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  1. #1
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Woooooo new commute 20+ miles

    I changed jobs recently. I've also been on the bike about once every other week due to <INSERT STUFF HERE>. As the weather warms up and I've recently found a place to shower near my new place of employment I decided to start mapping out a commute. Commuting a few times a week is the best way for me to get my miles in because when I leave work life is a whirlwind that doesn't stop until I get home later at night with other responsibilities when I get there.

    So.... the new distance is 20.3 miles. Ah... That's going to take some getting used to.

    I'll start by finding a place to park about 10 miles from work and biking from there to the shower place and then back to my vehicle at the end of the day. If that kills me I'll move a bit closer and if it doesn't kill me I'll move a bit further away.

    Here is the great/horrible thing. Work is generally downhill from where I live. Great for going TO work... not so much going home.

  2. #2
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    This new commute takes me on one stretch of road, the rest is bike path. I am very picky on which roads I get on, be them legal for bikes or not. Well if they are not I won't get on them but you get the point. If the one stretch of road turns out to not be a good idea my ride goes to 25 miles.

  3. #3
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    This is what I do/hav for my 22 mile round trip commute:

    My Bike Equipment
    Note: This is only my opinion. Its not up to arguing about, its what I use. If you need any more help or links or anything, feel free to email me at clydesdalecyclist@gmail.com ---Isaac
    Lights:
    Helmet Light: Magic Shine MJ808E 1000 Lumen: I bought this on ebay from a company called Brightstone Sports. Great light and I love the fact that it can light up on the back too which provides drives more visibility.

    Handlebar Light: Stella 300. This light is great too. Has solid beans and a blinkie too.

    Tail Light: Serfas TL 200: Great light. Has solid light and blinkie too.

    Advice on Lights: To me, its important to have strong lights. You can get away with cheaper lights but for me, lights have to do two things (and they have to do both things well) 1) produce enough light that I can see with confidence and 2) make it so other people can see me. Some people will say to point the light straight into the dark but for me, it is better to point the handlebar light down. This is why I suggest getting a helmet light too. This provides me the ability to see wherever I need to and also helps me get drivers attention. For tail lights, I just have one now but I need another. I would like to have one that blinks and another that is at solid color. This allows drivers to tell distance to where the bike is.

    Mirror: I use one called “Take a Look Mirror”. Bought it from Amazon and has been pretty good. This is a recent purchase for me so I am still learning how to use it. Regardless, a mirror is great to have. You still need to practice how to turn your head and look behind you without swerving but a mirror gives you another tool to use in addition to. This can fit on your helmet or your glasses.

    Saddle (seat): I use a Brooks B-17 saddle. After trying a few saddles and after my butt hurting, this is the one for me. Made from leather which molds to your bum, it works wonders. Stay away from the cushion like saddles. They might be great for a couple of miles but for long distances, it will hurt.

    Reflective Tape: This is some cool stuff I currently use on my spokes. Easy to install and looks good plus provides more visabiltiy. I got it from Lightweight Safety. The owners name is John. Wonderful guy!

    Panniers (bags that fit on my rack): These are called Ortlieb panniers and the ones I have are the classic bags. I bought them at a place called “thetouringstore.com”. Call them and talk with Wayne, the owner. Very helpful. What I like about these are the fact that they are waterproof. So no need to worry about the rain! I can also pack a lot of gear in there too. They come in a set of two.

    Floor pump: You will need one of these. Buy from a local bike shop on this one (I suggest D & Q in Cherry Hill). Stay away from cheapo ones. Get something that will last. I use a Bontrager.

    Frame Pump: This is a must. I use a Road Morph. Its light, small and pumps a lot of air into the tire. Make sure the nozzle fits your valve. Most are interchangeable but its best to figure this out before you buy and before you really need it!

    CO2 Head: Some people think that this is optional but not for me. It is much needed. Make sure it fits your valve.

    CO2 Cartridges: You can buy these at the bike shop but to be honest, they are pretty expensive. There is a better place. I get there from: WWW.redrockminnesota.com He buys them in bulk and sells in smaller bulk. Well worth it. I usually carry two with me at any given time.
    Gloves: Its good to have summer gloves. Look for ones with padding as they will help support your hands. Winter gloves are needed too. These are harder to find because you don’t know if they will keep your hands warm when it is really cold. The ones I have now, which are Pro X-Pert WP and they protect me down to 16 degrees. With gloves it is all trial and error.

    Goggles: I use them a few times so far. I originally bought tented ones but have never used them but my clear ones I use. It helps to protect your face and mainly your eyes and stops them from watering. Plus I have had no issues with fogging. I use Smith Cascade Classic Goggles (Clear, Silver). Bought them on Amazon.

