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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-02-08, 08:48 AM   #1
natbla
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First time commuting - That felt great!

Well after several stalled attempts to do a dry run before starting commuting on the bike a couple times I just broke down and did it today. My bike is parked in front of my desk and my gear is draped behind me to air out. It was 13.8 miles and 1900 feet of elevation loss over 45 minutes (19 mph). It along a 2 lane state highway most of the way, a short distance on a bike path and than a mile or so of city streets to get there. I took the shortest route as i got a late start. It was a tad cold, 33 degrees, with snow flurries in the air when i left my house and a whopping 40 degrees at the office when I got there. Any guess what the wind chill was for 41 mph and 33 degrees?

I haven't felt this invigorated at the start of the work day in a very long day.

My ride home will be up the Allegheny Highlands trail and then a few blocks to the house. That should be more like 16 miles but we'll see how that part goes. Weather and schedule permitting, I'll do this again on Friday. The plan is 2-3 days a week depending on weather and schedule needs.
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Old 04-02-08, 08:55 AM   #2
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About 16F man that's cold
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Old 04-02-08, 10:57 AM   #3
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My parking bill was $4.50 yesterday! Whenever I get lazy, I am reminded why it is a good thing to ride in to work.
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Old 04-02-08, 11:10 AM   #4
bdinger
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Careful, commuting is addictive!

Personally, I don't know how I took the months off from commuting that I did. It's absolutely the only way to start the day.

Sidenote, do you have showers at your place of employment? That's a nice amount of distance.
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Old 04-02-08, 01:38 PM   #5
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I work at a Housing Authority so we have a maintenance staff and thus 2 showers. Its a pretty casual environment so jeans and polo shirt or button down shirt is considered dressy. Its almost all down hill in the AM so not so sweaty at least for the next 2 months. I'll have to see after than though. I figure that I need to at least pick up an extra antiperspirant, and baby wipes to go with my towel. I bring my clothes in the day before and wear full on bike clothing o and from the office.

I'm using a backpack for now, but if I can get a commuter specific bike than I'll pick up a pannier instead. I haven't figured out carrying my laptop with me though as its too big to fit in the backpack, and the laptop bag isn't the right shape for carrying separate. I'll have to pull this off for a while before I am willing to invest too much in my set up for commuting.
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Old 04-02-08, 05:51 PM   #6
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Quick update on the ride home best summed by the following equation:

~20 miles all up hill (really) + slight headwind = 1:55:00 of hard slog +

http://www.mapmyride.com/route/unite...urg/1186004338

I can barely walk up the stairs after that 1800 feet of climbing at a steady grade for 16.5 miles of the ride. That was prefaced by some up and downs in an urban setting over 2 miles, and bookend at the other end with a stiff 1.0 miles of more vertical climb up to Main Street, Frostburg before a 3 block flat stretch to the house. I stopped twice, once to rest at the halfway point of the ride (2 minutes) and again for another 2 minutes before the climb into town. That was a hard ride, and man did I love it!!!! I can't wait for Friday and the chance to do it again (weather permitting). Oh yeah, the combined total commute is my second longest day in the saddle and longest since early January.

Last edited by natbla; 04-02-08 at 06:57 PM. Reason: Adding link to route map
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Old 04-02-08, 09:09 PM   #7
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I am so jealous. I have come up with a half a dozen reasons not to ride by bike to work....Maybe Monday I could try it out...sc
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Old 04-02-08, 09:19 PM   #8
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I prefer the messenger bag to the rack + pannier. Mine is a XL timbuk bag and it's lasted me 12 years.
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Old 04-03-08, 01:46 AM   #9
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Well done, congratulations. It feels great like you said. I did it one day last week and wanted to do it more this week but been busy also didn't want to overdo it and burn myself out. I am planning to do it tomorrow though so haven't given up. I have the same distance as you I drive part of the way and then cycle the 13 miles from there. No showers here though - have to rely on baby wipes Take care and keep it up. This is why I joined this site for the inspiration;-)
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Old 04-03-08, 10:43 AM   #10
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Congrats on that first commute. It is a really addictive habit, so be prepared. If you want to use a backpack, look at this one from LL Bean. It has a built in laptop sleeve.

