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  1. #1
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    I am think about commuting!!! Need help!!!

    Hello all,

    I am just getting back into riding. I haven't rode scince I was a kid and I couldn't believe when I bought my new ride how much fun it is. I want to outfit my bike for more of a commuter setup. Comfort is of the most importance.

    So the bike is a giant revel 29er! 2013 model. It does hold my weight pretty good! I want to upgrade components that may be a potential failure! I would even be willing to try a different bike all together if that is necessary!

    Myself- a 400 lbs rider. I am down more than fifty pounds now and cycling is my main source of exercise. I think commuting would help me in this department a great deal. I live about 45 miles from where I work! I live about 15 miles from the local bus stop! The bus runs to be within two miles of my work location. So you can figure about 34 miles a day on a bike.

    Any suggestions for upgrades to my current, completely stock Giant!

    Oh, I do all of my riding on pavement now as I am too scared to hit the trails! I fear catastrophic failure of my bike! So definately want some suggestions on tires!!

    Thanks for any help!!

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Hey Dvandyne2011,

    Welcome to Bike Forums from League City.

    Ride what you have and change parts if and when they break.

    Get your legs in shape with 5 mile rides. Do as many as you can.

    Carry spare tubes, tire levers, CO2 and or a frame pump for fixing flats on your ride.

    Practice flat fixing at home.

    Carry insect repellent as mosquitoes are very bad right now.
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  3. #3
    Endangered Serotta Rider Lacumo's Avatar
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    I'd suggest moving into building up your distance capabilities gradually. When you're still fairly new to it, the possibility of overextending yourself and causing setbacks or even injuries is closer than might seem likely. Two 17 mile rides per day is a big chunk to bite off if you haven't worked up to it over a period of time. Even though you're down 50 pounds, you're still 400 and you're not invulnerable.

    Don't hurt yourself. Take it easy, increase your distance carefully and gradually over a period of months. There's a book that might help you get into a structured approach to combining weight loss with cycling. Check out "Ride Your Way Lean" by Selene Yeager. You can get it for about $15 on Amazon and I think it'd be a worthwhile investment for you.

    Good luck with your efforts.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Nice bike; I'd run some nice wide slicks instead of knobbies but other than that I'd ride the bike pretty much stock. You might want to look into a rack with a bag for your stuff. You might want to post some specific questions in the commuting forum. I agree with 10 Wheels; learn how to fix flats and carry the gear you need to fix them.

  5. #5
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    as far as setup...
    the bike looks fine for that sort of commuting... some smoother tires will help things out a but not strictly necessary... a rack and bag would be a nice addition as well...

    i wouldn't even consider it without a front and rear light if you are on the roads at all... also depending on time of day a bright head lamp might be important.


    that being said there is the obvious important part that you should be able to consistently ride the miles you need to...

    I know of some people that will only ride every other day, or are fair weather riders... I know others that will drive on monday to bring in clean clothes for the rest of the week... I've also read about some people driving with bicycle in tow and then ride home... next morning they ride to work and drive home... it cuts the miles down by 1/2 at least until you are ready to put in two 17 mile rides a day (this obviously requires you leaving the car at work overnight so that is a big consideration)

    also another thing to think about is where you're going to store your bike while it's at work... some places are kewl so you can stash the bike in your office, maybe a spare closet etc

    I rode to work a few times and really enjoyed it outside of my profuse sweating... a schedule change killed that ... and the I stopped riding all together :-/

    it is a great way to add miles... I'm a stay at home dad these days (as well as a full time student)...

    I'm pretty sure this forum has a commuter forum that would be worth checking out.

    if you end up taking to it you could go hog wild, a cyclocross bike tends to be a fav for this duty... quick but room for fenders, an fit a rear rack, a bit larger tires for a bit more comfort, on some of them you can even do disc brakes... add all season clothes for weather etc... you can get in pretty deep and some people do (all the way up to living a car-less life

    whatever you end up doing keep us posted
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  6. #6
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    as far as setup...
    the bike looks fine for that sort of commuting... some smoother tires will help things out a but not strictly necessary... a rack and bag would be a nice addition as well...

    i wouldn't even consider it without a front and rear light if you are on the roads at all... also depending on time of day a bright head lamp might be important.


    that being said there is the obvious important part that you should be able to consistently ride the miles you need to...

