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Old 12-31-12, 10:12 AM   #1
electricalbox
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Newbie commuting for New Year's Resolution

I have decided I wanted to try and commute to work as much as I can (at least 4 days a week). I never have rode before except learning how to ride a bike as a kid, the last 10 years I probably only have gone a 500 yards. I just started working out for the first time in my life, primarily running and have dropped over 35 pounds in 9 months. Since then I have been hooked on fitness for the first time ever in my life.

Route:
The direct route is 12.5 miles one way, but 14.6 the preferred route (less cars/bike path). I am going to start on 1/2 and will be updating this daily, while still trying to run a ton and do the LA marathon in March.

I will be using this as a blog to record my experiences with it, hoping to get over 6,000 miles for the year, and hoping to not die by careless drivers. Feel free to comment or ask questions if it is only me posting that is fine too. I am hoping this may inspire others like me who never thought of cycling as a mode of transportation to at least go out and try it. Anyone can do it!!!

1. 12/21 - Found my bike

Purchased a Cannondale with some small issues off Craigslist. The tires are bad, the front derailleur doesn't work when shifting, oxidation/surface rust on small pieces, scratches, bad tape, etc. I brought it home, cleaned it up... The bike was originally 3,500 dollars retail, I got it for 500 dollars since it is 11 years old. The good thing about the bike is aluminum frame, carbon fork, and all shimano dura-ace components. Top of the line (11 years ago )

2. 12/22 - First ride - 5.83 (clings and clanks)
http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/214504590
The bike needs a tune up, I took it home, bought a pump and some chain oil. Took some of it apart and cleaned and lubed some parts.

3. 12/23 - Second ride - 4.86 miles (seat sucks)
http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/214731738
Had to stop because the 11 year old seat seriously hurts. I purchased a new gel seat, it is on the way.

4. 12/24 - Bought a ton of stuff online

5. 12/27 - Helmet, tape, tires, gloves, & cell phone visible holder all arrived (I took some pictures below).

New tires (Continental Gatorskin):


New tape & holder:

I replaced one of the water bottle holders with a portable pump, replaced my old look pedals with some crank brothers, cleaned up the crank/arms, and installed a new seat (highly recommend it for the price) and some lights. Got a quick 5 mile ride on some hills. I can't wait for Monday morning to start commuting.

Last edited by electricalbox; 01-02-13 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 12-31-12, 10:13 AM   #2
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Some more pictures.
12/28

I have worked on cars / refinishing wheels as a hobby, so I am hoping to keep maintenance costs down and do most the work myself. I was able to clean some more stuff up, see below for some pictures.


Crank before/after some wire wheel/polishing:



New pedal with refinished arm:


New seat:

Last edited by electricalbox; 01-02-13 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 12-31-12, 10:13 AM   #3
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Day 1 on the way to work.
14.77 miles, 53:22 total time, 16.6 MPH average pace


Going the proper direction and shifting properly (my shifter got stuck on the 3rd smallest ring around mile 7) I could easily do it under 50 minutes with training.
All of the pain I was experiencing before was indeed from my seat, and my shorts had no padding. My new seat and cycling pants changed the whole experience, I have absolutely no pain!

I absolutely loved it, and honestly this is just slightly longer then my commute sitting in traffic on the freeway. I just need some warmer gloves since the temps got below 40* this morning (not used to this as I am a socal pansy), but other then that it was amazing. Riding next to a farm in so cal hearing roosters cock-a-doodle-doo as the sun is starting to rise, its surreal. I highly recommend others try some cycling, I will be doing this consistently from now on.

Last edited by electricalbox; 01-02-13 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 12-31-12, 10:59 AM   #4
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good for you to pick December as the month to start. Ride on!
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Old 12-31-12, 11:16 AM   #5
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Great to see a new bike commuter! All the work setting up your bike will pay off. Enjoy the ride, and ride often.
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Old 12-31-12, 12:57 PM   #6
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"Godspeed John Glenn!" (Do a YouTube search if you are too young to know this offering of best wishes).

A whole new world has just been opened for you. Very exciting. Looking forward to your posts and photos in 2013.
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Old 12-31-12, 02:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theEconomist View Post
good for you to pick December as the month to start. Ride on!
Thanks, it is cold, but it is so refreshing!

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Originally Posted by paths dc View Post
Great to see a new bike commuter! All the work setting up your bike will pay off. Enjoy the ride, and ride often.
Thank you, and I am hoping to ride at least 75-80% of the time to and from work and possibly some fun rides locally.

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"Godspeed John Glenn!" (Do a YouTube search if you are too young to know this offering of best wishes).

