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  1. #1
    uke
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    Don't worry about your bike. Worry about your route.

    I had some thoughts after reading this thread that I thought would be better served in a new thread. What do y'all think? Do you find the bike or the environment makes the greater difference in your commutes and joyrides?

    ---

    A crucial point almost no one in this thread has addressed is the overwhelming degree to which one's cycling environment affects one's commute. Think about it: do people log on to car forums and argue about which cars are best for driving to work? No? Why?

    Because it really doesn't matter. As long as the vehicle starts and keeps moving reliably, a host of other factors will have far more significant effects on the commute; factors such as the length of the ride, the quality of the roads, THE TRAFFIC and congestion, and the parking availability at each end.

    In other words, once the vehicle works, it becomes a utility transport device, and little more. However, the environment also has to be supportive of the traveler for travel to be feasible.

    Don't worry about the bike so much. Any bike will do. Worry about the weather. Worry about being run over. Worry about the traffic, and the options you have for getting to work. Those are the important things.

    Pride aside, a $50 Walmart bike will get you to work about as quickly as a $5000 TT bike if you live and work within a few miles from home, which most people do. Focus on finding a conducive environment to cycle in, and save your money.

    Cyclists in this country have a tendency to preoccupy themselves with the gadgetry of their bikes over the quality of their routes, compared to cyclists in bike-friendly countries. I wonder if people only realize how little the bikes matter once they find themselves surrounded by cyclists--sort of the way no one really cares what they drive to work as long as it starts twice a day.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  2. #2
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    I had some thoughts after reading this thread that I thought would be better served in a new thread. What do y'all think? Do you find the bike or the environment makes the greater difference in your commutes and joyrides?

    ---

    A crucial point almost no one in this thread has addressed is the overwhelming degree to which one's cycling environment affects one's commute. Think about it: do people log on to car forums and argue about which cars are best for driving to work? No? Why?

    + a zillion.
    You can commute on anything if the chain is hooked up and the tires hold air.
    Just ride !!!! Ride everywhere and do what it take to make it enjoyable to you !
    I think some of the best advocacy we can engage in might be to show people
    we are enjoying our trips on non-1000's of $$$$$$ equipment in normal, pedestrian
    cloths and it taking very little to get out of the car and onto the bike.
    Last edited by -=(8)=-; 11-09-08 at 10:39 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    I may not have the world's longest commute, but I still take care in choosing what kind of bike I want to ride. So far, I've changed my choices on a new winter commuter several times, and a fifty dollar Wally bike is not even close to being on my radar scope, since I'll inevitably trash one out in a few hundred miles. My routes are established, and which ones I use depends on what bike I happen to be riding at the time.

  4. #4
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    i agree that the route one takes for a ride is probably the most important aspect of a commute, but there is a massive difference between a 50 dollar and 5000 dollar bike: Reliability, comfort, fun factor etc...(and i commute on a bike I built for under $100). If someone can afford an expensive bike, let em buy it. Who cares? If anything it just injects more money into the bicycle manufacturing industry and that can't be a bad thing.

    However, yes. The route affects ride quality more than the bike. But once you find that perfect route, what better to share it with than a sweet bike?

  5. #5
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tooljunkie2 View Post
    i agree that the route one takes for a ride is probably the most important aspect of a commute, but there is a massive difference between a 50 dollar and 5000 dollar bike: Reliability, comfort, fun factor etc...(and i commute on a bike I built for under $100). If someone can afford an expensive bike, let em buy it. Who cares? If anything it just injects more money into the bicycle manufacturing industry and that can't be a bad thing.

    However, yes. The route affects ride quality more than the bike. But once you find that perfect route, what better to share it with than a sweet bike?
    Sharing $4,950 of wine and song with my woman would be better (and more fun) than sharing my money with the bicycle industry for the overpriced "ultimate" stuff that it hypes as needed to get from here to there.

  6. #6
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    Pride aside, a $50 Walmart bike will get you to work about as quickly as a $5000 TT bike if you live and work within a few miles from home, which most people do. Focus on finding a conducive environment to cycle in, and save your money.

    Cyclists in this country have a tendency to preoccupy themselves with the gadgetry of their bikes over the quality of their routes, compared to cyclists in bike-friendly countries. I wonder if people only realize how little the bikes matter once they find themselves surrounded by cyclists--sort of the way no one really cares what they drive to work as long as it starts twice a day.
    Uke, you ride really slow, don't you.

    I live just a few miles from work, just 20. Pretty close by Washington DC standards. No way am I going to ride a $50 box-mart piece of junk with lousy brakes.