    I know of some people that will only ride every other day, or are fair weather riders... I know others that will drive on monday to bring in clean clothes for the rest of the week... I've also read about some people driving with bicycle in tow and then ride home... next morning they ride to work and drive home... it cuts the miles down by 1/2 at least until you are ready to put in two 17 mile rides a day (this obviously requires you leaving the car at work overnight so that is a big consideration)

    also another thing to think about is where you're going to store your bike while it's at work... some places are kewl so you can stash the bike in your office, maybe a spare closet etc

    I rode to work a few times and really enjoyed it outside of my profuse sweating... a schedule change killed that ... and the I stopped riding all together :-/

    it is a great way to add miles... I'm a stay at home dad these days (as well as a full time student)...

    I'm pretty sure this forum has a commuter forum that would be worth checking out.

    if you end up taking to it you could go hog wild, a cyclocross bike tends to be a fav for this duty... quick but room for fenders, an fit a rear rack, a bit larger tires for a bit more comfort, on some of them you can even do disc brakes... add all season clothes for weather etc... you can get in pretty deep and some people do (all the way up to living a car-less life

    whatever you end up doing keep us posted
    Off topic but another SAHD here!


    i started riding at similar weight, and I think others are right, you need to build up to the mileage. Try it on the weekend and see how the back to back rides go?
    www.BigBonedBiker.Wordpress.com

  7. #7
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAMAMRA View Post
    Off topic but another SAHD here!


    i started riding at similar weight, and I think others are right, you need to build up to the mileage. Try it on the weekend and see how the back to back rides go?
    whats SAHD? (der... stay at home dad... gotcha lol)

    as for back to back rides... yes try it... but give yourself a similar time between the two rides... 8 hrs is much different on the body then 3 or 4 hrs lol...
    mtbr clyd moderator

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    Thanks for the tips! I am ok with fixing the bike if it ever breaks! I used to build junk bikes when I was a kid! I do currently ride about 10 miles a day pretty easily! So a few more months I think and 15 miles in the morning and again in the evening I don't think will be too bad!

  9. #9
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    15 is a nice sweet spot for commuting ... I'd definitely encourage you to do it!

    I've been commuting 24 miles round trip this year (summer/fall). I'm a fair weather commuter, and for the last week I've been fighting off a head cold so I haven't ridden, but I was hoping to today and just didn't want to push it.

    Back to Back days are tough ... especially if you're not used to them. That said, you can vary the intensity too. A lot of times I'll ride hard in the morning and then leisurely on my way home.

    No need to change your bike ... maybe some slicks as has been suggested, but that's about it

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dvandyne2011 View Post
    Hello all,

    I am just getting back into riding. I haven't rode scince I was a kid and I couldn't believe when I bought my new ride how much fun it is. I want to outfit my bike for more of a commuter setup. Comfort is of the most importance.

    So the bike is a giant revel 29er! 2013 model. It does hold my weight pretty good! I want to upgrade components that may be a potential failure! I would even be willing to try a different bike all together if that is necessary!

    Myself- a 400 lbs rider. I am down more than fifty pounds now and cycling is my main source of exercise. I think commuting would help me in this department a great deal. I live about 45 miles from where I work! I live about 15 miles from the local bus stop! The bus runs to be within two miles of my work location. So you can figure about 34 miles a day on a bike.

    Any suggestions for upgrades to my current, completely stock Giant!

    Oh, I do all of my riding on pavement now as I am too scared to hit the trails! I fear catastrophic failure of my bike! So definately want some suggestions on tires!!

    Thanks for any help!!
    15 miles is further than you think. And, I'd look at wearing cycling clothes which dry quickly and keep you cool. Best would be if you had a place at work to change and store clothes. Also, I suggest commuting every other day for a while.

    Minimizing the load you carry on the bike will be a great help. My advice is keep your bike simple and light. Carry your needs into work on your driving days. Since food will be an issue--cycling makes one extremely hungry--you'll want to prepare by bringing in a spare lunch on your off days and eating a nice breakfast before setting out on the days you ride. Dinner and a good night sleep is critical too.

