I should be able to set up a crate on the rack, as well, which will hopefully be more comfortable than riding with a backpack.  I've also figured out that part of why it feels like it takes just as long to bike as to walk, is actually just getting the bike outside - we don't have a bike rack at our apartment building, which means I have to keep it in the storage locker in the basement.  Every time I want to bike, I have to go down, unlock the storage area, unlock our locker, pull the bike out, relock everything, haul it up a flight of stairs and out the door, and then I can finally walk it to the curb and get on.  Then the whole thing in reverse when I get back - open the main door with my keyfob, hold the door from closing while lifting the bike over the step/threshold, carry it down the stairs, etc.  It's a massive pain in the ass, but I don't think I have any better option right now.  I'll just have to push through the annoyance until we move next year.

In other news, riding in the cold sucks!  I need to get some gloves, and possibly grab a scarf to keep my neck warmer next time.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 19, 2018, 08:49:21 AM
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look.

I suspect that I'm having a couple of problems, which I'm slowly figuring out (much thanks to this thread, in fact.) The first was some chafing. I've started wearing bike shorts as underwear and that seems to help. The other problem is perineum soreness, and I think it's that I'm sitting too far forward on the saddle. When I push myself backwards, onto my buttocks, I'm much more comfortable. I'll likely try making some saddle adjustments over the weekend to see if I can push myself into a better position.
Not to delve too deeply into sensitive topics, but I want to ask about not wearing underwear with bike shorts. A friend of mine strongly discouraged me from wearing underwear and alluded to all sorts of disastrous consequences if I did. I only have one pair right now and don’t do laundry every day, so I’ve been wearing underwear. Is that going to lead to gangrene and losing important bits of my body or something equally catastrophic?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 19, 2018, 09:07:41 AM
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look.

I suspect that I'm having a couple of problems, which I'm slowly figuring out (much thanks to this thread, in fact.) The first was some chafing. I've started wearing bike shorts as underwear and that seems to help. The other problem is perineum soreness, and I think it's that I'm sitting too far forward on the saddle. When I push myself backwards, onto my buttocks, I'm much more comfortable. I'll likely try making some saddle adjustments over the weekend to see if I can push myself into a better position.
Not to delve too deeply into sensitive topics, but I want to ask about not wearing underwear with bike shorts. A friend of mine strongly discouraged me from wearing underwear and alluded to all sorts of disastrous consequences if I did. I only have one pair right now and donít do laundry every day, so Iíve been wearing underwear. Is that going to lead to gangrene and losing important bits of my body or something equally catastrophic?

Underwear has seams in areas where you tend to put pressure on your saddle.  You're more likely to get chafing and sore spots wearing underwear under bike shorts, and the underwear prevents the bike shorts from wicking sweat away from your ass.  Chafing can lead to skin infections (and the dreaded saddle sores) so it's generally recommended not to wear underwear under bike shorts.  Wearing bike shorts multiple times in a row can also lead to infections (and the dreaded saddle sores), so it's not recommended as well.

You might get away with either while going short distances in cooler weather (especially if you're having a shower immediately after your rides), but probably best to get a couple more pairs of shorts (fall is a good time to pick up discounted stuff on sale) so you don't have to worry about this as much.  It sucks to have to stop using your bike because you've got an oozing sore spot on your arse.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 19, 2018, 09:08:57 AM
After a few setbacks, I finally got the bike out again yesterday to run errands.  My rear light had broken and I wasn't comfortable riding without a light on my roads, but I finally ordered a new one.  I should be able to set up a crate on the rack, as well, which will hopefully be more comfortable than riding with a backpack.  I've also figured out that part of why it feels like it takes just as long to bike as to walk, is actually just getting the bike outside - we don't have a bike rack at our apartment building, which means I have to keep it in the storage locker in the basement.  Every time I want to bike, I have to go down, unlock the storage area, unlock our locker, pull the bike out, relock everything, haul it up a flight of stairs and out the door, and then I can finally walk it to the curb and get on.  Then the whole thing in reverse when I get back - open the main door with my keyfob, hold the door from closing while lifting the bike over the step/threshold, carry it down the stairs, etc.  It's a massive pain in the ass, but I don't think I have any better option right now.  I'll just have to push through the annoyance until we move next year.

In other news, riding in the cold sucks!  I need to get some gloves, and possibly grab a scarf to keep my neck warmer next time.
How cold is “cold” for you? I am a total wimp in that department.
I got these little ear cover thingies to protect my ears from the cold without having something that went over that head and interferes with my helmet. That has made the morning ride more pleasant.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on October 19, 2018, 10:11:58 AM
@slipsop @ysette9 @GuitarStv I heard cotton was the enemy. Ever since switching to these undies I've been feelin' fine: https://www.target.com/p/men-s-power-cool-long-leg-boxer-briefs-2pk-2-free-pairs-c9-champion-174/-/A-53786634

Target regularly has 25% off deals on Champion brand stuff.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on October 19, 2018, 10:31:16 AM
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/ has a buttload of tutorials for fixing everything on any bike(like tuning a front derailleur).

Where does it hurt? Finding the right saddle can take time. Local bike shops will sometimes measure your sit bone width to help you find the right seat.

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look.

I suspect that I'm having a couple of problems, which I'm slowly figuring out (much thanks to this thread, in fact.) The first was some chafing. I've started wearing bike shorts as underwear and that seems to help. The other problem is perineum soreness, and I think it's that I'm sitting too far forward on the saddle. When I push myself backwards, onto my buttocks, I'm much more comfortable. I'll likely try making some saddle adjustments over the weekend to see if I can push myself into a better position.
Not to delve too deeply into sensitive topics, but I want to ask about not wearing underwear with bike shorts. A friend of mine strongly discouraged me from wearing underwear and alluded to all sorts of disastrous consequences if I did. I only have one pair right now and donít do laundry every day, so Iíve been wearing underwear. Is that going to lead to gangrene and losing important bits of my body or something equally catastrophic?

Underwear has seams in areas where you tend to put pressure on your saddle.  You're more likely to get chafing and sore spots wearing underwear under bike shorts, and the underwear prevents the bike shorts from wicking sweat away from your ass.  Chafing can lead to skin infections (and the dreaded saddle sores) so it's generally recommended not to wear underwear under bike shorts.  Wearing bike shorts multiple times in a row can also lead to infections (and the dreaded saddle sores), so it's not recommended as well.

You might get away with either while going short distances in cooler weather (especially if you're having a shower immediately after your rides), but probably best to get a couple more pairs of shorts (fall is a good time to pick up discounted stuff on sale) so you don't have to worry about this as much.  It sucks to have to stop using your bike because you've got an oozing sore spot on your arse.  :P

If you're not going too far, or getting too sweaty, it may be fine. However, if you're female, you can also add recurrent yeast infections to the list of risks. It's a bigger problem in summer, so you may get away with it for the next few months.

Ditto the advice to just buy more bike shorts. The good news is that they take forever to wear out, especially if you keep them out of the dryer, so whatever you buy will last.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Raenia on October 19, 2018, 03:36:42 PM
After a few setbacks, I finally got the bike out again yesterday to run errands.  My rear light had broken and I wasn't comfortable riding without a light on my roads, but I finally ordered a new one.  I should be able to set up a crate on the rack, as well, which will hopefully be more comfortable than riding with a backpack.  I've also figured out that part of why it feels like it takes just as long to bike as to walk, is actually just getting the bike outside - we don't have a bike rack at our apartment building, which means I have to keep it in the storage locker in the basement.  Every time I want to bike, I have to go down, unlock the storage area, unlock our locker, pull the bike out, relock everything, haul it up a flight of stairs and out the door, and then I can finally walk it to the curb and get on.  Then the whole thing in reverse when I get back - open the main door with my keyfob, hold the door from closing while lifting the bike over the step/threshold, carry it down the stairs, etc.  It's a massive pain in the ass, but I don't think I have any better option right now.  I'll just have to push through the annoyance until we move next year.

In other news, riding in the cold sucks!  I need to get some gloves, and possibly grab a scarf to keep my neck warmer next time.
How cold is ďcoldĒ for you? I am a total wimp in that department.
I got these little ear cover thingies to protect my ears from the cold without having something that went over that head and interferes with my helmet. That has made the morning ride more pleasant.

It's not that cold, I'm just a wimp about it.  It's certainly going to get a lot worse this winter.  I hate being cold!  And the wind really cuts through you when you're moving fast.  I'll have to look into ear warmers for when winter really sets in.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on October 21, 2018, 10:20:54 AM
This thing is great: https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/en/ear-band/p/2435580001007
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on October 21, 2018, 09:56:53 PM
I started biking to work in late June, and also ramped up my biking for errands.  The first week of July, I needed to gas up my car, formerly my daily driver for a couple of dentist appointments that I couldn't quite find a safe biking route to.  I spent $10, which doesn't get you much gas in California. 

Yesterday, I finally needed more gas for a trip to the warehouse club, 3.5 months later.  Can't complain too much about 10 bucks getting me through more than a quarter of the year. 

We do have a family car that sees regular use, including my DW driving to work every day.  If I can keep this up on my car, we'll have to look seriously into whether we can get rid of it.  There have been a few times where the second car has been convenient, such as when DW's car battery completely died, but is that worth $600/year in insurance/registration, plus maintenance (and gas, I suppose)? 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 21, 2018, 10:32:23 PM
I ordered a sun visor to attach to my helmet and a pair of padded bike pants. If they work well I’ll get another pair so I can have two pants and a short in rotation, and hopefully be able to wash them frequently enough. You peeps have scared me into ditching the knickers while riding. :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 22, 2018, 07:18:52 AM
I ordered a sun visor to attach to my helmet and a pair of padded bike pants. If they work well Iíll get another pair so I can have two pants and a short in rotation, and hopefully be able to wash them frequently enough. You peeps have scared me into ditching the knickers while riding. :)

You might get better use out of a cycling cap rather than a sun visor.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on October 22, 2018, 08:38:10 AM
I ordered a sun visor to attach to my helmet and a pair of padded bike pants. If they work well Iíll get another pair so I can have two pants and a short in rotation, and hopefully be able to wash them frequently enough. You peeps have scared me into ditching the knickers while riding. :)

You might get better use out of a cycling cap rather than a sun visor.

Are sun visors and cycling caps better than simply wearing sunglasses?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Villanelle on October 22, 2018, 08:47:10 AM
This spring, I will be moving to a place that seems like it would be very bike friendly. (DC metro area) Husband and I are even in conversations about finally making the jump to one car.  (I'm askeered!) 

I own a bike.  It weighs approximately a zillion pounds and is too tall for me.  My feet either barely touch the ground, making it very difficult to get started (especially because it weighs so much!) or if I lower the seat more, then my knees are in my chest as a pedal.  In other words, I need a new bike.

If I walk in to a bike shop and explain what I want the bike for (local errands of probably 5 miles max, and most likely much less than than), knowing very little about bikes, will they be able to help me with everything I know.  I have significant social anxiety and one of my worst triggers is situations with strangers where I feel stupid and clueless, so while this may seem like a stupid question, I need to feel prepared.  So maybe I'm just looking for some reassurance that this isn't an unusual situation and the bike store folks won't bat an eye and will be able to help me. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Askel on October 22, 2018, 09:13:17 AM
If I walk in to a bike shop and explain what I want the bike for (local errands of probably 5 miles max, and most likely much less than than), knowing very little about bikes, will they be able to help me with everything I know. 

That should be no problem for most any bike shop, but be prepared to visit a couple. Some shops cater more to different groups such as the racing roadie or dude bro mountain biker.  Ask the guys at the shop if any of them ride to work and what they ride...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 22, 2018, 09:53:31 AM
I ordered a sun visor to attach to my helmet and a pair of padded bike pants. If they work well Iíll get another pair so I can have two pants and a short in rotation, and hopefully be able to wash them frequently enough. You peeps have scared me into ditching the knickers while riding. :)

You might get better use out of a cycling cap rather than a sun visor.

Are sun visors and cycling caps better than simply wearing sunglasses?

Sometimes (especially in the morning) just blocking sun at a particular angle is much more effective than wearing sunglasses.  A cycling cap can work as a sweatband on hot days as well (although if you sweat a lot it will only work for a limited time, and they do tend to keep your head a bit warmer . . . so YMMV).  Generally I'd much prefer sunglasses if the problem is the sun and it's a hot day.  Choosing between a visor and a cap, I'd go cap every time though.

Cycling caps rock for riding in the rain as they tend to keep the worst of the road spray off your glasses (and tend to keep your head warmer).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 22, 2018, 10:18:01 AM
The problem is that the sun is at an angle so it manages to sneak around the side edge of my sunglasses. I end up tilting my head to the side in an attempt to block the sun with my helmet, leading to a crick in my neck.

I did end up ordering an attach-on visor thingie that is made for racing, so it should be able to handle the wind of my ebike speed. :) I am prepared for it looking ridiculously dorky, but it will just fit in with the bike (butt) shorts and gloves and everything else. :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on October 22, 2018, 11:04:43 AM
If I walk in to a bike shop and explain what I want the bike for (local errands of probably 5 miles max, and most likely much less than than), knowing very little about bikes, will they be able to help me with everything I know. 

That should be no problem for most any bike shop, but be prepared to visit a couple. Some shops cater more to different groups such as the racing roadie or dude bro mountain biker.  Ask the guys at the shop if any of them ride to work and what they ride...

You should be just fine in nearly any bike shop. Getting new people to ride is fantastic for their business (new customers!) so they should be very accommodating. Wear comfy clothes and if you already have a helmet, bring it. You'll want to test ride a few different bikes on the streets nearby.

Ask the staff where it's safe to ride nearby and make sure you test the bikes on terrain that's similar to where you plan to ride (aka hills, traffic, gravel, whatever). When you find a bike that you just want to keep riding and don't want to take back to the shop then you've found the right one :-)

If there's some specific thing about the bike you don't like (seat, tires, handlebars, etc) ask if it can be changed if you buy the bike. I've done this with all the bikes I've bought. Seat changes are so common, most shops have a bin of extra seats somewhere they use to swap onto new bikes.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on October 22, 2018, 04:25:22 PM
I ordered a sun visor to attach to my helmet and a pair of padded bike pants. If they work well Iíll get another pair so I can have two pants and a short in rotation, and hopefully be able to wash them frequently enough. You peeps have scared me into ditching the knickers while riding. :)

You might get better use out of a cycling cap rather than a sun visor.

Are sun visors and cycling caps better than simply wearing sunglasses?

Sometimes (especially in the morning) just blocking sun at a particular angle is much more effective than wearing sunglasses.  A cycling cap can work as a sweatband on hot days as well (although if you sweat a lot it will only work for a limited time, and they do tend to keep your head a bit warmer . . . so YMMV).  Generally I'd much prefer sunglasses if the problem is the sun and it's a hot day.  Choosing between a visor and a cap, I'd go cap every time though.

Cycling caps rock for riding in the rain as they tend to keep the worst of the road spray off your glasses (and tend to keep your head warmer).
The problem is that the sun is at an angle so it manages to sneak around the side edge of my sunglasses. I end up tilting my head to the side in an attempt to block the sun with my helmet, leading to a crick in my neck.

I did end up ordering an attach-on visor thingie that is made for racing, so it should be able to handle the wind of my ebike speed. :) I am prepared for it looking ridiculously dorky, but it will just fit in with the bike (butt) shorts and gloves and everything else. :)

Gotcha. Thanks!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: moof on October 22, 2018, 04:50:35 PM
Cold weather Pro-Tips:
1)  Bar Mitts (aka Pogies)!  About $50 a pair (ouch), but you get neoprene over-mitts to hide your hands in.  Available for both flat-bar (mountain bike style) and drop-bar road bike style.  Cold hands suck.  These things are good for both cold and/or wet conditions.  Mine take about 2 minutes to put on the bike, so in shoulder seasons like now I'll take them off if the next few days look nice, or leave them one for months at a shot once the Oregon dreariness sets in for good.

2)  Dry-bag for your work clothes.  A $10-15 investment gets you a decent 10-15 liter dry bag for your work clothes.  Grocery bags are cheaper, but leak and get holes easily.  Waterproof panniers are even nicer, but also very pricey.  If you have cheap panniers, or just use a day pack, a dry bag will be plenty to protect your phone/wallet/clothes/etc just fine.  You may have one already in your backpacking gear if you are into that sort of thing.

3)  Gloves dryer.  I hang my gloves on the back edge of my tower PC at work, and the warm air drys them in no time.

4)  Store spare rain gear at work.  My worn out rain jacket/pants live at work.  Sometimes the weather is fine in the morning and I forget to take the "good stuff", so it is nice to have a set of functional beater gear in my cube to get home dry'ish in.

5)  Stage your bike gear the night before!  I am brain dead in the morning (especially when getting up pre-dawn), so I put my bike clothes in the bathroom, pack my pannier with work clothes+wallet+etc, and put my bike shoes+helmet+gloves+vest together next to the breakfast table.  In the morning I stumble to the bathroom, emerging dressed, feed the kid, and don the rest as I walk out the door to take the kid to the bus stop.  Half the time about a mile into the ride as blood/calories finally reach my brain I go through a slight panic about fearing I forgot something, usually it is nothing worse than forgetting to grab something for lunch.

6)  Stage lunches and spare clothes!  A couple frozen pucks from Trader Joe's (or wherever) can bail you out if you forgot to grab your lunch from the fridge on your way out the door.  Not as good as home cooking, but still better than eating out.  A spare set of work clothes bail you out if you forgot to pack something, or if your cheap plastic grocery bag let things get soaked.  Spare workout clothes are nice to get a run in at lunch, or to get home in if your morning cycling clothes got soaked and failed to dry out.  Keep a $20 in your desk in case you manage to forget both your wallet and already ate your backup frozen pucks.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 22, 2018, 09:28:48 PM
You’ve got me curious: what is a frozen puck?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: moof on October 23, 2018, 08:20:41 AM
Youíve got me curious: what is a frozen puck?
$3-4 frozen meal in a black tray.  They remind me of a hockey puck, and taste marginally better.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on October 23, 2018, 04:22:48 PM
Occasionally I hit a perfect tailwind while going somewhere and it's incredible.  You feel light, powerful, and like an unstoppable force.  Then you go waaaaayyy too far and end up paying for it on the return trip.  :P
The best tailwinds I've experienced have been occasional summertime rides home. Unfortunately the wind rarely shifted before the morning ride, so a headwind battle to work AND the wind direction was not right for bringing cooler air at night, so hotter than average ride home the next day. In winter, wind from that direction is usually accompanied by wet weather that has me seeking rides on the bus instead of riding my bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 23, 2018, 04:59:53 PM
Occasionally I hit a perfect tailwind while going somewhere and it's incredible.  You feel light, powerful, and like an unstoppable force.  Then you go waaaaayyy too far and end up paying for it on the return trip.  :P
The best tailwinds I've experienced have been occasional summertime rides home. Unfortunately the wind rarely shifted before the morning ride, so a headwind battle to work AND the wind direction was not right for bringing cooler air at night, so hotter than average ride home the next day. In winter, wind from that direction is usually accompanied by wet weather that has me seeking rides on the bus instead of riding my bike.

We get a lot of the leftover weather from hurricanes and tropical storms that hit Florida, which just means some rain, lightning and wind.  The best I've cycled with was a 50 kph tailwind with gusts to 65.  You can just put your feet up and the bike will start moving in that weather.  I'm close to 200 lbs and generally have no issues controlling the bike, but at those speeds the crosswind is quite challenging to deal with.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on October 24, 2018, 07:49:41 PM
Just had to share this photo from my ride yesterday.

I'd just like to point out the 1) red light, 2) massive thoroughfare during rush hour; you can't really tell but there are 8 lanes of traffic -- all those cars had the right of way as it was a green left turn light, 3) the fact that the old guy thought his motorized scooter could take on all of the cars. And it's not even like he had to wait that long. There was literally only THREE SECONDS left before the light changed to green.

Last week, I watched a coach bus (the Greyhound-type bus) hit a guy on a scooter. The scooter guy was wrong because he ran a red light going the wrong way in traffic right into the path of the left-turning bus.

On Tuesday, I saw the aftermath of a taxi who had hit a guy on the bike. The guy was in the bike lane crossing an intersection (he had the right of way); the taxi was turning right and apparently did not look before making the right turn. Cars often don't look or signal before turning or changing lanes.

This is what I put up with Every. Single. Day. I still like biking though because it's the fastest way to get where I need to go, and as long as you bike slowly and stay alert, you're generally okay. But all of you who talk about biking to work along a nature trail or whatnot are blessed beyond belief.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on October 24, 2018, 09:04:39 PM
Keep up the good work Freedomin5!

On my quest, the old bike has been upgraded!   New derailleur to fix the slipping gears, brakes, tires, a rear rack that will hold panniers if I get really motivated about this and a kick-ass USB-rechargeable headlight (thanks GuitarStv) plus a new MIPS helmet.   Promised myself this would have to do until I drop 20 lbs and get my fitness level up to where it needs to be...   Last bit is the cold weather bar mitts.   Then my reward will be a new ride in 6 months or so after I see how the bike (and my motivation) hold up through the winter months.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: JanetJackson on October 25, 2018, 07:10:51 AM
Just had to share this photo from my ride yesterday.

I'd just like to point out the 1) red light, 2) massive thoroughfare during rush hour; you can't really tell but there are 8 lanes of traffic -- all those cars had the right of way as it was a green left turn light, 3) the fact that the old guy thought his motorized scooter could take on all of the cars. And it's not even like he had to wait that long. There was literally only THREE SECONDS left before the light changed to green.

Last week, I watched a coach bus (the Greyhound-type bus) hit a guy on a scooter. The scooter guy was wrong because he ran a red light going the wrong way in traffic right into the path of the left-turning bus.

On Tuesday, I saw the aftermath of a taxi who had hit a guy on the bike. The guy was in the bike lane crossing an intersection (he had the right of way); the taxi was turning right and apparently did not look before making the right turn. Cars often don't look or signal before turning or changing lanes.

This is what I put up with Every. Single. Day. I still like biking though because it's the fastest way to get where I need to go, and as long as you bike slowly and stay alert, you're generally okay. But all of you who talk about biking to work along a nature trail or whatnot are blessed beyond belief.

Wow Wow WOW.
There's a dude who rides his motorized wheelchair/scooter directly along the center line of the busy road that I car commute home on.  He just powers ahead with a really obstinate look on his face and I guess so far hasn't been hit.  People do honk a lot though, because there's no berm and we pass maaaaybe a foot away from him.
My cycling endeavors have been nonexistent lately, as it's getting cold and I am a weak small baby who hates the cold weather more than almost anything.  I'd rather be punched directly in the face than walk outside for more than 30 minutes when it's snowing... that's how awful a person I am.
Working on being a better human.  Maybe I'll get to 31 minutes this winter.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 25, 2018, 07:33:53 AM
I've seen old people on motorized scooters driving down the middle of the road, and driving up the wrong way lane of road right next to an empty sidewalk.  I've never really understood the reasoning . . . originally thought that maybe they couldn't get up onto the sidewalk because of a lip or something, but I've seen them on occasion drive by 5-6 driveway entrances that are perfectly accessible.  ???

There are several types of vehicles that I've developed special rules for when cycling in Toronto:
Taxis:  They will close pass you, drive in bike lanes, cut you off, go through an intersection when it's not their right of way, switch back and forth between lanes unpredictably, run reds.
City Buses:  City buses stop often, but around here at least it's very rare for them to signal when they're going to pull away from the curb and start back up again, and they often don't use their mirrors.  (They also run red lights a surprising amount.)  I try to give a wide berth when passing a stopped city bus.
Big Transport Trucks:  This is mostly a visibility thing . . . I'm very careful never to go into blind spots or pass on the right.  Generally I'd say that transports are more predictable than regular traffic, but that can lull you into a false sense of security.
Luxury cars: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla . . . I've found that these cars are more likely to close pass than generic cheaper brand cars.  For such expensive cars you would think that they would come with turn signals as standard equipment, but judging by the amount of signalling I see from them, this is not the case.
Shiny New Looking Pickup Trucks:  I get a lot of aggressive driving in general from people in these vehicles.  Revving engines, close passes, screeching tires, slamming on brakes.  Behavior seems to be worse outside of the city when you're cycling in the middle of nowhere, they're much less of a problem in busy traffic.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on October 25, 2018, 12:59:13 PM
On Tuesday, I saw the aftermath of a taxi who had hit a guy on the bike. The guy was in the bike lane crossing an intersection (he had the right of way); the taxi was turning right and apparently did not look before making the right turn. Cars often don't look or signal before turning or changing lanes.
The right hook (or left hook in lands where drivers sit on the right side of the car instead of driving the car on the right side of the road) is the most common problem for cyclists. Most motorists are at least a little aware that a cycle might be coming if there is a marked cycle lane making them slightly more likely to look and/or signal. One intersection I frequent has a bit of a jog to the right on the street I ride on, so from one direction the lanes turn about 45 degrees to the right just before the intersection. I'm in the habit of always signalling my slight left to continue on the street as so many motorists turning right fail to signal or look at that point. The timing of the lights and traffic mean I'm almost always passing cars that had been waiting at a red as I approach the intersection. I'm sure more than a few motorists who failed to signal their right turn have been a bit miffed when suddenly a cyclist at full speed is signaling in front of them and crossing their path (I don't cross the path of right turning vehicles that do signal - probably about 1 in 3 cars not signaling at this intersection turn right).

There are several types of vehicles that I've developed special rules for when cycling in Toronto:
Taxis:  They will close pass you, drive in bike lanes, cut you off, go through an intersection when it's not their right of way, switch back and forth between lanes unpredictably, run reds.
City Buses:  City buses stop often, but around here at least it's very rare for them to signal when they're going to pull away from the curb and start back up again, and they often don't use their mirrors.  (They also run red lights a surprising amount.)  I try to give a wide berth when passing a stopped city bus.
Big Transport Trucks:  This is mostly a visibility thing . . . I'm very careful never to go into blind spots or pass on the right.  Generally I'd say that transports are more predictable than regular traffic, but that can lull you into a false sense of security.
Luxury cars: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla . . . I've found that these cars are more likely to close pass than generic cheaper brand cars.  For such expensive cars you would think that they would come with turn signals as standard equipment, but judging by the amount of signalling I see from them, this is not the case.
Shiny New Looking Pickup Trucks:  I get a lot of aggressive driving in general from people in these vehicles.  Revving engines, close passes, screeching tires, slamming on brakes.  Behavior seems to be worse outside of the city when you're cycling in the middle of nowhere, they're much less of a problem in busy traffic.
Your vehicle classifications seem universal (though I'd add SUVs with the pickups) and perhaps my city is better at training bus drivers to signal. I always get aggravated when an aggressive driver honks at me for taking a lane - particularly when I'm in a lane with painted sharrows and multiple lanes in my travel direction.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on October 26, 2018, 06:51:57 PM
Re: the right hook.  My take is drivers committing the hook (or near hook) arenít accustomed to cyclists riding at ďroad bikeĒ speed.  They underestimate the speed the cyclist is moving and think they can safely make the turn without a conflict.  Iíve seen it happen multiple times where the driver has the ďoh sh1tĒ look when they realize the cyclist is still next to them when they try to make the turn. The only way to prevent it is to be aware of your surroundings.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on October 27, 2018, 03:07:05 PM
Re: the right hook.  My take is drivers committing the hook (or near hook) arenít accustomed to cyclists riding at ďroad bikeĒ speed.  They underestimate the speed the cyclist is moving and think they can safely make the turn without a conflict.  Iíve seen it happen multiple times where the driver has the ďoh sh1tĒ look when they realize the cyclist is still next to them when they try to make the turn. The only way to prevent it is to be aware of your surroundings.

The other way to avoid it is to never pass a vehicle on the right when it's slowing or signalling at an intersection.  At intersections shoulder check, and if it's clear pass the vehicle on the left (or come to a stop and wait if it's not safe to do so).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on October 27, 2018, 04:42:53 PM
Re: the right hook.  My take is drivers committing the hook (or near hook) arenít accustomed to cyclists riding at ďroad bikeĒ speed.  They underestimate the speed the cyclist is moving and think they can safely make the turn without a conflict.  Iíve seen it happen multiple times where the driver has the ďoh sh1tĒ look when they realize the cyclist is still next to them when they try to make the turn. The only way to prevent it is to be aware of your surroundings.

The other way to avoid it is to never pass a vehicle on the right when it's slowing or signalling at an intersection.  At intersections shoulder check, and if it's clear pass the vehicle on the left (or come to a stop and wait if it's not safe to do so).

I would never do that.  I see the right hook situation happen when an impatient motorist passes a cyclist then slows down to make a right turn.  By the time they are ready to make the turn, the cyclist has already caught up to them.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Villanelle on October 27, 2018, 09:56:57 PM
My plan to avoid the right hook is to be painfully slow.  lol
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: sixwings on October 27, 2018, 10:46:37 PM
Yeah I'm always super careful about cars turning right, any car slowing down I'll start to watch for any signs they may be turning. I also bike pretty slowly, dont have my feet clipped into my pedals, and generally am very defensive. I've never had a problem or really even a close call and I bike 30-40km a day.

I have a friend who has been in 3 accidents, all from the right turn hook. He is a very fast, aggressive cyclist. He also does a lot of stupid stuff like cycle around stopped cars at stop lights so he doesnt have to unclip his feet from his pedals, etc. Don't be like him.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: slipslop on October 28, 2018, 09:41:27 AM
I find that I'm paranoid enough that I'm ringing my bike bell almost constantly, even around my fairly easy commute:

Part of me feels like I'm being really annoying. Part of me feels like it's helpful just to remind people that I'm there on the road with them.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on October 28, 2018, 11:42:57 AM
I pretty much just assume no car driver ever can see me and adjust my speed/direction accordingly :)  I find that on my beefy cargo bike I get a lot more room in the lane from cars, but I also tend to ride a lot faster than on my 'regular' bike, so intersections are dicier as drivers don't expect my speed.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on October 28, 2018, 01:59:21 PM
I find that I'm paranoid enough that I'm ringing my bike bell almost constantly, even around my fairly easy commute:
  • Car is parked but has brake lights on and I'm going to pass? Ring.
  • Car is out of my path but reversing into a parking space on my right? Ring.
  • Car is approaching an intersection and hasn't made eye contact? Ring.
  • Car is approaching an intersection and there are cars parked to my front, right, and I might not be very visible? Ring.
  • Car is approaching an intersection and looks like they intend to do only a "rolling stop" anywhere near me? Ring.
  • Car looks like it might make a right turn but doesn't have a signal on as I approach the intersection? Ring.
  • Passing any stopped delivery vehicle? Ring.

Part of me feels like I'm being really annoying. Part of me feels like it's helpful just to remind people that I'm there on the road with them.

Remember that only you are hearing every single one of those rings. A cyclist ringing a bell to catch your attention shouldn't be annoying to any reasonable driver.

I find I am still intimidated each morning by the fact that I have to BIKE to work, but the ride itself is more pleasant each time. On Friday I rode through a lovely mist on campus. Though, is there a trick for preventing my glasses from fogging up when I stop? I don't think it was the mist causing it - I think it's the heat/sweat off my face.

If we wouldn't mind returning the conversation to crotches... I have been biking in yoga pants and underwear. No problems so far. Am I tempting fate? I'm a lady, if that's relevant...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on October 28, 2018, 03:45:30 PM
If your body and your bits are fine in the gear you're using, carry on :)

I have friends who wear jeans to commute year round. For myself it depends on the bike saddle and how long I'm riding.

My regular glasses get too fogged up at stoplights from now until next summer. It's definitely the heat from my face. I wear sunglasses (with an amber lens for low light) that I already have or ski goggles once it's colder - they both are vented at the eyebrow to prevent fogging. I'm sure there are better solutions (like clear non-fog lab glasses bought cheap online) but that's what I've already got on hand.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on October 28, 2018, 08:11:30 PM
Slide your glasses a tad further down your nose, so they're further away from your face. Then when you exhale, blow out through your mouth and kind of down towards your chest.

When that's not enough, just wipe them off with your fingers.

Re crotches: I find I can wear whatever I want; until I can't. Once a saddle sore appears, it takes months to go away. However, it may just be an age issue. I never used to have this problem when I was younger.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 29, 2018, 09:15:47 AM
Flat tire this morning!
$&%#£€¥?!!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on October 29, 2018, 09:28:28 AM
The other way to avoid it is to never pass a vehicle on the right when it's slowing or signalling at an intersection.  At intersections shoulder check, and if it's clear pass the vehicle on the left (or come to a stop and wait if it's not safe to do so).
I agree that if the vehicle is slowing without a signal indicating that they will turn left, you should be very cautious about passing on the right. If they are signaling a right turn, do not pass on right without clear eye contact with the driver assuring that they are waiting for you. I try to always take my right of way when it is safe to do so as it avoids delaying responsible drivers who know and follow the rules of the road.

I find it most difficult time to avoid this problem when passing cars that are accelerating after waiting at a red light but still going slow enough to execute the turn. If they aren't signaling, there no indication that they might not be proceeding straight until they are actually moving across your path.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on October 29, 2018, 09:38:19 AM
Flat tire this morning!
$&%#£Ä•?!!

Drat! But you had the stuff to fix it and know what to do, right?

Two weeks ago I got a flat too. Someone had helpfully sprinkled drywall screws in the bike lane for about 500m worth of my commute. So not only was I late because I had to fix a flat, I also spent 20 minutes picking up all those screws so I won't get a flat every day for the next 6 months.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on October 29, 2018, 09:57:14 AM
Two weeks ago I got a flat too. Someone had helpfully sprinkled drywall screws in the bike lane for about 500m worth of my commute. So not only was I late because I had to fix a flat, I also spent 20 minutes picking up all those screws so I won't get a flat every day for the next 6 months.
I once identified a particular part of my commute where I was regularly picking up staples in my tire (my solution was to change my route - your solution was much better for the world).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 29, 2018, 11:22:58 AM
Flat tire this morning!
$&%#£€¥?!!

Drat! But you had the stuff to fix it and know what to do, right?

Two weeks ago I got a flat too. Someone had helpfully sprinkled drywall screws in the bike lane for about 500m worth of my commute. So not only was I late because I had to fix a flat, I also spent 20 minutes picking up all those screws so I won't get a flat every day for the next 6 months.
Oh jeez, that is horrible.

I tried pumping it up but it was dead. I threw it in my car and took it to the bike repair place at work. They told us at orientation that the ebikes are such that you pretty much need to be able to put it up on a stand to change a flat, so they recommended bringing them in instead. I was running late by then and am happy to let them change it for me while I work.

I woke up in a funk and really needed that bike to work this morning to work out the bad juju. Tomorrow!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on October 29, 2018, 02:39:30 PM
I really need to force myself to change a flat at home, such that I'm not doing it for the first time in the cold/dark on the side of the road.  I keep saying it, but haven't facepunched myself into doing it yet.  The rear wheel in particular looks to be somewhat of a nightmare for my hub-mounted e-bike, and at this point I'm not quite sure I'd be able to do it.  I have the tools/tube, but it still looks like a bear.

Ok.  Going to do the front one this weekend.  Accountability and stuff.  Depending on the results of that, will schedule up a rear tire practice down the (figurative!) road.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on October 29, 2018, 04:48:13 PM
I really need to force myself to change a flat at home, such that I'm not doing it for the first time in the cold/dark on the side of the road.  I keep saying it, but haven't facepunched myself into doing it yet.  The rear wheel in particular looks to be somewhat of a nightmare for my hub-mounted e-bike, and at this point I'm not quite sure I'd be able to do it.  I have the tools/tube, but it still looks like a bear.

Ok.  Going to do the front one this weekend.  Accountability and stuff.  Depending on the results of that, will schedule up a rear tire practice down the (figurative!) road.
The bad news is that rear tires get punctured more frequently than front (in my experience much more frequently). One explanation is that a sharp object may be lying flat on the ground, but disturbed by the front tire ends up pointy side up when the rear tire rolls over. Learning to take both wheels on/off is important.

On normal bikes dealing with the chain/derailleur makes the process slightly harder than the front, but I'd be surprised if it is very difficult to deal with the motor's wiring connection. A stand to hold the bike would certainly be nicer than flipping the bike over onto its handlebars and saddle, especially with the extra weight of the battery / motor and with electronic controls on the handlebar. I suppose you could disconnect everything you need to disconnect with the bike upright, then carefully lay the bike on its right side to take the wheel off.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 29, 2018, 08:27:14 PM
At 55lb it is kind of a beast to manhandle. I managed to get it into and out of my little car, but barely.

Luckily I got the bike repair shop at work to take a look. They replaced the rear tire as it was apparently shot. I suppose 1000+ miles on a tire will do that.