    Maybe you think I should move to a 3 million dollar condo to be closer to work and save money on a bicycle!
    Last edited by CB HI; 11-09-08 at 12:38 PM.

  7. #7
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tooljunkie2 View Post
    ... If someone can afford an expensive bike, let em buy it. Who cares?
    Uke, -=Łem in Pa=-, ILTB and the rest that want to fit round pegs in their square holes. They think the rest of us should be forced to ride the same bikes they ride.

  8. #8
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Uke, you ride really slow, don't you.

    I live just a few miles from work, just 20. Pretty close by Washington DC standards. No way am I going to ride a $50 box-mart piece of junk with lousy brakes.

    Maybe you think I should moved to a 3 million dollar condo to be closer to work and save money on a bicycle!
    Few = 20? Not even in D.C.

    The OP would have been better to phrase his contention in that a few miles is the distance that most people, who are not committed bicycling enthusiasts, would/might consider as practical. And for that distance, the value added by pricey "efficiency" or speed related equipment is often whimsical.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    Pride aside, a $50 Walmart bike will get you to work about as quickly as a $5000 TT bike if you live and work within a few miles from home, ...
    Well, we could quibble about "about as quickly" but at the heart of the matter that is a true statement.

    On the other hand if people are getting a bang out of the ultimate this and superlative that why worry about it? I enjoy reading the gadgetry threads, and the ultimate build threads, but I just rode into work on a 1988 vintage mountain bike. Pretty much anybody posting to these forums likes biking, but a lot of us also like bikes!

    Speedo

  10. #10
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Few = 20? Not even in D.C.
    There are many, many DC workers that live 60 to 120 miles from work.

  11. #11
    Randomhead
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    because my parking at work is outside, I'd feel a little silly riding an incredibly expensive bike to work. Although considering what my bike would cost me nowadays, maybe I am silly. I see some fairly expensive bikes at work, but usually they are fairly old. There is one person at work that has a really expensive bike, bought everything from Peter White, no expense spared. I just can't see leaving a bike like that outside.

  12. #12
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Uke, -=Łem in Pa=-, ILTB and the rest that want to fit round pegs in their square holes. They think the rest of us should be forced to ride the same bikes they ride.
    Im interested why you would say this....
    On many differnt forums I talk about the virtues of many different bikes.
    From Folders, to MTBs to classics, SS/Fixies and a few others.
    What was the point/basis of the totally irrational attack ?

  13. #13
    uke
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    The OP would have been better to phrase his contention in that a few miles is the distance that most people, who are not committed bicycling enthusiasts, would/might consider as practical. And for that distance, the value added by pricey "efficiency" or speed related equipment is often whimsical.
    Yes, you're right, I-Like-To-Bike. It's true that on a forum like this, lots of us may ride several miles in commutes daily, and perhaps more on top of those purely for recreation. But for the average person who wonders what this "bike to work" thing is all about, it doesn't take much to get on the road. That doesn't mean we should all go out and trade our gear for $50 Walmart bikes...but at the same time, there's a balance somewhere in there.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  14. #14
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    In this discussion, I think we have to weigh the law of diminishing returns. There is a huge difference between a $1000 road bike and a *Mart special, but unless one is racing, that $1000 bike should serve 99.9% as nicely as a $5000 bike. I beat the system by riding older mid-to-high end road bikes, plus my lowly Peugeot UO-8 beater, which is theft-resistant but surprisingly fast, efficient, and pleasant to ride.

    I do concur that traffic conditions and road design can adversely impact one's enjoyment of cycling, and I am very choosy about my recreational cycling routes.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  15. #15
    ǝıd ǝʌol ʎllɐǝɹ I JeanCoutu's Avatar
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    I disagree about what type of bike to use not mattering because people on car forums don't argue much about which cars are best for driving to work, because virtually all cars can exceed speed limits and keep up with traffic, whereas one of the defining aspects of bicycling is very low power, and some bikes require more power to go uphill, get up to speed and maintain it.

    So if I'm carrying myself to some place and it's nice out, then the Peugeot road bike I found in someone's trash is the optimal choice. If it's threatening to be wet out or I'll have to carry stuff on a rack, then my POS rigid mtb with fenders and rack is the optimal choice. The Oryx downhill bike is not a good choice for getting around town regardless of conditions.

    Also, if I'm going some place specific then I'll use essentially the same route regardless of what bike I'm riding, ajusting it over times as I find new better routing.

  16. #16
    Senior Member WPeabody's Avatar
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    Reliability, safety and a good fit, meaning comfort on the bike makes a big difference. Like my car, my bike's about a quarter century old, but it gets me where I want to go without breaking down, that's all I care about.
    If I had the $$, I'd have a lot of different bikes, though.