  11. #11
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    All the above are good thoughts.

    When I started to commute several years ago I could not make it the entire way AND BACK. What I did was find a few spots along the way that I could park and leave my vehicle during the work day. These spots were right at the 5 mile, 8 mile and 10 mile marks and then my house was 13 miles (full commute). The first few times I parked at the 5 miles spot then moved back to 8, etc. until I could go the full distance. Here and there time would not allow the full commute so I would park at one of the closer spots and still get the miles in. Don't know if this will work for you.

  12. #12
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Also here and there I would find I wanted to commute but didn't prepare properly. I have to carry a laptop, food, clothes, etc. I allowed those excuses to stop me. So... I purchased a Burley Travoy. I wrote about it and reviewed it here: http://www.280dude.com/2013/04/24/oobe-burley-travoy/

  13. #13
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    i wouldn't even consider it without a front and rear light if you are on the roads at all... also depending on time of day a bright head lamp might be important.
    Great advice right here. In my on-bike bag I keep a headlamp to go along with the front light and rear blinkie that is always there. Your local laws may also dictate that you have an audible device on your bike, such as a ringer or horn.

  14. #14
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dvandyne2011 View Post
    Thanks for the tips! I am ok with fixing the bike if it ever breaks! I used to build junk bikes when I was a kid! I do currently ride about 10 miles a day pretty easily! So a few more months I think and 15 miles in the morning and again in the evening I don't think will be too bad!
    How about taking your bike to work and riding it home in the evening then riding it back in the morning? You would have to leave your vehicle at work but that may be ok depending on your situation. I do there here and there if I know all I have time for is a one-way.

  15. #15
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    pretty much all mentioned but but 2 cents



    put smooth, smaller, higher presssure tires on. Will reduce effort hugely
    Get some barends, many people (especially me) find flat bars kill their wrists i like these http://www.jensonusa.com/Cane-Creek/...rol-2-Bar-Ends
    Wear bikes specific clothing (shorts, jersey, gloves)
    get clipless pedals
    get rear rack and bags...no way do you want to do that distance with a backpack.
    Ensure that the bus will take your bike.
    lights, lots of lights
    basic fix a flate kit (spare tube, patch kit, levers, pump) and small multitool
    lock the fork if you can
    try the drive in, bike home, bike to work, drive home cycle to start with

    totally doable, good luck and have fun

    ps: longer I think you would be better served with a road bike for this length of commute, but that can be future. N+1 is rule for bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    pretty much all mentioned but but 2 cents



    put smooth, smaller, higher presssure tires on. Will reduce effort hugely
    Get some barends, many people (especially me) find flat bars kill their wrists i like these http://www.jensonusa.com/Cane-Creek/...rol-2-Bar-Ends
    Wear bikes specific clothing (shorts, jersey, gloves)
    get clipless pedals
    get rear rack and bags...no way do you want to do that distance with a backpack.
    Ensure that the bus will take your bike.
    lights, lots of lights
    basic fix a flate kit (spare tube, patch kit, levers, pump) and small multitool
    lock the fork if you can
    try the drive in, bike home, bike to work, drive home cycle to start with

    totally doable, good luck and have fun

    ps: longer I think you would be better served with a road bike for this length of commute, but that can be future. N+1 is rule for bikes
    + 1. I learned many of these the hard way... lol! I made the mistake of toting a largish backpack last week and paid for it in back pain... My commute is 7 miles each way, and although there are no great climbs, it's still not what I consider an "easy" commute. Still, I believe its all about perspective. Go for it!
    "I had this baby hand made in Tuscany, from titanium blessed by the pope. It weighs less than a fart, and costs more than a divorce..."

  17. #17
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    I understand the "anti-backpack" mindset, but if it's commute with a backpack or don't commute at all, you can manage this with a backpack with some accomodations (toting heavy or bulky materials to your office on driving days, etc).

    I commute 12 miles one way with a backpack ... it's hardly a deal breaker. Just pack light, pack smart.

  18. #18
    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    Commuting by bike is a great way to get guaranteed miles. I commute 6 miles each way, every work day, and I'm already over 1500 miles for the year.

