Author Topic: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat  (Read 117411 times)

Arbitrage

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #600 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. 

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #601 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...

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #602 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.


TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #603 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.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #604 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.

hadabeardonce

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #605 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.

sixup

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #606 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.


35andFI

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #607 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.

sixup

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #608 on: March 13, 2019, 10:47:37 AM »
Clinton area in Hunterdon county

FI-REality

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #609 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...

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #610 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!

35andFI

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #611 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.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #612 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.

Villanelle

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #613 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. 
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 12:22:31 PM by Villanelle »

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #614 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.

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #615 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.

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #616 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/ for bike maintenance reference.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #617 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.

Wallet

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #618 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.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #619 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

TrMama

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #620 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.

Villanelle

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #621 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. 

Wallet

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #622 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.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #623 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.

katscratch

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #624 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 ;)

Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #625 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.

Arbitrage

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #626 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. 

hadabeardonce

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #627 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.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 11:50:36 AM by hadabeardonce »

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #628 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.

hadabeardonce

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #629 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..."

Arbitrage

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #630 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.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #631 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.

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #632 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

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #633 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

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

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #634 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.

turketron

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #635 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!

FI-REality

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #636 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.

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #637 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.

FI-REality

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #638 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.

Arbitrage

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #639 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!

Wallet

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #640 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!


Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #641 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?

GuitarStv

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #642 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.

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #643 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).

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #644 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. 

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #645 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.   

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #646 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!     


Tass

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #647 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.

ysette9

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #648 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.

robartsd

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Re: Start Biking To Work - cycling newbies chat
« Reply #649 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.