http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/sto...&moduleId=5956

I used it for a few months last year and it worked pretty well to carry a change of clothes and my laptop. I have access to showers at work, so I keep a toiletry kit w/ all the essentials at the office. The big down side to a backpack is the sweaty back. I picked up a rear rack for my bike and now strap on a duffel bag w/ my clothes and off to work I go. I find this much more convenient, but YMMV.

I tend to leave my laptop at work more often now which has two benefits: less to carry on the bike and the chance to send more time with the family.

Good Luck and keep on commuting.
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Old 04-03-08, 12:07 PM   #11
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Not to threadjack but...

As a fellow fair weather commuter I would like to ask a question. What do you guys do about your lunch? I'm using a backpack with my lunch in a small lunch pack that has its handle threaded through my handle bars. (head asplodes after typing that sloppy sentence) Anyways, I'm getting tired of the backpack route, would a rack and panier be a good solution (or at least better than the backpack) for carrying dress shoes, pants, shirt, tie, and lunch without wrinkling the snot out of my nice work cloths?

Any recommendations for a cheapskate?
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Old 04-03-08, 12:44 PM   #12
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Search the commuting forum. Lots of threads on racks, panniers, backpacks, carrying lunch, etc. I just put mine in a tupperware and jam it in my backpack.
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Old 04-03-08, 12:56 PM   #13
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Sorry I can't help on the lunch front. I buy my lunch at work.

On the clothes front you could try this.

1. Leave your shoes, belt and ties at work.
2. Neatly fold your shirt and pants and use a pannier or rack trunk. Don't forget underwear and socks. If you have space you could also leave a couple pair of pants at work. I have two pair hanging in my office most of the time.
3. Return home with dirty clothes.

I actually use a small LL Bean Adventure Duffel strapped to my rear rack instead of panniers.
http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/sto...p&feat=4522-tn

Try out as many options as you can and then make the call.

Cheers,
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Old 04-03-08, 01:30 PM   #14
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A lot of commuters drive in one day a week to transport a week's worth of work clothes. I can't do that, but OTOH my workplace is very casual. I keep a spare pair of tevas or sneakers at work, and the rest of my clothes goes comfortably in a backpack. Lunch likewise if I'm brown-bagging.
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Old 04-03-08, 01:46 PM   #15
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Congrats on the commute - so much more enjoyable than being in a car.
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Old 04-03-08, 03:05 PM   #16
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Man I can't wait til we move out of this office.

I work with my family and 4 of us out of the 6 of us in this family live about 40 miles from work.

My father in law has been talking about building an office building closer to our houses and they would move out by us. Most of our work is done E-commerce anyway.

I live for the day I can ride to work and do that again.
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Old 04-03-08, 08:28 PM   #17
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Not to threadjack but...

As a fellow fair weather commuter I would like to ask a question. What do you guys do about your lunch? I'm using a backpack with my lunch in a small lunch pack that has its handle threaded through my handle bars. (head asplodes after typing that sloppy sentence) Anyways, I'm getting tired of the backpack route, would a rack and panier be a good solution (or at least better than the backpack) for carrying dress shoes, pants, shirt, tie, and lunch without wrinkling the snot out of my nice work cloths?

Any recommendations for a cheapskate?
I have a 30 mile round trip commute, which incidentally you've ridden during your metric century with me in November. For lunch, which in my case is dinner, I'll keep canned soup, packaged tuna or salmon fillets, etc, in a desk drawer. Another desk drawer holds my size 13 shoes, a spare pair of socks, and 'backup' clothes. I also keep a cable lock and key in case I forget mine. If I wore a tie at work, I'd keep it there. My clothes I ferry in on my driving days.
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