    Face Mask: This has been a wonderful piece of clothing. Keeps my head and my ears and if I need to, my nose warm. I got my from Under Armour. You can buy online or go to their shop in PA or DE (tax free in DE!). I bought their face mask (called balaclava). They also call it “UA Cold Gear Hood”. Takes the chill off for me. I might consider getting one that is as bit thicker for real cold weather (16 degrees or colder).

    Clothes in General: This is a touchy subject for some so I can only tell you what works for me. On any given day, I usually wear cycling bibs, a cycling jersey and then depending on what the temps are, I sometimes wear a thicker wind breaker (I usually wear this all the time in the winter) and a pair of wind breaker pants. For colder temps, I start to layer more using products from Under Armour. They are base layers that really do help me. My advice is to buy stuff a little larger so you have less air hitting skin tight clothes. Layering is the key. If you get dressed and walk out of the house and you are warm, you have dressed up too much. You should feel slightly cold when you walk out of the house.

    Horn: Some people use bells, whistles work great, airhorns work the best for me. I use Airzound Bike Horn. Easy to mount and use and runs off air. Loud! It works!

    Bike Computer: Some people say you should have them and some people say who cares but for me, I love mine. Any computer will work. You want the basic functions: total miles, tripomiter, time, speed, etc.

    Clipless Pedals: Great to have.

    Shoes for Clipless Pedals: I have a summer pair and winter pair. Buy them at least one size bigger. It allows your feet to slightly swell in the heat and also allows your feet, in the winter time, to be layered with socks.

    Wool socks: A must for winter!

    Safety Vest: You can buy these online. I have a neon green on and it does the trick.

    Glasses: Sun glasses are great and so are clear safety glasses. I use the clear safety glasses a lot in the winter time as it protects my eyes from the cold.

    Tires: I use city slick tires which have no nobs on them. This decreases my rolling resistance which I want. I go with a brand called “Gatorskins”. Awesome tire and pretty puncture proof. For winter, you might get studded tires.

    Ankle Neon Straps: Great to have on your right ankle. Keeps your pants out of the way from the chain and cogs.

    Cycling clothes: I love areotechnology. They are based in PA I believe. I use the cycling bibs and the cycling jersey.

    Tools: You will need to have tools for roadside repairs. I always carry and extra tube, patch kit, set of allen wrenches, truing tool, and tire levers. Also carry a little cash just in case along with some disposable gloves.

    Bike Shops: We are blessed to have three great bike shops on rt 70 in Cherry Hill. First is Erlton bike shop. Locally owned and a wonderful guy to deal with. The second is Keswick. Nice shop. It’s a chain and but also have Park Tool Class which I hear is wonderful to take if you want to learn about maintenance. The third, and my favorite, is Danzenisen & Quigley (D & Q). This place is great. Locally owned and the mechanic, Stan, is a commuter that commutes from Philly to Cherry Hill every day. If you need your bike fixed in a jiffy, ask for Stan and tell him you are a commuter. He will help you out quick. He is also great with bike directions too.

    Winter Socks: Yes, wool socks are great but what really works for me is gator socks. They are neoprene and wonderful. They make your feet sweat but they stay warm! Need something warmer? Add some wool socks on top of them.

    Rain Booties: I love to ride in the rain but feet can get socked. I used the rain booties from Showers Pass in Oregon. I bought them online and they have been great. Most booties are too tight which cases the material to rip. Shower Pass Rain Booties are great. You simple cut out a piece on the bottom that will accommodate the size of your clips (if you are wearing them) and place them on. I like these because they have zippers. Solid product.

    Fender: wonderful to have!

  4. #4
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    Also, I would add that you are going to need to eat more. When I ride into work, I eat when I get there. Four egg scrable, 2 packets of oatmeal, one banana and a cup of cooked broccoli (in the eggs). Eat something light before you go. You body will be tired for a while when you get to work but thats ok. Remember to eat about two hours before leaving to go home and then when you get home. I underestimated this when I started commuting.

  5. #5
    Senior Member tergal's Avatar
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    In Regards to what chefisaac said in regards to aiming them at the ground, Please do it . There is only one thing worse than people with no lights on bike baths at nights. That is people with them aimed so high that it blinds the person coming the other way

    Apart from that , that is a great step up mate make sure you let us know how it goes.
    Tact is for people who arenít witty enough to use sarcasm.

    Early helplessness is the price we pay for later brilliance. Or, at least our later capacity for non-idiocy

  6. #6
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    Tergal: yes, and I do not understand why people do it. They are NOT CAR LIGHT. They are not as strong so you need them pointed down and a little out.

    I like advocating helmet lights in addition to bar lights. I still keep them aimed down and very conscious about other oncoming commuters.

    Lights, to me, first function is to see. Second function is to be seen.