I can only imagine how interesting my 1 year-old would find a half-dissembled bike. ;)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: slipslop on October 29, 2018, 10:38:55 PM
Tried a new shower room at work today. It is much nicer than the one I was using before. It's got several little personal changing areas + showers. Of course, I have the problem that I get water everywhere when showering, so my stuff ends up getting all wet... Somehow have to re-learn how to shower so that it doesn't look like I've flooded the room when I leave...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: carozy on October 29, 2018, 11:17:10 PM
Hi, I'm joining.  Lots of good info here.  I'm just starting to commute by bike for my current job (used to commute for my previous job over a year ago, but that was only 1/2 an hour bike ride).  It's 9.5 miles which is long for me.  I took my heavy ebike and managed it in 53 minutes this morning.  It was fun and the time went by fast.  Better than sitting in traffic!  I'll see if I can keep this up.  I wish I had a bit more scenic route, but at least there were long stretches of good bike lanes and what hills there were were easily managed with the ebike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: DS on October 30, 2018, 07:52:37 AM
Tried a new shower room at work today. It is much nicer than the one I was using before. It's got several little personal changing areas + showers. Of course, I have the problem that I get water everywhere when showering, so my stuff ends up getting all wet... Somehow have to re-learn how to shower so that it doesn't look like I've flooded the room when I leave...

How clean is the floor? Do you put your towel down on the floor to step on when you get out? Dries the feet and the floor at the same time.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on October 30, 2018, 08:11:32 PM
Keep up the good work Freedomin5!

On my quest, the old bike has been upgraded!   New derailleur to fix the slipping gears, brakes, tires, a rear rack that will hold panniers if I get really motivated about this and a kick-ass USB-rechargeable headlight (thanks GuitarStv) plus a new MIPS helmet.   Promised myself this would have to do until I drop 20 lbs and get my fitness level up to where it needs to be...   Last bit is the cold weather bar mitts.   Then my reward will be a new ride in 6 months or so after I see how the bike (and my motivation) hold up through the winter months.

First real ride after the upgrades went great!   Just 6 and a half miles with decent hills and 50/50 gravel/paved roads averaged just under 10MPH (bike is NOT a higher end bike, nor am I a higher end fitness level (yet ;-)).    First ride with significant road traffic (thankfully in an area used to bikers) so that was educational for sure...   Now added rear view mirrors to bike and helmet to avoid pooping myself with the folks who come up behind quietly, then FLOOR IT when going by...   Fitness level and riding style lessons abounded as well...  Hit a wall on the tougher hill section, but then really recovered with a 2nd kick to finish up the last 2.5 miles.   Now also a Strava site user to keep up the stats, improve and build some cred' there.   Keepin' on, keepin' on!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on October 30, 2018, 11:28:05 PM
Keep up the good work Freedomin5!

On my quest, the old bike has been upgraded!   New derailleur to fix the slipping gears, brakes, tires, a rear rack that will hold panniers if I get really motivated about this and a kick-ass USB-rechargeable headlight (thanks GuitarStv) plus a new MIPS helmet.   Promised myself this would have to do until I drop 20 lbs and get my fitness level up to where it needs to be...   Last bit is the cold weather bar mitts.   Then my reward will be a new ride in 6 months or so after I see how the bike (and my motivation) hold up through the winter months.

First real ride after the upgrades went great!   Just 6 and a half miles with decent hills and 50/50 gravel/paved roads averaged just under 10MPH (bike is NOT a higher end bike, nor am I a higher end fitness level (yet ;-)).    First ride with significant road traffic (thankfully in an area used to bikers) so that was educational for sure...   Now added rear view mirrors to bike and helmet to avoid pooping myself with the folks who come up behind quietly, then FLOOR IT when going by...   Fitness level and riding style lessons abounded as well...  Hit a wall on the tougher hill section, but then really recovered with a 2nd kick to finish up the last 2.5 miles.   Now also a Strava site user to keep up the stats, improve and build some cred' there.   Keepin' on, keepin' on!
Congrats! You sound pumped. :)

I got to ride again today after my flat which felt great. I also got to try this mega-dorky brim I added to my helmet to block the afternoon sun. It was effective and didn’t blow off, so successful.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: slipslop on October 31, 2018, 02:16:08 AM
How clean is the floor? Do you put your towel down on the floor to step on when you get out? Dries the feet and the floor at the same time.

Did exactly that this morning and somehow managed to fling water slightly less far than yesterday.

Also I changed my first flat since I started riding yesterday morning.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: secondchance on November 02, 2018, 07:27:44 PM
Slight setback ... I rode most of the month, but my brakes were slowly going and my newfound confidence in traffic began outstripping my braking power.  So, I fixed my brakes and made them SUPER snug. 

The next week I got cut off by a taxi, hit my brand new brakes, and went down hard. 😂 I'm fine but busted my knee (and various other parts) pretty good.  That was Tuesday night and I'm still limping.  Hoping to be back on the bike for Monday.

I did get up and finish my ride home 💪

I was scared this would put me off riding, but taking the subway in my convalescence just makes me miss it even more.  I vow to be more careful with my brakes and my routes! I was coming from an unfamiliar place and ended up having my accident on a dangerous stretch of road I could have avoided.

Be careful out there and stay warm ❤
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 03, 2018, 12:19:13 AM
Biked to work every day this week! And biked home 4 out of 5. Me and the bike got a ride home from a coworker when lab dinner kept us there past dark.

The repetition made it a little harder - each day I was a little more tired than the day before - but I assume that effect will fade with practice.

Glad you're okay, @secondchance.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 03, 2018, 07:46:27 AM
Glad you are okay as well.

I biked four of five days this week a FI am still physically wiped out. That was at least my third week biking so I am not sure why it is still doing that to me. It doesn’t help that work has been crazy so I’ve had a lot of late nights. Those should be done for a little while though as of last night.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on November 03, 2018, 08:36:01 AM
Yeah, me too, and Iíve been biking 3-4 times per week since August! I think itís because Iíve been pedaling more rather than depending on the electric assist on my ebike. Legs are kind of sore now.

I used to worry about being stinky and sweaty when I got to work, but guess what? No one actually cares, and apparently I donít actually stink that bad. At least no one has commented or gagged or run screaming from my office. I havenít even used the wipes that I carry in my bag in about a month.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on November 03, 2018, 09:23:55 AM
The trick to not feeling gassed by Friday is to get fitter than you need to be for commuting. So if you can do some sort of cross training on the weekend it'll help.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 03, 2018, 06:51:58 PM
The trick to not feeling gassed by Friday is to get fitter than you need to be for commuting. So if you can do some sort of cross training on the weekend it'll help.

Monday - No coffee
Tuesday - Half a cup of coffee
Wednesday - Big cup of coffee
Thursday - Double espresso
Friday - Three double espressos


:P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on November 04, 2018, 05:45:38 PM
Lessons learned in biking this weekend by "a friend"... 

Don't inflate your new tires w/intertubes on your bike with a full sized power air compressor and a car tire gauge that isn't very precise...

It is possible to get a "bad" replacement intertube with a bad valve that won't inflate with any form of air source or multiple air nozzles (or amount of colorful language for good measure).   

Having a buddy who owns a bike shop will easily address both issues above... but will involve a lot of laughing at your expense.

Buying a nice quality bike tire air pump with a pressure gauge that on both common types of air valves (Schrader & Presta) is worth every penny to avoid all 3 lessons above!    Yes, all these things were learned by that person.  ;)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 04, 2018, 07:34:26 PM
I've requested a pump with a pressure gauge for Christmas. (In my family there is a moratorium on buying things for yourself at this time of year.) Right now I just have a hand pump.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: runbikerun on November 05, 2018, 10:14:03 AM
A proper track pump makes a colossal difference. It takes about twenty seconds to get a road bike tyre to 80psi, as opposed to the effectively infinite length of time it takes to do the same thing with a portable pump.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on November 05, 2018, 10:17:47 AM
Yes and they can be used on the car too, rather than trusting unreliable garage air machines. A track pump is well worth it for someone regularly cycling.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 05, 2018, 10:21:09 AM
Yes and they can be used on the car too, rather than trusting unreliable garage air machines. A track pump is well worth it for someone regularly cycling.

I've been pumping my car's tires with my track pump for years now.  It's a good workout and saves me a dollar + trip to the gas station for air.

:P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on November 05, 2018, 10:30:54 AM
So I managed to bike slightly more kms in October than in September. Just an extra 300m, but it felt like a pretty big accomplishment considering I lost an entire week early in the month after my back seized up. It's still not 100%, but at least I can get around again.

Another milestone is that when I was inflating the tires on my grocery trailer this weekend before heading to the store, I noticed both tires were pretty bald. The rubber was completely worn away in a couple spots. So, new tires were added to my list and will get installed this week. Bought the trailer in already well used condition, but I'm still impressed it's been used enough to wear out the tires.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: never give up on November 05, 2018, 11:08:03 AM
Yes and they can be used on the car too, rather than trusting unreliable garage air machines. A track pump is well worth it for someone regularly cycling.

I've been pumping my car's tires with my track pump for years now.  It's a good workout and saves me a dollar + trip to the gas station for air.

:P

Yes me too. I remember seeing some report that here in the U.K. 75% of all garage air machines are hugely inaccurate to the point you could be 15-20% out from what you think youíve put in. I was horrified, but had been using my track pump for several years by that point and vowed to use it on my car forever more. Youíre right, when all four tyres need filling itís a terrific workout.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 05, 2018, 11:24:53 AM
Not to work, but biking in general.

We went on a family ride yesterday with the two Littles in the trailer behind my ebike. They are getting pretty good about being okay back there. We ply them with books and snacks and water and then I got to listen to the big one tell me all the way hoke how the little one dumped her Cheerios all over the floor of the trailer. Whatevs, kiddo. I am rich. I can buy you more Cheerios! :)

Seriously though, my husband and I feel so great when we do these outings and I figure it is teaching the kids to suck it up and learn to appreciate with us.

Biking to work this morning was different with the time change. The sun was up so much higher that there were a lot more bicyclists on the roads and trails than I am used to seeing.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: haflander on November 05, 2018, 12:15:47 PM
I'm ecstatic to be officially joining this thread, woo! It's more for accountability with myself vs anything else. I'm in the application process for an apt that's 1.5 miles away from work. My plan is to walk on nice days, bike in hot/cold weather (or if in a hurry), and avoid driving to/from work as much as possible. I'll be moving at the end of this month, which is great timing because I can get acclimated to the weather before our semi-Winter begins, probably in January. Previous driving commute was only 10 miles but usually 30 minutes due to a bazillion stop lights, drivers, and no decent alternative. It'll be beyond awesome to exchange that drive with a walk and get there in about the same time or less! Way less on biking days!!

Route is only two roads and possibly a short trail for a shortcut (need to investigate). The last half is on a road that goes under a busy tollway and keeps on going right to my office building, including a little bike rack in the parking garage. Both roads have four lanes and big sidewalks, but a lot of entrances/exits for apts and offices that will necessitate wariness and caution. BONUS/HAZARD (not sure, maybe you can tell me?): right around halfway is an elementary school with school zone limits. My first thought was that this would help cars be more aware of pedestrians/bikers...then I thought that it might be a net negative if there's a lot of traffic and angry late parents zooming in their Tahoes. I live right next to an elementary school now and definitely avoid walking the dog in that time/area. JACKPOT: office building also has a gym with nice showers. Idk if walking to work would break a sweat in the morning, but I'll have showers if necessary. I guess the plan for now whether biking or walking is to use a backpack to bring clothes and then change at work.

I know ya'll are probably thinking I'm so spoiled and lucky with a microscopic commute. However, I'm really inspired by reading about your legit biking commutes and want to use your words here to help my resolve when it's cold/rainy. Happy to join the club.

Only 1 ? for now...what time do ya'll bike? What are the optimal times to avoid rush hour drivers? My office is pretty flexible on schedule. For example, my cube neighbor gets here early (not sure when) and leaves at 3 everyday!! wtf?!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 05, 2018, 12:21:46 PM
How fantastic that will be! I am one who tends to get in around 7:30 and leaves at 16:00 on the dot. In my old industry getting in by 7:00 was completely normal and no one blinked an eye at starting your work day at 6:00. Being on the road closer to 8:00 for me means many more cars and bikes on the road and more red lights.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 05, 2018, 01:17:17 PM
Biking to work this morning was different with the time change. The sun was up so much higher that there were a lot more bicyclists on the roads and trails than I am used to seeing.

I got up an hour earlier. Or rather, I got up at the same time and everyone else got up an hour later. Far less traffic and no lost sleep.

I know ya'll are probably thinking I'm so spoiled and lucky with a microscopic commute. However, I'm really inspired by reading about your legit biking commutes and want to use your words here to help my resolve when it's cold/rainy. Happy to join the club.

This thread is for people starting out on biking to work. There is no commute too easy for inclusion. :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on November 05, 2018, 02:18:23 PM
I'm ecstatic to be officially joining this thread, woo! It's more for accountability with myself vs anything else. I'm in the application process for an apt that's 1.5 miles away from work. My plan is to walk on nice days, bike in hot/cold weather (or if in a hurry), and avoid driving to/from work as much as possible. I'll be moving at the end of this month, which is great timing because I can get acclimated to the weather before our semi-Winter begins, probably in January. Previous driving commute was only 10 miles but usually 30 minutes due to a bazillion stop lights, drivers, and no decent alternative. It'll be beyond awesome to exchange that drive with a walk and get there in about the same time or less! Way less on biking days!!

Route is only two roads and possibly a short trail for a shortcut (need to investigate). The last half is on a road that goes under a busy tollway and keeps on going right to my office building, including a little bike rack in the parking garage. Both roads have four lanes and big sidewalks, but a lot of entrances/exits for apts and offices that will necessitate wariness and caution. BONUS/HAZARD (not sure, maybe you can tell me?): right around halfway is an elementary school with school zone limits. My first thought was that this would help cars be more aware of pedestrians/bikers...then I thought that it might be a net negative if there's a lot of traffic and angry late parents zooming in their Tahoes. I live right next to an elementary school now and definitely avoid walking the dog in that time/area. JACKPOT: office building also has a gym with nice showers. Idk if walking to work would break a sweat in the morning, but I'll have showers if necessary. I guess the plan for now whether biking or walking is to use a backpack to bring clothes and then change at work.

I know ya'll are probably thinking I'm so spoiled and lucky with a microscopic commute. However, I'm really inspired by reading about your legit biking commutes and want to use your words here to help my resolve when it's cold/rainy. Happy to join the club.

Only 1 ? for now...what time do ya'll bike? What are the optimal times to avoid rush hour drivers? My office is pretty flexible on schedule. For example, my cube neighbor gets here early (not sure when) and leaves at 3 everyday!! wtf?!

Rush hour in my town lasts for several hours, so avoiding it requires unreasonable time shifts. However, I actually prefer riding when the roads are nearly gridlocked vs when cars are moving faster. A big chunk of my commute is on a 2-3 lane highway with a nice wide shoulder. When traffic's at a near standsill, it's feels safer because of the low speed. Not sure what it's like in TX, but you may find something similar.

If you choose to ride on the sidewalk (I assume there's no bike lane or shoulder on the road) you're right to be very careful at each of those driveways. Those are what make riding on the sidewalk dangerous.

School zones are a mixed bag. Great that traffic is generally moving more slowly, but there are tons of distractions (kids everywhere) for both you and drivers. Plus, there's likely to be a lot of cars pulling in/out all around the school as kids get dropped off. School zones are only an issue for me in the morning because I don't leave the office till after the school zones are all cleared out for the day.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 05, 2018, 11:04:00 PM
Another flat! Thankfully this was only four blocks from home, but damn.

Grump grump grump.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on November 06, 2018, 07:52:09 AM
Iíve officially biked over 1000km, according to the odometer on the bike! Havenít had any issues with the bike yet (knock on wood) but the brakes are a little wonky. One side is closer to the wheel than the other side and I donít know how to center it back. They still work and I donít bike fast (average 20km/hr) so Iím just making do for now.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on November 06, 2018, 08:47:41 AM
Iíve officially biked over 1000km, according to the odometer on the bike! Havenít had any issues with the bike yet (knock on wood) but the brakes are a little wonky. One side is closer to the wheel than the other side and I donít know how to center it back. They still work and I donít bike fast (average 20km/hr) so Iím just making do for now.
The good news is that when the brakes squeeze the rim they should self center on the rim so the brakes being off center when they are open should not cause braking power issues. If your wheel is true enough that you're not rubbing the closer break pad then there's not much harm to leaving it as is; however, if you can center your brakes, you could improve brake responsiveness by setting your open brake position to have a smaller overall gap from the rim. If the brake pad is rubbing the rim when you're not applying your brakes you are robbing yourself of power and wearing out your brake pad, so you should address the issue. One likely cause of the brake not retracting evenly is that the pivot points are starting to get gunked up and should be cleaned and lubed. It is also possible that the spring tension to pull the brakes away from the rim is not even (there are usually adjustment screws near the pivot points to adjust spring tension).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on November 06, 2018, 03:34:49 PM
Iíve officially biked over 1000km, according to the odometer on the bike! Havenít had any issues with the bike yet (knock on wood) but the brakes are a little wonky. One side is closer to the wheel than the other side and I donít know how to center it back. They still work and I donít bike fast (average 20km/hr) so Iím just making do for now.
The good news is that when the brakes squeeze the rim they should self center on the rim so the brakes being off center when they are open should not cause braking power issues. If your wheel is true enough that you're not rubbing the closer break pad then there's not much harm to leaving it as is; however, if you can center your brakes, you could improve brake responsiveness by setting your open brake position to have a smaller overall gap from the rim. If the brake pad is rubbing the rim when you're not applying your brakes you are robbing yourself of power and wearing out your brake pad, so you should address the issue. One likely cause of the brake not retracting evenly is that the pivot points are starting to get gunked up and should be cleaned and lubed. It is also possible that the spring tension to pull the brakes away from the rim is not even (there are usually adjustment screws near the pivot points to adjust spring tension).

@robartsd  Thanks, this is helpful! The brake pads are not touching the wheel (unless I squeeze the brakes), so I guess Iím okay. I do have a total noob question though ó what is a pivot point? Iíd like to try to clean/adjust the brake, but all the how-to websites refer to the pivot point, and I donít know which part of the brake it is.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: singpolyma on November 06, 2018, 03:40:25 PM
Iíve officially biked over 1000km, according to the odometer on the bike! Havenít had any issues with the bike yet (knock on wood) but the brakes are a little wonky. One side is closer to the wheel than the other side and I donít know how to center it back. They still work and I donít bike fast (average 20km/hr) so Iím just making do for now.
The good news is that when the brakes squeeze the rim they should self center on the rim so the brakes being off center when they are open should not cause braking power issues. If your wheel is true enough that you're not rubbing the closer break pad then there's not much harm to leaving it as is; however, if you can center your brakes, you could improve brake responsiveness by setting your open brake position to have a smaller overall gap from the rim. If the brake pad is rubbing the rim when you're not applying your brakes you are robbing yourself of power and wearing out your brake pad, so you should address the issue. One likely cause of the brake not retracting evenly is that the pivot points are starting to get gunked up and should be cleaned and lubed. It is also possible that the spring tension to pull the brakes away from the rim is not even (there are usually adjustment screws near the pivot points to adjust spring tension).

Is it not just a likely that the wheel is off-true? When my v-brake bikes start rubbing, that's usually the cause. Easy to fix on your own, still.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Yasha on November 07, 2018, 03:36:30 AM
Hello friends! Very newbie cyclist here. Last week I rode in to work (8km) on Thursday morning, left my bike at work over the weekend then rode it home Monday afternoon. Tuesday I rode it to work and home. Today I caught the bus, tomorrow I hope to ride depending on weather and tushie-tenderness.
I have booked in for a half-day riding course run by the council to brush up on my road rules (no car for the last three years and in this new city you must ride on the road not the path, heavy fines apply) and make sure that all my google-fu as to the road rules are what they are teaching.
Any tips for making the cars less mad at you? (or maybe caring less?) People are beeping at me, or overtaking me without moving fully into the other lane (moving over just half into the lane and zooming past me in the middle of my lane close enough to touch if I stretched out my hand) and it's unsettling... I almost want to get a shirt with this logo or stick it to my backpack or something...
(http://www.pedalpower.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Final-Jersey-design.jpg) but would they read it? Doubt it...

Question: Do you have a video camera (like a dashcam) on your bike in case of accidents? If I get smooshed I feel like my parents will want to know who did it...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 07, 2018, 07:06:44 AM
Any tips for making the cars less mad at you? (or maybe caring less?)

If you're cycling sensibly (don't weave all over the road, don't be overly aggressive, signal your lane changes well in advance, use lights and reflectors at night, stop at traffic lights/stop signs, etc.), most drivers are going to be pretty reasonable.  You'll always get a few folks who are having a bad day and see you as a vulnerable person that they can take out their problems on.  Honestly, there's not too much that you can do beyond taking a moment to try and figure out if maybe you did something that triggered their anger, and then letting it go.



People are beeping at me

Some people will go behind you and honk because they incorrectly believe that this is safer (by letting you know that they are there before they pass I guess?).  Not much you can do about this, beyond keep your cool and just ignore it.



overtaking me without moving fully into the other lane

You can try cycling further towards the middle of the lane, rather than staying as far to the right as possible.  There's some kind of psychological thing that goes on that makes a person driving really, really, really, not want to cross over the line into the next lane.  Often if you're cycling really far to the right, cars will pass you very closely in order to stay in the same lane as you.  When you ride a foot or two from the right you get more room to maneuver around obstacles (potholes/debris), but more importantly, it forces a car to cross that line and exit the lane in order to pass you.  Most cars don't care about close passing a cyclist, but are loathe to put a cyclist sized dent in their vehicle.  :P

almost want to get a shirt with this logo or stick it to my backpack or something

Unfortunately, the kind of person who is a dick to a cyclist isn't likely to change their behaviour by reading something on a cyclists back.



Question: Do you have a video camera (like a dashcam) on your bike in case of accidents? If I get smooshed I feel like my parents will want to know who did it...

Nope.  I don't think there's any real utility in having a camera while cycling.  Having a record of the accident doesn't prevent the accident, which is what you really want.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on November 07, 2018, 08:57:17 AM
Question: Do you have a video camera (like a dashcam) on your bike in case of accidents? If I get smooshed I feel like my parents will want to know who did it...

Nope.  I don't think there's any real utility in having a camera while cycling.  Having a record of the accident doesn't prevent the accident, which is what you really want.
I don't know. Take your recent hit-and-run. A video could be helpful to authorities in tracking down and prosecuting the offender. A video could also be used to get media attention helping to educate some drivers about their responsibilities towards cyclists. Having a record of a collision (it was not an accident - the driver intentionally put you in danger) doesn't prevent that collision, but it could prevent a future one.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: erutio on November 07, 2018, 09:24:16 AM
My first 5 out of 5 bike commute week last week.  I am a "fair weather" rider, and been averaging 1-3 days per week since 2015, and stopping through the winter.   This year, I'm trying to transition into a year round commuter.  Today I'm 3/3 for this week, plan to make it 5/5 for 2 weeks in a row.

It's getting colder and wetter in Chicago though.  How do you all deal with wet shoes/socks.  I have dress shoes I change into at work.  But my socks remained wet for most of the day.  I can get a separate pair of socks for work also, but then my sneakers are still wet when I put them back on to go home.  Are there any waterproof shoes that aren't winter boot-types that would work with biking?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on November 07, 2018, 09:37:47 AM
Hello friends! Very newbie cyclist here. Last week I rode in to work (8km) on Thursday morning, left my bike at work over the weekend then rode it home Monday afternoon. Tuesday I rode it to work and home. Today I caught the bus, tomorrow I hope to ride depending on weather and tushie-tenderness.
I have booked in for a half-day riding course run by the council to brush up on my road rules (no car for the last three years and in this new city you must ride on the road not the path, heavy fines apply) and make sure that all my google-fu as to the road rules are what they are teaching.
Any tips for making the cars less mad at you? (or maybe caring less?) People are beeping at me, or overtaking me without moving fully into the other lane (moving over just half into the lane and zooming past me in the middle of my lane close enough to touch if I stretched out my hand) and it's unsettling... I almost want to get a shirt with this logo or stick it to my backpack or something...

Question: Do you have a video camera (like a dashcam) on your bike in case of accidents? If I get smooshed I feel like my parents will want to know who did it...

GuitarStv said all the things I was going to say.

After years of bike commuting, I'm finally to the point where I don't panic when I get honked at. Instead I think, "Great! They see me!". However, for years being honked at scared the ever loving crap out of me on a visceral level.

Ditto to the advice to ride further into the lane to force them to give you more space when they pass. You could also try one of these gizmos to give the cars a visual cue as to how far away they need to be. I've always wanted something like this, but with a bingo dabber or wet paint brush on the end, so if they make contact their car will get tagged.

(https://i.stack.imgur.com/lM0I9.jpg)

Oooh, looks like someone's come up with a way to enforce the passing distance, https://www.citylab.com/life/2015/06/a-nifty-device-to-stop-cars-from-driving-too-close-to-bikes/397055/

I don't use a camera, but I don't think it's an awful idea. I live in a fairly cycling friendly town and the police take incidents seriously. I've called them a few times when a driver's actions have been egregiously dangerous. Thing is, it's only useful to call if you can get the plate# of the car. That can be hard to do in the one second it takes for the driver to speed away. It's even harder to get a decent description when your adrenaline is pumping. So a helmet mounted camera could help.

Of course the last time I reported a driver for nearly killing me the plate# and car description didn't match at all. The officer made it sound like the plates were likely stolen. Makes it hard to track down the offender.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on November 07, 2018, 09:44:01 AM
My first 5 out of 5 bike commute week last week.  I am a "fair weather" rider, and been averaging 1-3 days per week since 2015, and stopping through the winter.   This year, I'm trying to transition into a year round commuter.  Today I'm 3/3 for this week, plan to make it 5/5 for 2 weeks in a row.

It's getting colder and wetter in Chicago though.  How do you all deal with wet shoes/socks.  I have dress shoes I change into at work.  But my socks remained wet for most of the day.  I can get a separate pair of socks for work also, but then my sneakers are still wet when I put them back on to go home.  Are there any waterproof shoes that aren't winter boot-types that would work with biking?

I have a pair of waterproof Keen trail shoes that keep my feet fairly dry. The problem is they don't cover my ankles, so the tops of my socks get wet and then it wicks down into the shoe.

Most of the time I wear neoprene shoe covers over my bike shoes (I ride clipless). Keeps my shoes dry and my feet warm.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 07, 2018, 11:00:57 AM
overtaking me without moving fully into the other lane

You can try cycling further towards the middle of the lane, rather than staying as far to the right as possible.  There's some kind of psychological thing that goes on that makes a person driving really, really, really, not want to cross over the line into the next lane.  Often if you're cycling really far to the right, cars will pass you very closely in order to stay in the same lane as you.  When you ride a foot or two from the right you get more room to maneuver around obstacles (potholes/debris), but more importantly, it forces a car to cross that line and exit the lane in order to pass you.  Most cars don't care about close passing a cyclist, but are loathe to put a cyclist sized dent in their vehicle.  :P

I have read that female cyclists (which I am) tend to be injured more often because they are less likely to claim the center of a lane, and so people pass closer to them/us as @GuitarStv described. (Yasha sounds like a feminine screenname but of course I could be wrong.)  I think of this whenever I feel awkward about the space I am taking up. You have the right to claim the whole lane, and it is safer for you to do so. Be obvious and force people to go all the way around you. Don't be part of that statistic.

Admittedly I have still considered getting a shirt that says "THIS IS MY LANE, GO AROUND" because drivers still pass too close sometimes. But at least you have made them pay attention to you while they are passing.

Actually, the incident that really fired me up this week was the woman who didn't see me signaling my FLASHING BLUE LIT ARM to merge in front of her slowing car because she was texting - both hands in her lap with her foot on the brake, but still moving at maybe 15mph. I would have been hit if I were biking less defensively.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 07, 2018, 11:05:46 AM
My first 5 out of 5 bike commute week last week.  I am a "fair weather" rider, and been averaging 1-3 days per week since 2015, and stopping through the winter.   This year, I'm trying to transition into a year round commuter.  Today I'm 3/3 for this week, plan to make it 5/5 for 2 weeks in a row.

It's getting colder and wetter in Chicago though.  How do you all deal with wet shoes/socks.  I have dress shoes I change into at work.  But my socks remained wet for most of the day.  I can get a separate pair of socks for work also, but then my sneakers are still wet when I put them back on to go home.  Are there any waterproof shoes that aren't winter boot-types that would work with biking?

Wet feet suck.


I keep a towel at work.  After a wet ride, lay the towel flat and then lay your socks (and other wet stuff) flat on top of the towel.  Roll the towel up tightly, then walk on it.  Unroll the towel and your stuff will be like 95% dry.

If your shoes are soaked, pull the insoles out of them and roll 'em up in the towel along with your other stuff.  Then stuff your soleless shoes tightly with balls of newspaper or paper towels.  Wait about three hours and remove the newspaper/paper towels, they will have soaked up and removed most of the water.



Yes, there are waterproof shoes that you can buy.  (Google waterproof running shoes and you'll find a bunch.)  I got a pair years ago and use them (with wool socks) when it's really cold in the winter because they don't breathe and are very warm, and water would run down my leg and fill the shoe when it was really pouring . . . which is super gross feeling.  I'll occasionally use waterproof overshoes that I put over my cycling shoes when it's really pouring in warmer months and these work pretty well.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Villanelle on November 08, 2018, 04:12:08 AM
If you can't find a solution for the shoes that works, could you have two pair?  Ride in with pair A, leave A at the office and drive home in B, then B to work the next day, etc. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: mveill1 on November 08, 2018, 07:26:14 AM
My first 5 out of 5 bike commute week last week.  I am a "fair weather" rider, and been averaging 1-3 days per week since 2015, and stopping through the winter.   This year, I'm trying to transition into a year round commuter.  Today I'm 3/3 for this week, plan to make it 5/5 for 2 weeks in a row.

It's getting colder and wetter in Chicago though.  How do you all deal with wet shoes/socks.  I have dress shoes I change into at work.  But my socks remained wet for most of the day.  I can get a separate pair of socks for work also, but then my sneakers are still wet when I put them back on to go home.  Are there any waterproof shoes that aren't winter boot-types that would work with biking?

I have a pair of waterproof Keen trail shoes that keep my feet fairly dry. The problem is they don't cover my ankles, so the tops of my socks get wet and then it wicks down into the shoe.

Most of the time I wear neoprene shoe covers over my bike shoes (I ride clipless). Keeps my shoes dry and my feet warm.

May be pricey, but winter merino cycling or hiking socks will be dry at the end of the day as long as you don't leave them bunched up in your bag. As far as your shoes, is there anywhere warmish and discreet you could leave them? If they're not dripping you should feel pretty dry in your merino's... there may be a kirkland/costco line of merino socks that i'm sure are as good as any

I use traditional cycling shoes for my commute and these tend to dry fairly fast. but I did use to have a tower for a PC under my desk at work, I'd dry my whole kit on it!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on November 08, 2018, 08:34:35 AM
Tomorrow will be my first day of commute failure since late June, when I started biking.  I have a dentist appointment in the middle of the day, and it's too far away (and without a good route) to realistically bike in a safe manner.  It would also necessitate leaving work earlier to bike, which I'd feel a bit guilty about.  Given that work is on the way to the dentist, it doesn't really make sense to bike in, bike home, then drive to the appointment. 

I feel a bit bad about tomorrow, but I suppose this is one of the reasons I keep the car around.  Still, I think that 4.5 months since my car has graced the work parking lot is a decent achievement for someone who had never biked to work before.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 08, 2018, 10:05:36 AM
That is really good! I’ve been biking for only five weeks and four of those weeks I’ve had something come up that required a car one day of the week. An appointment that was too far away in the middle of the day, two flat tires, etc.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Yasha on November 08, 2018, 01:19:21 PM
Thanks for all the tips and tricks all! (The pool-noodle space indicator particularly resonates with me!) I rode to work again yesterday and left my bike in the office. Still working on those muscles so decided not to do the double trip in one day. I have the safe rider training on Saturday so I will figure out if it makes more sense to bus to work on Saturday morning, pick up the bike and ride from there to the training, or if it makes more sense then Iíll ride the bike home today after work and then from home to the training.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: erutio on November 09, 2018, 10:19:39 AM
New milestone.  Biked to work today in full on chicago snow!!

I've commuted in torrential downpour, (light) hail, maybe a small flurry, but never in real snowfall.  Now, it's still too warm for the snow to stick on the ground, but this was a big step. 

Wore my regular wool gloves + snowboarding gloves, face mask, goggles.   The only real part that was cold were my toes.  I wore my wigwam socks, with my usual running shoes, and my toes were frozen numb by the end of the 6.5 mile ride.  Still need to figure something out with my feet..
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 09, 2018, 10:32:50 AM
New milestone.  Biked to work today in full on chicago snow!!

I've commuted in torrential downpour, (light) hail, maybe a small flurry, but never in real snowfall.  Now, it's still too warm for the snow to stick on the ground, but this was a big step. 

Wore my regular wool gloves + snowboarding gloves, face mask, goggles.   The only real part that was cold were my toes.  I wore my wigwam socks, with my usual running shoes, and my toes were frozen numb by the end of the 6.5 mile ride.  Still need to figure something out with my feet..

Snow's not too bad.  I kinda like cycling in it, when it's falling heavily everything sounds softer.  It gets pretty exciting when there are five or six inches of the stuff down and you've got to jump from rut to rut.  Good exercise to brush up on your bike handling.

:P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on November 09, 2018, 03:10:52 PM
New milestone.  Biked to work today in full on chicago snow!!

I've commuted in torrential downpour, (light) hail, maybe a small flurry, but never in real snowfall.  Now, it's still too warm for the snow to stick on the ground, but this was a big step. 

Wore my regular wool gloves + snowboarding gloves, face mask, goggles.   The only real part that was cold were my toes.  I wore my wigwam socks, with my usual running shoes, and my toes were frozen numb by the end of the 6.5 mile ride.  Still need to figure something out with my feet..

Congrats!!! Isn't it a little magical?? I rode last night as snow was falling, flakes lit up by my headlight, cars slipping and sliding while I just kept trucking along. Looks like I'll need to buy a studded tire earlier than I was planning!

My mom keeps sending me boxes of disposable hand warmers so I've used those under my toes. They're annoying when I'm walking but I don't notice them at all riding. For commuting, I'd rather have warm feet than dry feet once I get to work, so I've also used plastic bags inside my shoes to help block wind (I change into scrubs anyway so changing socks/underthings is no biggie for me).

My son rides clipless and bought neoprene shoe covers a few years ago. He didn't end up liking them, so I've actually used those over top of my regular shoes, or inside my boots over my socks. More breathable than straight plastic. When I've used them outside my shoes, I haven't noticed any issue with being slippery on my pedals (since they're made for cleats and only have a small opening for the cleat) but that may vary from bike to bike.

Again, congrats!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on November 09, 2018, 08:38:12 PM
OK, the ride in the snow is awesome and officially makes any of us who complain about the cold a bunch of pansies.

So here goes...  New helmet (with nice rear view mirror attached) is ready to go for first cold-ish ride and new light and other bike goodies are setup satisfactorily (new front/rear light, rear rack for grocery/computer bags)... Just around freezing for tomorrow's ride time so this should be interesting.   The tips about feet being the worst thing to get cold helped...   Goal is 10 miles+ on a relatively flat greenway...  This Badger is almost 10lbs lighter now and has better gear than the first 5 mile ride there a month ago.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Yasha on November 11, 2018, 01:36:00 AM
Attended the safe city cyclists class ($25) run by the local council and I feel so much more confident about riding on the roads - plus the instructor pumped up both my tyres (both at less than half the psi they should have been, so wonder it was a struggle!) and helped me put my seat on straight so it doesnít keep poking me in the thigh and giving me a bruise. As part of the course we went for a 9km bike ride. I then rode the 7km home as well totalling 16km in a row. Tush is a bit tender but the worst bit is I got sunburnt because I forgot to put on sunscreen and the Aussie sun is merciless. Still very happy I went!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 12, 2018, 12:38:43 PM
I didn’t ride today. Partially it is because I went on little runs on both days last weekend and am tired. Partially it is because the air quality outside is unhealthy due to massive fires north of us. I have a face mask and will probably use it to ride tomorrow, but it made a nice excuse today.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on November 12, 2018, 01:10:47 PM
New milestone.  Biked to work today in full on chicago snow!!

I've commuted in torrential downpour, (light) hail, maybe a small flurry, but never in real snowfall.  Now, it's still too warm for the snow to stick on the ground, but this was a big step. 

Wore my regular wool gloves + snowboarding gloves, face mask, goggles.   The only real part that was cold were my toes.  I wore my wigwam socks, with my usual running shoes, and my toes were frozen numb by the end of the 6.5 mile ride.  Still need to figure something out with my feet..


Well done!  And here I was, feeling good because it was my first commute with the temperature in the 40s.  No, I didn't think it was a particularly impressive accomplishment, but it was still a first for me, and I enjoyed it (thanks to adequate preparation)! 