    I'm one of the ones who loves it so much that I got rid of my car (gave it to charity) and am 100% bicycle commuter. You can beat almost any weather out there with a basic small assortment of outdoor athletic clothing, plus waterproof panniers and fenders on the bike. Winter studded tires if you ride on ice, too. It took some spending for me to acquire the stuff I needed to be all-weather commuting in the Midwest, but even with all that, it's still cheaper than driving my car was. Plus, I'm in the best shape of my adult life, have lost 60 pounds, controlled my cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. And I don't burn gasoline.

    Your mileage is more challenging than mine, but it's not impossible. The advice others have given about going every other day, or driving part way to build up to it, is all good and worth considering. When I was first considering it, I had a lot of questions. Then, I tried it one day for the first time, and I immediately knew that I was going to make the switch, dump the car, and go forward. I made it happen with persistence and learning. It's not for everyone, but it certainly is perfect for me.

    The Commuting forum here on BF is a great place for support and practical advice. It was there that I learned some basic helpful stuff, like leaving a U-lock on the bike rack at work (since you are riding there every day anyways), wearing layers of thin wool and synthetics (nylon or polyester) for cold weather commuting, studded tires for ice, etc.

    Good luck, I hope you find what works best for you!

  19. #19
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    One piece of information is missing. Is it hilly where you are? If not, you'l be fine. Don't worry about speed at first. That will increase roughly with weight loss. Sure you will be getting more fit, but on a bike, speed is part fitness, part physics. Especially on hills.

    Fifteen miles each way is the limit of what I would commute without incorporating public transit. I ride a commuter train for all but the last five of my 65 mile each way commute.

    Live for the day that, like me, you will be doing occasional rides all the way home. (I started at 305. Now 210)
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  20. #20
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    Well you all have given awsome advice. To answer some of the unanswered questions.... I live near and work in houston. Once i get fit enough to do 35 miles a day i will try to do it daily, not there yet. Public transit will be more than half of the trip. I have a place to change and shower at work. I also can store my bike inside the shop (i am a mechanic by trade). I have a laptop and accessories that i carry daily as well as a sack lunch. i would be adding gear such as fix a flat kit, super light weight rain gear, lights and water bottles. I am considering different pannier options that could accomodate my needs. But minimal needs in the scheme of things. Just want to lose weight paying for a monthly gym membership. Riding is way more fun than going to a gym. Thank you all for the advice you give. I will start slow and work up to my ultimate goal!!!

  21. #21
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dvandyne2011 View Post
    Well you all have given awsome advice. To answer some of the unanswered questions.... I live near and work in houston. Once i get fit enough to do 35 miles a day i will try to do it daily, not there yet. Public transit will be more than half of the trip. I have a place to change and shower at work. I also can store my bike inside the shop (i am a mechanic by trade). I have a laptop and accessories that i carry daily as well as a sack lunch. i would be adding gear such as fix a flat kit, super light weight rain gear, lights and water bottles. I am considering different pannier options that could accomodate my needs. But minimal needs in the scheme of things. Just want to lose weight paying for a monthly gym membership. Riding is way more fun than going to a gym. Thank you all for the advice you give. I will start slow and work up to my ultimate goal!!!
    Google kitty litter panniers...just made myself a set and they are rocking!
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  22. #22
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    awesome that your workplace is so accommodating...

    I'm just outside of houston myself (down in Kemah)... so sounds like you'll have a nice flat ride and the next month or so will be a great time to start riding ... def possible year around here if you put you want to.
    mtbr clyd moderator

  23. #23
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    DO IT!

    If you're anything like me it is a great stress reliever when you're on your way to or from work. Plus you enjoy no traffic!

    I haven't ridden in the winter, yet, but my goal is to this winter. I would suggest investing in bright colors for warm weather and cold, also anything Under Armor cold gear is money, and their balaclavas are GREAT in freezing temps or a cold day with wind. It is usually on my head when the temp is below 60 and windy.

    And get good lights, especially for the rear. I have a Portland Design Works Radbot 1000 and LOVE it http://www.amazon.com/Portland-Desig.../dp/B0030BS30K . It's bright enough you see it from a distance, and fast enough on the one setting that would give drivers seizures (OK, not really but I am noticed and that's what matters).
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

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