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  1. #1
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    First Time Commuting to Work!!!!!!!!!! :)

    Coming off the New York City ride yesterday, I thought it might be a go idea to try something else that was new. And what better thing then commuting to work by bike for the first time.

    I have been flirting with this idea now for the longest time. I have owned my mountain bike for almost as long as my road bike and it has just been sitting hereÖ like a good bike (but partially sad since I havenít ridden it) and it only has 5 miles on it.

    So I thought it might be a good time to turn it into a commuter. Long story short, about three weeks in the making to get everything I needed like fenders, panniers, a rack, headlight for helmet, horn of some sort, gator tires, etc. Finally, it was done (almost at least).

    AndÖ. Watched the weather and there was no rain in the forecast plus I only had to work a half day today. What perfect ingredients for a successful dish! I woke up, showered, at breakfast put on the cycling clothes, packed the panniers and off I went.

    Now, the panniers hold a lot of stuff. They might not look like they do but they do. And I didnít really plan on the whole ďbringing clothes to work the day beforeĒ thing so I had to bring in all my work clothes plus work shoes. And I am a big guy so it takes up some room for sure. I happened to lift my bike up and WOWÖ.. so heavy compared to my road bike. Yikes! But no more excuses or delayÖ. It was time!

    Off down the road I went. I first noticed that it was tough to gain speed. So OKÖ. Maybe commuting to work wonít be about speed at this point. Letís just get there safe and sound. I also noticed how NICE it was to have an upright position (on the mountain bike) versus a road bike. I can see soooo much more stuff. Itís amazing. I was looking left and right a lot and noticing the finer stuff that you donít see if you drive a car.

    The bike felt really heavy and I played with the gears a lot, especially going up hills and yesÖ there were some small hills.

    I got to work and struggled for a place to put the bike. I didnít want to park it on the bike rack because itís all open and exposed. I knowÖ. But I donít want my bike sitting in the rain or snow or anything so I found an undercover parking area for my bike and locked it up to a fence that was put up for the smokers to have a place to go under and smoke. I parked it on the outside of the fence.

    Then I grabbed my panniers and headed inside to change. I was hot and sweaty. The gym, where one could shower, is located in the middle of my work in a building so I am not sure how simple it would be to get to if I wanted to change but I will work out the details as I go.

    Got changed and still couldnít stop sweating. And it wasnít even hot out! Yikes.

    Worked a few hours and then it was time to go home. Packed up the panniers and off I went. Got changed in the bathroom and went outside to load up. What do I find? A smoker sitting on my damn rack on my bike. Really? I mean REALLY? That pissed me off a little. I donít sit on his car. Maybe I should. Note to silly self: donít park there!

    The ride home was nice. Palms started hurting a little. But I made it home. Total 22 miles round trip and each way it takes me about 55 minutes.

    I am glad I went to work by bike today. I loved the feeling. One thing though is that both trips made me really tired. I mean I feel tired. Eyes a little heavy too. I wonder if this is typical. One of my coworkers said I looked half glazed over.
    Things I learned:

    1- Need to get order when it comes to packing my panniers. I swear, it took me forever to find my apartment keys. I need organization.

    2- Donít park the bike where smokers are.

    3- I sure hope it gets easier!

    Bike fit will need to be addressed as I go along and I hope it gets easier too. I plan to try to park my bike in a storage area across from the kitchen I work in. We will see how that goes. First time using my U lock!

    All in all, it was a wonderful ride. I thank so many people who helped me and encouraged me.

  2. #2
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    Good for you.

    I had a 20-ish mile commute, and it made me tired at first. I slept good on the nights after my bike-commutes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Congratulations! I know that you have been working up to this for some time.

  4. #4
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    Congrats chef! I sleep really well after commuting (then again, I could fall asleep in a runaway log wagon, so it's not surprising!)too. I try to leave early enough to take a few minutes and cool off after arrival before I head in to clean up for work. Hang in there and stick with it and you'll find yourself missing the ride when you don't do it! Be safe!
    Faster than a sundial.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zmensing's Avatar
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    Nice work, that's no slouch of a commute. Definitely gets easier. Also, the nerve of the smoker! Sounds like you were pretty good about laughing it off, but seriously, what a turd! As you said, would he do that to someone's car? Enjoy the riding! I find it feels great to get to work after a ride, you feel ready for the day more that way.
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  6. #6
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    Thanks all.

    I dont mind being tired after the work but before work.... yikes. I could have gone to sleep as soon as I changed for work!

  7. #7
    Neil_B
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    If you are perspiring as much as you state, you need the trick of the cool down and baby wipes. Arrive ten to fifteen minutes early, and just sit somewhere and cool off before changing. And then when you change, use a baby wipe or three to clean off where you need to - in my case neck, face, chest, and armpits. (I suppose that's too much information....) I used this when I would do my 34 mile round trip commute, and most days the only way my coworkers knew I rode in was the helmet on my desk.

  8. #8
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    Congrats on taking the plunge! As you commute more often, you'll work out all the details and become more efficient. My commute is about a mile longer than yours round-trip, and I've been bike commuting almost every day for 3 years (I hate having to put gas in my car)! You really do come to miss it when you don't ride. At least I do. Keep it up!