Still haven't dealt with significant precipitation.  Life in a drought. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on November 13, 2018, 10:22:14 AM
I didnít ride today. Partially it is because I went on little runs on both days last weekend and am tired. Partially it is because the air quality outside is unhealthy due to massive fires north of us. I have a face mask and will probably use it to ride tomorrow, but it made a nice excuse today.
Between air quality and DW's availability to drop me off/pick me up, I didn't ride the last half of last week after getting a flat (there was also other bike maintenance that needed attention that I became aware of early last week but did not prevent me from making my easy bike commute). DW's schedule doesn't allow for the drop off this week, but bike maintenance got taken care of yesterday and I rode again today. Although it will mean more days off the bike for me (no fenders), we need rain to come soon; but still none in the forecast.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: carozy on November 13, 2018, 11:54:33 AM
I'm another one not wanting to ride with this air quality.  I think I'll hit the gym though and get some movement in this week.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 13, 2018, 12:39:45 PM
My husband has a pack of dust filter masks and I took one to ride in this morning. He has also been riding this week. As he put it, it is important for his mental health. It was uncomfortable riding with this mask on as it got steamy inside from my breathing, but it is better, I suppose, than nothing.

I did have a laugh at the new record I am setting for dorkiness. (https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181113/d1ec2375b67721735b717c5173a1c5e4.jpg)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on November 13, 2018, 02:12:13 PM
Poor Bay Area air quality broke my 4 week streak of riding. I rode last Friday and it didn't feel like the brightest thing to be doing. I could tell I was a little more winded than usual, so I took that a sign my body was trying to tell me to degrease my chain, wash the frame, disassemble my bike and try to drill out a rusted stainless steel screw in the front fork so I can mount fenders for the future rainy days.

One news station was saying those N95 masks are only functional for about an hour, but they were wrong - the masks should last about 8 hours.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 13, 2018, 02:23:23 PM
Thanks for the info. We have a small stack of the masks so I can toss it tonight and use a new one for tomorrow’s commute.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on November 13, 2018, 08:27:53 PM
An hour?! I don't think that's correct. If they are properly fitted (providing a good seal) a mask certified N95 will certainly filter particles for the day. I've read studies in the past that showed anywhere from 2% to 50% decrease in efficacy after one WEEK (if I'm remembering right they were measuring daily wear in Beijing).

I believe most industries that require N95 wear also require changing them daily primarily for liability reasons. My hospital requires changing as we do any other mask (when leaving the sterile room) but I've worn them for at least 8 hours in a tuberculosis-positive case, and we are extremely conservative when it comes to possible pathogen exposure.

Changing them multiple times a day would add up $ fast!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 14, 2018, 06:01:19 AM
Poor Bay Area air quality broke my 4 week streak of riding. I rode last Friday and it didn't feel like the brightest thing to be doing. I could tell I was a little more winded than usual, so I took that a sign my body was trying to tell me to degrease my chain, wash the frame, disassemble my bike and try to drill out a rusted stainless steel screw in the front fork so I can mount fenders for the future rainy days.

One news station was saying those N95 masks are only functional for about an hour.

Very, very important to unscrew things from the frame and add a little dab of grease on the threads at least once a year.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 14, 2018, 08:09:19 AM
An hour?! I don't think that's correct. If they are properly fitted (providing a good seal) a mask certified N95 will certainly filter particles for the day. I've read studies in the past that showed anywhere from 2% to 50% decrease in efficacy after one WEEK (if I'm remembering right they were measuring daily wear in Beijing).

I believe most industries that require N95 wear also require changing them daily primarily for liability reasons. My hospital requires changing as we do any other mask (when leaving the sterile room) but I've worn them for at least 8 hours in a tuberculosis-positive case, and we are extremely conservative when it comes to possible pathogen exposure.

Changing them multiple times a day would add up $ fast!
I tried to do some searching online about how long they are good for. I only found a bit about using them in areas with infectious disease and it was saying similar: 8 hours or every shift.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on November 14, 2018, 10:44:14 AM
An hour?! I don't think that's correct. If they are properly fitted (providing a good seal) a mask certified N95 will certainly filter particles for the day. I've read studies in the past that showed anywhere from 2% to 50% decrease in efficacy after one WEEK (if I'm remembering right they were measuring daily wear in Beijing).

I believe most industries that require N95 wear also require changing them daily primarily for liability reasons. My hospital requires changing as we do any other mask (when leaving the sterile room) but I've worn them for at least 8 hours in a tuberculosis-positive case, and we are extremely conservative when it comes to possible pathogen exposure.

Changing them multiple times a day would add up $ fast!
I tried to do some searching online about how long they are good for. I only found a bit about using them in areas with infectious disease and it was saying similar: 8 hours or every shift.
Thanks for the info. I corrected my earlier post and added the 8 hour estimate. Good to know they may last longer. I'm not sure if things change while exercising:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/well/move/on-your-bike-watch-out-for-the-air.html
Quote
ďOur preliminary data shows that many bicyclists are getting a bit over half of their daily air pollution dose in only 6 to 8 percent of their day during their daily commutes,Ē

But just as important as the level of pollution in an area is the effort exerted by a bicyclist to pedal through it. ďWe know that just walking we are breathing in two to three times the air as we are when we are sitting,Ē Dr. Chillrud explained. Cycling and other strenuous activities like jogging and playing basketball boost the volume of air ó and therefore the particulates ó that we are inhaling. Dr. Jack, for example, breathes in roughly 8 liters of air per minute when he is resting; when he cycles that volume soars to 70 liters. Biking hard, uphill or fast increases oneís pollution intake still further.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on November 14, 2018, 10:53:39 AM
An hour?! I don't think that's correct. If they are properly fitted (providing a good seal) a mask certified N95 will certainly filter particles for the day. I've read studies in the past that showed anywhere from 2% to 50% decrease in efficacy after one WEEK (if I'm remembering right they were measuring daily wear in Beijing).

I believe most industries that require N95 wear also require changing them daily primarily for liability reasons. My hospital requires changing as we do any other mask (when leaving the sterile room) but I've worn them for at least 8 hours in a tuberculosis-positive case, and we are extremely conservative when it comes to possible pathogen exposure.

Changing them multiple times a day would add up $ fast!

Good to know. I should remember to pick some of these up over the winter so I'll have them ready for next summer. Sadly, "smoke season" has become pretty predictable here.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on November 14, 2018, 11:07:09 AM
Good question re: exercise and mask filtration. I'm not panting as much scrubbing a case as I am on my bike :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 14, 2018, 11:27:19 AM
I’m taking it a bit easier on the bike this week and not pushing myself to accelerate it always go too speed. It probably is a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, but may help a bit. It is also a bit uncomfortable to wear the face mask so I’m not having as much fun as I normally do.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 14, 2018, 11:39:00 AM
It sounds like altitude training.  Restricting the oxygen that your body gets during exercise actually forces it to use oxygen more efficiently (provided you're not passing out from hypoxia) . . . so the masks are actually making you stronger cyclists.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: runbikerun on November 14, 2018, 01:49:37 PM
Alternatively, just take a whole bunch of EPO, as it hugely increases your body's efficiency in utilising oxygen.*

*for the love of all that is good in the world, don't take a whole bunch of EPO.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 14, 2018, 01:59:19 PM
Alternatively, just take a whole bunch of EPO, as it hugely increases your body's efficiency in utilising oxygen.*

*for the love of all that is good in the world, don't take a whole bunch of EPO.

I will leave you with two quotes from Tour de Pharmacy:

Quote
In the autopsy, they found Juju was on EPO and cocaine, also some Insulin and Anabolic Steroids, Oxabolone, and, then Nandrolone, trace amounts of Norethandorlene and Furazabol.

They even found some Heroin in his system.

There was also Letrozole, Cyclazadone, some Estrogen Receptor Modulators, Raaloxifene and Tamoxifen, probably to ward off breast growth.

A lot of Oxycodone in his blood.

Phentermine, as well, Ortemamine, Bunolol, Lobatealol.

Plus, apparently he had hopped Ethanol and taken a couple of MDAs.

He clearly smoked some Crystal Meth and Crack and there was a Hormone from monkey testicles that he had cooked down into a broth that he drank.

He also had apparently eaten at least one sandwich at Arby's.


Quote
People dope! Yeah, they risk their lives. But, you know, this is a sport with literally hundreds of dollars on the line and dozens of fans that well - Stakes are medium!


:P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on November 15, 2018, 03:35:36 PM
Two cool things happened yesterday:

1. I received emails stating that they were offering a new parking lottery for some reserved spots that would rotate among lucky winners in my division.  If you wanted, you could opt out.  I quickly responded and told them that I have no need for their filthy parking space lottery.  Might as well give it to clown car slaves.

2. Someone self-identifying as "The Bike Fairy" left a bag of free bike stuff on my (and all other) handlebars, thanking me for bike commuting.  Not trying to sell anything, just an anonymous good deed from someone who must've spent several hundred dollars on this endeavor.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 15, 2018, 10:54:34 PM
The bike fairy is a lovely idea! What did you get?

On my commute this morning several cars and a bus were stopped because a tree had fallen over and was blocking half of a narrow road. I hopped up onto the sidewalk and bypassed the whole mess. :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on November 16, 2018, 10:31:14 AM
Very, very important to unscrew things from the frame and add a little dab of grease on the threads at least once a year.  :P
I'm not sure that every year is vital, but the grease does help prevent dissimilar metals from forming bonds over time. I learned this when I needed to replace the bottom bracket on my aluminum frame bike about 20 years ago (also learned not to lay a bike down on its side especially for transport). It took an impact wrench to get my old one off and I got the advice about greasing the threads. I've certainly allowed more than a year between bottom bracket removals, but I always make sure there's some grease there when I put it back together.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on November 16, 2018, 11:40:42 PM
The bike fairy is a lovely idea! What did you get?

On my commute this morning several cars and a bus were stopped because a tree had fallen over and was blocking half of a narrow road. I hopped up onto the sidewalk and bypassed the whole mess. :)

Hmm...got a rear blinking light, some hand warmers, a CO2 valve and some canisters, and some sort of massage/therapy ball. 

Yeah, I've had a few commutes where I've been able to bypass a big snarl of cars due to construction, accidents, or whatever.  I try to keep the smugness off my face, and keep it strictly matter-of-fact outwardly.  Inside, I'm always thrilled.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on November 17, 2018, 01:10:17 PM
Hmm...got a rear blinking light, some hand warmers, a CO2 valve and some canisters, and some sort of massage/therapy ball. 

Yeah, I've had a few commutes where I've been able to bypass a big snarl of cars due to construction, accidents, or whatever.  I try to keep the smugness off my face, and keep it strictly matter-of-fact outwardly.  Inside, I'm always thrilled.
One route home for me involves passing over a multi lane highway where it goes below a surface street.. I usually think of the motorists as suckers as it's usually clear that I'm traveling faster than most of them (usually the motorists are traveling faster than me in the morning though).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: sixwings on November 19, 2018, 09:42:34 PM
Got hit by a car on my way home today. First time. There was a line of cars trying to pull out of a parking lot, as I neared I couldnt make eye contact with the driver or see if they were looking at me, I started to apply brakes but too late, she pulled out as I was passing and hit me. Wasn't too bad on me. I recognized it was happening and jumped off my bike landing on her hood and bouncing to the pavement. I got up and am fine with a minor scrape on my elbow and my ankle is a little sore (but not enough to bother me, I walked my dog this eve). My bike is wrecked though. I got all the info from the person, they were probably more shaken up than me! Very apologetic etc. Someone I know was a couple cars back and came out to help me and gave me a lift home. Apparently the guy behind the car that hit me was being really obnoxious and honking and revving his engine probably pressuring the car that hit me to pull out without looking properly.

I am going to go to the doctor tomorrow morning before making any insurance claims. Good thing I was biking pretty slowly and was being cautious about the car or it could have been way worse. Maybe I can get some insurance $$$ out of it and a newer bike. I'll buy more lights too.

It's probably going to be a while before I can bike again which sucks a lot. Parking at work is $5-8/day (depending on how early I get there) and the bus stops are really inconvenient. Oh well.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Villanelle on November 20, 2018, 12:03:24 AM
Got hit by a car on my way home today. First time. There was a line of cars trying to pull out of a parking lot, as I neared I couldnt make eye contact with the driver or see if they were looking at me, I started to apply brakes but too late, she pulled out as I was passing and hit me. Wasn't too bad on me. I recognized it was happening and jumped off my bike landing on her hood and bouncing to the pavement. I got up and am fine with a minor scrape on my elbow and my ankle is a little sore (but not enough to bother me, I walked my dog this eve). My bike is wrecked though. I got all the info from the person, they were probably more shaken up than me! Very apologetic etc. Someone I know was a couple cars back and came out to help me and gave me a lift home. Apparently the guy behind the car that hit me was being really obnoxious and honking and revving his engine probably pressuring the car that hit me to pull out without looking properly.

I am going to go to the doctor tomorrow morning before making any insurance claims. Good thing I was biking pretty slowly and was being cautious about the car or it could have been way worse. Maybe I can get some insurance $$$ out of it and a newer bike. I'll buy more lights too.

It's probably going to be a while before I can bike again which sucks a lot. Parking at work is $5-8/day (depending on how early I get there) and the bus stops are really inconvenient. Oh well.

This is something that seems to me to be totally reasonable to include in an insurance claim.  This cost is very directly and clearly related to the accident and your resulting inability to continue biking.  Ask your doctor how long until he thinks you will be good as new, and then calculate the number of work days that covers and the associated parking fees. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on November 20, 2018, 04:17:32 AM
@sixwings,   Hope you feel better soon!   Get lots of pictures and document the injuries well... It might also be possible there's video if it was at an intersection that the city can provide if you have a case filed or the driver had a ticket for the accident...  worth checking at least?   No insurance company wants to see a well organized plaintiff...  and bet they'll settle rather than have you parade the video/photo/medical details in court on a "car vs. cyclist" accident.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 20, 2018, 06:34:45 AM
I’m sorry this happened to you and very glad it was as minor as it was.

This reinforces my new route to work that is a mile longer but keeps me mostly out of main roads and intersections in favor of neighborhood streets and trails.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on November 20, 2018, 08:39:42 AM
@sixwings,   Hope you feel better soon!   Get lots of pictures and document the injuries well... It might also be possible there's video if it was at an intersection that the city can provide if you have a case filed or the driver had a ticket for the accident...  worth checking at least?   No insurance company wants to see a well organized plaintiff...  and bet they'll settle rather than have you parade the video/photo/medical details in court on a "car vs. cyclist" accident.
Definitely file a police report.

Insurance claim should include replacement cost of your bike, any medical costs incurred, and transportation costs (including parking) incurred for trips that you would have biked during the time your were not able to bike. I'd itemize these then add on something for your injuries (much harder to set a value on, so there might be some back and forth between you and the insurance on this item). Do your best to document everything as quickly as possible, but take your time to put together your claim to ensure you have missed any damages.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on November 20, 2018, 10:00:06 AM
@sixwings,   Hope you feel better soon!   Get lots of pictures and document the injuries well... It might also be possible there's video if it was at an intersection that the city can provide if you have a case filed or the driver had a ticket for the accident...  worth checking at least?   No insurance company wants to see a well organized plaintiff...  and bet they'll settle rather than have you parade the video/photo/medical details in court on a "car vs. cyclist" accident.
Definitely file a police report.

Insurance claim should include replacement cost of your bike, any medical costs incurred, and transportation costs (including parking) incurred for trips that you would have biked during the time your were not able to bike. I'd itemize these then add on something for your injuries (much harder to set a value on, so there might be some back and forth between you and the insurance on this item). Do your best to document everything as quickly as possible, but take your time to put together your claim to ensure you have missed any damages.

I'm so sorry you were hit. That's awful.

Ditto the advice to file a police report. It'll make the insurance claim go more smoothly and ensures there's a record of a cyclist accident at that location. Perhaps there's something the city can do at that spot to make it safer.

When you're shopping for a new bike, tell the shops it's an insurance replacement and how much you have to spend. I did this years ago when my nicer bike was stolen from our house. I was able to get an even nicer bike (last years model on clearance), plus a bunch of other gear, for the claim amount.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: sixwings on November 20, 2018, 07:56:47 PM
Thanks everyone! I filed a police report for the insurance claim and went to the doctor today. Doctors visit went well, went to a walk-in clinic and was in and out in a hour, he poked me in a few places and I got some x-rays done. Nothing broken or torn so that's good. My ankle was bothering me slightly (uncomfortable to run on but fine to walk on), he said it's just a light sprain and it feels much better now.  It looks like I walked away with a broken bike and a few minor scratches so I'm pretty grateful for that.

I'll probably file my insurance claim tomorrow, I live in BC Canada so the insurance company I have to deal with is ICBC and they are horrendously stingy and litigious.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: runbikerun on November 21, 2018, 01:10:07 PM
Did my semiannual bulk purchase of bike equipment on Monday evening: I needed new tyres and tubes, and while I was at it I opted to add a foldaway multitool (which will go into the emergency kit I carry in a bottle cage) and a full set of bike tools (which will definitely not be going into the emergency kit). I want to get comfortable enough working on my bike that I eventually become fully self-sufficient - that's still some time away, but I'm feeling optimistic. Every time something goes wrong, I try to fix it myself before I bring it to a mechanic, and the toolkit should help widen the range of tasks I can do myself.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on November 25, 2018, 08:53:14 PM
I biked past a major traffic jam this morning and felt very happy as I bypassed several lanes of snarled traffic. It helped that it was sunny and cool today, and the air quality was half-decent. I've been consistently biking 3-4 times per week, and I've noticed that I get less out of breath and do not need to use the electric assist as much. I can now do the 8.5 km ride to DD's school without using the assist (even with 40 lb DD on the bike), and am now working to do the 16 km ride to work from her school without assist, which involves a couple pretty steep bridges. Biking is now my "chill" time and I thoroughly enjoy the time to unwind before and after work, as long as it's not raining.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on November 25, 2018, 10:44:27 PM
I love feeling obnoxiously superior as I whizz past stopped traffic. Loved your update, @Freedomin5.

I have also noticed myself getting less out of breath each trip, except for the one big hill with no bike lane that I feel pressured to climb as fast as possible so I don't hold up traffic too much. Muscle soreness is a bigger problem as the week progresses than cardio/full body tiredness. I guess we'll see how I do this week after Thanksgiving break, though.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on November 27, 2018, 04:11:17 AM
Love seeing the cold weather isn't slowing this crowd down...   Had a bit of a breakthrough ride now just about 2 months in...   My first ride was a whopping 3 miles on a fairly hilly gravel road and I was totally gassed...   This past weekend though... 15.9 miles and felt great!   Admittedly, it was a flat and relatively easy greenway trail, but it was night and day better.   Didn't hurt there was 12lbs less of me on the bike this time as well!

Key investments that helped:  Very lightweight black silk head cover/balaclava that fits under my bike helmet to cover my head and neck.   Best $20 I've spent for cold weather as it fends off the wind, but still breathes well.   Found a nice high visibility yellow bikers jacket for $33 after reading sixwings story...   It's snug to cut down wind resistance with a long tail to cover my bum, but it also emphasizes my need to ride the bike more to lose weight in certain areas (the gut has to go, just sayin').   Also starting to connect in to the cyclists scene in my area...  though that will need a serious upgrade in bike and conditioning to keep up with those guys...   Typical rides are 35-45 miles for that crowd in under 3 hours...   Seems light years away; but at this rate of improvement, who knows?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 27, 2018, 08:55:48 AM
You also ride way faster in a group than solo.  When you're riding solo, you're eating wind all the time.  When you're in a paceline you're eating wind only occasionally, and the rest of the time you're sheltered behind someone else.  It's about a third less effort sitting close on someone's tail.  You just have to make sure they don't drop you on the hills if you're heavier.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: erutio on November 27, 2018, 11:00:00 AM
Any continue to bike to work through blizzard conditions?

I posted the pic earlier about biking through snow, but it was light flurries then.  The blizzard in Chicago yesterday ended my streak of 20 consecutive work days of biking, as I had to take the bus to work.  Ugh, I was so disappointed.   
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 27, 2018, 11:55:01 AM
I will bike quite happily through falling and blowing snow, but Toronto is pretty quick about snow removal from the roads.  It's rare that I'm going through more than a couple inches on the road.  You do have to modify how you ride . . . don't use the front brake as much as usual, be very careful of your weight on the bike, when turning do so very gingerly, go slower than usual (and leave more time to stop), try to stay in the ruts that cars make in the snow for better traction, etc.  It's kinda like riding a bike through loose sand.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on November 29, 2018, 05:03:35 AM
You also ride way faster in a group than solo.  When you're riding solo, you're eating wind all the time.  When you're in a paceline you're eating wind only occasionally, and the rest of the time you're sheltered behind someone else.  It's about a third less effort sitting close on someone's tail.  You just have to make sure they don't drop you on the hills if you're heavier.  :P

Good insight on the group riding / wind resistance aspects...  I committed to dropping 25 lbs, then the reward of a new bike with the gearing and tire setup that will let me keep up with the group in my area.   My buddy with the shop assures me the gearing and tire differences on a decent road setup will give me double or triple the efficiency and mileage along with the group-ride wind resistance benefits.  But for now, the old bike is doing it's job to burn off the weight in fewer miles.   Hmmm... should I maybe add pulling a trailer of rocks to improve my "inefficiency" level so I can go bike shopping sooner?  ;)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on November 29, 2018, 06:15:32 AM
Just wanted to say I decided not to bike today. The pic was taken this morning on our subway ride. The windows were perfectly clean. That foggy film is the AIR outside. Thatís what an AQI of 200 looks like. After about 5 minutes outside without an N95 mask, your lungs start to burn, you feel dizzy and slightly nauseous, and you start to have difficulty breathing. I decided Iím not THAT hardcore of a cycler to be willing to ride through that air for an hour.

BTW, I apologize if the pic looks super huge on your screen. I simply attached it from my phone. No idea how to resize it.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Villanelle on November 29, 2018, 07:21:55 AM
Just wanted to say I decided not to bike today. The pic was taken this morning on our subway ride. The windows were perfectly clean. That foggy film is the AIR outside. Thatís what an AQI of 200 looks like. After about 5 minutes outside without an N95 mask, your lungs start to burn, you feel dizzy and slightly nauseous, and you start to have difficulty breathing. I decided Iím not THAT hardcore of a cycler to be willing to ride through that air for an hour.

BTW, I apologize if the pic looks super huge on your screen. I simply attached it from my phone. No idea how to resize it.

Pic doesn't look huge at all.  And I think deciding not to bike in those conditions is a bit like the difference between frugal and cheap.  There's a time where *not* biking is the right choice just as there is a time where not taking the cheapest option is the right choice. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: DS on November 29, 2018, 08:41:13 AM
Just wanted to say I decided not to bike today. The pic was taken this morning on our subway ride. The windows were perfectly clean. That foggy film is the AIR outside. Thatís what an AQI of 200 looks like. After about 5 minutes outside without an N95 mask, your lungs start to burn, you feel dizzy and slightly nauseous, and you start to have difficulty breathing. I decided Iím not THAT hardcore of a cycler to be willing to ride through that air for an hour.

BTW, I apologize if the pic looks super huge on your screen. I simply attached it from my phone. No idea how to resize it.

Pic doesn't look huge at all.  And I think deciding not to bike in those conditions is a bit like the difference between frugal and cheap.  There's a time where *not* biking is the right choice just as there is a time where not taking the cheapest option is the right choice.

Yeah in the long run you'd pay more for breathing that. Wild picture.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 29, 2018, 10:26:51 AM
Gross.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on November 29, 2018, 10:43:15 AM
Just wanted to say I decided not to bike today. The pic was taken this morning on our subway ride. The windows were perfectly clean. That foggy film is the AIR outside. Thatís what an AQI of 200 looks like. After about 5 minutes outside without an N95 mask, your lungs start to burn, you feel dizzy and slightly nauseous, and you start to have difficulty breathing. I decided Iím not THAT hardcore of a cycler to be willing to ride through that air for an hour.

BTW, I apologize if the pic looks super huge on your screen. I simply attached it from my phone. No idea how to resize it.

Gross. I don't bike either when the air quality is bad. And our "bad" air quality is simply from summer forest fires, so it's not nearly as toxic as that smog.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on November 29, 2018, 10:54:31 AM
It's important to remember what a place largely devoid of enforced pollution controls looks like every time someone rails against the heavy burden of regulations.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 29, 2018, 11:49:45 AM
That air looks dreadful. My air was like that just over a week ago due to the worst wildfires in CA history that were raging. I biked anyway with an N95 mask (need physical activity for mental health) but riding with a mask isn’t lovely. Obviously better than the alternative though. I have so much more sympathy for people who have to live
In that nonsense on a regular basis. Just 1.5 weeks in that air and I was noticeably unhappier and my poor kids stuck indoors were stir crazy.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on November 29, 2018, 11:52:18 AM
It's important to remember what a place largely devoid of enforced pollution controls looks like every time someone rails against the heavy burden of regulations.
Amen.

If it is freedom you want to talk about, there are few things more fundamental than being able to walk out your front door and breath outside. Not being able to do that feels like being in prison for me.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on December 01, 2018, 08:03:22 PM
@Freedomin5    Looks like a scene of the future from Blade Runner...    So sorry you have to shorten your life living in that.   Hoping that the people and government finally realize the terrible price and take actions to improve your city's environment!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on December 03, 2018, 09:39:40 AM
My car didn't start last week when I wanted it to pick up the kids in the rain (after cycling home from work).  Jumped it the next day and drove it around to charge...dead again when I checked later, but didn't have time to get to the store to buy/install a new one. 

I sort of shrugged and figured that I don't need a car to get through the week; I'll get around to it next weekend.  Times have definitely changed.

The only tricky part will be walking the kids home in the rain twice this week!  Have to make sure to have a couple of umbrellas and rain boots handy for them.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on December 06, 2018, 10:06:52 AM
So, it's my turn to ask about weather accommodations. Here in Southern California, December means that it is raining for the first time in months, and I have no idea how to bike in it. Do I accept getting soaked and change clothes at work? Do I just throw on a poncho? Do I need to do any particular care for my chain or other bike parts when they get wet? The bike is sheltered from rain but not from humidity on both ends of the commute.

In the new year, I'd like to see how many days I can go without riding in a car. I haven't made it more than a week so far.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 06, 2018, 10:20:51 AM
So, it's my turn to ask about weather accommodations. Here in Southern California, December means that it is raining for the first time in months, and I have no idea how to bike in it. Do I accept getting soaked and change clothes at work? Do I just throw on a poncho? Do I need to do any particular care for my chain or other bike parts when they get wet? The bike is sheltered from rain but not from humidity on both ends of the commute.

In the new year, I'd like to see how many days I can go without riding in a car. I haven't made it more than a week so far.
I’m in the Bay Area so figuring out the same stuff. :) I’m still working it out exactly how to do this, but it seems that a rainproof top jacket is crucial. I wear running/yoga pants and then change into jeans when I get to work. So far it is working all right though I haven’t biked in pouring rain the entire ride. I sort of count on the rain letting up once the sun comes up.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on December 06, 2018, 10:39:38 AM
Any really waterproof jacket will end up cooking you, so you're covered in sweat.  Just get wet.  Put your clothes in a plastic bag so they don't get wet, change into the dry stuff after your ride to work.  Having fenders makes riding in the rain (or even just on wet roads) an awful lot less miserable.

Keep your chain oiled or it will rust.  Take apart and grease and lube your bike (Brake pivots, bottom bracket, seat post, pedal hubs, wheel hubs, headset, etc.) every year so that things don't rust into place.  Have a regular schedule to replace your shifter and brake cables/housings (once every year or so).  Check chain wear, as it tends to go bad faster in wet gritty conditions.  Pay attention to your brake pads (they will grind down much faster when you're riding in the wet all the time).  You do all of this (which sounds like much more work than it actually is) and you'll have no mechanical issues with riding in the rain.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 06, 2018, 10:46:44 AM
Interesting. So far I have only ridden with “waterproof” top layers which are old enough to be anything but. I figured I need to replace them with something in better shape. Perhaps not?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on December 06, 2018, 11:26:25 AM
I ride year round in the PNW. GuitarStv is correct that there's an inverse relationship between waterproof and breathable. I used to just get wet. In So Cal it's probably warm and wet, which means being wet isn't much of a risk. Just put a light rain jacket on and change your pants when you get there.

Shoes are more of a PITA. Either get some waterproof shoes (carry dry socks for when you get there), or get some neoprene shoe covers to wear over your shoes to keep dry.

Here it can be cold and wet. My solution lately has been to wear a sortof breathable, but quite waterproof jacket one size too big and that has lots of venting built in (pit zips and a back vent). When it's cold I wear layers underneath and open the vents as required. The fact that it's too big gives me even more ventilation.

One of the biggest issues with rain is that it makes it harder for cars to see you. Whatever you wear, make it bright. Put your lights on and remember that half the cars on the road can barely see you because they have crappy wipers and can't figure out how to defog their windows.

I use a chain cleaner tool and citrus degreaser on my chain once a week when it's wet. The road grit sticks to it like crazy when it's wet and heavy rain actually washes the lube off your chain as you ride. I use a heaver lube designed for wet conditions. However, this lube is stickier, so it makes the grit problem worse. Hence the frequent cleaning schedule. I don't take everything apart the way GuitarStv does. We don't have salt corrosion here so rust hasn't been an issue for me. My chains stretch out long before they rust.

If you have rim brakes, KoolStop pads are the best option for stopping when it's wet.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on December 06, 2018, 11:28:42 AM
I second Kool stop.  I'm a big fan of their black and salmon mountain type V-brake pads (they work fine on road bikes with V-brakes or modern cantilevers.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on December 06, 2018, 03:10:17 PM
So, it's my turn to ask about weather accommodations. Here in Southern California, December means that it is raining for the first time in months, and I have no idea how to bike in it. Do I accept getting soaked and change clothes at work? Do I just throw on a poncho? Do I need to do any particular care for my chain or other bike parts when they get wet? The bike is sheltered from rain but not from humidity on both ends of the commute.

In the new year, I'd like to see how many days I can go without riding in a car. I haven't made it more than a week so far.

Fellow SoCal resident, riding in the rain for the first time as well.  It's actually not generally warm and wet here, because it doesn't really rain when it's warm (unless you consider 40s-50s and raining warm; I don't, and I'm from the midwest).  That's not to say that sweating under waterproof clothes isn't potentially an issue.  I'm riding an e-bike, so I have less of a sweating concern.

Today was my first day of commuting through really heavy rain; there were a few days of light rain before, or where the heavy rain missed my commute times.  I did buy booties to go over my dressy work shoes, and they seem to be working ok.  I also bought a very light rain suit that works when it's drizzling or for a bit more warmth/windbreaking, but decidedly not in real rain.  I may buy an actual waterproof jacket after that experience this morning. 

Definitely want to light up; my morning commute is in the dark most of the year anyhow, so I'm used to that.  I'm using a bright headlamp (1100 lumens), rear blinking leds on both the bike and my helmet, and a blinking armband. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on December 06, 2018, 06:27:42 PM
So, it's my turn to ask about weather accommodations. Here in Southern California, December means that it is raining for the first time in months, and I have no idea how to bike in it. Do I accept getting soaked and change clothes at work? Do I just throw on a poncho? Do I need to do any particular care for my chain or other bike parts when they get wet? The bike is sheltered from rain but not from humidity on both ends of the commute.

In the new year, I'd like to see how many days I can go without riding in a car. I haven't made it more than a week so far.

Fellow SoCal resident, riding in the rain for the first time as well.  It's actually not generally warm and wet here, because it doesn't really rain when it's warm (unless you consider 40s-50s and raining warm; I don't, and I'm from the midwest).  That's not to say that sweating under waterproof clothes isn't potentially an issue.  I'm riding an e-bike, so I have less of a sweating concern.

Today was my first day of commuting through really heavy rain; there were a few days of light rain before, or where the heavy rain missed my commute times.  I did buy booties to go over my dressy work shoes, and they seem to be working ok.  I also bought a very light rain suit that works when it's drizzling or for a bit more warmth/windbreaking, but decidedly not in real rain.  I may buy an actual waterproof jacket after that experience this morning. 

Definitely want to light up; my morning commute is in the dark most of the year anyhow, so I'm used to that.  I'm using a bright headlamp (1100 lumens), rear blinking leds on both the bike and my helmet, and a blinking armband.

-8 C this morning (17 F) with a driving wind.  I'd consider 40-50 degrees in the rain pretty warm.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on December 06, 2018, 07:12:42 PM

-8 C this morning (17 F) with a driving wind.  I'd consider 40-50 degrees in the rain pretty warm.  :P

My statement was in response to TrMama's supposition that when it rains in SoCal, it's warm.  I'm not going to claim that we have cold winters here, but we don't generally have warm, rainy days.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't raining where you were. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: mountain mustache on December 06, 2018, 08:44:14 PM
I'm definitely in the camp of "if it's raining, I'm getting wet." I hate riding in a rain jacket. I have a fancy gore-tex "breathable" just for bike riding jacket, and I still hate wearing it. I still end up pretty much soaked eventually, if I ride for long enough and if it's raining hard enough, plus sweating like crazy in the jacket.  So I pretty much just go out with a soft shell if it's chilly, and my normal riding clothes. If I'm commuting to work, I have dry clothes/shoes in my waterproof backpack/panniers, and I just towel off and change at work. Stuff newspaper in my shoes, and if you've got a little space heater at your desk, they can get pretty dry in a work day! I used to freak out about riding in the rain ( I live in CO, it doesn't rain much here!) but one Spring it rained every day for about 45 days...it was either stay inside, or get used to the rain. It was cold, rainy, and my shoes were literally wet for the entire 2 months, but I learned to enjoy it and basically stopped wearing any waterproof gear because I got sick of feeling like I was riding in a trash bag all the time. (I also train/race bikes, so I was riding a ton.)

Oh, also, Lots of companies are making super cheap, flexible plastic fenders that zip tie/velcro onto forks and seatposts...these are great to catch a lot of the annoying spray that gets glasses/butts wet in super wet conditions. I even had a friend make one out of one of those cheap flexy plastic cutting boards for $2.00!

On the bike maintenance point, clean/dry your chain every night if it's wet outside. Apply chain lube ( I love Dumonde Tech) and then in the morning before riding, wipe it off with a towel. Super easy.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on December 07, 2018, 02:45:28 PM

-8 C this morning (17 F) with a driving wind.  I'd consider 40-50 degrees in the rain pretty warm.  :P

My statement was in response to TrMama's supposition that when it rains in SoCal, it's warm.  I'm not going to claim that we have cold winters here, but we don't generally have warm, rainy days.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't raining where you were.

My bad. 40-50F is 4-10C. The lower end of that certainly qualifies as cold. Just because it gets colder elsewhere, doesn't mean the Californians can't also wear rain gear.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: moof on December 07, 2018, 03:19:19 PM
-8 C this morning (17 F) with a driving wind.  I'd consider 40-50 degrees in the rain pretty warm.  :P
The coldest, most miserable looking lot I have ever seen were a friends visiting Philipino family members on a 55F sunny day in Norther California in August.  Growing up in Alaska we considered anything in the 30's during Spring to be T-shirt weather.

Cold can be quite relative, and anything below what you regularly deal with can feel unbearable.

Similarly, SoCal folks surely snicker when they see those from the Great White North melt and shutdown on a 110F summer day.

Edit:  My ride this morning was -1C and mild winds.  I was wearing a thin pair of tights and a long sleeve shirt with an old rain coat as a wind breaker.  Once I got going it I was pretty happy with my clothing choices.  Cold weather clothing requirements are pretty minimal for active excercise.  Bar Mitts are the schiznit both in rain and <45 F temps.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on December 07, 2018, 03:30:06 PM
Similarly, SoCal folks surely snicker when they see those from the Great White North melt and shutdown on a 110F summer day.

Coastal SoCal rarely gets above 90 degrees, and people here whine when it does. It's one of the most temperate climates on Earth. Now, drive an hour east into the desert and you'll discover heat. I went camping out there in August once to see the Perseids - it was 90F at night and I believed myself to be cool. We were awoken by intolerable heat before 6AM.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 07, 2018, 03:47:04 PM
That is the downside of living in the Bay Area: it is so consistently mild that I can not tolerate anything over about 75*F or below 45*F. At least with cold you can put on more clothes. With heat all you can do is complain. :) Ditto for humidity, bugs, and other indignities climates in other areas throw at people. Every time i travel for work I come home with a renewed appreciation for what we have here.