A whole new world has just been opened for you. Very exciting. Looking forward to your posts and photos in 2013.
I actually got that reference!

Day 1 coming home:
14.62 miles, total time 58:01, average pace 15.1MPH


a bit slower, lots of congestion on the streets/bike path compared to the morning, not to mention it is all up hill!


I really got to appreciate all the nature surrounding the "river", lots of animals I never knew were even there along with tons of bums lol. I'll have to stop and take some pictures next time I am riding, tons of bike riders on the trail, along with some people fishing, people with their kids, etc. Overall I am loving this decision and cannot wait for Wednesday when I get to ride to work hopefully with some gloves on.

Last edited by electricalbox; 01-02-13 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 12-31-12, 02:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electricalbox View Post
Day 1 on the way to work.
http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/216403320

14.77 miles (should be 14.4 but I made a wrong turn haha) in 53:22. Going the proper direction and shifting properly (my shifter got stuck on the 3rd smallest ring around mile 7) I could easily do it under 50 minutes. All of the pain I was experiencing before was indeed from my seat, and my shorts had no padding. My new seat and cycling pants changed the whole experience, I have absolutely no pain!

I absolutely loved it, and honestly this is just slightly longer then my commute sitting in traffic on the freeway. I just need some warmer gloves since the temps got below 40* this morning (not used to this as I am a socal pansy), but other then that it was amazing. Riding next to a farm in so cal hearing roosters cock-a-doodle-doo as the sun is starting to rise, its surreal. I highly recommend others try some cycling, I will be doing this consistently from now on.
While I applaud your decision, don't get squished. I see the hint of a blinky but no headlight. Get one. Get this one. For this price get 2 or even 3. Put 1 (or 2) on the bars and one on your head. Ride but ride smart.

Get a couple more blinkies too.
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Old 12-31-12, 02:36 PM   #9
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While I applaud your decision, don't get squished. I see the hint of a blinky but no headlight. Get one. Get this one. For this price get 2 or even 3. Put 1 (or 2) on the bars and one on your head. Ride but ride smart.

Get a couple more blinkies too.
I do have a headlight, sorry I don't think I posted it. I purchased this set, it is surprisingly bright for the size/cost.
www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QSXMME

But I do agree a few more blinkies would probably help out.
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Old 12-31-12, 04:35 PM   #10
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I recommend getting two 2-watt rear blinkies. The Cygolite hotshot is USB rechargable, Planet Bike Superflash also has 2 watt offereing. I prefer rear lights that take standard AA/AAA batteries. The Blackburn Mars 4 is 1 watt and is getting some good reviews here because it has visibility from the side rather than just from the rear.

I also recommend one light on helmet and one on bars. The helmet light is useful to be able to see around corners or looking for critters (eyes glow nicely) along the sides of a MUP. cyccommute offers good advice on the front light. It's not really 1200 lumens, but it's as bright as you are likely to find for that price and style.

Congrats on the biking! You've done a great job cleaning up that bike. I still ride and like my 2003 road bike and other than being heavy, it rides as well as any new bike. Indeed I find commuting relaxing and I avoid having to deal with traffic.
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Old 12-31-12, 04:49 PM   #11
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I do have a headlight, sorry I don't think I posted it. I purchased this set, it is surprisingly bright for the size/cost.
www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QSXMME

But I do agree a few more blinkies would probably help out.
I like to call those finder lights...as in it provides a way for the EMTs to find you under the car. As a light to see by...or even be seen by...it is lacking. The light I linked to gives you light you can see by and, more importantly, makes you visible. An additional benefit is that you can go really fast in the dark.
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Old 12-31-12, 05:22 PM   #12
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First, congratulations on discovering the awesome world of cycling. As another SoCql person, you certainly do need decent gloves to commute on cold mornings. We may not get much freezing weather, but once it gets below high 40's you need a second layer or good gloves. Glove liners under regular cycling gloves can keep you warm until it gets into the 30s, then you need something more substantial.

As far as lights go, I third the Cree XML light suggestion. $30 may see like a lot for a light, but it will do two things for you. First, oncoming traffic and traffic from the side will see the light. It is incredibly bright, and runs for a long time. I use mine flashing during the day, and steady on at night. Second, you will be amazed at how much better you see, and can go correspondingly faster. I see you are in the greater LA area, so street lights may be sufficient for you to see, especially if you are young. But the first reason is still reason enough to get the light. You will use it daily for the next few months, and then maybe not as much if you decide to not run it during the day. Even at that, keeping you our of one accident is worth $30. Ok, sermon over.