  9. #9
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    i am sooooo sore today!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by need2ride View Post
    Congrats on taking the plunge! As you commute more often, you'll work out all the details and become more efficient.
    I was going to say the same thing. You really will work out the bugs and become more efficient.

    You are lucky to have panniers. When I rode about the same distance each way to work (with a train ride in the middle) I carried my clothes on my back in a Timbuk2 bag. Talk about getting sweaty. And there was no shower at work. Used to keep deoderant, hair brush (for helmet head) and a synthetic towel in my office. I would also try to make sure I had a least one pair of work-appropriate shoes under my desk, and ideally two. One black pair and one brown pair. If I only had one I had to remember to pick clothes that would match the color of the shoes at work. Just one of those little details that will become second nature.

    Now I can walk to work in 25 min. or ride in about 10.

  11. #11
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    i am sooooo sore today!
    Good effort..keep it up.
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  12. #12
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    The trick to cooling down is to not over do it. Take the last 5-10 minutes of your commute and relax. Ease back on the effort so you can recover. You'll recover faster once you're off the bike.
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  13. #13
    NewberClyde
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    Congrats! I hope it becomes a regular thing for you!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    If you are perspiring as much as you state, you need the trick of the cool down and baby wipes. Arrive ten to fifteen minutes early, and just sit somewhere and cool off before changing.
    Checking email works for me, except in summer heat. There's a timing you'll have to learn -- you don't want to get chilled, and you want to just stop sweating. Baby wipes will work, but I'll take the shower when it's available, just a bit cooler after a ride than other times.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Well holy crap! You finally did it!!!!

    Allow me to express congratulations in the style of Neil_B:

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    Bravo!


    This is wonderful news Chef. I was honestly beginning to wonder if you would make it before the snows began falling; you've been talking about it for months!

    I have some good news for you. It gets easier. Now that you made the first step, it gets easier and easier every time you do it. At some point you'll begin to think to yourself "holy crap, why did this ever seem daunting in the first place?!". Not only will it get easier, the overheating and the fatigue will go away. I can't remember the exact point that stopped happening; in fact it was probably gradual, but I went from "overheating and exhausted all day" to "I can't even remember if I biked to work this morning or not" by the time I had been doing it for 6 months.

    Congratulations, and I look forward to seeing many more commutes from you now! No more excuses!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    If you are perspiring as much as you state, you need the trick of the cool down and baby wipes. Arrive ten to fifteen minutes early, and just sit somewhere and cool off before changing. And then when you change, use a baby wipe or three to clean off where you need to - in my case neck, face, chest, and armpits. (I suppose that's too much information....) I used this when I would do my 34 mile round trip commute, and most days the only way my coworkers knew I rode in was the helmet on my desk.
    In my experience, the crotchal region was also a necessity to wipe.

    That being said, around October or so I pretty much stopped needing the baby wipes. I am not sure if it was just the cooler weather or the fact that I had gotten accustomed to it, but I was no longer sweaty by the time I reached work.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Oh one more piece of advice: don't push it.

    Just do 1 day a week for the first month. It'll take some time for your body to get accustomed to riding 2 rides a day. In fact after 6 months I was only able to regularly do 3 commutes a week while feeling good; going to 4 or 5, while possible, were exercises in masochism at my fitness level. Perhaps if I had a shorter commute or had been doing it for years, 4-5 would be more realistic, but I know when I pushed it, I felt like crap and wanted to stop altogether.

  18. #18
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    Thanks Mith!
    Now get out and ride.... NO excuses.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Hey watch it

    I'm up to 130 miles already. Should do another 20 tomorrow.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Philipaparker's Avatar
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    Congratulations I started riding to work about 3 years ago now I don't do anything else 25 miles round trip light rain or shine. Heavy storms I take MUNI. Keep it up everyone should ride to work if they can.
    To me the life is a glass half full, I love optimism, life's better that way.
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  21. #21
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zmensing View Post
    As you said, would he do that to someone's car?
    Sadly, yes. I've come back to my convertible to find teenagers sitting on the hood while smoking... in freaking jeans with rivets on the rear pockets, no less.

    Came home last year to find a gaggle of smokers on my front porch - friends of one of my teen daughters. Props for smoking outside. Not so much for doing it close enough to my front door that my asthmatic wife had to walk through the cloud, or for throwing their butts on the ground. I told them that most four year olds have mastered the skill of cleaning their own butts, and they should, too.

    I've got nothing against smoking, per se; but a lot of smokers have selfish behaviors that really piss me off.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member zmensing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGlover View Post
    Sadly, yes. I've come back to my convertible to find teenagers sitting on the hood while smoking... in freaking jeans with rivets on the rear pockets, no less.

    Came home last year to find a gaggle of smokers on my front porch - friends of one of my teen daughters. Props for smoking outside. Not so much for doing it close enough to my front door that my asthmatic wife had to walk through the cloud, or for throwing their butts on the ground. I told them that most four year olds have mastered the skill of cleaning their own butts, and they should, too.

    I've got nothing against smoking, per se; but a lot of smokers have selfish behaviors that really piss me off.
    To be fair to other smokers, the ones you're talking about here were all teenagers, and as I'm sure you know better than me, they're not exactly known for unselfish behavior....
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  23. #23
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    like sitting on someone bikes and smoking? This person was at least 40 years old.

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