Bunch of wimps, the lot of us.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on December 07, 2018, 05:14:46 PM
The coldest, most miserable looking lot I have ever seen were a friends visiting Philipino family members on a 55F sunny day in Norther California in August.
55F a decent low temperature in Northern California in August, but I can't picture a sunny day holding onto such a temperature for more than a few hours after sunrise.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on December 10, 2018, 08:54:56 PM
It's been miserable in the southeast with rain and cold and it's flippin' dark at 5:30 at night so no bike rides last weekend.   Suffering withdrawal symptoms.   My bike looks so sad waiting just inside the garage...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 10, 2018, 09:57:54 PM
I took my bike in for maintenance today. What a difference cleaning and new chain and brakes make! No more squeaking and there is definitely less friction in the system.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on December 11, 2018, 06:32:21 AM
It was rainy and cold today and 43F in Shanghai today. Wore a turtleneck sweater, Uniqlo vest, winter coat, and a cheap PVC poncho. It was dark by 5:00 PM. I still biked to work today because it was the quickest way to get to work. The subway flooded because Chinese construction + a week of rain = overloaded sewage system, so many people took surface transportation today. This meant that there were traffic jams and traffic accidents everywhere. Since subway was not an option, and taking the bus would mean over an hour stuck on a crowded bus in snarled, honking traffic, I decided the most efficient way to get to work on time was to bike through light but bitingly cold rain and wind. Took about 45 minutes (typically a 35 minute ride).

That poncho usually turns me into a big sweaty mess most days, but works really well when itís freezong cold. I also wore it biking home in the dark, not because it was raining but because it was so cold. Just turned on my headlight and taillight and zipped home in around 30 minutes.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on December 11, 2018, 07:29:47 AM
Headwind of about 20 kph with gusts to 30 or so with temperatures around -5 this morning.  Should make for a fun ride back if the winds hold!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dogboyslim on December 19, 2018, 09:52:29 AM
It's been miserable in the southeast with rain and cold and it's flippin' dark at 5:30 4:30 at night so no bike rides last weekend.   Suffering withdrawal symptoms.   My bike looks so sad waiting just inside the garage...

I fixed that for you.  ;)  There is no such thing as commuting without lights in WI.  Generator hubs are quite popular here among commuters for this reason.  Dark in the morning till 7ish, dark by 4:30.  At least the days will start getting longer soon.  I'm sure there are folks in CA or AK that have it even worse for hours of daylight.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on December 19, 2018, 10:14:52 AM
Yeah, official daylight hours here are 8:05am to 4:20pm. Lately there's also driving rain, so it never really seems to get light out.

I'll still take this over the dark days we had when living in QC. The sun goes down at 3:30 there.

Today, I forgot to pack dry socks. Currently rocking some loafers, without socks. The ones I wore to ride in this morning got soaked through my neoprene shoe covers. I think it was riding through the massive puddles that did it.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 19, 2018, 10:37:09 AM
I had such a glorious ride in this morning! It really puts me in a good mood to start my day.

Cool but not cold. Overcast with dry roads. The rainy season is here so everything is beautiful and green. Maybe people are starting the holidays early because there were fewer cars in the road than usual. Overall it felt awesome.

I’m sorry others are struggling with darkness and cold. You are all much braver than me, for sure.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on December 19, 2018, 10:55:25 AM
The darkness and cold has it's own beauty.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on December 19, 2018, 01:03:42 PM
It's been miserable in the southeast with rain and cold and it's flippin' dark at 5:30 4:30 at night so no bike rides last weekend.   Suffering withdrawal symptoms.   My bike looks so sad waiting just inside the garage...

I fixed that for you.  ;)  There is no such thing as commuting without lights in WI.  Generator hubs are quite popular here among commuters for this reason.  Dark in the morning till 7ish, dark by 4:30.  At least the days will start getting longer soon.  I'm sure there are folks in CA or AK that have it even worse for hours of daylight.
By CA I take it you mean the international two letter country abbreviation (not sure what situations it is standard to capitalize both letters in that system, not the two letter US state postal abbreviation standard matching the other abbreviations use. Even here in CA, USA it is dark for at least part of most people's commutes in each direction right now.

I have an early work schedule, so my commute starts in the dark as early as late September, but I usually get home before the end of civil twilight for all but a few weeks of the year. The worst combination of lighting and traffic conditions for me occurs when the setting sun causes glare for drivers I am approaching (oncoming cars turning left, or cross traffic from the left) making it harder for them to see me. This frequently occurs during my bike commutes in November and January. If we switched to year round DST, I'd always get home before the end of civil twilight and the setting sun issue would be greatly reduced (but I'd lose the 2 week reprieve from starting my morning commute before civil twilight that I get after the time change in November and again just before the time change in March).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: wbarnett on December 20, 2018, 08:08:17 AM
Thanks everyone! I filed a police report for the insurance claim and went to the doctor today. Doctors visit went well, went to a walk-in clinic and was in and out in a hour, he poked me in a few places and I got some x-rays done. Nothing broken or torn so that's good. My ankle was bothering me slightly (uncomfortable to run on but fine to walk on), he said it's just a light sprain and it feels much better now.  It looks like I walked away with a broken bike and a few minor scratches so I'm pretty grateful for that.

I'll probably file my insurance claim tomorrow, I live in BC Canada so the insurance company I have to deal with is ICBC and they are horrendously stingy and litigious.

I'm not very litigious, but insurance companies in the US are notorious for low-balling settlement payouts for bicycle accidents. I have read dozens of stories of large, monolithic insurance companies offering a very low payout on the initial offer. It might be worth consulting with a lawyer before you file a claim.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 20, 2018, 09:20:24 AM
Going home yesterday afternoon the part of my route that goes along the Bay was a little buggy. Sometimes, perhaps when the tide is low, these little gnats come out. One of them managed to fly directly into my eye. For some reason this time it really stung. I barely kept myself together to screech to a halt, rio my glove off, and start digging around in my eye. I finally got that sucker out but the one eye is still a bit red today.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: DoNorth on December 20, 2018, 09:35:07 AM
i moved to southwest france about 8 months ago and started biking to work about 4 months ago (first time ever commuting to a job by bike).  From my house, it's 2.5 miles mostly uphill the way there and downhill back.  More than half of it is in a designated bike lane (starts on the road and then moves to a sidewalk bike lane)  It's a pretty straight forward commute although the round abouts can be a little tricky if I'm about to enter the round about or already in it and someone is coming up fast on my flank.  I do shift work so i work 9-9 some months/days and others nights.  Regardless, one leg of my commute is always in the dark. I use a flashing red/blue/purple LED light on the back and a bright white LED on the front.  I think I'm going to add a helmet light to the mix soon.  I ride a hybrid so its tough enough to handle cobblestone, but still gets me there in about 20 minutes.  Definitely economical in a place where gas is about $7-$8/gallon!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on December 20, 2018, 09:39:12 AM
I'm not very litigious, but insurance companies in the US are notorious for low-balling settlement payouts for bicycle accidents. I have read dozens of stories of large, monolithic insurance companies offering a very low payout on the initial offer. It might be worth consulting with a lawyer before you file a claim.
I expect insurance companies in the US to low-ball settlement payouts for any claim that doesn't have hard numbers behind it. Certainly the insurance won't include things like added cost of your commute because you can no longer bike during recovery. They might be fairly reasonable about replacement costs for physical damage to the bike and shouldn't have any difficulty accepting responsibility for medical bills charged to you for your injuries (I have no idea if health insurance goes after the liability insurance for covered costs of treatment - but I think they should). Beyond that, you'll likely have to fight them.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on December 20, 2018, 10:12:28 AM
Since I have multiple lights, I think I stand out better in the dark than during dusk.  Doesn't bother me too much.  I also have a very early work schedule, so even in SoCal my morning commute is in the dark outside of June/July.  These days I'm also using lights during my ride home from 4-4:30 pm, though it's not quite dark yet (sunset officially 4:47 pm today). 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on December 21, 2018, 09:27:58 AM
Discovered a new benefit of bike commuting last night. You'll have lots of extra lights on hand for when the power goes out. Hooked my extra bright front light onto the kitchen cabinet pull so I could see well enough to cook dinner last night. Then used the less bright one to read before bed.

Note to self: Buy more batteries and candles . . .
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: DeniseNJ on December 25, 2018, 07:39:04 PM
Hi, just bought a bike and have been reading this thread since i know nothing. Put my cruiser together and bought all the little accessories. Got a helmet that isn't super dorky or super hero looking. Haven't ridden it yet. Haven't ridden in over 30 yrs so I'll be testing this in my driveway this weekend. I can't ride to work, but im hoping eventually to ride to the train. I live in NJ and work in downtown NYC--which should be against the law but I really didn't know how stupid this would be until i was here for a few years. I'm so excited to have my bike and to find this thread.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on December 26, 2018, 09:09:35 AM
For Christmas, I was gifted the World's Loudest Bike Horn. Uncertain how useful this will be...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 26, 2018, 03:58:55 PM
For Christmas, I was gifted the World's Loudest Bike Horn. Uncertain how useful this will be...
Haha!

I go back and forth on the horn. I like that mine is polite because I ring it a lot overtaking people on the trail. But then when a car cuts me off I want a big loud horn.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: DeniseNJ on December 26, 2018, 06:33:36 PM
Are bike short just spandex shorts or are you guys talking about those padded butt pants?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 26, 2018, 09:29:34 PM
Usually people are referring to “butt pants”, as my husband calls them. I got to the point of just wearing running pants now that I am used to my saddle.

I went to my husband’s work today on our day off just to have a quiet space where we could work and talk about personal finance stuff. I convinced him to ride with me instead of drive. It was great except for on the way there he swerved to avoid a squirrel crossing the road. I couldn’t swerve fast enough and I hit the poor thing. It ran away but I feel bad thinking about the damage it must be suffering now.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on December 27, 2018, 08:55:24 AM
It was great except for on the way there he swerved to avoid a squirrel crossing the road. I couldnít swerve fast enough and I hit the poor thing. It ran away but I feel bad thinking about the damage it must be suffering now.

So sorry to hear about the squirrel. Poor little thing.

I would use the hell out of a super loud bike horn. Is it an air horn? It'd be great for when people try to use the bike lane as a right hand turn lane, and then end up stopped in it because it's not actually wide enough for that. Annoys the heck out of me when I get stuck behind them. HONK!

Or when I'm in the left hand turn lane at a red light at the final intersection before my house and the cars turning left from the other direction are nearly hitting me because they're cutting the corner too close. Normally I just shine my bright front light in their eyes, but if I had a horn, HONK!

Or every time a driver passes me with only inches to spare. HONK!

Perhaps it's best I not get a horn ;-)

This week the discount grocery store I usually go to kindly installed a second, more secure bike rack. Yay! Sometimes when I shop on the weekends the bike rack is full. I end up trying to lock to whatever outdoor displays they have that week.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 27, 2018, 08:18:32 PM
I’m suffering a painful flare up of something like carpel tunnel right now that I attribute to a combo of the handle on my bike being twisted at a bad angle and me dinging my bell too frequently ;-)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on December 29, 2018, 08:12:31 PM
Bought myself a bike trailer.  I had been lusting after one that would actually work with my hub-mounted e-bike (Burley Travoy), but couldn't pull the trigger.  Then, someone gave me $100 towards a bike trailer for Christmas.  Still had to pony up $100 after finding it on sale, but I've been really trying to move to a bike-centric life, and this should help; can hopefully do full grocery trips instead of the partial trips and smaller errands I've been doing (limited by what will fit in my panniers and occasionally a backpack). 

I was hoping to find one used, but people just don't seem to let these things go.  They only one I've found was probably stolen merchandise, missing several normally included parts, and a high price on top of it. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on December 31, 2018, 06:26:42 PM
Bought myself a bike trailer.  I had been lusting after one that would actually work with my hub-mounted e-bike (Burley Travoy), but couldn't pull the trigger.  Then, someone gave me $100 towards a bike trailer for Christmas.  Still had to pony up $100 after finding it on sale, but I've been really trying to move to a bike-centric life, and this should help; can hopefully do full grocery trips instead of the partial trips and smaller errands I've been doing (limited by what will fit in my panniers and occasionally a backpack). 

I was hoping to find one used, but people just don't seem to let these things go.  They only one I've found was probably stolen merchandise, missing several normally included parts, and a high price on top of it.

I found the same thing when I bought my well used trailer several years ago. I'm pretty sure it wasn't (recently) stolen, however it had been used by the owner's teens to haul around  their dog. No matter, I immediately threw out all the fabric bits anyway. I'm pretty sure the dog smell is the only reason it was under $100. It's a PITA to store, but it does hold an enormous amount of groceries. It's also good for hauling home all the free stuff people leave out on the street.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on December 31, 2018, 08:38:55 PM
I feel really fortunate that I got a very decent bike trailer for free on FB marketplace last year. I haul my girls around in it all the time now and there is even a little “trunk” I can fit a bag of groceries in.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 02, 2019, 04:19:12 PM
(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190102/917b414fb0d57f9145b7699cb2a1de35.jpg)

I left my bike parked outside last night. Today it was covered in frost when I went out to start my commute. The frosty helmet was, well, frosty when I put it on. Brrr
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on January 03, 2019, 04:18:30 PM
(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190102/917b414fb0d57f9145b7699cb2a1de35.jpg)

I left my bike parked outside last night. Today it was covered in frost when I went out to start my commute. The frosty helmet was, well, frosty when I put it on. Brrr
It's been cold in the Bay Area, in the 30's each morning I leave my place. I feel like I pedal slower in cold weather.

Can you store your bike indoors anywhere? Somehow I've gotten my wife conditioned to allow mine to be kept the living room at home. My boss hasn't mentioned any problems with keeping it on top of a filing cabinet in my cube at work either.

Next week we have wet roads to look forward to.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 03, 2019, 07:06:00 PM
I’m in the Bay Area too. :)

I do have a shed I normally store it in. I had just left it outside out of laziness. I didn’t last night!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on January 04, 2019, 04:38:22 PM
Pondering 2019 biking goals. I'm thinking at least 75% of commutes by bike. I'm also curious to see how long I can go without driving. A week should be doable, beyond that we'll see!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 07, 2019, 08:04:06 AM
Hey folks: I'm alive. Haven't posted in like 3 years. Used to bike commute 9 miles each way in the Gulf South.

I got laid off 2 years ago (so didn't need to commute) and since then, got a job 25 miles away a year ago.

25 miles each way is a bit too far for me, unfortunately. I mean, I could physically do it, yeah. But 90 minutes commute on top of working 9 hours and an hour lunch... that means I'd be out the house for 13+ hours every day. And I'd have to get up at 4:00 to leave before 5, because I have to be at work for 6:30.

Now, I know you're probably thinking this sounds like whining, but I've done the bike commute for years. I've done 60+ milers in sub-freezing weather. This is as much a confession and an encouragement as anything else.

I might entertain the idea of commuting again, but it would take a LOT of sacrifice of time.

Does anybody else do 25+ mile commutes? What's your setup look like? What's your average time? How long is your workday?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on January 07, 2019, 08:38:30 AM
The rains are back in SoCal (and I'm back to work after a 2-week hiatus, ugh), and I'm pleased to note that my new rainproof biking jacket actually works!  Could probably use waterproof gloves still, but I'm not sure if it's worth a purchase for the ~10 times a year I'll have to ride in the rain.  So far, my hands are not getting too cold even when wet in my current gloves. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dogboyslim on January 07, 2019, 09:46:44 AM
Does anybody else do 25+ mile commutes? What's your setup look like? What's your average time? How long is your workday?

Not sure the rules of mentioning other forums, so if this is a no-no, mods, feel free to remove this post.  There is a commuter (https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/) sub-forum to a bicycle discussion forum where you might get more traction on this particular topic.  25 is a long way.  You could always do the bike drive approach.  Drive to work with bike in/on car.  Bike home leaving car at work.  Bike back to work, drive home etc.  Makes it more doable, but still has challenges and assumes you have a car and can leave it at work.

Best of luck!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 07, 2019, 09:48:35 AM
Does anybody else do 25+ mile commutes? What's your setup look like? What's your average time? How long is your workday?

Not sure the rules of mentioning other forums, so if this is a no-no, mods, feel free to remove this post.  There is a commuter (https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/) sub-forum to a bicycle discussion forum where you might get more traction on this particular topic.  25 is a long way.  You could always do the bike drive approach.  Drive to work with bike in/on car.  Bike home leaving car at work.  Bike back to work, drive home etc.  Makes it more doable, but still has challenges and assumes you have a car and can leave it at work.

Best of luck!

Thanks, hadn't posted in a while, and didn't see the sub-forum right away... can delete if needed, sorry!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 07, 2019, 10:08:16 AM
Usually people are referring to ďbutt pantsĒ, as my husband calls them. I got to the point of just wearing running pants now that I am used to my saddle.

I went to my husbandís work today on our day off just to have a quiet space where we could work and talk about personal finance stuff. I convinced him to ride with me instead of drive. It was great except for on the way there he swerved to avoid a squirrel crossing the road. I couldnít swerve fast enough and I hit the poor thing. It ran away but I feel bad thinking about the damage it must be suffering now.

Give them wide berth.  Squirrels are just about the perfect size to get stuck in your spokes and then jammed in your front fork.  Launching you over the handlebars.  Don't ask me how I learned this.
Title: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 07, 2019, 10:52:46 AM
I try to give them a wide berth now. Ill admit that every time a little creature stirs somewhere close to my bike my hearts skips a little beat. Thy are fast, they always seem to move orthogonally to my direction of motion, and on an ebike im moving pretty fast.

***

@FunkyStickman: On the question of a 25-mile commute: dude, the fact that you are even contemplating that is bad-ass. My thought went immediately to ebike. I have the pleasure of riding one to work and it is awesome. Zippy acceleration, top speed of 28 mi/hr (though I haven’t built myself up physically yet to reach that speed), it makes it possible for me to bike to work wheels otherwise I could fit in the time. I have my battery charging in my desk here at work right now.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on January 07, 2019, 11:57:37 AM
FunkyStickMan I have an acquaintance who commutes that distance using a lightweight road bike. Takes her about an hour. I don't know what her work situation is (clothing etc) - I've just seen a lot of strava photos with commutes of 24-26 miles :) The area of our metro where she lives an hour by bike is almost certainly faster than driving if she's working normal hours.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on January 07, 2019, 11:59:51 AM
Give them wide berth.  Squirrels are just about the perfect size to get stuck in your spokes and then jammed in your front fork.  Launching you over the handlebars.  Don't ask me how I learned this.
Never thought about the potential for such a collision. I'd say that just like with traffic, being predictable would be a benefit. I'm sure the squirrel isn't interested in being run over by (or caught in the spokes of) a bike; so a sudden swerve when you are close to the squirrel seems as likely as not to cross the path it decides to take to evade.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 07, 2019, 12:56:02 PM
Give them wide berth.  Squirrels are just about the perfect size to get stuck in your spokes and then jammed in your front fork.  Launching you over the handlebars.  Don't ask me how I learned this.
Never thought about the potential for such a collision. I'd say that just like with traffic, being predictable would be a benefit. I'm sure the squirrel isn't interested in being run over by (or caught in the spokes of) a bike; so a sudden swerve when you are close to the squirrel seems as likely as not to cross the path it decides to take to evade.

I've taken to loudly yelling at them, as I approach . . . which usually gets them to stop (in my experience this has also worked for deer, chipmunks, and coyotes . . . ineffective with turtles, frogs, and large aggressive dogs.)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on January 07, 2019, 01:44:22 PM
Give them wide berth.  Squirrels are just about the perfect size to get stuck in your spokes and then jammed in your front fork.  Launching you over the handlebars.  Don't ask me how I learned this.
If you have bladed spokes you could sharpen them. Slight weight reduction, uncoated steel would rust though... you'd go through the wind and squirrels a easier. Slice vegetables with your wheels at home or on the road?

Seriously though, that's a gruesome discovery.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on January 07, 2019, 02:32:18 PM
Squirrels are no joke.  I know some people who were seriously injured (major broken bones, etc) from a run in with a squirrel.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on January 10, 2019, 04:41:22 PM
Accrued enough Amazon points to get that TM-1 Spoke Tension Meter. It's a pretty neat tool, even if it isn't super precise. Good to know my spoke tension is balanced along with my wheels being true. Not sure what to save up for next... WAG-4? DAG-2.2? I like being my own bike mechanic. Seems like a worthy thing to fund.

Other specialty tools I'd recommend:
Spin Doctor Truing Stand
CN-10 Cable and housing cutter
Harbor Freight 1/4in drive Torque Wrench (only think that stinks is converting from Nm to in-lbs)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on January 10, 2019, 08:25:27 PM
Accrued enough Amazon points to get that TM-1 Spoke Tension Meter. It's a pretty neat tool, even if it isn't super precise. Good to know my spoke tension is balanced along with my wheels being true. Not sure what to save up for next... WAG-4? DAG-2.2? I like being my own bike mechanic. Seems like a worthy thing to fund.

Other specialty tools I'd recommend:
Spin Doctor Truing Stand
CN-10 Cable and housing cutter
Harbor Freight 1/4in drive Torque Wrench (only think that stinks is converting from Nm to in-lbs)

Chain measuring gauge, chain whip and the gizmo you use on the other side of the wheel to get the rear cassette off. Also, chain breaking tool. And a tool box to keep all the bits and pieces in. Basically I've been buying tools as I need them. However, I was looking at tool kids last night and realized I've have been better off to just buy a kit since it's cheaper than buying tools piecemeal.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: LittleWanderer on January 11, 2019, 08:15:53 AM
Does anybody else do 25+ mile commutes? What's your setup look like? What's your average time? How long is your workday?

My commute is not that far, but it's pretty far.  It's about a 32 mile round trip.  I try to do it 2-3 times a week once the weather is nicer and it can definitely be draining.  I am also single, so the time commitment isn't an issue.  I couldn't imagine trying to do this with a family.

I think your best bet would be to drive part way and bike commute the rest.  Slowly stretch out the bike miles until you find your sweet spot. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: erutio on January 11, 2019, 09:58:42 AM
Yesterday, rode in Chicago weather, 16F, equal to about -9C, which would be a new low for me. 

It was clear, but just cold. 

Today was only my 3rd day biking in 2019, mainly due to snow rather than cold.  Also had a few airports trips around work I had to make. 

There are 251 working days for me in 2019, not counting vacation days.  My goal is 200/251 days biked for 2019.  I will remove 1 day from both numerator and denominator for each vacation day I take. 

So far I'm only 3/8 after two weeks.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on January 11, 2019, 10:45:07 AM
Cross-posting an update from my journal. My goal is to bike commute 75% of the time, so I'm not quite there yet.

I'm at a 40% for biking to work in my first week. I usually feel genuinely upbeat at the end of the commute, but I can't quite convince myself of that immediately BEFORE the commute, when I'm sleepy and chilly. I suspect this has to do with biking still not truly being a habit for me, since I'm still trying to rationalize my way out of it - and since I do have a backup option that means I'm never FORCED to bike. (That backup option often lengthens Boyfriend's commute, though, so it's not exactly fair to rely on it often.)

I missed the first two days of this week cause I didn't want to bike with cramps, so at least that should be solved next week. Not sure if the weather* will hold, though.

*my weather complaints being a >50% chance of rain with temps in the low sixties. I acknowledge the superior baddasity of all winter cyclists.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on January 11, 2019, 11:27:06 AM
Does anybody else do 25+ mile commutes? What's your setup look like? What's your average time? How long is your workday?

My commute is not that far, but it's pretty far.  It's about a 32 mile round trip.  I try to do it 2-3 times a week once the weather is nicer and it can definitely be draining.  I am also single, so the time commitment isn't an issue.  I couldn't imagine trying to do this with a family.

I think your best bet would be to drive part way and bike commute the rest.  Slowly stretch out the bike miles until you find your sweet spot.

I test rode an ebike last weekend and was blown away by how fast I was able to go with basically no effort. If I were contemplating a really long commute like yours an ebike would be high on my list of "needs". Lots of shops around here will rent them to you for a week. You could try something like that to see if it's a feasible option for you before committing.

On that note, has anyone put their teen on an ebike? Any problems with them riding dangerously?

DH and I are seriously considering this as an option for our kids in the next few years. Oldest is currently only 12 and is quite old enough to be out unsupervised regardless of transportation mode. However, she won't be able to legally drive alone until she's 17 here, which is way too many more years of car based chauffeuring for my taste.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on January 11, 2019, 11:42:46 AM
Yesterday, rode in Chicago weather, 16F, equal to about -9C, which would be a new low for me. 

It was clear, but just cold. 

Today was only my 3rd day biking in 2019, mainly due to snow rather than cold.  Also had a few airports trips around work I had to make. 

There are 251 working days for me in 2019, not counting vacation days.  My goal is 200/251 days biked for 2019.  I will remove 1 day from both numerator and denominator for each vacation day I take. 

So far I'm only 3/8 after two weeks.

I love the idea of keeping track of the fractional days choosing a Mustachian travel option. I'll see if I can keep track this year as well. So far I'm 4/5 using the bike and public transportation. 80% seems like a reasonable goal, in that there are typically some days I more-or-less have to drive.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on January 11, 2019, 12:45:54 PM
On that note, has anyone put their teen on an ebike? Any problems with them riding dangerously?
Some teens are much more likely to do dangerous things than others. Does your daughter ride a regular bike responsibly? Has she learned to anticipate and mitigate potential hazards as she rides (becomes more important at higher speeds)? If you're satisfied that she knows how to handle herself on an ordinary bicycle, there is little chance that adding a moderate electric assist will change her basic skills and approach to riding. For a child, I'd favor pedal assist with moderate limits to power and speed.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on January 11, 2019, 01:45:23 PM
A bike with a middrive motor is really hard to ride recklessly, more than usual at least. They ride just like a regular bike, it just feels like you have easier gears.

The assist doesn't necessarily change good or poor cycling habits.

--somehow I missed robartsd's post, but that, exactly. If anything when I've talked with my son and in my own riding, my e-bike makes us each a more conservative and safer rider, because it's dead easy to fully stop at lights when I can give myself a little boost off the stop, compared to riding my other bike where I am trying to conserve as much energy as possible.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: LittleWanderer on January 11, 2019, 03:07:00 PM
It might be worth it for stickman to check into an e-bike, but I already have two very nice road bikes and I like the exercise, so I'm sticking with my long commute on a regular bike.  I actually enjoy myself most of the time!  :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 11, 2019, 09:09:30 PM
It might be worth it for stickman to check into an e-bike, but I already have two very nice road bikes and I like the exercise, so I'm sticking with my long commute on a regular bike.  I actually enjoy myself most of the time!  :)

I'm still thinking about it. Probably will hold off for now, due to time constraints... but I may give it a run on a weekend just to see how it goes.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 14, 2019, 12:55:48 PM
I adore the ebike i am on. The program my work has lets me borrow it for six moths, the first three with a 19mi/hr limiter in place. Now I can go 28mi/hr, though in practice I rarely get up to 25 mi/hr.

That said, for a teen I would look I to a limited. 19mi/hr is still a ton of fun and makes for a very decent transportation method while being a little safer. I feel safer than on a regular bike mostly because I can accelerate with the normal flow of traffic, so I feel I can fit in to the flow if I need to use a real lane if a bike lane isn’t available.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 21, 2019, 03:02:18 PM
Quick update: mapped out my route, and it's actually only 21.5 miles. Seriously thinking about diving back in...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 21, 2019, 03:27:07 PM
I’m on business travel this week and can’t bike. It sucks! The commute from the hotel to the factory is 1.5 hours each way on the bus. I am going crazy and it is only day #2. Those of us who can bike are so privileged.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on January 21, 2019, 04:10:09 PM
Pro Tip: When it's time to rebuild the drive train on your winter bike and you want to DIY for the first time, wait for the weather to be nice enough to use your summer bike.

I started taking my winter bike apart last week and quickly realized I was in just a bit over my head. Took me until Sunday evening to get it all back together again. Plus, I had to drive to work twice last week. Horrors! And there were 3 trips to 2 different bike shops to get parts, tools and advice.

On the bright side, it runs so much better! Now I just need to clean my "summer" bike. It's caked in sand and road grit from the 3 days I used it to commute.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 21, 2019, 05:57:56 PM
What is different about a winter bike versus a summer bike?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 21, 2019, 07:20:38 PM
What is different about a winter bike versus a summer bike?

"Winter" bikes are usually built to ride in nasty weather. Fenders, wider tires, sometimes internal gear hubs. Can also be used to describe your "beater" bike you don't mind getting nasty.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on January 21, 2019, 07:23:03 PM
My winter bike and summer bike are one and the same. For me it just means different cleaning requirements - snow and salt and slush wiped off the half frozen chain in winter; sand and mud wiped off the chain in summer :)  I keep my bike inside, though, which does make a difference in harsh winter weather especially.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 21, 2019, 07:37:15 PM
That was probably a naive Californian-type question. ;)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 21, 2019, 08:48:14 PM
That was probably a naive Californian-type question. ;)

I'm in southern Louisiana... it's only winter here for about 4 weeks. Only snows every 10 years or so.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 21, 2019, 09:41:38 PM
It has snowed exactly once in my lifetime. My mother woke us all up early to see it and it melted as soon as the sun rose.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on January 22, 2019, 09:37:09 AM
I'm in the midst of being taught a valuable biking lesson - my skin is not invincible. 

Months of riding with a balaclava, tossing it down after the ride, never washing it...then a week of very rainy weather, soaking the balaclava, wearing a soaked balaclava while biking and still never washing it...

So, now I have a fungal skin infection.  Initially, I thought that it was contact dermatitis, but after seeing it spread a bit from the back of my neck despite no further stimuli, it definitely seems to be fungal.  I do not recommend this approach. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 22, 2019, 10:17:06 AM
What is different about a winter bike versus a summer bike?

For me personally?

- Cheaper components that can be replaced as the salt eats them
- Heavy flat proof tires with a little tread
- Full fenders
- Bar end shifters (they can be operated with heavy gloves/mitts . . . regular STI type shifters can't).
- Waterproof grease used on everything (headset, wheel bearings, bottom bracket, bottle holder screws, etc)
- Reflective tape everywhere

:P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on January 22, 2019, 10:18:13 AM
That was probably a naive Californian-type question. ;)

LOL. Sorry for the confusion. It rarely snows here either, but it does rain quite a bit and there's lots of sand and grit on the roads. Riding on wet roads transfers all that grit onto your drivetrain and brake pads (if you have rim brakes). So all those parts wear out much more quickly in the winter.

My summer bike is a carbon road bike that's more expensive to maintain in winter conditions. The winter bike is built with much cheaper parts so replacing them isn't so painful.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 22, 2019, 05:47:16 PM
Why would you want little tread on the tires of a winter bike?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 23, 2019, 09:20:46 AM
Quote from: ysette9 link=topic=81280.m
sg2269500#msg2269500 date=1548204436
Why would you want little tread on the tires of a winter bike?

Smooth tires are perfect for tarmac when it's dry or wet.  Bikes don't hydroplane, and there's less rolling resistance with less tread pattern usually.  When there's snow and slush down on top though (or wet mud and sometimes sand can also have this issue), it doesn't grip at all.  You'll just end up spinning your rear tire as you try to take off from lights at intersections, and will have more difficulty turning without losing the front wheel.  On the other side though, there's rarely enough snow on our roads to merit big knobby mountain bike tires . . . and using them when there isn't enough snow down they feel very squirmy (as well as rolling very poorly, requiring you to do way too much work to maintain speed).  That squirmy feeling happens because the treads are making minimal contact with the road as you cycle along . . . they are a lot less stable when taking a corner fast.

A little bit of tread pattern gives you just enough traction to deal with some snow between your tires and the road if you get caught in a storm, but doesn't have the grip problem when cornering on dry road.  Also, it's miserable enough cycling in the winter, no way to I want to voluntarily add rolling resistance to a 14 mile commute each way.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on January 23, 2019, 09:44:27 AM
Oh - I guess I do make changes to my bike for the winter. I have full fenders year-round. For winter I switch to studded tires and use a dry chain lube. We also have a number of shops that do winter maintenance plans - a subscription service where they'll maintain your drivetrain and check shifting, brakes etc as often as you want, which I did my first year biking to work (two years ago). 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on January 24, 2019, 08:45:56 AM
We also have a number of shops that do winter maintenance plans - a subscription service where they'll maintain your drivetrain and check shifting, brakes etc as often as you want, which I did my first year biking to work (two years ago).
Sounds like a way for shops to keep busy during the off (for many) season.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on January 24, 2019, 09:16:13 AM
The train I take to work just added a station 4 miles from my house, so I can start biking. I am going to an ebike shop next weekend to test one out.

My main concern is the bike being stolen from out front of my downtown office building. People have cut my chains and stolen nice bikes twice in my life (I've also had two vehicles broken into, so I may just have bad luck), so I'm nervous about having nice things.

Four miles is (in my opinion) about an ideal distance for pedaling. On a decent road bike, and assuming minimum hills, you can probably cover this distance in about 15-20 minutes. This will be enough to get a decent workout in without being a sweaty mess (at least in the morning).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on January 24, 2019, 09:53:19 AM
I live in a very hilly area, and my bike is a single speed. I don't mind the workout, but I sweat very easily, which won't work in an office environment. However, since I don't want to blow $1k on an ebike without even checking to see if my current road bike will work, I will try it a couple times first. Google Maps does put it at a 20 minute ride, which is only a couple minutes more than what my previous driving time was at the old station.

Single speed in a hilly area? Definitely due for an upgrade. In all Mustachian seriousness. I bought my road bike from Nashbar for about $200 several years ago, and it has served me very well. It doesn't look like Nashbar still sells Nashbar branded road bikes, and the ones they have (Fuji) are more expensive these days ($350 for what looks like the exact bike I bought five years ago). Of course, you could always go Craigslist but that can be a crapshoot if you don't know bikes too well.

Given the hilliness in your area, four miles might make sense for an electric. Don't want to get too sweaty before work.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 24, 2019, 09:53:46 AM
The train I take to work just added a station 4 miles from my house, so I can start biking. I am going to an ebike shop next weekend to test one out.

My main concern is the bike being stolen from out front of my downtown office building. People have cut my chains and stolen nice bikes twice in my life (I've also had two vehicles broken into, so I may just have bad luck), so I'm nervous about having nice things.

Making your bike harder to steal than average is your best protection.  Invest in a heavy U-lock and cable at minimum.  Leave the lock/cable attached to the stand at work so you're not hefting it around all the time because if it's heavy enough to be .  Ensure that the front wheel, rear wheel, and frame are all secured soundly.

(https://sfbike.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Locking-Techniques-Rear-Triangle-Thumb.jpg)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on January 24, 2019, 09:58:41 AM
The train I take to work just added a station 4 miles from my house, so I can start biking. I am going to an ebike shop next weekend to test one out.

My main concern is the bike being stolen from out front of my downtown office building. People have cut my chains and stolen nice bikes twice in my life (I've also had two vehicles broken into, so I may just have bad luck), so I'm nervous about having nice things.

Making your bike harder to steal than average is your best protection.  Invest in a heavy U-lock and cable at minimum.  Leave the lock/cable attached to the stand at work so you're not hefting it around all the time because if it's heavy enough to be .  Ensure that the front wheel, rear wheel, and frame are all secured soundly.

I've got #1 down and I will invest in a cable lock to achieve #2 as well. I have to lock my bike at home as well as at work, though, so I do tote it around everywhere.

So far I've lost small accessories (lights I forgot to remove) to thieves, but nothing over $20 in value.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 24, 2019, 10:33:36 AM
The train I take to work just added a station 4 miles from my house, so I can start biking. I am going to an ebike shop next weekend to test one out.

My main concern is the bike being stolen from out front of my downtown office building. People have cut my chains and stolen nice bikes twice in my life (I've also had two vehicles broken into, so I may just have bad luck), so I'm nervous about having nice things.

Making your bike harder to steal than average is your best protection.  Invest in a heavy U-lock and cable at minimum.  Leave the lock/cable attached to the stand at work so you're not hefting it around all the time because if it's heavy enough to be .  Ensure that the front wheel, rear wheel, and frame are all secured soundly.

I've got #1 down and I will invest in a cable lock to achieve #2 as well. I have to lock my bike at home as well as at work, though, so I do tote it around everywhere.

So far I've lost small accessories (lights I forgot to remove) to thieves, but nothing over $20 in value.

If you're regularly using your bike, it's probably worth buying a second lock for home.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on January 24, 2019, 10:35:01 AM
The train I take to work just added a station 4 miles from my house, so I can start biking. I am going to an ebike shop next weekend to test one out.

My main concern is the bike being stolen from out front of my downtown office building. People have cut my chains and stolen nice bikes twice in my life (I've also had two vehicles broken into, so I may just have bad luck), so I'm nervous about having nice things.

Making your bike harder to steal than average is your best protection.  Invest in a heavy U-lock and cable at minimum.  Leave the lock/cable attached to the stand at work so you're not hefting it around all the time because if it's heavy enough to be .  Ensure that the front wheel, rear wheel, and frame are all secured soundly.

I've got #1 down and I will invest in a cable lock to achieve #2 as well. I have to lock my bike at home as well as at work, though, so I do tote it around everywhere.

So far I've lost small accessories (lights I forgot to remove) to thieves, but nothing over $20 in value.