    Speaking of road conditions, I noticed some nasty, wheel catching potholes on the bike lanes around here, though. I should complain about that. Had a couple of near misses. Not good.
    What do you call a cyclist who sells potpourri on the road? A pedaling petal-peddler.

  17. #17
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    Don't worry about the bike so much. Any bike will do. Worry about the weather. Worry about being run over. Worry about the traffic, and the options you have for getting to work.
    Worrying about those things doesn't help either. Why worry at all?
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  18. #18
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    I've found, that as long as I like the way the bike feels, I'll happily ride it as much as possible. If I can't stand the feel of the bike, everything is miserable.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    It's all about the bike for me. The route makes a big difference, but if it's not comfortable I'm not into it and I'm pretty picky about what's comfortable.

  20. #20
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    Yes, you're right, I-Like-To-Bike. It's true that on a forum like this, lots of us may ride several miles in commutes daily, and perhaps more on top of those purely for recreation. But for the average person who wonders what this "bike to work" thing is all about, it doesn't take much to get on the road. That doesn't mean we should all go out and trade our gear for $50 Walmart bikes...but at the same time, there's a balance somewhere in there.
    The sad part is that the buyers of low dollar Mart bikes are lured onto the bike because of the price, usually shy away from it because of the extra pedaling effort, poor fit, and quality. This was the case of my family some years ago, until I outfitted them on some better quality,fitting, and more efficient bikes. Though they were rather set back by the price of the bikes, my family now looks forward to cycling, and the weather is now the only remaining factor in stopping them from riding.

  21. #21
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Both the route and the bike can either make, or ruin, the enjoyment of the ride.

    -Kurt

  22. #22
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Uke, -=Łem in Pa=-, ILTB and the rest that want to fit round pegs in their square holes. They think the rest of us should be forced to ride the same bikes they ride.
    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    Im interested why you would say this....
    On many differnt forums I talk about the virtues of many different bikes.
    From Folders, to MTBs to classics, SS/Fixies and a few others.
    What was the point/basis of the totally irrational attack ?
    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    + a zillion. ...

    I think some of the best advocacy we can engage in might be to show people
    we are enjoying our trips on non-1000's of $$$$$$ equipment in normal, pedestrian
    cloths
    and it taking very little to get out of the car and onto the bike.
    Gee I wonder!

    Calling my post "totally irrational attack" seems extreme as well!
    Last edited by CB HI; 11-09-08 at 07:22 PM.

  23. #23
    Team Fat Boy SeattleShaun's Avatar
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    Why worry about either? Cycling's fun....

    That said, I would not recommend a wally world bike to a new cyclist - assuming that I wanted said cyclist to stick with it.

    If nothing else, the poor quality of the components coupled with the poor wallyworld assembly would likely lead a newbie cyclist to believe that cycling is not for them. Have you seen the stamp steel brake calipers on these things? How many panic stops before they bend like overcooked pasta?

    The $50 vs $5000 price point comparison is just silly - strawman calling on line 2...

    It is certainly possible to get a reaonably decent quality bike for transportation sub $500 with reasonably good components that will last more than one summer.

  24. #24
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Everyone arguing:
    ^
    |
    |
    |

  25. #25
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    While to some degree I agree with the general idea of not needing a fancy-schmancy bike in order to commute, I disagree with the idea that a $50 Walmart bike is not severely limiting.

    It would be foolhardy to take a poorly set-up, cheap bike down any steep hills. But as far as the $5,000 bikes, I'm not sure really who's riding those... (other than rich people and racers)

    I think the majority of transportational cyclists are going to be between the $200-$1,000 range (at least when you factor in upgrades and accessories).

    I would not have been able to start commuting on my $100 3-speed. Although it was significantly more reliable than any $50 bike you could find, it still would not have been smart to take it on my commute. I had a hill with a 8-14% grade, heavy traffic, and other issues on my commute. A cheap, unreliable bike would have been dangerous and stupid.

    Fortunately, I wasn't subject to the false dichotomy to which you have subscribed. I didn't need a $5,000 bike to start commuting. I spent $100 on a vintage steel bike, and probably $2-400 on parts, accessories, upgrades since then. (in fact, I used to experience frequent flats on the downhill, because my first wheels didn't have clincher rims and when they would get a little overheated from braking, nothing held the tire on the rim...)

    Changing routes would not have made things any different. Having no cars on the road would not have changed it.

    So while I agree with not focusing on having a high-end bike until you can really put one to good use, I think you rely way too much on hyperbole to make your case.
    I am a mutated sig Virus. Please put me in your sig so that I can continue to replicate and mutate, blah!.

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