  7. #7
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    One handy commuter tip I used to use as a younger man before I got used to the ride... I'd drive to work with my bike in the car and bike home. Then bike in again the next day. Of course, we had showers in the building, so it was no big deal to clean up. I'm not sure you can leave your bike overnight, but it's worth a shot if you can.

  8. #8
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    chefisaac -> WOW! I hope you copied and pasted all that from somewhere!

    I probably should have said something but I have commuted before but at a much lessor distance. When I did that I got a small taste for a real commute so I am "partially prepared" but will be heading yours (and others) advice on some other items. I do appreciate the advice on how to aim the lights, seat, tools, the mirror, reflective items and whatever else I'm forgetting to thank you for.

    I currently have a good front and rear light and a headlight as well. The headlight does not attach to the helmet but is a one on a band around my head. I use it for kayaking, hiking, scaring little kids, etc.

    I don't have clipless pedals but I do have toe cages. I'm sure they are not as good but they were a tremendous upgrade over just pedals.

    For my bike computer I currently use Endomondo off my smart phone. It does what I need it to do and allows me to annoy my friends in more real time.

    Socks: Since I kayak in the cold I got the items you mentioned.

    Safety Vest: Yes. Need to pick one up right away.

    Glasses: Check

    Tires: I upgraded my tires from stock and like the Continentals. If and when I need a new set I'll upgrade from there.

    Ankle Straps: Yes, need them. Might as well get the reflective ones if I'm going to buy.

    Panniers: I have a bag I bought that mounts on the rack on the back of my bike. It carries all I need to shower and get to work where I have several changes of clothes.

    Clothing: Other than my underarmour (warm and cold weather) I just use normal shorts and t-shirts. I will be upgrading to a few pair of bike shorts soon.

    Tools: Yes. I've been living dangerously until now.

  9. #9
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    I would pay specially attention to a few things:

    1) dont no overlook panniers or a bag slightly bigger then you have now. The reason I say this is to be ready for any weather. Just my two cents. I learned this the hard way....yes... a couple of times!

    2) A horn of some sort (I love my air horn). I should have gotten it sooner.

    3) Video Cam of some sort. Yes people think it is overkill but the people who use them usually are the ones that learned the hard way and with how the courts usually do not favor in cyclists corner (because lack of evidence) I am considering this one too. Better to be smart about it.

    My commute is 11 miles one way. Yours is twice that distance plus. Give thought to some more layers just in case...granting you decide to commute in the fall/winter. That, to me, has been the fun time FYI.

    Socks and gloves were the hardest for me to dial into. Both were a pain to figure out. What might feel good on five miles will suck on a longer distance.

  10. #10
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    For my work food one thing that I do eat is oatmeal with a high quality protein powder in it. I also will eat that a few hours before I take off to go home.

    My initial 10 miles in and 10 miles out won't be too tough on my body. I'll get used to that quickly and will probably do it about three times to make sure I've adjusted. From there it I am going to work towards just doing a one way full commute. The main reason is that I can't take the amount of time it takes to do a both-way commute. So one day I'll drive to work and bike home then bike back into work the next day. Then I'll repeat that in some cycle that allows me to have my vehicle home when I need it.

    In the end If I can do three full one-way commutes a week I will be happy. I can handle the odd number due to my wife working about 8 miles away and I'll pester her to "give me a ride".

  11. #11
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    I would pay specially attention to a few things:

    1) dont no overlook panniers or a bag slightly bigger then you have now. The reason I say this is to be ready for any weather. Just my two cents. I learned this the hard way....yes... a couple of times!

    2) A horn of some sort (I love my air horn). I should have gotten it sooner.

    3) Video Cam of some sort. Yes people think it is overkill but the people who use them usually are the ones that learned the hard way and with how the courts usually do not favor in cyclists corner (because lack of evidence) I am considering this one too. Better to be smart about it.

    My commute is 11 miles one way. Yours is twice that distance plus. Give thought to some more layers just in case...granting you decide to commute in the fall/winter. That, to me, has been the fun time FYI.

    Socks and gloves were the hardest for me to dial into. Both were a pain to figure out. What might feel good on five miles will suck on a longer distance.
    One good thing about the bag I have now is that it will fit a rain jacket (doubles as a wind breaker), spare socks, etc. Due to my kayak and camping experience I can pack light and still have many bases covered.

    Great advice.

    Also on the gloves.... I keep a pair of Under Armour cold weather running gloves in my bag. Those are great.

  12. #12
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    I'd be interested in what camera you end up with. I'll want one for biking as well as kayaking and hiking.

  13. #13
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    wonder: you like those gloves? Are they wind proof or water proof? how low of temps they taking you down to?

  14. #14
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    wonder: jury is still out. Dont really know yet.

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