For only 4mi, have you considered just getting a well used hybrid? This is the route I went. My hope is that an older bike with a scratched up frame will be less attractive to thieves. I then replaced the drive train, so it rides like a new bike, even though it looks like an old piece of crap. It's got lots of granny gears, including an old fashioned triple crank. I'm won't be passing the roadies going downhill, but that's ok. I can just coast downhill so I don't get too sweaty and then I've got lots of low gears to choose from for the uphill stretches.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on January 24, 2019, 11:25:35 AM
My current bike does look a little older, and Nashville seems to have a lot less stealing than west Texas had. Btw, here is the bike

https://imgur.com/6ODriwy

I can't view the image at work but.... Seriously, if you live in a hilly area and want to enjoy biking, get a bike with gears.* At least a rear cassette, but you can't go wrong with the front crankset as well.

*There are some masochistic fools who enjoy riding without gears. If this is you, ignore my comment and enjoy the pain.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on January 24, 2019, 11:43:45 AM
My current bike does look a little older, and Nashville seems to have a lot less stealing than west Texas had. Btw, here is the bike

https://imgur.com/6ODriwy
Looks like you customized it nicely for yourself though. I was looking at the bars and downtube wondering how you shift, then I saw the rear wheel. Nifty fixie.

Back to Winterizing... I picked up an Ass Saver to put on the end of my saddle and it works really well compared to fenders. Cheap easy solution if you're dealing with occasional rain. Road grit is no joke though. I've been washing my bike once a week to prevent premature wear. Degreasing and re-lubricating the chain is important too. Re-greasing the bottom bracket and headset is also on my to-do list. I want to ride all year, but I don't want to be forced to buy a new bike or pay for new components anytime soon.

For any newbies on indoor trainers, cycling shorts make a difference if riding for 30min+ and feeling uncomfortable. Pedaling out of the saddle every 5 or 10min for 5 or 10sec is also a good trick for staying comfortable.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 24, 2019, 12:00:36 PM
Indoor trainers are also inherently less comfortable than cycling outdoors.  :P

I'm happy for 4-5 hours riding outside, but much over an hour on an indoor trainer is quite literally a pain in the ass.  I think that the leaning and changes in elevation of the front end from riding outside spreads around the pressure much better.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 24, 2019, 12:44:07 PM
Indoor trainers are also inherently less comfortable than cycling outdoors.  :P

I'm happy for 4-5 hours riding outside, but much over an hour on an indoor trainer is quite literally a pain in the ass.  I think that the leaning and changes in elevation of the front end from riding outside spreads around the pressure much better.

This has been my experience as well. My wife is always saying "You have a trainer, just ride inside!" But it's not the same... not at all.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on January 24, 2019, 12:51:38 PM
Indoor trainers are also inherently less comfortable than cycling outdoors.  :P

I'm happy for 4-5 hours riding outside, but much over an hour on an indoor trainer is quite literally a pain in the ass.  I think that the leaning and changes in elevation of the front end from riding outside spreads around the pressure much better.

This has been my experience as well. My wife is always saying "You have a trainer, just ride inside!" But it's not the same... not at all.

I'll third. I'll take shitty weather over the dullness that is a trainer any day. Much of the joy of biking is in the actual movement and traveling, neither of which you can get inside.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on January 24, 2019, 02:49:49 PM
Am I the only person here who has never worn a helmet on a bicycle? I've been hit by a car twice and wrecked countless times, and I can't think of a time when a helmet would have made any difference.

I don't wear a helmet except for mountain biking.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on January 24, 2019, 04:00:59 PM
My helmet is rain snow and windproof and I find myself wishing I had it on during days I wait for the train :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on January 24, 2019, 04:09:41 PM
Indoor trainers are also inherently less comfortable than cycling outdoors.  :P

I'm happy for 4-5 hours riding outside, but much over an hour on an indoor trainer is quite literally a pain in the ass.  I think that the leaning and changes in elevation of the front end from riding outside spreads around the pressure much better.

This has been my experience as well. My wife is always saying "You have a trainer, just ride inside!" But it's not the same... not at all.

I'll third. I'll take shitty weather over the dullness that is a trainer any day. Much of the joy of biking is in the actual movement and traveling, neither of which you can get inside.

This. I could only stand to ride the trainer when I could also watch a very specific type of video (pro road bike racing, shot from behind so it felt like I was also in the Tour de Wherever). Otherwise, I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a spoon that ride the stupid thing. I was so happy the day I sold it.

Am I the only person here who has never worn a helmet on a bicycle? I've been hit by a car twice and wrecked countless times, and I can't think of a time when a helmet would have made any difference.

I reached my personal lifetime quota of concussions by age 19. I'd happily wear a helmet for just about anything. I never again want to be stumped by the task of how to tie my shoes.

My bike helmet is doubly handy because it has a built in rear blinky light. If drivers don't see the other 2 red blinkies, 2 white front lights or my dorky, reflective yellow jacket then maybe that helmet light will tip them off to please not run me over.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: runbikerun on January 25, 2019, 01:00:56 AM
I know I'm in a minority on this, but I quite like the turbo trainer. It's not as pleasant as an outdoor ride, but an hour on the turbo is worth ninety minutes at least on the road. No freewheeling, no stopping at lights and junctions, and I can go absolutely flat out without worrying about my surroundings.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 25, 2019, 08:13:45 AM
I know I'm in a minority on this, but I quite like the turbo trainer. It's not as pleasant as an outdoor ride, but an hour on the turbo is worth ninety minutes at least on the road. No freewheeling, no stopping at lights and junctions, and I can go absolutely flat out without worrying about my surroundings.

It's very good for sustained threshold interval type efforts.  I do believe that it's more time efficient (although much less fun) than riding on the road too.  It's awful for standing and sprinting efforts though, because you can't throw your bike from side to side.  Trying to do standing at all kinda feels weird on a trainer.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 25, 2019, 08:18:00 AM
It's very good for sustained threshold interval type efforts.  I do believe that it's more time efficient (although much less fun) than riding on the road too.  It's awful for standing and sprinting efforts though, because you can't throw your bike from side to side.  Trying to do standing at all kinda feels weird on a trainer.

Well, there's always rollers... or a Kinetic Rock-n-Roll that sways side-to-side.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: LittleWanderer on January 25, 2019, 08:53:55 AM
I got a fancy new smart trainer this winter (facepunch for myself) and am using Zwift and my trainer rides STILL suck.  God, it's so mind numbingly boring!  I can't wait for spring.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 25, 2019, 08:59:24 AM
I'm a fan of sufferfest.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 25, 2019, 09:07:51 AM
I'm a fan of sufferfest.

I have one of their videos. Never did spring for the subscription when they went to those.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on January 25, 2019, 10:20:19 AM
Zwift encourages me to ride a little more than I would normally and it's a nice alternative hitting the road(or a car) at night. Right now I'm doing 30min sessions on a dumb trainer(Minoura RDA80) with a speed sensor. Pain in the ass at first, but now it's tolerable. I can see the trainer setup from my couch, so it lures me up off of that.

I'd consider adding more miles to my commute home, but going past driveways and cars turning right in front me gets more tiresome and painful than the time on the trainer. Whatever floats boats and puts asses on saddles is fine though.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on January 25, 2019, 12:40:55 PM
Fourth day of biking this week, bringing me up to 6/14 days overall for 2019. The rain last week had me starting out behind, but it's also giving me good motivation to catch up to my goal of 75% bike commutes.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Money Badger on January 27, 2019, 05:17:47 AM
New bike trailer and Kool Stop pads arrived...   Planning the first ride today with the trailer to Trader Joe's that's now less than a mile from our new house with the "almost" completed wide bike/walking trail our city invested in...   The plot thickens!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 27, 2019, 12:22:57 PM
I live in a very hilly area, and my bike is a single speed. I don't mind the workout, but I sweat very easily, which won't work in an office environment. However, since I don't want to blow $1k on an ebike without even checking to see if my current road bike will work, I will try it a couple times first. Google Maps does put it at a 20 minute ride, which is only a couple minutes more than what my previous driving time was at the old station.

Single speed in a hilly area? Definitely due for an upgrade. In all Mustachian seriousness. I bought my road bike from Nashbar for about $200 several years ago, and it has served me very well. It doesn't look like Nashbar still sells Nashbar branded road bikes, and the ones they have (Fuji) are more expensive these days ($350 for what looks like the exact bike I bought five years ago). Of course, you could always go Craigslist but that can be a crapshoot if you don't know bikes too well.

Given the hilliness in your area, four miles might make sense for an electric. Don't want to get too sweaty before work.

I gave it a dry run today, and I donít think Iíll be able to use this bike to get to work, at least not until I am in much better shape. Total elevation for the ride was only 138 feet, but the two hills I faced on the ride completely destroyed me.

Also, I was freezing cold (temp is right at freezing) but still sweating through my clothes. Iím just going to have to do it on weekends until I am in better shape and can get a better bike for the ride.

Single speed bikes are great if you live in a very flat area, but are kinda rough if you're going up and down big hills.  It's tremendously easier (and faster) to have a geared bike.

Cold weather cycling is a constant battle between overheating/sweating and freezing.  Make sure you don't wear anything made of cotton (cotton pulls heat away from your body faster than being naked when it's soaking wet).  Wool and synthetic wicking type materials tend to work reasonably well for riding a bike.  You'll figure out a layering strategy eventually . . . but as a place to start:
- have something next to your skin that will pull sweat away
- have something over that that is thick enough to trap some heat
- have something over that to act as a windproof shell
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Bayou Dweller on January 29, 2019, 09:54:35 AM
Question about headlights...

My Cygolite Metro 400 seems to have crapped out after just 14 months of use. It says it's charged but then dies within 3 minutes of use.

Are these only supposed to last a certain number of charges? It's difficult to find this information, but I've heard 30 charges thrown around on another forum.

I guess my question is... Are they all going to die after 1-2 years of use? And should I purchase a light from a LBS instead of Amazon? I need one to safely ride into work tomorrow morning.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 29, 2019, 11:08:59 AM
Question about headlights...

My Cygolite Metro 400 seems to have crapped out after just 14 months of use. It says it's charged but then dies within 3 minutes of use.

Are these only supposed to last a certain number of charges? It's difficult to find this information, but I've heard 30 charges thrown around on another forum.

I guess my question is... Are they all going to die after 1-2 years of use? And should I purchase a light from a LBS instead of Amazon? I need one to safely ride into work tomorrow morning.

It's always a good idea to support your LBS, but the one near me doesn't carry the lights I want for riding in to work.

For longevity I kinda feel like lights that use regular batteries are going to be best.  I've got a couple Planet Bike Superflash Turbo taillights that take regular AAA batteries and have been in regular usage for about five years now with no issue.  My old  Planet Bike Blaze that takes AA batteries has been around for about the same time and still works well.   I've been less successful with USB charging stuff . . . it seems like these special lithium batteries do have a limited shelf life and it's often hard to find replacements for them if they're replaceable at all.  This is a shame as it's getting a bit harder to find good bike lights that use regular batteries.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: 35andFI on January 29, 2019, 11:18:24 AM
Moving from 44 miles away to 2.5 miles away this Friday. Will be biking to work on Monday!

At least that's the plan... Looks like it's supposed to be raining pretty good...

Headlight: NiteRider Lumina 1200 Boost (Ordered the cheaper 750 and was given this!)

Taillight: NiteRider Solas 100

I have been using the headlight for a few months now and love the thing. I have been told that I look like a car with a headlight out.

I just got the taillight a few days ago and am very happy with that as well. I can't believe how bright it is though.
I made the mistake of looking directly into it and blinded myself for a minute. Shocked that its < $25.

Also, get this: I was talking to a coworker about starting to bike to work and she suggested getting a bike rack under the covered area outside to our building manager.
That is now in the works!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Bayou Dweller on January 29, 2019, 12:21:49 PM
Question about headlights...

My Cygolite Metro 400 seems to have crapped out after just 14 months of use. It says it's charged but then dies within 3 minutes of use.

Are these only supposed to last a certain number of charges? It's difficult to find this information, but I've heard 30 charges thrown around on another forum.

I guess my question is... Are they all going to die after 1-2 years of use? And should I purchase a light from a LBS instead of Amazon? I need one to safely ride into work tomorrow morning.

It's always a good idea to support your LBS, but the one near me doesn't carry the lights I want for riding in to work.

For longevity I kinda feel like lights that use regular batteries are going to be best.  I've got a couple Planet Bike Superflash Turbo taillights that take regular AAA batteries and have been in regular usage for about five years now with no issue.  My old  Planet Bike Blaze that takes AA batteries has been around for about the same time and still works well.   I've been less successful with USB charging stuff . . . it seems like these special lithium batteries do have a limited shelf life and it's often hard to find replacements for them if they're replaceable at all.  This is a shame as it's getting a bit harder to find good bike lights that use regular batteries.

That's very interesting. Thanks for that.

I ended up biking over to the LBS and bought a Blackburn Dayblazer 400 front and Dayblazer 65 rear (as a backup). Total was like $64 after tax (same price as amazon it seems). Best part was how friendly the interaction was!  :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on January 30, 2019, 11:44:01 AM
It's always a good idea to support your LBS, but the one near me doesn't carry the lights I want for riding in to work.

For longevity I kinda feel like lights that use regular batteries are going to be best.  I've got a couple Planet Bike Superflash Turbo taillights that take regular AAA batteries and have been in regular usage for about five years now with no issue.  My old  Planet Bike Blaze that takes AA batteries has been around for about the same time and still works well.   I've been less successful with USB charging stuff . . . it seems like these special lithium batteries do have a limited shelf life and it's often hard to find replacements for them if they're replaceable at all.  This is a shame as it's getting a bit harder to find good bike lights that use regular batteries.
I like regular AA (or AAA) battery lights too. I run them on NiMH rechargeable cells. I bought a NiteRider MAKO mini and a larger MAKO (don't remember which one) at a LBS a few years back (only AA lights they had available). Currently using the mini because the larger one crapped out on me. I'm considering getting a MAKO 250 or a Planet Bike Blaze 140 SL. I'm also considering a AA (prefer AA because I have many AA NiMH cells on hand but have few spare AAA cells) rear light to mount on my rack - Planet Bike Grateful Red or Serfas Red Stop Sign Light.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 30, 2019, 11:56:07 AM
It's always a good idea to support your LBS, but the one near me doesn't carry the lights I want for riding in to work.

For longevity I kinda feel like lights that use regular batteries are going to be best.  I've got a couple Planet Bike Superflash Turbo taillights that take regular AAA batteries and have been in regular usage for about five years now with no issue.  My old  Planet Bike Blaze that takes AA batteries has been around for about the same time and still works well.   I've been less successful with USB charging stuff . . . it seems like these special lithium batteries do have a limited shelf life and it's often hard to find replacements for them if they're replaceable at all.  This is a shame as it's getting a bit harder to find good bike lights that use regular batteries.
I like regular AA (or AAA) battery lights too. I run them on NiMH rechargeable cells. I bought a NiteRider MAKO mini and a larger MAKO (don't remember which one) at a LBS a few years back (only AA lights they had available). Currently using the mini because the larger one crapped out on me. I'm considering getting a MAKO 250 or a Planet Bike Blaze 140 SL. I'm also considering a AA (prefer AA because I have many AA NiMH cells on hand but have few spare AAA cells) rear light to mount on my rack - Planet Bike Grateful Red or Serfas Red Stop Sign Light.

Yep, I run all of mine on rechargeable batteries too.  No need to reinvent the wheel bike light manufacturers . . . AA and AAA are easily available and work great!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on January 30, 2019, 12:53:31 PM
I'm in the "USB Rechargeable" camp and haven't had any problems over the past year or two, but my commute is only ~11mi per day. Lights get charged once a week, never have ran out of juice.

Bontrager lights pop up second hand on eBay from time to time. Mine are the non-transmitter versions, so they don't automatically turn on when I start my ride(so barbaric):
Handlebar: Ion 800 R
Seatpost: Flare R
Helmet: Ion 100 R / Flare R City

Added the helmet light to the top of my helmet recently for increased visibility over parked cars. Maybe it makes me look smarter, like I have a lot of bright ideas =P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on January 30, 2019, 01:26:50 PM
It's a little more work to set up, but dynamo headlights are awesome. I rebuilt my front wheel with a $40 Sanyo dynohub, and built my own headlight out of a $3 LED 12V track lighting bulb (about 360 lumens). Tail light is a 12V LED marker light made for trailers. Whole setup was less than $60 and never needs batteries.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: slipslop on January 30, 2019, 06:09:55 PM
I've lost my front tube, three times in the past four months, to a tear near the valve of the tube. I'm keeping my tires properly inflated. Any tips on identifying the problem so that I can replace fewer tubes?

Still cheaper than gas, I suppose...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 30, 2019, 06:32:06 PM
Check with your fingers for anything sharp and pointy stuck in the tire somewhere.  Stuff can get stuck in the tire and feel perfectly fine unless you really bend it back and forth under your hands.  Also check that your rim tape is covering up the spoke holes and hasn't slipped off enough that the tube can poke in there and puncture.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on January 31, 2019, 08:52:49 AM
I've lost my front tube, three times in the past four months, to a tear near the valve of the tube. I'm keeping my tires properly inflated. Any tips on identifying the problem so that I can replace fewer tubes?

Still cheaper than gas, I suppose...
Tear at the base of the valve stem usually happens from the valve not being straight through the hole (which is usually because the wheel was ridden on with pressure too low). GS's tips are more for finding the subtle puncture points that might cause a leak slow enough that you might not notice right away. If you've had slow leaks that you keep topping up, but don't straighten the stem if needed when you top up the tire, you could have this problem, but I'd think you'd know what was causing the tear in that situation. If using Presta valves, are you tightening the nut on the valve stem too tight (should just be snug - especially on double wall rims)? I'd also check for the hole in the rim having sharp edges. If you can't identify and problems with your wheel, try stepping up the quality of the tubes you buy - perhaps the brand you're using is not as strong at the stem as it should be.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on January 31, 2019, 10:41:05 AM
If you can't identify and problems with your wheel, try stepping up the quality of the tubes you buy - perhaps the brand you're using is not as strong at the stem as it should be.

I run fairly high end tubes in all my tires. They're more resistant to punctures and once they're inflated they hardly ever need to be topped up. I find them worth the extra money just for the headaches they save.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Bayou Dweller on January 31, 2019, 12:27:26 PM
It's always a good idea to support your LBS, but the one near me doesn't carry the lights I want for riding in to work.

For longevity I kinda feel like lights that use regular batteries are going to be best.  I've got a couple Planet Bike Superflash Turbo taillights that take regular AAA batteries and have been in regular usage for about five years now with no issue.  My old  Planet Bike Blaze that takes AA batteries has been around for about the same time and still works well.   I've been less successful with USB charging stuff . . . it seems like these special lithium batteries do have a limited shelf life and it's often hard to find replacements for them if they're replaceable at all.  This is a shame as it's getting a bit harder to find good bike lights that use regular batteries.
I like regular AA (or AAA) battery lights too. I run them on NiMH rechargeable cells. I bought a NiteRider MAKO mini and a larger MAKO (don't remember which one) at a LBS a few years back (only AA lights they had available). Currently using the mini because the larger one crapped out on me. I'm considering getting a MAKO 250 or a Planet Bike Blaze 140 SL. I'm also considering a AA (prefer AA because I have many AA NiMH cells on hand but have few spare AAA cells) rear light to mount on my rack - Planet Bike Grateful Red or Serfas Red Stop Sign Light.

Yep, I run all of mine on rechargeable batteries too.  No need to reinvent the wheel bike light manufacturers . . . AA and AAA are easily available and work great!

That's interesting to see so many people here in support of batteries. I've never had much success with rechargeable batteries, but obviously that would be the way to go with anything battery powered. I don't even own anything battery powered with traditional batteries, that is.

How long do these lights last before you have to replace the batteries? My USB charge-lights are pretty low.. Like 1.5 hours if they're on the brightest setting. 8+ hours if they're blinking.

I've lost my front tube, three times in the past four months, to a tear near the valve of the tube. I'm keeping my tires properly inflated. Any tips on identifying the problem so that I can replace fewer tubes?

Still cheaper than gas, I suppose...


That really sucks, I hope you find a solution for this. My first bike as an adult was my mom's old 1980s Schwinn. I was using it to train for a Triathlon. It kept having the same issue and I never was able to fix it. Talk about infuriating.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on January 31, 2019, 01:03:49 PM
My baby loves to play with the button and the blindly lights on my ebike’s massive battery when I bring it in the house for a charge. She apparently played with it enough that she unplugged it soon after I had plugged it in. I realized this the next morning when I got on the bike to go to the doctors and then work and only had 40% charge.

I made it to work with 14% charge left but the battery had been throttling down the assist it gave me at the end.

Lesson learned to make sure that sucker really is charging.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 31, 2019, 01:26:12 PM
It's always a good idea to support your LBS, but the one near me doesn't carry the lights I want for riding in to work.

For longevity I kinda feel like lights that use regular batteries are going to be best.  I've got a couple Planet Bike Superflash Turbo taillights that take regular AAA batteries and have been in regular usage for about five years now with no issue.  My old  Planet Bike Blaze that takes AA batteries has been around for about the same time and still works well.   I've been less successful with USB charging stuff . . . it seems like these special lithium batteries do have a limited shelf life and it's often hard to find replacements for them if they're replaceable at all.  This is a shame as it's getting a bit harder to find good bike lights that use regular batteries.
I like regular AA (or AAA) battery lights too. I run them on NiMH rechargeable cells. I bought a NiteRider MAKO mini and a larger MAKO (don't remember which one) at a LBS a few years back (only AA lights they had available). Currently using the mini because the larger one crapped out on me. I'm considering getting a MAKO 250 or a Planet Bike Blaze 140 SL. I'm also considering a AA (prefer AA because I have many AA NiMH cells on hand but have few spare AAA cells) rear light to mount on my rack - Planet Bike Grateful Red or Serfas Red Stop Sign Light.

Yep, I run all of mine on rechargeable batteries too.  No need to reinvent the wheel bike light manufacturers . . . AA and AAA are easily available and work great!

That's interesting to see so many people here in support of batteries. I've never had much success with rechargeable batteries, but obviously that would be the way to go with anything battery powered. I don't even own anything battery powered with traditional batteries, that is.

How long do these lights last before you have to replace the batteries? My USB charge-lights are pretty low.. Like 1.5 hours if they're on the brightest setting. 8+ hours if they're blinking.

My superflash turbos run 2 AAA batteries each and lasts 50-80 hrs in blinking mode (cold weather seems to drain batteries sooner).  I recharge the batteries every month or so.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on January 31, 2019, 05:19:14 PM
How long do these lights last before you have to replace the batteries? My USB charge-lights are pretty low.. Like 1.5 hours if they're on the brightest setting. 8+ hours if they're blinking.

My superflash turbos run 2 AAA batteries each and lasts 50-80 hrs in blinking mode (cold weather seems to drain batteries sooner).  I recharge the batteries every month or so.
Yes, blinking "be seen" lights should last a long time. What about headlights for actually seeing?

NiteRider Mako 250 (brightest AA battery light I can find) has a rated run time of 7 hours on alkaline batteries on the brightest setting (probably closer to 5 hours on NiMH). Many USB charged lights are brighter but have shorter run times. One great thing about using AA rechargeable batteries is that spare batteries are cheap (~2 USD per cell) and easy to pack.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on January 31, 2019, 06:05:35 PM
How long do these lights last before you have to replace the batteries? My USB charge-lights are pretty low.. Like 1.5 hours if they're on the brightest setting. 8+ hours if they're blinking.

My superflash turbos run 2 AAA batteries each and lasts 50-80 hrs in blinking mode (cold weather seems to drain batteries sooner).  I recharge the batteries every month or so.
Yes, blinking "be seen" lights should last a long time. What about headlights for actually seeing?

NiteRider Mako 250 (brightest AA battery light I can find) has a rated run time of 7 hours on alkaline batteries on the brightest setting (probably closer to 5 hours on NiMH). Many USB charged lights are brighter but have shorter run times. One great thing about using AA rechargeable batteries is that spare batteries are cheap (~2 USD per cell) and easy to pack.

Couldn't tell you to be honest.

My commute is almost entirely on lit roads and city streets.  Being seen is mostly what I'm concerned about.  This year I'm running five lights in the back (two on the bike, three on the backpack) and one or two on the front . . . all blinking crazily out of sync with each other.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on February 04, 2019, 09:09:47 AM
Sadness!  My e-bike is in the shop (not quite literally, since the company I bought from doesn't work with local partners for warranty service; I shipped the rear wheel out).  I had to drive this weekend for grocery shopping, and drove to work today for the second time since June.  Unfortunately, this will be followed by many more car-based commutes over the next couple of weeks at least, since that's the predicted service time. 

I'm even going to need to put gas in the car.  Haven't done that since my (reimbursed) work trip in early November. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on February 04, 2019, 09:37:52 AM
Oh, bummer, Arbitrage!  I'm renting a car this coming weekend as I'm on call and have a lot of errands to do (the arrangement has been planned for some time) and it is already making me sad that I'll see gasoline on my budget/spending again :)


For headlights to see the road - I haven't used any battery operated light that gives a good enough beam to see at full speed in the dark without also being mounted at an angle that would blind cars. Dynamo lights with a beam cutoff are my choice; spendier than battery lights for sure but for my type of riding has been a life saver. I've seen potholes and animals on country roads that I would've seen too late with my other lights.

Before I had the dynamo, in commuting traffic I ran a very very bright Light & Motion headlight on steady, mounted on the side of my fork and aimed out a bit further, then on the handlebars a Cygolite on the city mode that has a faint flash every second or so aimed a bit downward, and a Cygolite rear light on blinky. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on February 04, 2019, 10:22:27 AM
This weekend, while running errands by bike I thought the constant lock/unlock cycle would be much less annoying if I had a proximity lock, like in my car. Turns out this has already been invented (so there goes my plan to become a proper millionaire). Does anyone have one of these? Review?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: letsdoit on February 15, 2019, 10:01:46 AM
does anyone here commute on a fixie ? 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Dee_ on February 16, 2019, 05:16:56 PM
Question about headlights...

My Cygolite Metro 400 seems to have crapped out after just 14 months of use. It says it's charged but then dies within 3 minutes of use.

Are these only supposed to last a certain number of charges? It's difficult to find this information, but I've heard 30 charges thrown around on another forum.

I guess my question is... Are they all going to die after 1-2 years of use? And should I purchase a light from a LBS instead of Amazon? I need one to safely ride into work tomorrow morning.

I have a Lights&Motion Urban 500 headlight, which has a USB rechargeable Li battery. Mine died after about 2 years of daily M-F use. It would say full charge, but then die after about 30s.

I took it apart and replaced the battery - seems the Mustachian thing to do!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: runbikerun on February 17, 2019, 09:10:58 AM
does anyone here commute on a fixie ?

No, but after the last half-hour of readjusting limit screws to properly index my gearing I can certainly see the appeal!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on February 17, 2019, 10:14:36 AM
does anyone here commute on a fixie ?

No, but after the last half-hour of readjusting limit screws to properly index my gearing I can certainly see the appeal!

You shouldn't really have to adjust limit screws to index your gearing.  Limit screws just control how far up/down the cassette your chain can go.  The only thing you should be touching to do indexing is your barrel adjuster.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: runbikerun on February 17, 2019, 02:53:21 PM
This may explain why I ended up spending half an hour on it...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on February 18, 2019, 07:23:41 AM
H/L screw adjustment:
Grab your derailleur cable and pull it by hand until the derailleur has reached the furthest it will go.  Then adjust the L (L for light gear) screw so that the derailleur jockey wheel is lined up directly below the cog at this point.  Unbolt the derailleur cable and adjust the H (H for hard gear) screw so that the derailleur jockey wheel is lined up below the cog.  Then bolt your cable back on (pull it tight enough that there's no slack, but not so tight that the derailleur moves from the smallest to second smallest cog) and pretty much never touch the screws again.

Indexing:
Shift to the second hardest gear.  Then shift to the third hardest gear.  If it doesn't shift easily, tighten the barrel adjuster until it does.  If it shifts too easily, loosen the barrel adjuster.  Once you can go from 2nd to third hardest and back smoothly, go up and down the cassette a couple times and make a one or two notch adjustment if necessary, but it should be pretty close to perfect.

It used to take me forever, but after discovering the above method I can usually re-index after replacing a cable in less that 5 minutes.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on February 18, 2019, 04:26:22 PM
I'm imminently planning on buying a bag that will clip to my bike rack so I don't have to deal with a bungee net 4x per day. Anything I should consider beforehand?

Here's what I'm looking at - I already have the same-brand rack so I picked this for compatibility: https://www.amazon.com/Ibera-Bicycle-Quick-Release-Weather-Pannier/dp/B00A6H2YNI?pd_rd_wg=as2wZ&pd_rd_r=2e497b04-5b6b-4e6a-b356-1643544f740c&pd_rd_w=moY4E&ref_=pd_gw_simh&pf_rd_r=MMK3HSFQ60VA4FVASKJT&pf_rd_p=5bb8abce-4b41-53f0-b785-c7d6b87a6b72 (https://www.amazon.com/Ibera-Bicycle-Quick-Release-Weather-Pannier/dp/B00A6H2YNI?pd_rd_wg=as2wZ&pd_rd_r=2e497b04-5b6b-4e6a-b356-1643544f740c&pd_rd_w=moY4E&ref_=pd_gw_simh&pf_rd_r=MMK3HSFQ60VA4FVASKJT&pf_rd_p=5bb8abce-4b41-53f0-b785-c7d6b87a6b72)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Dee_ on February 18, 2019, 07:51:37 PM
I'm imminently planning on buying a bag that will clip to my bike rack so I don't have to deal with a bungee net 4x per day. Anything I should consider beforehand?

Here's what I'm looking at - I already have the same-brand rack so I picked this for compatibility: https://www.amazon.com/Ibera-Bicycle-Quick-Release-Weather-Pannier/dp/B00A6H2YNI?pd_rd_wg=as2wZ&pd_rd_r=2e497b04-5b6b-4e6a-b356-1643544f740c&pd_rd_w=moY4E&ref_=pd_gw_simh&pf_rd_r=MMK3HSFQ60VA4FVASKJT&pf_rd_p=5bb8abce-4b41-53f0-b785-c7d6b87a6b72 (https://www.amazon.com/Ibera-Bicycle-Quick-Release-Weather-Pannier/dp/B00A6H2YNI?pd_rd_wg=as2wZ&pd_rd_r=2e497b04-5b6b-4e6a-b356-1643544f740c&pd_rd_w=moY4E&ref_=pd_gw_simh&pf_rd_r=MMK3HSFQ60VA4FVASKJT&pf_rd_p=5bb8abce-4b41-53f0-b785-c7d6b87a6b72)

We got Ortliebs. They're expensive but flawless. They come in a pair so I took one and husband took one.
 
I would suggest you think about waterproofing. A shocking amount of water gets flung into my non-waterproof bag, even during a light drizzle.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on February 18, 2019, 08:49:44 PM
I'm imminently planning on buying a bag that will clip to my bike rack so I don't have to deal with a bungee net 4x per day. Anything I should consider beforehand?

Here's what I'm looking at - I already have the same-brand rack so I picked this for compatibility: https://www.amazon.com/Ibera-Bicycle-Quick-Release-Weather-Pannier/dp/B00A6H2YNI?pd_rd_wg=as2wZ&pd_rd_r=2e497b04-5b6b-4e6a-b356-1643544f740c&pd_rd_w=moY4E&ref_=pd_gw_simh&pf_rd_r=MMK3HSFQ60VA4FVASKJT&pf_rd_p=5bb8abce-4b41-53f0-b785-c7d6b87a6b72 (https://www.amazon.com/Ibera-Bicycle-Quick-Release-Weather-Pannier/dp/B00A6H2YNI?pd_rd_wg=as2wZ&pd_rd_r=2e497b04-5b6b-4e6a-b356-1643544f740c&pd_rd_w=moY4E&ref_=pd_gw_simh&pf_rd_r=MMK3HSFQ60VA4FVASKJT&pf_rd_p=5bb8abce-4b41-53f0-b785-c7d6b87a6b72)

I have that pannier (actually a pair of them).  Working fine, but not waterproof of course.  They do come with a rain cover, which I'll throw on for rainy rides, but wouldn't trust for a longer ride in a downpour. 

I do think they're starting to wear a bit in the lower corners (about 8 months of regular use), and I'll have to keep an eye on that and/or figure out a way to mitigate. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on February 18, 2019, 11:18:45 PM
We don't get very many rain days here in SoCal! Haven't braved that type of riding yet.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on February 19, 2019, 07:34:35 AM
Waterproof is nice (you just have to be really careful not to accidentally let wet stuff drip into a waterproof bag because they'll start to smell funky really quickly), but honestly I'm fine with non-waterproof too . . . just wrap anything you don't want to get wet in a plastic grocery bag and it'll be fine.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: LittleWanderer on February 19, 2019, 08:49:47 AM
I'm imminently planning on buying a bag that will clip to my bike rack so I don't have to deal with a bungee net 4x per day. Anything I should consider beforehand?

Here's what I'm looking at - I already have the same-brand rack so I picked this for compatibility: https://www.amazon.com/Ibera-Bicycle-Quick-Release-Weather-Pannier/dp/B00A6H2YNI?pd_rd_wg=as2wZ&pd_rd_r=2e497b04-5b6b-4e6a-b356-1643544f740c&pd_rd_w=moY4E&ref_=pd_gw_simh&pf_rd_r=MMK3HSFQ60VA4FVASKJT&pf_rd_p=5bb8abce-4b41-53f0-b785-c7d6b87a6b72 (https://www.amazon.com/Ibera-Bicycle-Quick-Release-Weather-Pannier/dp/B00A6H2YNI?pd_rd_wg=as2wZ&pd_rd_r=2e497b04-5b6b-4e6a-b356-1643544f740c&pd_rd_w=moY4E&ref_=pd_gw_simh&pf_rd_r=MMK3HSFQ60VA4FVASKJT&pf_rd_p=5bb8abce-4b41-53f0-b785-c7d6b87a6b72)

I would be slightly worried that the plastic clips on the panniers that attach to your rack might break at some point in time.  You can line them with trash compactor bags to keep things nice and dry.  That's what I do when I go backpacking.  Lightweight, durable, and super waterproof.

I have a pair of Arkels which have been bombproof so far, but they were expensive. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on February 19, 2019, 11:57:45 AM
H/L screw adjustment:
Grab your derailleur cable and pull it by hand until the derailleur has reached the furthest it will go.  Then adjust the L (L for light gear) screw so that the derailleur jockey wheel is lined up directly below the cog at this point.  Unbolt the derailleur cable and adjust the H (H for hard gear) screw so that the derailleur jockey wheel is lined up below the cog.  Then bolt your cable back on (pull it tight enough that there's no slack, but not so tight that the derailleur moves from the smallest to second smallest cog) and pretty much never touch the screws again.

Indexing:
Shift to the second hardest gear.  Then shift to the third hardest gear.  If it doesn't shift easily, tighten the barrel adjuster until it does.  If it shifts too easily, loosen the barrel adjuster.  Once you can go from 2nd to third hardest and back smoothly, go up and down the cassette a couple times and make a one or two notch adjustment if necessary, but it should be pretty close to perfect.

It used to take me forever, but after discovering the above method I can usually re-index after replacing a cable in less that 5 minutes.
First make sure your derailleur hanger is properly aligned. I used to have terrible trouble trying to get my rear derailleur to shift accurately. I bought this alignment tool (https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/x-tools-pro-gear-hanger-alignment-tool/rp-prod122319) and spent some time zeroing in on getting my hanger perfectly parallel to the wheel. After alignment adjusting as GuitarStv suggests was a breeze. Absolutely perfect shifting since.

Waterproof is nice (you just have to be really careful not to accidentally let wet stuff drip into a waterproof bag because they'll start to smell funky really quickly), but honestly I'm fine with non-waterproof too . . . just wrap anything you don't want to get wet in a plastic grocery bag and it'll be fine.
I carry drinking water to work to avoid nasty tap water there. Water bottles for work are in same bag as work clothes. One day a lid was loose on one of my bottles - spilled about 8 oz of water. Clothes in plastic bag were fine. If my bag was waterproof it might have caused a problem.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on February 21, 2019, 06:52:55 AM
Totally bummed out right now.  Sent my e-bike (the rear wheel, anyway) in for warranty repair on the motor, and just received it last night after a 3-week car clowning wait.  Unfortunately, I accidentally trashed the cadence and torque sensors when putting the bike back together. 

The manufacturer is terrible with communication, so it's not even clear that they did repair my existing motor problem; everything pretty much looks as it did before I sent it in.  I could be selling them short, as I haven't yet reproduced the problem, which was intermittent and will be difficult to reproduce without functional pedal assist. 

Throwing a flier out to see if they'll replace my sensors under warranty, but it's doubtful.  Now need to wait even longer to ride.  $200 to replace the sensors if they won't cover it, and potentially another fight and long wait if they didn't fix anything with the motor.  Argh!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on February 21, 2019, 10:01:35 AM
Totally bummed out right now.  Sent my e-bike (the rear wheel, anyway) in for warranty repair on the motor, and just received it last night after a 3-week car clowning wait.  Unfortunately, I accidentally trashed the cadence and torque sensors when putting the bike back together. 

