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  1. #1
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    Finally getting started!

    I've been researching bikes for the past 2 months with the intent of commuting to work. I got a little too into the research side of things (every possible component, every possible wheel, every possible frame) and finally realized that I should stop worrying about all the details, get something reliable and jump on the bike! Yesterday I stopped off at one of (the many) local bike stores and they had a Long Haul Trucker that fit me _perfectly_ (after a minor seat and handlebar adjustment). I ended up pulling the trigger and am getting ready for my first commute on Monday (the shop is adding another set of brake levers, pannier rack, and fenders which will be done on Friday). Every day for the past month I've walked out of work and have wanted to jump on a bike and go riding so hopefully this will fill the need :-). I am currently 6'1, 277lbs but have been going to the gym twice a week for the past few months. I think the leg muscles will be OK... not so sure about the butt (8.5 mile commute in each direction).

    Some questions:

    - I have a huge melon head (8.5 hat size). The Giro Zen just fits my head (at the full adjustment extension). Are there any cheaper helmets that might fit?
    - The seat that comes with the bike seems pretty cheap. I'm considering a Brooks saddle. Should I break in my butt before trying to break in the Brooks?
    - I went with some wide platform MTB pedals (Wellgo) and may go clipless down the road. The pedals appear very beefy... will they hold up?

    Don't worry, pics of the bike will be up once I get it all outfitted!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Oh yeah: What other items would you consider 'essential'?

    - Extra tube (carried on bike)
    - Pump? Recommendations? Do the portables have a pressure gauge?
    - Multi-tool?
    - Shorts?
    - ???

  3. #3
    Senior Member st0ut's Avatar
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    LHT is one sweet ride.
    Cars make you weak.

  4. #4
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    I have an extremely large head as well. I picked up a Specialized Air Force 3 helmet last week to replace the smaller Giro I had. Fits like a glove. $38 at my LBS and it actually goes larger than the xen.
    Jim
    2008 Trek 1.2

  5. #5
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    Pump: I just picked up a Topeak Road Morph pump. That is one sweet pump.
    For a multitool I carry the Topeak Toolbar: http://www.rei.com/product/697056
    Extra tube is definitely essential
    Also bike shorts on a longer commute will give you a more comfortable ride. I ride 28 miles one way and I can't go in business cloth or jeans. That'd be too painful.
    Gelato aficionado.

  6. #6
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    LHT is one sweet ride.
    Agreed! I test rode everything from a $500 Schwinn to the top end Cannondale road touring bike and this one made the most sense to me in terms of budget & quality.

    OK, I've ordered a Topeak road morph pump and a set of tire levers (already have a hex wrench set) to carry around on the bike. I'll pick up the spare tubes at the shop when I pick up the bike. What about chain lube and other maintenance items? Is there a post or website that goes over the critical items & how to apply them? The last time I owned a bike was back when we used grease and oil on everything. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I also recently bought a LHT. The test ride was all I could stand of the stock saddle. I put a Brooks on mine and it's been great. I was just sore enough to tell after the first short ride and that was it.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the feedback Harry. It sounds like I'll try your method + padded shorts and see if it works out for me.

  9. #9
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Sounds like you jumped in head first! You are on the right track. I like my brooks saddles, but I don't think they would make a lot of difference on such a short commute. I wouldn't go for a 60 or 100 mile ride on anything else though. The BMX platforms are a good way to start, they should last forever, I wouldn't go to clipless unless you start going for long rides. If you start having problems with flats, consider Armadillo's or Gatorskins.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_R View Post
    Thanks for the feedback Harry. It sounds like I'll try your method + padded shorts and see if it works out for me.
    Yeah give it a shot. I don't wear padded shorts and it's fine.

  11. #11
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_R View Post
    Some questions:

    - I have a huge melon head (8.5 hat size). The Giro Zen just fits my head (at the full adjustment extension). Are there any cheaper helmets that might fit?
    - The seat that comes with the bike seems pretty cheap. I'm considering a Brooks saddle. Should I break in my butt before trying to break in the Brooks?
    - I went with some wide platform MTB pedals (Wellgo) and may go clipless down the road. The pedals appear very beefy... will they hold up?

    Don't worry, pics of the bike will be up once I get it all outfitted!
    1. I wouldn't feel bad spending on a nice helmet. The extra vents on a road helmet make a huge difference in my opinion. Try a bunch on and get the one that feels the best in your price range. It's ok to ask the LBS to test ride a helmet! Just tell them you want to check out the ventilation.

    2. Many of the saddles that come stock aren't very good. If you want to try a Brooks, go for it ASAP.

    3. Go clipless ASAP too. You won't regret it!

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Well, today was my first commute! It was just under 9 miles to work this morning and I averaged about 12 MPH (fairly flat rolling hills, no major climbs). I definitely went out of the gate too fast and got pretty tired at mile 5... there was a lot of slow pedaling and coasting :-) (never got off the bike though). The butt is feeling fine so far with the Brooks saddle... we'll see how it feels this evening and tomorrow morning. The weather was perfect (68 degrees, no wind, clear skies)

    I ended up getting a Giro Xen helmet (bit the bullet and got the helmet that fit even though it was pricier then I wanted to spend). I also managed to borrow an Arkel Commuter pannier which is pretty nice if you need to haul a laptop around. I'm sticking with simple platform pedals for now until I get more used to the bike / biking (shifting, riding smoothly, signaling turns, etc.).


    Thanks for everyone's help so far!

  13. #13
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    That's good to hear. I hope to start soon too. I rode about 25 miles yesterday to see how I will do with a 15 mile round trip.

  14. #14
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_R View Post
    Oh yeah: What other items would you consider 'essential'?

    - Extra tube (carried on bike)
    - Pump? Recommendations? Do the portables have a pressure gauge?
    - Multi-tool?
    - Shorts?
    - ???
    There's no point in carrying tube, pump or multitool unless know how to use them. Even then, depending on your ride, you may not need them. Most of my riding these days is my commute, where the quickest and easiest way to deal with a breakdown is to lock the bike to the nearest rack, hop on the subway, and come back to deal later. Your situation may be different, in which case you need not only gear but the know-how to use it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Thanks lbb... it's good that you mention that. My commute is almost entire rural so I carry a cellphone and the appropriate tools to deal with minor problems. I worked in a bike shop for 3 years (about 14 years ago) and I still remember the basics (tire changes, derailleur adjustments, etc.).

    I'm using the Topeak Road Morph pump in my bag and used it on a 'practice flat' in my garage. It's a good thing that I did a practice run... the pump lever action (to lock onto the valve) was different than what I had been used to using! With the pannier the weight of pump + tube + multi-tool is not an issue (the weight of my body is though :-) ).

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