Enjoy the ride, the roosters, the stars (not too much while you are moving), the sunrises and sunsets, and all the other adventures you experience while riding.
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Old 12-31-12, 07:34 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the advice fellas, I will definitely be looking into getting more lighting/reflectors. The light you guys are talking about, it looks great, I will probably buy it later this week.
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Old 12-31-12, 07:43 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the advice fellas, I will definitely be looking into getting more lighting/reflectors. The light you guys are talking about, it looks great, I will probably buy it later this week.
If you do, be sure to search "CREE XML" on amazon and see where it is shipping from. I bought mine and it came from China, took maybe 2 weeks. For a couple dollars more you can get ones that ship from the US, likely to arrive much sooner if that matters to you.
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Old 12-31-12, 07:46 PM   #15
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If you do, be sure to search "CREE XML" on amazon and see where it is shipping from. I bought mine and it came from China, took maybe 2 weeks. For a couple dollars more you can get ones that ship from the US, likely to arrive much sooner if that matters to you.
Awesome thanks for the advice, I will definitely check that when I purchase. I am amazed how my legs aren't feeling any pain, definitely much different then running hard. I can't wait to get back on the bike in a few days. Where in so cal are you? Do you commute to work as well?
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Old 12-31-12, 08:03 PM   #16
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Awesome thanks for the advice, I will definitely check that when I purchase. I am amazed how my legs aren't feeling any pain, definitely much different then running hard. I can't wait to get back on the bike in a few days. Where in so cal are you? Do you commute to work as well?
I would say you are doing awesome if you are able to commute 14+ miles on city streets in less than an hour and not be sore, especially considering you just started riding. You are doing something right, that is for sure.

I live in Santa Barbara, and have been commuting to work by bike for 25+ years. I had never been much of a "cyclist" until I recently got a road style bike. I had been commuting on mountain bikes previously. My commute has always been less than 6 miles one way by the most direct route, but I am finding I take routes up to 10 miles one way now just because I love riding.

The right bike makes such a huge difference, seems like you have found a good one for you, congrats and keep with it.
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Old 01-01-13, 01:43 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the advice fellas, I will definitely be looking into getting more lighting/reflectors. The light you guys are talking about, it looks great, I will probably buy it later this week.
I use the light cycommute pointed to on Amazon and it's excellent. It's seriously as bright as one of the headlights on a car.
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Old 01-01-13, 02:47 AM   #18
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Ooh, a gas stove. I might be getting one this year. Electric ranges are easy to clean, but god do they suck for cooking.
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Old 01-01-13, 04:05 AM   #19
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I think it is awesome youre joining the ranks of the bike commuters,the best thing to do is pace youreself and you will be surprised how far you can ride.
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Old 01-01-13, 09:01 AM   #20
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I have decided I wanted to try and commute to work as much as I can (at least 4 days a week). . . . .
EXCELLENT EXCELLENT EXCELLENT!! I'll be reading in!
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Old 01-01-13, 09:18 AM   #21
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Makes you wonder you'd put up with rush hour driving when you can actually enjoy it riding doesn't it? You've got a good head start, with a good bike and the ability to jump into a 14 mile route right away with no issue. Most people would have to work up to that. Being in great shape from running probably helps.
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Old 01-01-13, 12:11 PM   #22
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<snip>
I will be using this as a blog to record my experiences with it, hoping to get over 6,000 miles for the year, and hoping to not die by careless drivers. Feel free to comment or ask questions if it is only me posting that is fine too. I am hoping this may inspire others like me who never thought of cycling as a mode of transportation to at least go out and try it. Anyone can do it!!!
<snip>
Since your intent of the thread is to act as a blog and BF has an area set aside for bloggers to use....

Welcome to Bloggers Forum from Commuting
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Old 01-02-13, 09:59 AM   #23
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Day 2 riding to work:
14.61 miles, 49:14 total time, Average speed 17.8MPH


I was able to break my 50 minute goal already lol...it was due to being able to time lights much better now and shift properly when yielding/coming to a stop. Also I am getting the feel for what is the correct gear I should be in when riding at various points on the commute. I am totally loving this, I wore a "ski mask" I have from snowboarding and bought some new biking gloves. It totally changed the experience, I was cool, but not cold for most of the ride.
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Old 01-02-13, 10:07 AM   #24
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Thank you all for the kind words and advice on the subject!
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Old 01-02-13, 06:41 PM   #25
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Day 2 riding home:
14.69 miles, 55:45 total time, Average speed 15.8MPH


Same as before, the uphill battle and stopping at nearly every light slowed me down. It is great to ride without a jacket on though, now I need to make sure I wear glasses/shades way to many bugs flying around especially by the river. Now time for a milkshake, I need the calories!
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