The manufacturer is terrible with communication, so it's not even clear that they did repair my existing motor problem; everything pretty much looks as it did before I sent it in.  I could be selling them short, as I haven't yet reproduced the problem, which was intermittent and will be difficult to reproduce without functional pedal assist. 

Throwing a flier out to see if they'll replace my sensors under warranty, but it's doubtful.  Now need to wait even longer to ride.  $200 to replace the sensors if they won't cover it, and potentially another fight and long wait if they didn't fix anything with the motor.  Argh!
Could you still ride with the broken sensors or do they control functions of the bike?


For anyone looking for sunglasses to ride with, I've had good luck lately with 3M safety glasses:
Clear Lens - https://www.amazon.com/3M-Performance-Eyewear-Multi-Purpose-Design/dp/B01IKPYDGS/
Gray Lens -  https://www.amazon.com/3M-Performance-Eyewear-Multi-Purpose-Design/dp/B01IKPYDHC/

The clear lenses were nice for when it was dark in the mornings and evenings, but I still wanted something to keep debris out of my eyes. I got them during a Lowe's store closing, so they were less than Amazon's current price. Before these I was riding with a pair of Champion sunglasses from Target, but those cracked up in a nasty way. It made me concerned that in the event of an accident I might get plastic crap in my eyes, so the safety glasses fit the bill nicely.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: AlexMar on February 21, 2019, 10:33:04 AM
Totally bummed out right now.  Sent my e-bike (the rear wheel, anyway) in for warranty repair on the motor, and just received it last night after a 3-week car clowning wait.  Unfortunately, I accidentally trashed the cadence and torque sensors when putting the bike back together. 

The manufacturer is terrible with communication, so it's not even clear that they did repair my existing motor problem; everything pretty much looks as it did before I sent it in.  I could be selling them short, as I haven't yet reproduced the problem, which was intermittent and will be difficult to reproduce without functional pedal assist. 

Throwing a flier out to see if they'll replace my sensors under warranty, but it's doubtful.  Now need to wait even longer to ride.  $200 to replace the sensors if they won't cover it, and potentially another fight and long wait if they didn't fix anything with the motor.  Argh!

I know I way overpaid for my Trek, but it is very nice having a Trek store right next to the house with lots of good and helpful people working there.  Seems bikes break a lot from reading around and what a pain to fix them yourself and deal with internet companies!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on February 21, 2019, 11:00:50 AM
Seems bikes break a lot from reading around and what a pain to fix them yourself and deal with internet companies!

Depends on how much joy you take from doing things yourself. After the first couple of times I was completely ripped off (either by mechanics or others), I've decided to make it a hobby of fixing or building everything I can myself. In addition to saving me a lot of money, its also paid huge dividends over the years in supporting my knowledge base. Granted, this isn't a hobby for everyone, but just wanted to show the flip side of the coin: now when something breaks, I generally get somewhat excited about how I'm going to fix it.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on February 21, 2019, 11:02:04 AM
Could you still ride with the broken sensors or do they control functions of the bike?


I can ride, but not with pedal assist - these sensors tell the motor controller when to kick on and how much power to provide.  That means I get a choice of throttle only, or pedals with zero assist.  The former option is something I would prefer to do only in a pinch, as it somewhat defeats the purpose of biking; I never ride that way normally.  The latter option might sound okay, but then you're riding a super-heavy bike with gearing not equipped to handle that mode.  Gun to my head, either would work, but neither is a way I'm inclined to commute with.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on February 22, 2019, 08:43:08 AM
Could you still ride with the broken sensors or do they control functions of the bike?


I can ride, but not with pedal assist - these sensors tell the motor controller when to kick on and how much power to provide.  That means I get a choice of throttle only, or pedals with zero assist.  The former option is something I would prefer to do only in a pinch, as it somewhat defeats the purpose of biking; I never ride that way normally.  The latter option might sound okay, but then you're riding a super-heavy bike with gearing not equipped to handle that mode.  Gun to my head, either would work, but neither is a way I'm inclined to commute with.
If your throttle controller is sensitive enough, you could use throttle while pedaling to recreate the pedal assist. I'm sure it would take much practice to get the balance between your pedaling and throttle just right (unlike the intuitive automatic pedal assist). Still, I'd be inclined to do it while waiting to here back if the sensors will be covered by warranty / waiting for parts.

I know I way overpaid for my Trek, but it is very nice having a Trek store right next to the house with lots of good and helpful people working there.  Seems bikes break a lot from reading around and what a pain to fix them yourself and deal with internet companies!
You're right that bikes require maintenance - much more frequent than a car miles wise, but not that much different in terms of time in use. A well maintained bike rarely has any issues other than a puncture flat from road debris - this is much more rare for cars because they have much thicker tires. Maintenance intervals on the exposed chain are higher than you would use for the transmission of a car, but most other moving parts on a bike need no more frequent (time not miles wise) maintenance. Bike tires need replacing more frequently because they are thinner and have less surface contact (even after adjusting for weight - I run my bike tires 2-3x the pressure of my car tires).

Of course e-bikes are more complicated and heavier than regular bikes and many systems are pretty new, so their designs might not be refined enough.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: slipslop on February 22, 2019, 10:05:28 PM
Replaced my rear brake pads and made brake adjustments last night. Laughed every time I pulled the brake and slowed down *way* faster than I was expecting to. I guess it'll take a few days to get used to the new stopping power.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: dvdvrhs on March 07, 2019, 01:58:57 PM
A bike commuting tax break bill has been introduced. I would recommend asking your representative to support this:

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2019/03/06/new-bill-would-provide-a-tax-break-for-bike-commuters/

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FunkyStickman on March 07, 2019, 02:42:33 PM
I signed up for my work's "Commit to be Fit" contest. 12 weeks.
Going to be hitting the bike hard, and very likely going to give the 21 mile commute a shot in the future. Will post back how it goes.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on March 07, 2019, 03:42:01 PM
I managed to take my first spill on my bike on the ride in three days ago. It was wet due to rain and I took this 90* curve that turned out to be super slippery. Thankfully I was going really slowly so the worst was the chain that fell off. The next morning I was super cautious at the same spot, slowed way down, and found myself on the ground again, this time with a scraped ankle. Damn. I guess that particular shortcut is off the menu on wet days.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 07, 2019, 05:47:13 PM
You'll find that there are particular road surfaces that you've got to be really careful around when it's wet.  Any of those big metal plates/grates/manhole covers should be regarded with suspicion.  Be careful if you find yourself on the white lines too, they can get crazy slippery when wet.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on March 07, 2019, 08:32:16 PM
You'll find that there are particular road surfaces that you've got to be really careful around when it's wet.  Any of those big metal plates/grates/manhole covers should be regarded with suspicion.  Be careful if you find yourself on the white lines too, they can get crazy slippery when wet.

Also bathroom tiles that are used to tile bridges...but that may just be a China thing.


On a more positive note, the weather is finally cooperating, so I biked three times this week for a total distance of approximately 100 km.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on March 08, 2019, 10:23:20 AM
You'll find that there are particular road surfaces that you've got to be really careful around when it's wet.  Any of those big metal plates/grates/manhole covers should be regarded with suspicion.  Be careful if you find yourself on the white lines too, they can get crazy slippery when wet.
I do avoid those already, but I guess the exposed pebble concrete sidewalk is rare enough that I hadn’t thought about it before.

Boo on indoor tiles being used on bridges!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on March 08, 2019, 03:20:46 PM
You'll find that there are particular road surfaces that you've got to be really careful around when it's wet.  Any of those big metal plates/grates/manhole covers should be regarded with suspicion.  Be careful if you find yourself on the white lines too, they can get crazy slippery when wet.
I do avoid those already, but I guess the exposed pebble concrete sidewalk is rare enough that I hadnít thought about it before.

Boo on indoor tiles being used on bridges!

Glad to hear you're OK. The last time I wiped out like that I managed to give myself whiplash.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on March 08, 2019, 04:51:20 PM
Oh wow. I hope you have recovered by now. Whiplash somehow isn’t something I expect on a bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on March 08, 2019, 08:12:48 PM
Finally have my bike back!  Missed a whole month of bike commuting while it was getting repaired being worked on unsuccessfully.  Of course, my first week after having my bike back, I was out of town traveling, so it'll end up being a five week break.  I'm ready to get back on the wagon. 

Edit: ARGH!  The bike isn't fixed - problem with the motor still exists.  I might try to ride it this week, but the saga continues...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on March 09, 2019, 04:00:08 PM
Oh wow. I hope you have recovered by now. Whiplash somehow isnít something I expect on a bike.

LOL, it was a few years ago, so I've been fine for quite a while now. I was surprised by how much pain I was in 2 days after the fall. Turns out whiplash is caused by sudden deceleration. Like when your body flies through the air and then comes to an abrupt stop when it smashes into the pavement ;-)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on March 11, 2019, 10:59:17 AM
Oh wow. I hope you have recovered by now. Whiplash somehow isn’t something I expect on a bike.

LOL, it was a few years ago, so I've been fine for quite a while now. I was surprised by how much pain I was in 2 days after the fall. Turns out whiplash is caused by sudden deceleration. Like when your body flies through the air and then comes to an abrupt stop when it smashes into the pavement ;-)
Eek
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Wallet on March 11, 2019, 01:26:36 PM
Finally have my bike back!  Missed a whole month of bike commuting while it was getting repaired being worked on unsuccessfully.  Of course, my first week after having my bike back, I was out of town traveling, so it'll end up being a five week break.  I'm ready to get back on the wagon. 

Edit: ARGH!  The bike isn't fixed - problem with the motor still exists.  I might try to ride it this week, but the saga continues...

Oh no! What a pain! Fingers crossed you get this sorted pronto. Service would be much better if they understood that this is a primary source of transport for some folks! Can you imagine waiting a month for a car to be repaired!?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: 35andFI on March 11, 2019, 04:50:19 PM
There is a little walkable underpass that I take instead of crossing a small highway.
I could tell that it was flooded but I couldnít tell how deep it was. I decided to go for it.
It kept getting deeper... and deeper so I lifted my feet up so they wouldnít get wet.
Then the bike stopped rolling...

Lesson learned.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on March 11, 2019, 09:20:15 PM
Haha!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 12, 2019, 07:42:28 AM
lol



My reason for always avoiding puddles has a lot to do with the likelihood of finding a wheel sized pothole/crack under them around here.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on March 12, 2019, 07:56:27 AM
Finally have my bike back!  Missed a whole month of bike commuting while it was getting repaired being worked on unsuccessfully.  Of course, my first week after having my bike back, I was out of town traveling, so it'll end up being a five week break.  I'm ready to get back on the wagon. 

Edit: ARGH!  The bike isn't fixed - problem with the motor still exists.  I might try to ride it this week, but the saga continues...

Oh no! What a pain! Fingers crossed you get this sorted pronto. Service would be much better if they understood that this is a primary source of transport for some folks! Can you imagine waiting a month for a car to be repaired!?

Thanks.  I did ride so far this week, and the good news is that the ride is certainly improved, just not fixed.  Still waiting to hear back from them, but in the meantime I can ride, as long as I ride carefully, with no sudden applications of torque. 

I tried to emphasize to their service department how much my life centers around this bike now (I had driven my car a total of about 100-150 miles since June, outside of one work-reimbursed trip), and really wanted to avoid not having my bike for several weeks.  No dice. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on March 12, 2019, 08:21:39 AM
Achievement unlocked: I biked home in a light rain yesterday. (After specifically planning around the forecast to avoid that outcome.) My leggings got wet, but my second layer on top stayed dry. Are there any tricks regarding raindrops on glasses? The best I could do was just keep my head down.

Also, a confession. There is one hill on my ride home that I have been riding up the sidewalk. I know I shouldn't, but the sidewalk is double-wide, and there's no bike lane on the road plus a bunch of parked cars, and I hold up traffic whenever I struggle up the hill as fast as possible in the road. It's a much less intense hill at my own pace...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 12, 2019, 08:39:28 AM
Achievement unlocked: I biked home in a light rain yesterday. (After specifically planning around the forecast to avoid that outcome.) My leggings got wet, but my second layer on top stayed dry. Are there any tricks regarding raindrops on glasses? The best I could do was just keep my head down.

Also, a confession. There is one hill on my ride home that I have been riding up the sidewalk. I know I shouldn't, but the sidewalk is double-wide, and there's no bike lane on the road plus a bunch of parked cars, and I hold up traffic whenever I struggle up the hill as fast as possible in the road. It's a much less intense hill at my own pace...

Cycling cap under helmet is essential rain equipment.  It works pretty well to keep spray off your lenses, and keeps your head a bit warmer.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on March 12, 2019, 09:51:17 AM
Achievement unlocked: I biked home in a light rain yesterday. (After specifically planning around the forecast to avoid that outcome.) My leggings got wet, but my second layer on top stayed dry. Are there any tricks regarding raindrops on glasses? The best I could do was just keep my head down.

Also, a confession. There is one hill on my ride home that I have been riding up the sidewalk. I know I shouldn't, but the sidewalk is double-wide, and there's no bike lane on the road plus a bunch of parked cars, and I hold up traffic whenever I struggle up the hill as fast as possible in the road. It's a much less intense hill at my own pace...

I wear gloves and use them to wipe off my lenses at stoplights. It's not perfect, but it works well enough to be able to mostly see.

Riding on the side walk on that hill sounds fine. I live on a similar hill and do the same. I also recently changed my route to work slightly so now I ride part of the way on a sidewalk instead of in the bike lane. That particular lane isn't respected by drivers and they sometimes randomly swerve into it. There's almost no one walking on the sidewalk and no driveways cross it.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on March 12, 2019, 11:43:33 AM
Achievement unlocked: I biked home in a light rain yesterday. (After specifically planning around the forecast to avoid that outcome.) My leggings got wet, but my second layer on top stayed dry. Are there any tricks regarding raindrops on glasses? The best I could do was just keep my head down.

Cycling cap under helmet is essential rain equipment.  It works pretty well to keep spray off your lenses, and keeps your head a bit warmer.

I've been wearing my helmet over a thin hoodie pulled up to keep my ears warm. Similar principle, I believe, but no benefit for my visibility.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on March 12, 2019, 12:41:34 PM
Achievement unlocked: I biked home in a light rain yesterday. (After specifically planning around the forecast to avoid that outcome.) My leggings got wet, but my second layer on top stayed dry. Are there any tricks regarding raindrops on glasses? The best I could do was just keep my head down.

Also, a confession. There is one hill on my ride home that I have been riding up the sidewalk. I know I shouldn't, but the sidewalk is double-wide, and there's no bike lane on the road plus a bunch of parked cars, and I hold up traffic whenever I struggle up the hill as fast as possible in the road. It's a much less intense hill at my own pace...
GCN showed some crazy hydrophobic treatment for glasses (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBOP61tDUGE

They also mention using a bunch of different household items to make your glasses fog resistant which may help shed raindrops too.

+1 for cycling caps. They really do keep a good amount of rain from getting in your eyeballs.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: sixup on March 13, 2019, 05:38:32 AM
I am switching from e-bike to regular bike soon. Bike gateway drug indeed. I put 4400 miles on my e-bike the past 16 months. Year round commuting in central NJ.

I will admit though, I am moving to a place that is less hilly, has great weather, and I won't need to commute for work. So my overall bike mileage will drop so maybe not quite as badass as riding an ebike in shitty winter weather.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: 35andFI on March 13, 2019, 09:20:19 AM
I am switching from e-bike to regular bike soon. Bike gateway drug indeed. I put 4400 miles on my e-bike the past 16 months. Year round commuting in central NJ.

I will admit though, I am moving to a place that is less hilly, has great weather, and I won't need to commute for work. So my overall bike mileage will drop so maybe not quite as badass as riding an ebike in shitty winter weather.

Nice! Where in central NJ are you? Iím in Princeton.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: sixup on March 13, 2019, 10:47:37 AM
Clinton area in Hunterdon county
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FI-REality on March 14, 2019, 06:19:19 AM
I think it's time to dust the bike off for the spring.  Looks like its supposed to be above 0C during the day for the next week, just need to watch out for the rain.  A couple people at my office have already rode in a number of times this month. 
I bought one last July and rode it to work (3.6kms one way) a couple dozen times last year.  This year I'm thinking of taking our second car off the road and only using the bike unless I have an off-site meeting or something.  My wife is a stay at home mom, so I'm really thinking we don't need the 2nd car at all; although it's a hard change to wrap your mind around when you've owned your own car for the last 30 years; and this particular car since 2004...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 14, 2019, 08:47:10 AM
I had my first above zero degree bike ride of the year.  It was truly a treat!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: 35andFI on March 14, 2019, 10:25:22 AM
I had my first above zero degree bike ride of the year.  It was truly a treat!

Nice! Weather looks great here today! High of 63F (17C).
Iíll be able to go out in about 3 hours.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 14, 2019, 12:24:05 PM
I had my first above zero degree bike ride of the year.  It was truly a treat!

Nice! Weather looks great here today! High of 63F (17C).
Iíll be able to go out in about 3 hours.

We don't usually get into that sort of shorts weather until may.  Saves me a mint on razors I suppose.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Villanelle on March 14, 2019, 08:31:19 PM
This thread is intimidating the shit out of me.  I'm someone who hates being ignorant and Not Knowing Things, and this is making me feel like I'm way too fucking stupid about bikes to be a bike rider after all.

Other than knowing how to ride a bike and knowing that the bike I have is uncomfortable and too big, I know fuck-all about bikes, I guess. 

Maybe I'll see if my library has "Biking [or bike maintenance] for Dummies]. 

I'm only looking for this to run local-ish errands, or at least that's the need unless and until I find a job.  But none the less, reading about chain thingamajigs and degreasing and whatnots is overwhelming. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on March 14, 2019, 08:43:15 PM
Well you are in good company if it makes you feel any different. I can put my bike chain back on when it falls off and I can recognize when I get a flat tire, but that is about it. I am spoiled because I have my work bike maintenance shop that takes care of everything for me, and encourages me to come in if I get so much as a squeaky chain.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on March 14, 2019, 11:17:31 PM
I taught myself to change the chain from Youtube, and that's about it. I've gotten the impression from this thread that I should be... oiling it? But I decided that I had to jump into biking before I knew everything about it, because there's way too much to know and I would never get started if I tried to do it the other way round. If my bike falls apart underneath me, I guess I'll call an uber. I'm learning as I go. Kinda why I started the thread, really.

I appreciate the experts sharing what they know, but this is really intended to be - and I use it as - a thread for people who have no idea what they're doing to take their first baby steps. Baby pedals. Idk.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 15, 2019, 09:28:43 AM
Maybe I'll see if my library has "Biking [or bike maintenance] for Dummies]. 
The "for Dummies" series does have "Bike Repair & Maintenance". Best seller on Amazon is Zinn and the Art of (Road/Mountain) Bike Maintenance. Also high on the list is Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike. I have Anybody's Bike Book, but it's dated (disc breaks weren't a thing on bikes when my copy was published). Now I mostly use https://www.sheldonbrown.com/ (https://www.sheldonbrown.com/) for bike maintenance reference.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 15, 2019, 09:52:23 AM
Sheldon Brown and Parktools.  Between the two websites you should be able to do just about any bike maintenance that comes up.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Wallet on March 15, 2019, 09:56:16 AM
This thread is intimidating the shit about me.  I'm someone who hates being ignorant and Not Knowing Things, and this is making me feel like I'm way to fucking stupid about bikes to be a bike rider after all.

Other than knowing how to ride a bike and knowing that the bike I have is uncomfortable and too big, I know fuck-all about bikes, I guess. 

Maybe I'll see if my library has "Biking [or bike maintenance] for Dummies]. 

I'm only looking for this to run local-ish errands, or at least that's the need unless and until I find a job.  But none the less, reading about chain thingamajigs and degreasing and whatnots is overwhelming. 

Honestly, even if you bring your bike to the local bike shop for all your maintenance beyond lubing your chain, it will still be a helluva lot cheaper than driving.

Find a shop that is friendly and you trust, get a mid-range bike you like and that fits you, and go back there for parts and service as needed.

Biking doesn't have to be more complicated than finding a good route and riding in appropriate clothing.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 15, 2019, 10:05:59 AM
If it makes you feel better, I learned to maintain my bike by first neglecting my bike for a few years . . . then trying to fix all the annoying issues that started to come up.  Bikes are pretty tough mechanical devices.

:P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on March 15, 2019, 10:31:05 AM
If it makes you feel better, I learned to maintain my bike by first neglecting my bike for a few years . . . then trying to fix all the annoying issues that started to come up.  Bikes are pretty tough mechanical devices.

:P

Me too. My bike used to go to the shop for everything. Over time I got tired of driving it back and forth, but outsourcing to the shop is still a great way to keep your bike running.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Villanelle on March 15, 2019, 12:28:21 PM
If it makes you feel better, I learned to maintain my bike by first neglecting my bike for a few years . . . then trying to fix all the annoying issues that started to come up.  Bikes are pretty tough mechanical devices.

:P

Actually, it makes me feel *MUCH* better.  Thanks.  Would you say that beyond fixing obvious things (flat tire, broken chain) as they come up, taking in the bike once a year for maintenance is more or less good enough as a basic preventative strategy?  Twice a year?  Something else?

And maybe someone could give a list of the very basic things they think a newb should do?  Like that once a year maintenance at a shop (anything specific to ask for, or just a tune up"?), plus greasing the chain (which I could then google to learn as I'm sure that's pretty basic) and...?

This isn't to keep it perfect forever, or what is ideal.  Just a baseline.  Like oil changes on cars and doing the 30k/60k/etc. tune ups on a car. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Wallet on March 15, 2019, 12:44:54 PM
If it makes you feel better, I learned to maintain my bike by first neglecting my bike for a few years . . . then trying to fix all the annoying issues that started to come up.  Bikes are pretty tough mechanical devices.

:P

Actually, it makes me feel *MUCH* better.  Thanks.  Would you say that beyond fixing obvious things (flat tire, broken chain) as they come up, taking in the bike once a year for maintenance is more or less good enough as a basic preventative strategy?  Twice a year?  Something else?

And maybe someone could give a list of the very basic things they think a newb should do?  Like that once a year maintenance at a shop (anything specific to ask for, or just a tune up"?), plus greasing the chain (which I could then google to learn as I'm sure that's pretty basic) and...?

This isn't to keep it perfect forever, or what is ideal.  Just a baseline.  Like oil changes on cars and doing the 30k/60k/etc. tune ups on a car. 

For me, basic at home maintenance would entail cleaning and lubricating the chain with a bike specific chain lube. Keeping tires inflated regularly, and replacing inner tubes as necessary. Changing brake pads as necessary (probably every year or so).

For everything else, a once a year (or as needed) trip to the local bike shop would certainly be fine. You can likely expect to need a new chain and cassette every few years, replace the cables and housing every few years, having the wheels trued, and the headset and bottom bracket serviced.

In my experience, other than the above, a bike is pretty maintenance free and only requires service if broken.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 15, 2019, 01:03:09 PM
As mentioned, the basic stuff you should get into the habit of doing is to oil the chain every week or two and inflate the tires.

I'd recommend that every cyclist practice taking the rear wheel off their bike and changing a tube several times . . . because at some point or other, you will likely have to do just that.  Learning on the side of the road is more stressful.  There's no point having a spare tube and pump if you don't know how to use 'em.

Other than that, a once a year checkup is likely fine for the average cyclist.  It depends on a lot of factors though . . . The kind of mileage you're putting on the bike, the way that you pedal, the weather conditions you ride in, your weight, etc.

I weigh 200 lbs and ride about 1600 km a month in the summer in pouring rain, and will often find myself 60-70 km from home in the middle of nowhere with no phone.  My maintenance schedule is kinda aggressive because I wreck stuff more quickly.  If you are like my wife and weigh 100 lbs and ride maybe 100 km a month only when it's sunny, you can get away with a lot more neglect.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: katscratch on March 15, 2019, 04:05:35 PM
One of the reasons I didn't start biking for many years was being super intimidated by exactly the types of things you're talking about in this thread, @Villanelle. Everything I came across online seemed so out of my reach knowledge-wise. Luckily I stumbled onto a local monthly ride for people new to biking, at a slow pace, with ridiculously friendly leaders, learning to ride the city streets, and I was hooked.

I currently know how to do basic maintenance on my bike but I still take it to my shop for almost everything - they'll clean it up for me for pennies while I stand around and chit chat so win-win :) The only thing I really do at home is check the air in my tires, then lubricate my chain in winter, but our weather sucks and the chain will start rusting in two seconds if I don't wipe it down myself after riding in the snow/salt mix.

Since my commute is on or very close to transit lines, I didn't worry too much about being able to change my tires the first six months I rode. My plan was to lock up and ride the bus if I popped a flat. I do carry an extra tube on my bike, though - in case there's someone around that is a fast tire-changer that offers to help. Once I started riding more for fun and longer distances, I made sure I was able to do it so I didn't end up stranded 50 miles away from the city. When you get to that point, I do agree that it's super helpful to practice at home, because if you're anything like me you'll take foreeeeevvvvvver and will probably put the tire on backwards at least once and will have a heck of a time getting the tire back on at all and feel like a total wimp -- until you suddenly get it all right and feel like a total badass. I'm still really really really awful at changing my back tire on my bike with gears.

:)

A lot of the tips here, keep in mind too, are from regular riders who have upgraded their bicycles, so it starts making more sense to be more invested at all the levels (maintenance, clothing choices, etc). I pay a lot more attention to my chain and gears now that I'm riding an expensive bike; I want it to last a very long time. I pay a lot more attention to my clothes now that I ride year-round; I want to be comfortable and not just trying-it-out or I won't want to keep riding. And so forth.

On the flip side, I know we've all seen plenty of normal folks riding a bike in jeans and tennis shoes with a backpack that have never been in a bike shop other than the sport section at a big box store, that get around just fine, so take the information that makes sense to you where you are and save the rest til later ;)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on March 18, 2019, 10:48:33 AM
Alright, so does anybody have a recommended brand for chain lube? I have been neglecting it due to riding in sunny SoCal - no salt or slush! - but this discussion of the bare minimum maintenance has convinced me to pay more attention.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on March 18, 2019, 11:19:46 AM
Well, it finally happened - my first flat.  I was considering myself lucky to avoid any thus far (2100 miles of high speed e-biking), but I discovered it while rolling up to work.  Rear wheel flat, which is a challenge on a hub-mounted motor e-bike.  I wasn't sure exactly what I would do about it, lacking the tools at work to remove the wheel, but I was able to find the offending shard of glass and patch up the tube.  At least I think so - we'll see if the pressure holds!  If not, an emergency SOS to my wife might be in order to cart me and the bike home. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on March 18, 2019, 11:48:47 AM
Alright, so does anybody have a recommended brand for chain lube? I have been neglecting it due to riding in sunny SoCal - no salt or slush! - but this discussion of the bare minimum maintenance has convinced me to pay more attention.
TriFlow is pretty easy to find. It's not specifically a bike chain lubricant, but lots of people use it and you can apply it to other moving components, pivot points, etc.

Muc-Off makes a dry and wet lube...
https://us.muc-off.com/products/bio-dry-lube
https://us.muc-off.com/products/bio-wet-lube

Simple Green makes a nice degreaser. I use a little carwash soap when I wash my bike, hit the drivetrain with some degreaser, dry everything, then lube it all up and wipe off any excess. Makes shifting smoother, pedaling quieter and supposedly increases the lifespan of stuff.

Well, it finally happened - my first flat.  I was considering myself lucky to avoid any thus far (2100 miles of high speed e-biking), but I discovered it while rolling up to work.  Rear wheel flat, which is a challenge on a hub-mounted motor e-bike.  I wasn't sure exactly what I would do about it, lacking the tools at work to remove the wheel, but I was able to find the offending shard of glass and patch up the tube.  At least I think so - we'll see if the pressure holds!  If not, an emergency SOS to my wife might be in order to cart me and the bike home.
If you have a sink somewhere at work maybe you could put your tube under some water to look for bubbles. Good luck.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 18, 2019, 12:11:39 PM
Well, it finally happened - my first flat.  I was considering myself lucky to avoid any thus far (2100 miles of high speed e-biking), but I discovered it while rolling up to work.  Rear wheel flat, which is a challenge on a hub-mounted motor e-bike.  I wasn't sure exactly what I would do about it, lacking the tools at work to remove the wheel, but I was able to find the offending shard of glass and patch up the tube.  At least I think so - we'll see if the pressure holds!  If not, an emergency SOS to my wife might be in order to cart me and the bike home.
If you have a sink somewhere at work maybe you could put your tube under some water to look for bubbles. Good luck.
I'm under the impression that the tube was patched with the wheel remaining on the frame - thus getting it to a sink to check for bubbles would be extremely difficult.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on March 18, 2019, 12:50:22 PM
Well, it finally happened - my first flat.  I was considering myself lucky to avoid any thus far (2100 miles of high speed e-biking), but I discovered it while rolling up to work.  Rear wheel flat, which is a challenge on a hub-mounted motor e-bike.  I wasn't sure exactly what I would do about it, lacking the tools at work to remove the wheel, but I was able to find the offending shard of glass and patch up the tube.  At least I think so - we'll see if the pressure holds!  If not, an emergency SOS to my wife might be in order to cart me and the bike home.
If you have a sink somewhere at work maybe you could put your tube under some water to look for bubbles. Good luck.
I'm under the impression that the tube was patched with the wheel remaining on the frame - thus getting it to a sink to check for bubbles would be extremely difficult.
It would make for a cool photo and give co-workers something to talk about for a while... "Anyone else see that e-bike in the men's room toilet? That had to be extremely difficult to pass..."
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on March 18, 2019, 01:25:21 PM
Well, it finally happened - my first flat.  I was considering myself lucky to avoid any thus far (2100 miles of high speed e-biking), but I discovered it while rolling up to work.  Rear wheel flat, which is a challenge on a hub-mounted motor e-bike.  I wasn't sure exactly what I would do about it, lacking the tools at work to remove the wheel, but I was able to find the offending shard of glass and patch up the tube.  At least I think so - we'll see if the pressure holds!  If not, an emergency SOS to my wife might be in order to cart me and the bike home.
If you have a sink somewhere at work maybe you could put your tube under some water to look for bubbles. Good luck.
I'm under the impression that the tube was patched with the wheel remaining on the frame - thus getting it to a sink to check for bubbles would be extremely difficult.

Yes indeed, patched with the wheel still on the frame.  I lucked out and found the puncture almost immediately, though.  As long as there's not a secondary puncture, I think I might be ok - it did seem to hold pressure over the past 3 hours.  Fingers crossed that it remains intact for the 7-miles ride home; I'll probably take things a bit slower.  The timing is interesting, as I have a warranty replacement rear wheel/motor waiting for me on my front porch right now, and this was theoretically the last day this tire needed to last.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 18, 2019, 02:41:17 PM
Alright, so does anybody have a recommended brand for chain lube? I have been neglecting it due to riding in sunny SoCal - no salt or slush! - but this discussion of the bare minimum maintenance has convinced me to pay more attention.

I have some extremely thick/sticky stuff that I use in the winter here to combat the slush and salt (White Lightning Wet Ride) and some light/thin stuff (Prolink Pro Gold) that I use the rest of the year.  If I lived in a very dry place I'd probably use one of the dry lubes (like Squirt).

That said, you should be able to pick any bike specific lube that kinda sounds like it's made for the conditions you ride in.  A 10$ bottle will probably last you a couple years, and any lube is better than no lube.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 18, 2019, 03:37:19 PM
That said, you should be able to pick any bike specific lube that kinda sounds like it's made for the conditions you ride in.  A 10$ bottle will probably last you a couple years, and any lube is better than no lube.
Yes, any lube is better than no lube, but adding lube to a new chain that doesn't need it yet can be worse than doing nothing because it can dilute the higher quality lube the chain came with and transport dirt from the outside of the chain to the inside.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html#factory (https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html#factory)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 19, 2019, 08:15:15 AM
That said, you should be able to pick any bike specific lube that kinda sounds like it's made for the conditions you ride in.  A 10$ bottle will probably last you a couple years, and any lube is better than no lube.
Yes, any lube is better than no lube, but adding lube to a new chain that doesn't need it yet can be worse than doing nothing because it can dilute the higher quality lube the chain came with and transport dirt from the outside of the chain to the inside.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html#factory (https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html#factory)

I don't want to start a holy war or anything (and love a lot of what Sheldon Brown writes), but in my opinion the lube that comes stock on a chain is terrible.  It is very sticky, and picks up dirt incredibly quickly.  I'm happiest when it's mostly worn off because in my experience the chain will stay cleaner for longer, and will shift better . . . but don't care enough to go to the effort of degreasing a brand new chain so just keep applying lube until the factory gunk is gone.

But I'm also weird and am considering dedicating a small crockpot for melting paraffin wax for my chains for this summer.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 19, 2019, 12:58:52 PM
But I'm also weird and am considering dedicating a small crockpot for melting paraffin wax for my chains for this summer.  :P
I'm a fair weather cyclist (don't wet rides due to: lack of fenders, difficult to retrofit bike (mid 90's hard tail mountain bike frame - fork doesn't provide mounting options), live in climate where that only takes 30-60 days off the cycling calendar). I replaced my gears and chain last fall. I bought 3 chains with the intent to rotate them regularly and replace all the gears again when all the chains are worn. I'm a bit overdue to swap in the last chain (will probably get to it Saturday), so I haven't put any new lube on these chains yet (still just factory lube). I agree that it is sticky and dirty on the outside, but I hope that the dirt hasn't migrated to the inside. As I have three chains in rotation, I'd be renewing 2 chains at a time about twice a year. Rather than a crock pot, I've been thinking about a portable induction burner (useful for other needs) and dedicating an old pot to chain maintenance.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: turketron on March 19, 2019, 02:06:59 PM
I biked to work for years when I was single (at the time I lived within ~3 miles or so of my office) but I bussed or walked in the winter. My wife and I work together and she's not quite ready for biking as our primary method of commuting, so for the past couple years I've been riding with her and neglecting biking for the most part. Fortunately, we had friends move in last summer about a mile away so we biked to their place a bunch (before it got cold) and so my wife has now expressed an interest in biking to work, at least some of the time. She has chronic joint issues in one leg from a past sports injury and the subsequent surgery, so we're gonna work our way up to it. We've biked the route on weekends before, and the full round trip (a little under 5 miles each way) has left her in a good bit of pain.

So our plan right now is to bike one-way at least once or twice a week, by taking the bus in (we're on a major bus route and they have racks for bikes on the front) in the morning and then biking home. Biking home will be nice in the spring as it'll be warmer and since we don't have a hard time we need to be at home we can go at a bit more leisurely pace. Being on the main bus line gives us some good flexibility; if it's shitty weather one afternoon we can just bus home and leave our bikes at work to bike home the next day.

My bike got stolen last fall (my own fault, I stupidly left it unlocked on a friend's front porch) so I bought a new one for this year that's a bit more commuter focused. My old one was a used trek hybrid that I bought at least 10 years ago for like $250, and while I neglected the maintenance on it a bit it served me pretty well overall. My new bike is a single-speed that's sturdier, has fewer parts, and is lighter than my old one, so it should be easier to use and maintain. Also, it was built by a local shop (http://www.straycatbicycles.com/Bicycles.html) so I'm supporting a local business!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FI-REality on March 20, 2019, 05:57:24 AM
Went out to the garage to get my bike ready for the spring and had a flat front tire.  Pumped it up and it was flat again the next day.    The bike has 700 x 40 tires and I found them pretty harsh last year so I'm using this as an excuse to upgrade to 50mm wide tires (Schwalbe Big Apples).  Got them on order (with new tubes for under $60) and they should arrive sometime next week; just in time for the nicer weather... if one is to believe the weather man.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 20, 2019, 07:25:54 AM
If you're finding 40mm tires harsh, I'd first check if you're overinflating them.  I weigh 200 lbs and run a 28mm front tire and 32mm rear tire inflated to 70/80 psi all summer.  They're comfy enough to do a century on.  When I started riding I was running 32 front and back and inflating them both to 90 psi (max on the sidewall), which was very uncomfortable.

Check out this website:
http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-pressure-calculator.html
for a ballpark idea of what pressures to start with.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: FI-REality on March 20, 2019, 08:47:56 AM
I started with the pressures around the max (60 or 70 I think) and it was really rough.  After a dozen rides or so I was running 35 front and 40 rear and found that to be the sweet spot between comfort and drag (my goal was to maintain at least 30kph on the straight portions of my ride; I was pretty much there near the end of the summer).  I still found it bone jarring and teeth rattling for most of the ride, especially on the interlocking brick path with tonnes of frost heaves.  Hopefully the 50mm tires help to smooth things out without slowing things down.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on March 20, 2019, 09:01:39 AM
I'm back, baby!  My e-bike has been acting up since late January, out of commission from early Feb-early March, and back in its sub-optimal state for the last two weeks (repairs/maintenance done by manufacturer did not fix the problem).  I finally was able to get the manufacturer to relent and do a full replacement of the suspect components (mainly the motor, though they also replaced the electrical controller).  I did ride all of last week and Monday of this week, but now the hardware is replaced and everything is good as new!  I feel like I'm flying again.

One thing to note from my extended time 'off': I started to get used to car commuting again.  I can see how it's easy to fall back into that pattern, as it can simplify things - don't need to worry about the weather, don't need to pack clothes, commute is shorter on the way in, etc.  Sure, bike commuting saves money, allows for 'free' exercise, saves the environment, but I was forgetting about the best part about bike commuting - it's fun and improves my mood!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Wallet on March 20, 2019, 09:48:22 AM
I'm back, baby!  My e-bike has been acting up since late January, out of commission from early Feb-early March, and back in its sub-optimal state for the last two weeks (repairs/maintenance done by manufacturer did not fix the problem).  I finally was able to get the manufacturer to relent and do a full replacement of the suspect components (mainly the motor, though they also replaced the electrical controller).  I did ride all of last week and Monday of this week, but now the hardware is replaced and everything is good as new!  I feel like I'm flying again.

One thing to note from my extended time 'off': I started to get used to car commuting again.  I can see how it's easy to fall back into that pattern, as it can simplify things - don't need to worry about the weather, don't need to pack clothes, commute is shorter on the way in, etc.  Sure, bike commuting saves money, allows for 'free' exercise, saves the environment, but I was forgetting about the best part about bike commuting - it's fun and improves my mood!

Huzzah! Good on you for getting them to properly repair your bike.

The mood component is the number one reason why I love bike commuting...I can only imagine how much fun an electric assist would be to zoom and zip everywhere!

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on March 20, 2019, 10:04:57 AM
Nowadays when I drive I'm reminded of how boring it is. I also love the flexibility of being able to pass traffic, go around stopped buses, and use cut through paths.

I got a ride in today because the forecast showed a chance of lightning. What's the danger of lightning to bicyclists?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 20, 2019, 10:08:16 AM
I've ridden in many lightning storms, and don't consider being struck by lightning to be a significant concern.  I also walk around outside when there's lightning too . . . and figure you have similar odds either way.

Your main danger is that it's windy and rainy when there's lightning.  Your bike will take longer to stop, you won't be able to corner as well, and wind kinda pushes you around a fair bit.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 21, 2019, 11:32:22 AM
I've ridden in many lightning storms, and don't consider being struck by lightning to be a significant concern.  I also walk around outside when there's lightning too . . . and figure you have similar odds either way.

Your main danger is that it's windy and rainy when there's lightning.  Your bike will take longer to stop, you won't be able to corner as well, and wind kinda pushes you around a fair bit.
I haven't posted here in a WHILE because I'm still working up the courage to ride more than on occasion, but I'd like to note that my automobile was struck when I was in high school. 
So... regardless of what mode of transportation, there's some level of risk and probably no more or less on a bike. 
Happy riding y'all!
Of course automobiles can be struck by lightning. But the lighting that strikes an automobile is far less likely to pass through a passenger than lighting that strikes someone riding a bike or walking around.

I agree with GuitarStv that the other weather accompanying lightning is more likely to be a problem (and so far that type of weather is sufficient to deter me from cycling regardless of the presence of lightning).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on March 27, 2019, 04:56:04 PM
Thank you for this thread.  I accepted the MMM challenge to ride to work and I started at the end of February.  It's still cold here and I've drawn the line at riding when it's raining or below freezing, but I hope to challenge those self-imposed limits as I get more used to it. 

I'm riding just under 5 miles each way.  I ride at dark, so I'm wearing a flash vest, put on lots of lights on my bike, and am generally lit up like a Christmas tree. 

The verdict so far.....

I love it.

I feel great and energized when I get to work.

I smile like a Cheshire Cat for an hour or two after riding.

This is a win, and I'm thankful for reading (and taking) the challenge. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on March 27, 2019, 05:08:08 PM
How long do these lights last before you have to replace the batteries? My USB charge-lights are pretty low.. Like 1.5 hours if they're on the brightest setting. 8+ hours if they're blinking.

My superflash turbos run 2 AAA batteries each and lasts 50-80 hrs in blinking mode (cold weather seems to drain batteries sooner).  I recharge the batteries every month or so.
Yes, blinking "be seen" lights should last a long time. What about headlights for actually seeing?

NiteRider Mako 250 (brightest AA battery light I can find) has a rated run time of 7 hours on alkaline batteries on the brightest setting (probably closer to 5 hours on NiMH). Many USB charged lights are brighter but have shorter run times. One great thing about using AA rechargeable batteries is that spare batteries are cheap (~2 USD per cell) and easy to pack.

Couldn't tell you to be honest.

My commute is almost entirely on lit roads and city streets.  Being seen is mostly what I'm concerned about.  This year I'm running five lights in the back (two on the bike, three on the backpack) and one or two on the front . . . all blinking crazily out of sync with each other.  :P

Same here.  I run one of those Bright Road lights up front with an additional flashing light in the front, and 2 flashing red lights in the back plus a flashing reflective vest.  I am lit up.  I do run at night (very early in the AM), so the headlight is at least legally necessary, but I can see OK in any case.  My big concern is being seen.   
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on March 27, 2019, 05:49:32 PM
Achievement unlocked: I biked home in a light rain yesterday. (After specifically planning around the forecast to avoid that outcome.) My leggings got wet, but my second layer on top stayed dry. Are there any tricks regarding raindrops on glasses? The best I could do was just keep my head down.

Also, a confession. There is one hill on my ride home that I have been riding up the sidewalk. I know I shouldn't, but the sidewalk is double-wide, and there's no bike lane on the road plus a bunch of parked cars, and I hold up traffic whenever I struggle up the hill as fast as possible in the road. It's a much less intense hill at my own pace...

Congrats!  I have yet to do a ride commute in the rain.  I really need to work on that personal weakness. 

I do know a cure for rain drops on glasses, but I don't think you'll like it: LASIK.  :-)

One thing that I think I've learned is to just take the lane and not to worry about the impatient drivers.  I pedal as fast as I can, and am getting faster. Done some reading on bike safety and it seems safer to just take the lane.  Counterintuitive as it seems. I almost got clipped by a bus my first week in return for sharing the lane.  I don't want to be a jerk, but I really don't want to get hit!     

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on March 27, 2019, 08:31:20 PM
Achievement unlocked: I biked home in a light rain yesterday. (After specifically planning around the forecast to avoid that outcome.) My leggings got wet, but my second layer on top stayed dry. Are there any tricks regarding raindrops on glasses? The best I could do was just keep my head down.

Also, a confession. There is one hill on my ride home that I have been riding up the sidewalk. I know I shouldn't, but the sidewalk is double-wide, and there's no bike lane on the road plus a bunch of parked cars, and I hold up traffic whenever I struggle up the hill as fast as possible in the road. It's a much less intense hill at my own pace...

Congrats!  I have yet to do a ride commute in the rain.  I really need to work on that personal weakness. 

I do know a cure for rain drops on glasses, but I don't think you'll like it: LASIK.  :-)

One thing that I think I've learned is to just take the lane and not to worry about the impatient drivers.  I pedal as fast as I can, and am getting faster. Done some reading on bike safety and it seems safer to just take the lane.  Counterintuitive as it seems. I almost got clipped by a bus my first week in return for sharing the lane.  I don't want to be a jerk, but I really don't want to get hit!   

I definitely claim the lane if I am riding in the road - it's just that not riding in the road is very tempting for this particular hill during rush hour. The power of social pressure, even invisible, is impressive.

Besides the fact that I think I'm darn cute in glasses, I think my prescription is still shifting slightly, which makes me a poor candidate for lasik.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on March 27, 2019, 09:25:05 PM
I got LASIK years ago and think it was some of the best money ever spent, so I can’t offer helpful advice on the glasses. As a kid my parents had some blue waxy product they would rub onto the bathroom mirrors to prevent them from digging up when we showered. I thought it was pretty cool but have never seen something like it since.

I love riding when it is wet! But my ride is mostly on neighborhood streets and trails, so thankfully I don’t have to worry about traffic much. However sun and heat are my kryptonite.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 28, 2019, 08:56:56 AM
Also, a confession. There is one hill on my ride home that I have been riding up the sidewalk. I know I shouldn't, but the sidewalk is double-wide, and there's no bike lane on the road plus a bunch of parked cars, and I hold up traffic whenever I struggle up the hill as fast as possible in the road. It's a much less intense hill at my own pace...
I definitely claim the lane if I am riding in the road - it's just that not riding in the road is very tempting for this particular hill during rush hour. The power of social pressure, even invisible, is impressive.
My personal rule is to not go faster than a slow jog on the sidewalk. If you have an extra wide sidewalk and the hill is challenging enough that you aren't faster than a jogger, I think you should be on the sidewalk (careful to look for cross traffic and yielding to pedestrians, of course). It's cyclists who bomb down sidewalks at 15 mph who are not safe (to pedestrians and where cars cross the sidewalk not expecting cross traffic that fast). Of course, there are some cities that completely ban sidewalk riding (I'd prefer they set a rolling speed limit on sidewalks and enforce it for everything with wheels).

I'm pretty comfortable taking the lane at about 15 mph (either that's close enough to the speed limit that drivers should just be forgiving, or it's a multi-lane road and they can use the other lane to pass) between 10 mph and 15 mph I find taking the lane to be harder to do due to the social pressure, but too fast to be safe on the sidewalk. Fortunately it's pretty flat where I live, so I can usually cruise near 15 mph.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GreenToTheCore on March 28, 2019, 06:43:53 PM
Hello biking crew!
Just starting to get going on the forum, but I've been biking for almost a decade (7 years as a unknowledgeable biker and 4 years after researching laws/safety/best practices). I just wanted to say: heck yes to taking the lane. It was really uncomfortable at first but I heard a phrase and I keep repeating it to myself "Don't sacrifice your safety for someone else's convenience."  I feel like it's helped me quite a bit to stand up for what I know/what the law says/what bike advocacy groups say: that it's safer to take the lane then set up cars for failure in thinking that they have enough room to pass. This is a good visual graphic in a nutshell: http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/crash-types-and-prevention_common-650x563.png

Other neat lane-positioning sites:
http://azbikelaw.org/where-to-ride-on-the-road/
http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2014/04/08/enforcement-for-bicyclist-safety/
https://cyclingsavvy.org/cycling-law/

With all that, I do ride a stretch of "sidewalk" on my commute.** Reasons:
- In a 2mile stretch, there is 1 intersection
- The city has it labeled as a multi-use path, it's extra wide
- The road is 1 of 3 main thoroughfares and has the highest speed limit in town
- The road has a shoulder that looks like a bike lane, but no actual bike lane (If I were on the road I would take the lane and cars would probably be constantly confused as to why I'm not in the bike lane)
I think there's a balance to using the sidewalk, a bike lane, and taking the lane. The tool should fit the situation.
**For my town, 99% of the time the road is safer than the "sidewalk".

-------------------
In thread-related news, does anyone have advice on how to ride with one saddlebag? Sometimes I feel silly riding with both when everything would fit in one bag, but then it would be lopsided.
Maybe the solution is to get a top rack bag, or a DIY top bag...Thoughts?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GreenToTheCore on March 28, 2019, 06:47:11 PM
My personal rule is to not go faster than a slow jog on the sidewalk. If you have an extra wide sidewalk and the hill is challenging enough that you aren't faster than a jogger, I think you should be on the sidewalk (careful to look for cross traffic and yielding to pedestrians, of course). It's cyclists who bomb down sidewalks at 15 mph who are not safe (to pedestrians and where cars cross the sidewalk not expecting cross traffic that fast).
Agreed. Speedy bicyclists on sidewalks are to pedestrians as cars are to road bicyclists.


I'm pretty comfortable taking the lane at about 15 mph (either that's close enough to the speed limit that drivers should just be forgiving, or it's a multi-lane road and they can use the other lane to pass) between 10 mph and 15 mph I find taking the lane to be harder to do due to the social pressure, but too fast to be safe on the sidewalk. Fortunately it's pretty flat where I live, so I can usually cruise near 15 mph.
I feel like cars miss this point. "But I want to be in my favorite lane. Why do I have to move?"
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on March 28, 2019, 08:29:39 PM
I certainly never want to make a pedestrian feel how reckless drivers make me feel. I doubt I make it up to 5 mph on this hill, though - I think I've been passed by joggers before - and (as I mentioned) the sidewalk is double-wide. It also immediately follows a pedestrian bridge that explicitly allows cyclists but opens onto the sidewalk, so continuing on the sidewalk is easier than merging into turning traffic.

There are a few driveways, which are not in heavy use and which I use extra caution around.

I just ride lopsided with one saddlebag.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GreenToTheCore on March 28, 2019, 10:43:34 PM
Awesome, sounded like you assessed the situation and chose the right tool for the job.

I'll give that lopsided strategy a try with my errands tomorrow, thanks for the suggestion.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on March 29, 2019, 07:41:44 AM
My personal rule is to not go faster than a slow jog on the sidewalk. If you have an extra wide sidewalk and the hill is challenging enough that you aren't faster than a jogger, I think you should be on the sidewalk (careful to look for cross traffic and yielding to pedestrians, of course). It's cyclists who bomb down sidewalks at 15 mph who are not safe (to pedestrians and where cars cross the sidewalk not expecting cross traffic that fast).
Agreed. Speedy bicyclists on sidewalks are to pedestrians as cars are to road bicyclists.


I'm pretty comfortable taking the lane at about 15 mph (either that's close enough to the speed limit that drivers should just be forgiving, or it's a multi-lane road and they can use the other lane to pass) between 10 mph and 15 mph I find taking the lane to be harder to do due to the social pressure, but too fast to be safe on the sidewalk. Fortunately it's pretty flat where I live, so I can usually cruise near 15 mph.
I feel like cars miss this point. "But I want to be in my favorite lane. Why do I have to move?"

Taking the lane is one reason I feel safer on my e-bike, comfortable doing things that I wouldn't do on my regular bike.  It's nearly effortless to accelerate to and maintain 20 mph even on the moderate assist level I use, and 25 mph is not too taxing.  I don't feel that bad taking a lane at those speeds, until the speed limit is 40+.  Oh, it still annoys some drivers even when I'm going 25-27 in a 25, but my mere existence is an affront to such people, so I'm not going to try to figure out how not to offend them. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on March 29, 2019, 12:19:42 PM
What drives me absolute bonkers when I drive is that cyclists around here (not commuting, but riding for fun/whatever) ride on two-lane, curvy roads. You can't pass them without putting your own safety at risk, because you can't see around the curves. There are greenways built specifically for people to ride for fun, and these guys would rather block traffic/put drivers at risk by riding where they do.

I know that's a car-centric view, but it is really frustrating when you have somewhere to be, but you're stuck going 15-20 mph behind cyclists in a 40 mph area.
Is this a "dad joke"? "It bothers me that other people exist and don't share my views!"
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 29, 2019, 12:25:11 PM
I am planning to get an ebike for commuting and was curious if anyone is familiar with Ancheer? It looks like it wouldn't be great if I plan to ride long distance or off-road, but my commute will only be about four miles each way, with some decent hills. That is considerably cheaper than a lot of the other brands I've looked at, and I don't want to get more than I need.

I've never heard of the brand. I don't like that they don't have different frame sizes (I'm a bit taller than average and have a large shoe size, so fit issues come up for me more often than for some people). I do like that their designs seem to be targeted to Europe (250W, 15mph limits are common there - US allows 750W, 20mph), so their design philosophy more likely treats the ebike as a practical transportation option rather than as a toy for adults. Seems like a reasonable price for a bike with a mild electric assist and short range battery.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 29, 2019, 12:34:33 PM
What drives me absolute bonkers when I drive is that cyclists around here (not commuting, but riding for fun/whatever) ride on two-lane, curvy roads. You can't pass them without putting your own safety at risk, because you can't see around the curves. There are greenways built specifically for people to ride for fun, and these guys would rather block traffic/put drivers at risk by riding where they do.

I know that's a car-centric view, but it is really frustrating when you have somewhere to be, but you're stuck going 15-20 mph behind cyclists in a 40 mph area.
How do you know the cyclists are not using their bikes for transportation. They have every bit as much right as you do to use the road for transportation even if they make a different vehicle choice. Move close to an interstate highway if having a fast transportation route is that important to you.

If you can't see far enough to pass a 20 mph vehicle, is it really a road where 40 mph is a safe speed?

Many mixed use recreational trails have 15 mph speed limits. This is not appropriate for road bike training routes. Of course I do frequently see cyclists exceeding speed limits on these trails. You could argue that using a road for athletic training is not its purpose.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Villanelle on March 29, 2019, 12:36:09 PM
I went to the library today in my new city, and I was reading all their postings on the Community Info board, and they offer a bike mentor service!  They will pair you with someone who will teach you basic bike care and also help you find a good, safe, comfortable route for your commute (that part doesn't apply to me), and will even go biking with you. 

How cool is this!

Quote
The Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is launching a bike mentoring program to match less experienced riders with riders who have been biking in Alexandria for years. A mentor will work individually with each mentee to help achieve the menteeís biking goals Ė whether thatís learning how to bike commute, getting comfortable biking to the farmersí market, or figuring out how to bike safely to the nearest trail. If youíre an experienced rider who lives or works in Alexandria, please consider becoming a bike mentor.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on March 29, 2019, 12:40:40 PM
I am planning to get an ebike for commuting and was curious if anyone is familiar with Ancheer? It looks like it wouldn't be great if I plan to ride long distance or off-road, but my commute will only be about four miles each way, with some decent hills. That is considerably cheaper than a lot of the other brands I've looked at, and I don't want to get more than I need.

I'm not familiar with Ancheer, but I have done a bit of research on ebikes. This company's website makes me nervous primarily because none of the components have their make and model listed. Maybe it's because they're using crap components or maybe it's because they don't use consistent suppliers, who knows?

It's a hub drive, but the site doesn't really specify what kind of hub. Hub drives are kind of going out of style, which may not matter to you. The model in the photos is clearly way too tall for the bike. Maybe he's just really tall, but make sure the frame size will work for you. Also, it doesn't specify what wheel size the bike has. The motor only assists up to 25 km/h. Most other motors are limited to 32km/hr. It comes unassembled.

It might be fine, or it might not. IMO, I'd keep looking. For a 4 mile commute, I'd just stick with a regular bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 29, 2019, 01:03:54 PM
It's a hub drive, but the site doesn't really specify what kind of hub. Hub drives are kind of going out of style, which may not matter to you.
I'm curious what you base this assertion on. I still see plenty of hub drive ebikes. Mid-drive ebikes do have some advantages (primarily using the drive train to work efficiently at different speeds) and disadvantages (wear on drive train and noise). I only see hub drive going out of style among the crowd who want an ebike to be more like an electric motorcycle/dirtbike than a bicycle with an assist.

Also, it doesn't specify what wheel size the bike has.
You are mistaken. All three models have a nominal wheel diameter in the specifications (26" except the 20" City folder).

The motor only assists up to 25 km/h. Most other motors are limited to 32km/hr.
This is the legal limit in most of Europe - makes me think that Europe is their primary market - I don't think this is a reason to question quality.

It comes unassembled.
Any bike shipped to the consumer rather than purchased at a dealer is going to require some assembly (though the amount of assembly required may vary).

I share your concern about quality of unspecified components and potential sizing issues.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on March 29, 2019, 01:08:57 PM
How do you know the cyclists are not using their bikes for transportation. They have every bit as much right as you do to use the road for transportation even if they make a different vehicle choice. Move close to an interstate highway if having a fast transportation route is that important to you.

If you can't see far enough to pass a 20 mph vehicle, is it really a road where 40 mph is a safe speed?

Many mixed use recreational trails have 15 mph speed limits. This is not appropriate for road bike training routes. Of course I do frequently see cyclists exceeding speed limits on these trails. You could argue that using a road for athletic training is not its purpose.

Because they transport their bikes to a nearby parking lot via cars and ride from there. The greenways do not have a speed limit.
Do the greenways also provide the same kind of terrain and views? My guess is that they are on the road for either training conditions that the greenway doesn't provide (steeper terrain or sharper curves) or for the vistas (not as likely since you say it can be difficult to see around the curves). I can understand some frustration by people who are on the road for transportation (the nominal purpose of the road).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on March 29, 2019, 01:46:41 PM
I went to the library today in my new city, and I was reading all their postings on the Community Info board, and they offer a bike mentor service!  They will pair you with someone who will teach you basic bike care and also help you find a good, safe, comfortable route for your commute (that part doesn't apply to me), and will even go biking with you. 

How cool is this!

Quote
The Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is launching a bike mentoring program to match less experienced riders with riders who have been biking in Alexandria for years. A mentor will work individually with each mentee to help achieve the menteeís biking goals Ė whether thatís learning how to bike commute, getting comfortable biking to the farmersí market, or figuring out how to bike safely to the nearest trail. If youíre an experienced rider who lives or works in Alexandria, please consider becoming a bike mentor.

That is way cool. I donít live in that part of the state, but would love to see something like that here.

My city has drunk the koolaid on biking. They added a bunch of bike lanes, even on streets that didnít easily support them. I.e they lost traffic lanes on busy streets. Itís been interesting to see folks start to use them. While Iím not a big believer in the adage ďif you build it, they will comeĒ it seems to be playing out.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on March 30, 2019, 10:22:08 AM
What drives me absolute bonkers when I drive is that cyclists around here (not commuting, but riding for fun/whatever) ride on two-lane, curvy roads. You can't pass them without putting your own safety at risk, because you can't see around the curves. There are greenways built specifically for people to ride for fun, and these guys would rather block traffic/put drivers at risk by riding where they do.

I know that's a car-centric view, but it is really frustrating when you have somewhere to be, but you're stuck going 15-20 mph behind cyclists in a 40 mph area.

Are the cyclists obeying the rules of the road?  If so, I'm not sure I see the problem exactly.  Pass when it's safe to do so, wait your turn when it's not.  As you're legally obligated to do.

Rather than rail against the cyclist who is out riding his bike, why not pick another route where it's easier to pass slower moving vehicles, or pick a route designed for cars where cyclists aren't allowed (like high speed freeways).  If you're going to say that using the freeway is out of the way, doesn't quite go to where you want, and would be inconvenient to use for some reason . . . you probably have a good idea of why the cyclist is on the curvy road rather than the greenway.

Maybe try leaving earlier next time so that you're not rushing against the clock to be where you need to be.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: runbikerun on April 01, 2019, 03:58:50 AM
What drives me absolute bonkers when I drive is that cyclists around here (not commuting, but riding for fun/whatever) ride on two-lane, curvy roads. You can't pass them without putting your own safety at risk, because you can't see around the curves. There are greenways built specifically for people to ride for fun, and these guys would rather block traffic/put drivers at risk by riding where they do.

I know that's a car-centric view, but it is really frustrating when you have somewhere to be, but you're stuck going 15-20 mph behind cyclists in a 40 mph area.

If you're stuck behind riders for a full mile at 20mph rather than doing 40mph, you'll lose all of ninety seconds. It's genuinely difficult to lose a meaningful amount of time due to cyclists riding on the road unless you end up stuck in the middle of a mass-start race or sportive.

And greenways are lovely, but I've never seen one that was suitable for fast road riding. They're generally designed with walkers, joggers and casual cyclists in mind. If you're planning to go out and put the hammer down for a couple of hours, it's madness to head for a greenway.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Freedomin5 on April 01, 2019, 04:23:47 AM
I am planning to get an ebike for commuting and was curious if anyone is familiar with Ancheer? It looks like it wouldn't be great if I plan to ride long distance or off-road, but my commute will only be about four miles each way, with some decent hills. That is considerably cheaper than a lot of the other brands I've looked at, and I don't want to get more than I need.

Judging by the name of the brand and the grammatical errors in the descriptions, Iíd guess that this is a Chinese brand venturing into the US and European markets. I guess the ďmade in factories in Taiwan and ChinaĒ is another hint.

I personally have been riding another Chinese-brand ebike that has ventured into the US market (Yunbike) for the past two years, and I donít have many complaints. Itís very similar to the Ancheer 20Ē city bike. Occasionally I need to wiggle the plug a bit (the part that connects to the battery when charging up) to get it to connect properly. And sometimes it will just stop charging even though the battery is not fully charged, so Iíll need to unplug and plug it back in. Iíd say, overall, the biggest concern is the electrical components. The rest of the bike is pretty much just a normal bike, like one you might find at a local bike shop. My range is better ó between 50 to 70 km, depending on how much you use the electric assist, which is good because I ride up to 40 km a day round trip.

I suspect Ancheerís quality will be similar, though a max range of 25 km isnít very far.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GreenToTheCore on April 01, 2019, 03:20:02 PM
I went to the library today in my new city, and I was reading all their postings on the Community Info board, and they offer a bike mentor service!  They will pair you with someone who will teach you basic bike care and also help you find a good, safe, comfortable route for your commute (that part doesn't apply to me), and will even go biking with you. 

How cool is this!

Quote
The Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is launching a bike mentoring program to match less experienced riders with riders who have been biking in Alexandria for years. A mentor will work individually with each mentee to help achieve the menteeís biking goals Ė whether thatís learning how to bike commute, getting comfortable biking to the farmersí market, or figuring out how to bike safely to the nearest trail. If youíre an experienced rider who lives or works in Alexandria, please consider becoming a bike mentor.

I'm trying to get a similar program sponsored by my city, too! Good to know there are people that would get excited for it, thanks for posting.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 01, 2019, 03:26:53 PM
I had to go around someone parked in the bike lane this morning, right where the marker becomes a dotted line to allow right-turning cars to merge. She was in the car with her window down, so I slowed down and said "Excuse me, you can't park here." I didn't stop, though, so she called after me, "I'm disabled," and I replied over my shoulder "It's a bike lane" before I was out of earshot.

I'm not sure what disability had to do with it; we weren't near any buildings she could want a short walk to enter. I guess if I wanted to understand I would have stopped. At least I can say the whole exchange had a civil tone.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GreenToTheCore on April 01, 2019, 03:28:49 PM
@DadJokes thanks for voicing your frustration. I'm a converted bicyclist from a car-centric-city upbringing so I've had a lot of conversations where similar responses pop up.
My personal belief is that most of the frustrations are when both groups are misunderstanding the other or have unclear expectations of the other.
I'm putting together some information and I think your perspective on the project would be helpful. Would you be willing to input on the content and communication style? (it's not quite ready yet, so don't get too eager)

ETA: anyone else interested in inputting on a Let's-all-understand-each-other Traffic Presentation?
It might be naive, but I'd like to try a different approach than the other bike presentations out there.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: hadabeardonce on April 01, 2019, 05:24:07 PM
@DadJokes thanks for voicing your frustration. I'm a converted bicyclist from a car-centric-city upbringing so I've had a lot of conversations where similar responses pop up.
My personal belief is that most of the frustrations are when both groups are misunderstanding the other or have unclear expectations of the other.
I'm putting together some information and I think your perspective on the project would be helpful. Would you be willing to input on the content and communication style? (it's not quite ready yet, so don't get too eager)

ETA: anyone else interested in inputting on a Let's-all-understand-each-other Traffic Presentation?
It might be naive, but I'd like to try a different approach than the other bike presentations out there.
100% of microaggressions are unintentional...

Cyclists aren't on the roads to deliberately slow you down, make you nervous or force you into bad situations....
Motorists aren't on the roads to purposefully mow down cyclists, make them nervous or force them into bad situations....

Hey motorist, you're driving pretty patiently and responsibly. Thanks for your kindness!
Hey cyclist, you're lookin' pretty good out there on the road. Keep up the good work!

Inhale, exhale, move on, repeat...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 03, 2019, 10:34:05 AM
Since my first rain-biking experience my chain has been squeaking in a new way, so I finally bought chain lube.

I also probably need to buy a new front light, but I'm still hoping the old one will turn up somewhere... (I'm reasonably sure it got lost rather than stolen.)

On the subject of regular maintenance, how do you know when your brakes need replacing? Presumably you want to get that done before the day when they just don't stop you.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 03, 2019, 12:10:09 PM
Since my first rain-biking experience my chain has been squeaking in a new way, so I finally bought chain lube.

I also probably need to buy a new front light, but I'm still hoping the old one will turn up somewhere... (I'm reasonably sure it got lost rather than stolen.)

On the subject of regular maintenance, how do you know when your brakes need replacing? Presumably you want to get that done before the day when they just don't stop you.

Depends on the kind of brakes you've got.  If you have regular rim brakes, you'll notice that the pads get thinner with use.  Usually there are markings (notches) on the pads.  Once the brake has worn down to where you can't see the markings any more it's time to replace the pad.

Pads will tend to wear much faster if you cycle in the rain, if you're a heavier rider, or if you often find yourself using the brakes to come to a stop from high speed.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on April 03, 2019, 12:14:04 PM
Since my first rain-biking experience my chain has been squeaking in a new way, so I finally bought chain lube.

I also probably need to buy a new front light, but I'm still hoping the old one will turn up somewhere... (I'm reasonably sure it got lost rather than stolen.)

On the subject of regular maintenance, how do you know when your brakes need replacing? Presumably you want to get that done before the day when they just don't stop you.

Depends on the kind of brakes you've got.  If you have regular rim brakes, you'll notice that the pads get thinner with use.  Usually there are markings (notches) on the pads.  Once the brake has worn down to where you can't see the markings any more it's time to replace the pad.

Pads will tend to wear much faster if you cycle in the rain, if you're a heavier rider, or if you often find yourself using the brakes to come to a stop from high speed.

This. And you only have to replace the rubber pad, not the whole brake mechanism. If you ride in wet weather often, I highly recommend Kool Stop pads. They're a little more money, but they last longer and stop better than the cheaper brands.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: philli14 on April 03, 2019, 01:22:33 PM
This thread has made me feel very pathetic, so thank you!!

I am ~3mo into really implementing MMM principles into my life. I have been very pleased with the progress, the changes in my life and the quality of life improvement on what was already a pretty great life!

More specifically to this thread, I was very proud of myself for finding a free used beat up bike on craigslist, watching youtube videos and fixing it up at the cost of only the parts. 125$ later I had brand new road tires, inner tubes, a bike repair kit, front and rear bike lights, chain lube and brake pads. I successfully installed everything and now have a functional working bicycle.

I was also proud of myself for using the bike to commute to the gym and have been commuting to work on 50% of work days.

However...

1. I live in sunny northern CA. Sure, it's been a little rainy as of late, but the weather on my work commute is BEAUTIFUL.
2. My work commute is pretty much entirely flat except for one small hill that takes all of (an intense) 10seconds to get up.
3. My work commute is 2.5 miles.. 5 miles round trip. Takes about 15 minutes, 30 minutes round trip.

Reading what some of you guys have to deal with, I'm such a whimp!! Can't believe I have only been able to do 50% of work days. I really have no excuse to drive to work at all.

SO, starting on April 1st, I am going to try to pump this number up to 100%. Posting here for accountability :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 03, 2019, 01:42:38 PM
Since my first rain-biking experience my chain has been squeaking in a new way, so I finally bought chain lube.

I also probably need to buy a new front light, but I'm still hoping the old one will turn up somewhere... (I'm reasonably sure it got lost rather than stolen.)

On the subject of regular maintenance, how do you know when your brakes need replacing? Presumably you want to get that done before the day when they just don't stop you.

Depends on the kind of brakes you've got.  If you have regular rim brakes, you'll notice that the pads get thinner with use.  Usually there are markings (notches) on the pads.  Once the brake has worn down to where you can't see the markings any more it's time to replace the pad.

Pads will tend to wear much faster if you cycle in the rain, if you're a heavier rider, or if you often find yourself using the brakes to come to a stop from high speed.

This. And you only have to replace the rubber pad, not the whole brake mechanism. If you ride in wet weather often, I highly recommend Kool Stop pads. They're a little more money, but they last longer and stop better than the cheaper brands.

+1 Kool Stop!  I really like the Kool Stop salmon and black ones for regular use or just the plain salmon ones for winter (wet) riding.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on April 03, 2019, 04:32:37 PM
This thread has made me feel very pathetic, so thank you!!

I am ~3mo into really implementing MMM principles into my life. I have been very pleased with the progress, the changes in my life and the quality of life improvement on what was already a pretty great life!

More specifically to this thread, I was very proud of myself for finding a free used beat up bike on craigslist, watching youtube videos and fixing it up at the cost of only the parts. 125$ later I had brand new road tires, inner tubes, a bike repair kit, front and rear bike lights, chain lube and brake pads. I successfully installed everything and now have a functional working bicycle.

I was also proud of myself for using the bike to commute to the gym and have been commuting to work on 50% of work days.

However...

1. I live in sunny northern CA. Sure, it's been a little rainy as of late, but the weather on my work commute is BEAUTIFUL.
2. My work commute is pretty much entirely flat except for one small hill that takes all of (an intense) 10seconds to get up.
3. My work commute is 2.5 miles.. 5 miles round trip. Takes about 15 minutes, 30 minutes round trip.

Reading what some of you guys have to deal with, I'm such a whimp!! Can't believe I have only been able to do 50% of work days. I really have no excuse to drive to work at all.

SO, starting on April 1st, I am going to try to pump this number up to 100%. Posting here for accountability :)

Very nice!  Honestly, I feel like 100% is almost easier than 50%, similar to how I feel about working out.  100% is a habit, automatic, and no thought goes into the decision.  50% can invite procrastination and excuses, at least for me.  Now, my bike commute isn't difficult, so maybe I'd feel differently if it were unpleasant for some reason. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: philli14 on April 03, 2019, 07:16:44 PM
This thread has made me feel very pathetic, so thank you!!

I am ~3mo into really implementing MMM principles into my life. I have been very pleased with the progress, the changes in my life and the quality of life improvement on what was already a pretty great life!

More specifically to this thread, I was very proud of myself for finding a free used beat up bike on craigslist, watching youtube videos and fixing it up at the cost of only the parts. 125$ later I had brand new road tires, inner tubes, a bike repair kit, front and rear bike lights, chain lube and brake pads. I successfully installed everything and now have a functional working bicycle.

I was also proud of myself for using the bike to commute to the gym and have been commuting to work on 50% of work days.

However...

1. I live in sunny northern CA. Sure, it's been a little rainy as of late, but the weather on my work commute is BEAUTIFUL.
2. My work commute is pretty much entirely flat except for one small hill that takes all of (an intense) 10seconds to get up.
3. My work commute is 2.5 miles.. 5 miles round trip. Takes about 15 minutes, 30 minutes round trip.

Reading what some of you guys have to deal with, I'm such a whimp!! Can't believe I have only been able to do 50% of work days. I really have no excuse to drive to work at all.

SO, starting on April 1st, I am going to try to pump this number up to 100%. Posting here for accountability :)

Very nice!  Honestly, I feel like 100% is almost easier than 50%, similar to how I feel about working out.  100% is a habit, automatic, and no thought goes into the decision.  50% can invite procrastination and excuses, at least for me.  Now, my bike commute isn't difficult, so maybe I'd feel differently if it were unpleasant for some reason.

Yep, spot on. Short of me sleeping through my alarm and car being the only way to make it to work on time (won't happen), making it 100% leaves it decision-less. Well put, I didn't think of it that way!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on April 03, 2019, 07:54:47 PM
I got LASIK years ago and think it was some of the best money ever spent, so I canít offer helpful advice on the glasses. As a kid my parents had some blue waxy product they would rub onto the bathroom mirrors to prevent them from digging up when we showered. I thought it was pretty cool but have never seen something like it since.

I love riding when it is wet! But my ride is mostly on neighborhood streets and trails, so thankfully I donít have to worry about traffic much. However sun and heat are my kryptonite.

I think the blue wax youíre talking about is called ďcat crap.Ē You can still buy it. I used it as an anti fog for ski goggles. It did work reasonably well.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on April 03, 2019, 08:06:24 PM
This thread has made me feel very pathetic, so thank you!!

I am ~3mo into really implementing MMM principles into my life. I have been very pleased with the progress, the changes in my life and the quality of life improvement on what was already a pretty great life!

More specifically to this thread, I was very proud of myself for finding a free used beat up bike on craigslist, watching youtube videos and fixing it up at the cost of only the parts. 125$ later I had brand new road tires, inner tubes, a bike repair kit, front and rear bike lights, chain lube and brake pads. I successfully installed everything and now have a functional working bicycle.

I was also proud of myself for using the bike to commute to the gym and have been commuting to work on 50% of work days.

However...

1. I live in sunny northern CA. Sure, it's been a little rainy as of late, but the weather on my work commute is BEAUTIFUL.
2. My work commute is pretty much entirely flat except for one small hill that takes all of (an intense) 10seconds to get up.
3. My work commute is 2.5 miles.. 5 miles round trip. Takes about 15 minutes, 30 minutes round trip.

Reading what some of you guys have to deal with, I'm such a whimp!! Can't believe I have only been able to do 50% of work days. I really have no excuse to drive to work at all.

SO, starting on April 1st, I am going to try to pump this number up to 100%. Posting here for accountability :)

Iím an utter wimp. My meek attempts at badassity pale compared to what wifey does every day at work. Sheís a wildlife biologist in a swamp and her day usually consists of avoiding bears, not getting bitten by snakes and various acts of badassity.  Iím not even in the same league.
That said, we should all strive to the best in our league, even if itís T-ball.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on April 03, 2019, 08:09:39 PM
Question for yíall: what recommendations do you have for rain gear?  My area  rains a lot and itís preventing me from biking to work every day. Any maintenance to do given my bike will be sitting out in the rain?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 04, 2019, 06:51:05 AM
Question for yíall: what recommendations do you have for rain gear?  My area  rains a lot and itís preventing me from biking to work every day. Any maintenance to do given my bike will be sitting out in the rain?

You bike will be fine as long as you keep stuff lubed up (this basically means lube your chain every week or so and regrease your brake pivots, headset, bottom bracket, and any screws that go into the frame for racks/fenders once or twice a year)

Generally speaking with rain gear I just try to keep warm.  As long as I can avoid being too chilled, getting wet doesn't matter.  Waterproof cycling gear tends to make you sweat so much that you're soaked when you get there anyway.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on April 04, 2019, 08:13:51 AM
Question for yíall: what recommendations do you have for rain gear?  My area  rains a lot and itís preventing me from biking to work every day. Any maintenance to do given my bike will be sitting out in the rain?

Rain jacket I have that's been working great: North Face Venture 2.  More of a shell so it's not too warm (but you can layer if necessary), and it's proven to be waterproof thus far.  My previous jacket - cheap off of Amazon - was decidedly not.  Since my preference is to wear my work clothes on my bike in the morning, a waterproof-but-not-hot jacket is very helpful.

Haven't found good, inexpensive waterproof pants.  I've been wearing cheap Amazon bike pants that are water-resistant.  I did buy some rain booties (off of Amazon - any patterns here?) as well that have mostly kept my feet dry as long as I manage the layering to prevent water seeping down from the top, which has allowed me to wear my work shoes underneath. 

No recommendations on gloves yet.  Mine got soaked.  I did pick up a new pair during Performance Bike's closing sales that theoretically may do better, but we've exited the rainy season in SoCal where I live, so they haven't yet been tested. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on April 04, 2019, 10:47:48 AM
I live in the PNW and the basic gist of riding in the rain is that you get wet. Think of it as adding to the authentic outdoor experience.

That being said, I switched to an oversized, waterproof cycling rain jacket this winter. I don't love that it's kind of plasticky and makes me sweat. This is why a picked a bigger size, it gives me more ventilation and it's got huge pit zips so I can open it up like a poncho. I mostly bought it because it's bright yellow with lots of reflective strips on it, including my arms so hopefully my arm signals will be more visible. Anyway, if you get a rain jacket, pick a really bright color so you'll be more visible to cars.

I ride clipless and wear neoprene booties over my cycling shoes. These keep my feet warm, and my shoes less wet. Highly recommend.

For pants I just wear ordinary athletic tights and then change when I get to work. When it's cold I wear fleece lined tights. These are the bomb.

Make sure your lights are switched on in the rain for increased visibility.

Your bike will be fine sitting out in the rain. Make sure it's got fenders so you don't get road grit sprayed all over you (you'll still get some). The PITA part about wet weather riding is cleaning the sand and grit off your drivetrain (gears and chain) and wheel rims (if you've got rim brakes). All that grit really wears out your drivetrain and wheel rims. You don't technically have to clean it, but it will run better and last longer if you do. Scroll up through this thread for cleaning advice.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on April 04, 2019, 11:45:12 AM
This thread has made me feel very pathetic, so thank you!!
...
More specifically to this thread, I was very proud of myself for finding a free used beat up bike on craigslist, watching youtube videos and fixing it up at the cost of only the parts. 125$ later I had brand new road tires, inner tubes, a bike repair kit, front and rear bike lights, chain lube and brake pads. I successfully installed everything and now have a functional working bicycle.

I was also proud of myself for using the bike to commute to the gym and have been commuting to work on 50% of work days.

However...

1. I live in sunny northern CA. Sure, it's been a little rainy as of late, but the weather on my work commute is BEAUTIFUL.
2. My work commute is pretty much entirely flat except for one small hill that takes all of (an intense) 10seconds to get up.
3. My work commute is 2.5 miles.. 5 miles round trip. Takes about 15 minutes, 30 minutes round trip.

Reading what some of you guys have to deal with, I'm such a whimp!! Can't believe I have only been able to do 50% of work days. I really have no excuse to drive to work at all.

SO, starting on April 1st, I am going to try to pump this number up to 100%. Posting here for accountability :)
Welcome from another northern California wimp. My commute is also mostly flat and fairly short (4.5 miles - my one small hill is on the route with best bike infrastructure; but I can avoid it if I want to). This winter my commute trips by bike: 65% in November, 43% in December, 41% in January, 50% in February, 70% in March. Soon we'll be back to consistently dry weather and bike share of commute trips will be nearly 100% again. If you're in the Sacramento Region, sign up for MayIsBikeMonth.com (http://MayIsBikeMonth.com).
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: philli14 on April 04, 2019, 01:15:52 PM
Welcome from another northern California wimp. My commute is also mostly flat and fairly short (4.5 miles - my one small hill is on the route with best bike infrastructure; but I can avoid it if I want to). This winter my commute trips by bike: 65% in November, 43% in December, 41% in January, 50% in February, 70% in March. Soon we'll be back to consistently dry weather and bike share of commute trips will be nearly 100% again. If you're in the Sacramento Region, sign up for MayIsBikeMonth.com (http://MayIsBikeMonth.com).

Thanks! I like the percentages. I've been tracking mileage car/bike and looking at my miles biked as a percentage of total, pretty revealing:

February: 33.6 biked / 292 driven (10.3%)
March: 34.7 biked / 538 driven (6.0%.. ouch, too many trips to sac and davis)
April: goal is to bike more miles than driven (>50%)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on April 04, 2019, 01:47:53 PM
Question for yíall: what recommendations do you have for rain gear?  My area  rains a lot and itís preventing me from biking to work every day. Any maintenance to do given my bike will be sitting out in the rain?

You bike will be fine as long as you keep stuff lubed up (this basically means lube your chain every week or so and regrease your brake pivots, headset, bottom bracket, and any screws that go into the frame for racks/fenders once or twice a year)

Generally speaking with rain gear I just try to keep warm.  As long as I can avoid being too chilled, getting wet doesn't matter.  Waterproof cycling gear tends to make you sweat so much that you're soaked when you get there anyway.  :P

Thank you very much!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on April 04, 2019, 02:01:28 PM
Thanks all for the wet riding advice. Today was the Fight Club Bicycling tour. Lessee. One large dog lunging at me. Check.  One clueless driver turning into me. Check. One jerk trying to force me over in traffic by splitting a lane. Sweet!

One unexpected benefit of bike commuting:who knew swearing could be so cathartic? Probably not the best thing for Lent though 🤭
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on April 04, 2019, 02:57:33 PM
Thanks! I like the percentages. I've been tracking mileage car/bike and looking at my miles biked as a percentage of total, pretty revealing:

February: 33.6 biked / 292 driven (10.3%)
March: 34.7 biked / 538 driven (6.0%.. ouch, too many trips to sac and davis)
April: goal is to bike more miles than driven (>50%)
My percentage is just for my commute trips. Fortunately most of my non-bike commute trips are transit (though sometimes my wife drops me off or picks me up). Unfortunately much of my non-commute (church, family activities, shopping and other errands) transport is by car (though usually with my wife) - I easily travel more miles by car even when my commute is at 100% bike. Best way to reduce the percentage of non-commute trips by bike would be to get my wife an e-bike.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 08, 2019, 08:48:03 AM
Looks like I ought to clean my chain before putting lube on it? Or should I just lube it now and worry about cleaning another time?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 08, 2019, 10:06:28 AM
dirty chain no lube < clean chain no lube < dirty chain w lube < clean chain w lube

Further right the better!


The fastest way to clean your chain I've found is to whack it with some WD40 and then carefully wipe off all excess with a rag.  Let it sit overnight, wipe off any further excess with a rag, and re-lube.  It's probably worth running a rag along the teeth on your cassette and chain ring (as well as jockey wheels) while you do this.  All told, this shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on April 08, 2019, 10:43:03 AM
Looks like I ought to clean my chain before putting lube on it? Or should I just lube it now and worry about cleaning another time?
Lots of "religion" in chain care as mentioned previously. The primary theory against lubing without cleaning is that the lube will transport the grime to the inner surfaces and wear the chain faster than if you hadn't added the lube. I recommend cleaning as thoroughly as possible before lubing.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 08, 2019, 10:58:21 AM
dirty chain no lube < clean chain no lube < dirty chain w lube < clean chain w lube

Exactly what I was looking for, thanks. I can probably manage all that on Tuesday night.

This morning I realized right outside my apartment complex that I'd forgotten something, so I pulled onto the sidewalk to turn around, clipped a fire hydrant, and ripped off my pannier. One of the clips is broken. I'll see whether it's fixable by superglue, but that's a very disappointing development. I have a bungee net and backpack as a fallback for now.

I also had a guy continue to accelerate toward me as I merged (with TONS of space) into his lane today, which was freaky. I couldn't see if he could see me, so I swerved - probably not the best idea - and he slowed down in time, looked at me (now in a different lane), and then accelerated again to pass. The guy behind him let me in. Wish I had this bike horn working.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on April 08, 2019, 11:55:08 AM
I also had a guy continue to accelerate toward me as I merged (with TONS of space) into his lane today, which was freaky. I couldn't see if he could see me, so I swerved - probably not the best idea - and he slowed down in time, looked at me (now in a different lane), and then accelerated again to pass. The guy behind him let me in. Wish I had this bike horn working.

That's always been my hardest obstacle to overcome when biking: getting over the assholes*. They're probably no more than 1% of the population, but they ruin it for me on days where they make their presence known. My sympathies.

*Not to discount the biking assholes (which I wouldn't believe existed if I hadn't seen it myself). I was stopped at a red light and a couple riding their bikes came to a stop at the light perpendicular to mine. The guy got off his bike, and in his flip flops kicked the car that drove up next to them. The guy in the car got out and a fistfight started in the middle of the street. The girl on the other bike looked like she wanted to vanish. Unfortunately my light turned green and I missed the rest of the story.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on April 08, 2019, 01:26:04 PM
I also had a guy continue to accelerate toward me as I merged (with TONS of space) into his lane today, which was freaky. I couldn't see if he could see me, so I swerved - probably not the best idea - and he slowed down in time, looked at me (now in a different lane), and then accelerated again to pass. The guy behind him let me in. Wish I had this bike horn working.

That's always been my hardest obstacle to overcome when biking: getting over the assholes*. They're probably no more than 1% of the population, but they ruin it for me on days where they make their presence known. My sympathies.

*Not to discount the biking assholes (which I wouldn't believe existed if I hadn't seen it myself). I was stopped at a red light and a couple riding their bikes came to a stop at the light perpendicular to mine. The guy got off his bike, and in his flip flops kicked the car that drove up next to them. The guy in the car got out and a fistfight started in the middle of the street. The girl on the other bike looked like she wanted to vanish. Unfortunately my light turned green and I missed the rest of the story.

Interesting tale. Iíve had to deal with enough idiots just in the last month to give the cyclist the benefit of the doubt. I donít know what the relative a-hole versus moron % is in my area, but Iíd say the just plain crappy/clueless/malevolent percentage is roughly one out of every 10 or 20.

I donít think bike commuting will ever become more prevalent than clown cars as a result. I do not mind being a trend setter, but I wonít lie to folks:  bike commuting can be darn scary.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on April 08, 2019, 02:29:56 PM
I also had a guy continue to accelerate toward me as I merged (with TONS of space) into his lane today, which was freaky. I couldn't see if he could see me, so I swerved - probably not the best idea - and he slowed down in time, looked at me (now in a different lane), and then accelerated again to pass. The guy behind him let me in. Wish I had this bike horn working.

That's always been my hardest obstacle to overcome when biking: getting over the assholes*. They're probably no more than 1% of the population, but they ruin it for me on days where they make their presence known. My sympathies.

*Not to discount the biking assholes (which I wouldn't believe existed if I hadn't seen it myself). I was stopped at a red light and a couple riding their bikes came to a stop at the light perpendicular to mine. The guy got off his bike, and in his flip flops kicked the car that drove up next to them. The guy in the car got out and a fistfight started in the middle of the street. The girl on the other bike looked like she wanted to vanish. Unfortunately my light turned green and I missed the rest of the story.

Interesting tale. Iíve had to deal with enough idiots just in the last month to give the cyclist the benefit of the doubt. I donít know what the relative a-hole versus moron % is in my area, but Iíd say the just plain crappy/clueless/malevolent percentage is roughly one out of every 10 or 20.

I donít think bike commuting will ever become more prevalent than clown cars as a result. I do not mind being a trend setter, but I wonít lie to folks:  bike commuting can be darn scary.

I'm willing to bet $100 internet dollars the guy in the car nearly hit the dude on the bike sometime before they both reached the intersection.

I clean my chain with a gizmo that looks like this and some citrus degreaser from the hardware store.  https://www.amazon.ca/VeloChampion-Bike-Chain-Cleaner-Bicycle/dp/B002CLO29U/ref=sr_1_7?hvadid=230008289239&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9001605&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=8118926246043663448&hvtargid=kwd-301091455831&keywords=bike+chain+cleaner&qid=1554755289&s=gateway&sr=8-7

Takes 2 minutes. Then just rinse off all the degreaser with a garden hose.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 08, 2019, 03:27:04 PM
No garden hoses available in an apartment complex! All materials must be carried down three flights of stairs and across the parking garage...
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on April 08, 2019, 03:35:41 PM
I'm willing to bet $100 internet dollars the guy in the car nearly hit the dude on the bike sometime before they both reached the intersection.

I don't doubt it. But is road rage the answer? (Completely rhetorical, because maybe it was the right answer in that situation....)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on April 08, 2019, 07:33:23 PM
I'm willing to bet $100 internet dollars the guy in the car nearly hit the dude on the bike sometime before they both reached the intersection.

I don't doubt it. But is road rage the answer? (Completely rhetorical, because maybe it was the right answer in that situation....)

Maybe, maybe not. I donít advocate vigilantism. But I might have stood up and cheered had I been there and known the whole story.

Iíve had enough close calls with the clueless/indifferent/ malevolent drivers. If we ever want bike commuting to become a thing, dealing with that is going to become a key. And I think it can be. At one time in my memory, drunk driving wasnít a big deal. Lots of people died. Then MADD came on the scene. Maybe we need Mustachians Against Idiotic Drivers (MAIDs)?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on April 08, 2019, 08:28:33 PM
I have myself wishing for a second bike bell, really a loud, annoying bike horn. The bell is polite for letting peds know I am overtaking them. I need something obnoxious to let cars know to back off or stop being idiots.

**
Back on the bike today after two weeks being on business travel. I went to the gym every day while gone but doing different exercises (run, elliptical, swim). Maybe it is that or maybe it is the jet lag, but I was really slow and really tired today. Better luck tomorrow.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 09, 2019, 07:54:55 AM
I'm willing to bet $100 internet dollars the guy in the car nearly hit the dude on the bike sometime before they both reached the intersection.

I don't doubt it. But is road rage the answer? (Completely rhetorical, because maybe it was the right answer in that situation....)

Maybe, maybe not. I donít advocate vigilantism. But I might have stood up and cheered had I been there and known the whole story.

Iíve had enough close calls with the clueless/indifferent/ malevolent drivers. If we ever want bike commuting to become a thing, dealing with that is going to become a key. And I think it can be. At one time in my memory, drunk driving wasnít a big deal. Lots of people died. Then MADD came on the scene. Maybe we need Mustachians Against Idiotic Drivers (MAIDs)?

Have you ever talked with a police officer about a traffic incident that occurred while you were on your bike?  If not, prepare yourself to be either laughed out of the room, or blamed for the evil of dangerously following the rules legally prescribed for cycling on the road.  I don't advocate vigilantism, and tend to try to withdraw from confrontation always trying to remember that people make mistakes . . . but if you're interested in justice for a flagrantly and willfully unsafe incident that happens while cycling vigilantism it's very likely the only way that you'll get it.

Cyclists are not treated as equal citizens in the eyes of the law in my experience.  If we can fix that, it will go an awful long way towards fixing the problem of dangerous driving around cyclists.



Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: philli14 on April 09, 2019, 09:01:23 AM
Thought for the day as I was cycling into work...

Don't underestimate the power of positive reinforcement when you're out on the bike. A simple wave, hand gesture, smile, nod, etc. in thanks when a vehicle drives safely near you (recognizes you, eye contact, let's you merge, is cautious around you, doesn't endanger you with a narrow pass, etc.) can go a long way into reinforcing these behaviors!

Even though it is not something that should be celebrated/encouraged (it just SHOULD happen), we all know it doesn't happen all the time. Further, we humans like being recognized for doing something "nice", which is likely what many drivers feel they are being when they drive cautiously around you. At the very least, the reinforcement will help those drivers be more wary of cyclists in the future.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on April 09, 2019, 03:31:54 PM
I have myself wishing for a second bike bell, really a loud, annoying bike horn. The bell is polite for letting peds know I am overtaking them. I need something obnoxious to let cars know to back off or stop being idiots.


I've considered putting an airhorn on my bike. Should be plenty loud enough to get driver's attention.

So, to change the subject, where's the craziest place you've ridden your bike so far?

I'll go first. Today I made my second ever trip to the cardiologist by bike. The nice thing about showing up in bike shoes and carrying panniers is that the staff treat you really, really well. You get the gold star treatment because you're obviously doing your best to keep from getting decrepit.

The downside is that you're a bit smellier, especially when you have to keep taking your shirt off.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on April 09, 2019, 04:59:47 PM
Ooh, that is an interesting question. I think I mostly havenít ridden anywhere interesting. I went to a ear doctor appointment on my bike, but I donít think I looked like a biker once I took off my neon yellow windbreaker.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 09, 2019, 05:08:18 PM
I just bought a new combo light and horn. We'll see how it fares. Also, for those following at home, superglue was not sufficient to fix my pannier clip.

I haven't ridden anywhere that weird... maybe the library? Last weekend I tried to fit my Trader Joe's haul into a yoga mat bag because I made an impulsive decision to stop for groceries, forgetting I had nothing to carry them. (I failed and had to ride home with a TJ's bag dangling from a handlebar.)

I'm in a facebook Buy Nothing group and many times have had to explain that I can't pick something up until the weekend, because the gifter's house is too far (read: across a ravine) from mine to fit into my daily commute. Actually, speaking of the BN group, I've been thinking about offering to be a bike buddy for anyone along my route who's just starting out and learning to be comfortable merging with cars, etc. I'm obviously no expert at maintenance, but I think I've learned the area pretty well.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: slipslop on April 09, 2019, 06:31:38 PM
So, to change the subject, where's the craziest place you've ridden your bike so far?

Rode home from the podiatrist... after having an ingrown toenail removed.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 09, 2019, 08:31:52 PM
The fastest way to clean your chain I've found is to whack it with some WD40 and then carefully wipe off all excess with a rag.  Let it sit overnight, wipe off any further excess with a rag, and re-lube.  It's probably worth running a rag along the teeth on your cassette and chain ring (as well as jockey wheels) while you do this.  All told, this shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

I did this this evening - the chain never stopped leaving black on the rag, despite me certainly using way too much WD40. Does that mean I didn't clean enough, or should I just go back at it with the rag tomorrow and lube whatever I've got at that point?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on April 10, 2019, 07:44:16 AM

So, to change the subject, where's the craziest place you've ridden your bike so far?


I do almost all of my errands by bike now, unless it's too far and I can't find a safe route (my dentist), or I need to bring the kids. 

Probably the weirdest one was where I had some friends unexpectedly show up at a bar a few miles away and invite me out.  Showed up on my bike, which amused them.  For the safety-conscious, I only had one drink.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 10, 2019, 08:43:03 AM
The fastest way to clean your chain I've found is to whack it with some WD40 and then carefully wipe off all excess with a rag.  Let it sit overnight, wipe off any further excess with a rag, and re-lube.  It's probably worth running a rag along the teeth on your cassette and chain ring (as well as jockey wheels) while you do this.  All told, this shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

I did this this evening - the chain never stopped leaving black on the rag, despite me certainly using way too much WD40. Does that mean I didn't clean enough, or should I just go back at it with the rag tomorrow and lube whatever I've got at that point?

It's good to see black on the rag . . . that's all crap that was stuck to your chain! 

Go back at it tomorrow and you should be able to get the black to come free.  Most of the stuff will drip out or evaporate by the morning.

I don't usually soak the chain in WD-40 though, just a quick blast as I spin the pedals.  If I don't wipe off all the WD-40 then it will prevent the lube from adhering properly to the chain.  You might need to wipe the chain down and relube again the day after too if this is the case.

This is my speedy/half assed way of cleaning the chain in the winter when I'm cold and want to go inside.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on April 10, 2019, 09:52:41 AM
The fastest way to clean your chain I've found is to whack it with some WD40 and then carefully wipe off all excess with a rag.  Let it sit overnight, wipe off any further excess with a rag, and re-lube.  It's probably worth running a rag along the teeth on your cassette and chain ring (as well as jockey wheels) while you do this.  All told, this shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

I did this this evening - the chain never stopped leaving black on the rag, despite me certainly using way too much WD40. Does that mean I didn't clean enough, or should I just go back at it with the rag tomorrow and lube whatever I've got at that point?

It's good to see black on the rag . . . that's all crap that was stuck to your chain! 

Go back at it tomorrow and you should be able to get the black to come free.  Most of the stuff will drip out or evaporate by the morning.

I don't usually soak the chain in WD-40 though, just a quick blast as I spin the pedals.  If I don't wipe off all the WD-40 then it will prevent the lube from adhering properly to the chain.  You might need to wipe the chain down and relube again the day after too if this is the case.

This is my speedy/half assed way of cleaning the chain in the winter when I'm cold and want to go inside.  :P

Another simple way to clean it would be to take the chain off and stick it in a water bottle with some degreaser. Shake it up so the degreaser can dissolve all the crud and let it sit for a while. Shake again and then take out the chain. I usually cut the bottle open to get the chain out. Rinse well with lots of water in the sink.

Getting the chain on and off is made much easier if it's had a quick link added. Most replacement chains come with this now, but if yours doesn't have one, you can ask your bike shop to add one.

I just use citrus degreaser from the hardware store. It's cheap and works great. The stuff branded for bike cleaning tends to be more dilute and much more expensive.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 10, 2019, 10:05:19 AM
Yeah, that's what I do in the summer usually.  I find that pulling a chain off and putting one back on is kinda a PITA when it's twenty below in a dark garage though.  :P
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Boofinator on April 10, 2019, 10:12:15 AM

So, to change the subject, where's the craziest place you've ridden your bike so far?


I do almost all of my errands by bike now, unless it's too far and I can't find a safe route (my dentist), or I need to bring the kids. 

Probably the weirdest one was where I had some friends unexpectedly show up at a bar a few miles away and invite me out.  Showed up on my bike, which amused them.  For the safety-conscious, I only had one drink.

Bikes and bars go hand in hand. I figure drunk biking to be much more safe for all involved than drunk driving. (It helps to finds bars close to home.)

Probably the craziest place I rode my bike was to my son's parent-teacher conference. It wasn't the act itself, but it was the fact that I needed to ride about fifteen miles from work on a 100-degree F afternoon. I was an embarrassed sweaty mess for the occasion. :)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on April 10, 2019, 10:56:16 AM
So, to change the subject, where's the craziest place you've ridden your bike so far?
Nothing very crazy.

I've biked to various temp jobs. It's a bit of a challenge to go someplace new and be worried about first impressions. Most are in large office buildings where you can change in the restroom off the main lobby before making a first impression. Sometimes I've had to find a convenience store nearby and ask to change in the restroom. Furthest I've traveled for work was 20 miles (one time only and it wasn't my first day on that assignment).

Memorial Day service at a cemetery 20 miles from home (I think I've done this one 3 years running - I tend to go bike crazy in May for our regional MayIsBikeMonth).

Camping with my brother (he hauled most of the gear in a trailer).

Church (also in may).

IKEA - I just went there on a whim biking around on a glorious spring Saturday a few weeks ago. I didn't buy anything however, I do wish I had a bike trailer like MMM's that I could bring home furniture in.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 10, 2019, 11:10:06 AM
I used to regularly ride my bike about 10 km to a farmer's market just outside of town.  It was cool because I got to roll by the two football fields of car parking and park my bike at the gate.  On one of these trips I carried back two 10 lb bags of apples (panniers), some assorted veggies, and a 15lb pumpkin in a large plastic box lashed to the top of my rack with some creative bungeeing.  Cycling with the weight was fine, but it was really hard to keep the bike from flipping over when stopped.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GreenToTheCore on April 11, 2019, 02:13:12 PM
@DadJokes thanks for voicing your frustration. I'm a converted bicyclist from a car-centric-city upbringing so I've had a lot of conversations where similar responses pop up.
My personal belief is that most of the frustrations are when both groups are misunderstanding the other or have unclear expectations of the other.
I'm putting together some information and I think your perspective on the project would be helpful. Would you be willing to input on the content and communication style? (it's not quite ready yet, so don't get too eager)

ETA: anyone else interested in inputting on a Let's-all-understand-each-other Traffic Presentation?
It might be naive, but I'd like to try a different approach than the other bike presentations out there.

Sure, I would be happy to.

Sorry @DadJokes, I've been MIA recently.
Thank you for your willingness! I'll PM you when I have something to review (might be a month or more)
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GreenToTheCore on April 11, 2019, 02:23:09 PM
Thought for the day as I was cycling into work...

Don't underestimate the power of positive reinforcement when you're out on the bike. A simple wave, hand gesture, smile, nod, etc. in thanks when a vehicle drives safely near you (recognizes you, eye contact, let's you merge, is cautious around you, doesn't endanger you with a narrow pass, etc.) can go a long way into reinforcing these behaviors!

Even though it is not something that should be celebrated/encouraged (it just SHOULD happen), we all know it doesn't happen all the time. Further, we humans like being recognized for doing something "nice", which is likely what many drivers feel they are being when they drive cautiously around you. At the very least, the reinforcement will help those drivers be more wary of cyclists in the future.
This x1 million.  I'm a smiling, waving, head nodding fool when I'm on my bike and a driver exhibits great behavior.

However, I also don't shy away from giving 1-1 feedback. Which hasn't ever resulted in "Oh, I'm sorry. I'll do better next time."
It physically pains me to think that I just sat back and let something happen. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing", and all that.  Because that's how you get ants Hitler.
What if the driver was just never told that what they did was inappropriate?

For others with this urge to communicate, how do you keep it to yourself? Do you think you should?


*FYI, I though maybe this urge could be balanced with doing something else to increase awareness/education. So I am actively working with my city and community to create a Bicycle Traffic Awareness program.
But it is still so hard to sit by while someone threatens harm on another human being.

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GreenToTheCore on April 11, 2019, 02:27:49 PM
So, to change the subject, where's the craziest place you've ridden your bike so far?

The eye doctor receptionists got a kick out of me showing up and asking where the nearest bike rack was. Turns out there wasn't one in the whole strip mall, but they happily suggested to keep my bike in the lobby.
"You're the second person to show up on a bike. There's this man that came in last week, and it was snowing!"  Ya...that man is my husband. Ha.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 11, 2019, 03:13:27 PM
"You're the second person to show up on a bike. There's this man that came in last week, and it was snowing!"  Ya...that man is my husband. Ha.

Ha!

That reminds me that I did once ride my bike to a very fancy hotel where I was meeting a visiting professor for a meal. Zipped right up to the valet and asked where I could park it. They offered to keep it in a maintenance closet (for free) and concluded I didn't need a valet receipt because it was the only bike in there.

By the way, my ride is wonderfully quiet and squeak-free now that my chain is clean(ish) and lubed!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on April 11, 2019, 07:14:57 PM
Thought for the day as I was cycling into work...

Don't underestimate the power of positive reinforcement when you're out on the bike. A simple wave, hand gesture, smile, nod, etc. in thanks when a vehicle drives safely near you (recognizes you, eye contact, let's you merge, is cautious around you, doesn't endanger you with a narrow pass, etc.) can go a long way into reinforcing these behaviors!

Even though it is not something that should be celebrated/encouraged (it just SHOULD happen), we all know it doesn't happen all the time. Further, we humans like being recognized for doing something "nice", which is likely what many drivers feel they are being when they drive cautiously around you. At the very least, the reinforcement will help those drivers be more wary of cyclists in the future.
This x1 million.  I'm a smiling, waving, head nodding fool when I'm on my bike and a driver exhibits great behavior.

However, I also don't shy away from giving 1-1 feedback. Which hasn't ever resulted in "Oh, I'm sorry. I'll do better next time."
It physically pains me to think that I just sat back and let something happen. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing", and all that.  Because that's how you get ants Hitler.
What if the driver was just never told that what they did was inappropriate?

For others with this urge to communicate, how do you keep it to yourself? Do you think you should?


*FYI, I though maybe this urge could be balanced with doing something else to increase awareness/education. So I am actively working with my city and community to create a Bicycle Traffic Awareness program.
But it is still so hard to sit by while someone threatens harm on another human being.

LOL!  I donít have an issue with repressing my urge to communicate. Its pretty much primal scream therapy. I really need to work on that; weíre supposed to be bicycle ambassadors I suppose.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 11, 2019, 07:52:18 PM
I just got yelled at out a car window for the very first time. Didn't catch a word of it. I'll assume it was encouragement.

To be fair, I WAS being somewhat unpredictable immediately prior. I was biking with my boyfriend for the first time, and he's not used to biking on the road. We were occupying the rightmost lane beside a lane of parked cars, when the parking area ended and a new rightmost lane opened up. I signaled to take it, but he didn't see me, with the result that we both scooted right but ended up sort of on the lane divider. Then the guy behind me honked, which SUPER helped me communicate with my partner (I had to shout), we merged right, and someone in the backseat shouted at us as they passed. It's hard to care without even knowing what he said, though.

Related: that was an EXTREMELY aggravating stretch of road to bike, with constant switches between bike lane present, parked car lane present, three lanes with rightmost marked to share with bikes, or - at one point - just two marked lanes, but the right one was double-wide. I'm enjoying my commute, but that ride was stressful. It's too bad the library is on the other side of it. I might honestly rather walk 4 miles round trip.

Final note: I just received my combo bike light and horn, so I am improving my ability to communicate! Kinda psyched.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Geographer on April 12, 2019, 06:33:39 AM
I clean my chain with a gizmo that looks like this and some citrus degreaser from the hardware store.  https://www.amazon.ca/VeloChampion-Bike-Chain-Cleaner-Bicycle/dp/B002CLO29U/ref=sr_1_7?hvadid=230008289239&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9001605&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=8118926246043663448&hvtargid=kwd-301091455831&keywords=bike+chain+cleaner&qid=1554755289&s=gateway&sr=8-7

Takes 2 minutes. Then just rinse off all the degreaser with a garden hose.

Good recommendation -- I'll have to get one of these! How do you guys clean your chainrings / gear cogs?
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: NorthernMonkey on April 12, 2019, 08:11:56 AM
I use iso propyl alcohol and an old rag. Pour some alcohol on the rag, grab the bottom
Of the chain and turn the pedals a few times. Repeat until clean. If you keep the chain clean, it takes 30 seconds.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on April 12, 2019, 09:19:55 AM
Related: that was an EXTREMELY aggravating stretch of road to bike, with constant switches between bike lane present, parked car lane present, three lanes with rightmost marked to share with bikes, or - at one point - just two marked lanes, but the right one was double-wide. I'm enjoying my commute, but that ride was stressful. It's too bad the library is on the other side of it. I might honestly rather walk 4 miles round trip.
Yeah, busy roads with inconsistent bike infrastructure is annoying. One street I commute on has two regular trafic lanes in each direction. The first block I ride has a school - there is a striped bike lane with signs and pavement markings. The next block is around a right hand curve and mostly has residences - the striping is the same, but the bike lane is not marked and the residents regularly park in the lane even though it's not wide enough so the cars straddle the solid white line (I assume it was intended as a bike lane, but someone removed the signs and parking restrictions are never enforced). Then the street straightens out and has businesses on it - bike lane striping goes away and sharrows are painted in the right hand traffic lane. The shoulder is wide enough for parking here, but there are rarely parked vehicles at the time I ride there, so I don't usually need to take the lane. Fortunately I usually take this trip before the street gets busy in the morning.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: TrMama on April 12, 2019, 09:38:33 AM
I clean my chain with a gizmo that looks like this and some citrus degreaser from the hardware store.  https://www.amazon.ca/VeloChampion-Bike-Chain-Cleaner-Bicycle/dp/B002CLO29U/ref=sr_1_7?hvadid=230008289239&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9001605&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=8118926246043663448&hvtargid=kwd-301091455831&keywords=bike+chain+cleaner&qid=1554755289&s=gateway&sr=8-7

Takes 2 minutes. Then just rinse off all the degreaser with a garden hose.

Good recommendation -- I'll have to get one of these! How do you guys clean your chainrings / gear cogs?

I pour a bit of degreaser in an old ice cream bucket and use a tile brush from the hardware store to scrub the degreaser over all the cogs. Don't forget he jockeys (cogs) on the rear derailler. They collect the most gunk and they're usually plastic. https://www.homedepot.com/p/M-D-Building-Products-Tile-and-Grout-Brush-49146/205329342 See how it only costs a couple bucks?

You can also get a bike specific version of the same brush for 2-5x the cost. Or not.

I also use an old, thin rag dipped in a bit of the degreaser to wipe off the wheel rims because I have rim brakes. Wiping off all the sand and grit that accumulates on them from riding in wet weather makes my wheel rims last longer. Otherwise, the grit sands down the rims every time I apply the brakes.

After everything's been degreased and wiped off, make sure to spray off all the degreaser.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: robartsd on April 12, 2019, 10:22:09 AM
I pour a bit of degreaser in an old ice cream bucket and use a tile brush from the hardware store to scrub the degreaser over all the cogs. Don't forget he jockeys (cogs) on the rear derailler. They collect the most gunk and they're usually plastic. https://www.homedepot.com/p/M-D-Building-Products-Tile-and-Grout-Brush-49146/205329342 See how it only costs a couple bucks?

You can also get a bike specific version of the same brush for 2-5x the cost. Or not.
The bike specific one from Park Tools is about $5 and the handle end is designed to be thin enough to use to pick out gunk between the gears on the rear wheel. I've gone with the free version - a retired toothbrush; but that doesn't work so well if you use those fancy electric toothbrushes.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Arbitrage on April 12, 2019, 02:26:30 PM

Related: that was an EXTREMELY aggravating stretch of road to bike, with constant switches between bike lane present, parked car lane present, three lanes with rightmost marked to share with bikes, or - at one point - just two marked lanes, but the right one was double-wide. I'm enjoying my commute, but that ride was stressful. It's too bad the library is on the other side of it. I might honestly rather walk 4 miles round trip.


Sounds like the Southern CA commitment to bike infrastructure I've grown to know and love.  It's too bad, really, since this sprawling, seething mass of concrete could well be a fantastic biking city if there were any public will to make it so. 
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 12, 2019, 02:30:15 PM
I'm not in LA, but yeah, basically. It made me appreciate that most of my commute is through/around a college campus that accommodates bikes better.

I'd rather have no bike lane than a sporadic one.
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Buffalo Chip on April 12, 2019, 07:31:28 PM

Related: that was an EXTREMELY aggravating stretch of road to bike, with constant switches between bike lane present, parked car lane present, three lanes with rightmost marked to share with bikes, or - at one point - just two marked lanes, but the right one was double-wide. I'm enjoying my commute, but that ride was stressful. It's too bad the library is on the other side of it. I might honestly rather walk 4 miles round trip.


Sounds like the Southern CA commitment to bike infrastructure I've grown to know and love.  It's too bad, really, since this sprawling, seething mass of concrete could well be a fantastic biking city if there were any public will to make it so.

Interesting that you mention that. In my city bike lanes were installed about two years ago. I did not expect them to take off. I was wrong. Weíre seeing a lot more people riding. There are even some other lunatics out at 515 in the morning riding to work!

Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: Tass on April 12, 2019, 07:52:39 PM
Just completed my first ever week of bike commuting every single day!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: ysette9 on April 13, 2019, 10:18:15 AM
Just completed my first ever week of bike commuting every single day!
Nicely done!
Title: Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
Post by: GuitarStv on April 14, 2019, 03:07:47 PM
I clean my chain with a gizmo that looks like this and some citrus degreaser from the hardware store.  https://www.amazon.ca/VeloChampion-Bike-Chain-Cleaner-Bicycle/dp/B002CLO29U/ref=sr_1_7?hvadid=230008289239&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9001605&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=8118926246043663448&hvtargid=kwd-301091455831&keywords=bike+chain+cleaner&qid=1554755289&s=gateway&sr=8-7

Takes 2 minutes. Then just rinse off all the degreaser with a garden hose.