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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-14-15, 12:55 PM   #51
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Well, I see it's a little late, but since I went to look. This frame will hold a 35 tire rear, and 38 tire front, without fenders and of course knobbies and dependent on chain length in back.
That's good to know. I tried 32's front and back and they fit easily, but with fenders just barely. I wouldn't have thought a 38 would fit at all.

I spent yesterday rigging up a chain cover from the left over aluminum strip. The jury is still out over whether I'll keep that.
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Old 12-14-15, 11:39 PM   #52
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I spent yesterday rigging up a chain cover from the left over aluminum strip. The jury is still out over whether I'll keep that.
Bit of velcro strap over the pants works wonders.....
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Old 12-15-15, 08:17 AM   #53
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Bit of velcro strap over the pants works wonders.....
More for the chain than pants cuffs. I kind of like the matching fenders and chain cover, being made from the same strip of metal, but I'm mainly about function. If it doesn't work well or causes problems I'll take it off.
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Old 12-15-15, 09:41 AM   #54
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Bit of velcro strap over the pants works wonders.....
I wear trouser bands when riding derailleur bikes, but if you haven't experienced the freedom of jumping on a bike that has a chainguard, you should try it.
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Old 12-15-15, 10:30 AM   #55
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I wear trouser bands when riding derailleur bikes, but if you haven't experienced the freedom of jumping on a bike that has a chainguard, you should try it.
I can recall tearing the chainguard off every bike I have ever owned shortly into having them. The noise, and inconvenience in regards to getting to the chain were never to my liking. I can totally see where it would be a plus, but I wear shorts most of the time anyway, making it a non issue.
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Old 12-15-15, 08:29 PM   #56
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No rattle, it's just a strip wrapped around the chain and mounted with plastic and rubber.


no sides until I know that the mounting is stable, and if messing with the chain isn't too much hassle, but I think it will protect the chain somewhat and keeps clothes away from chain oil.
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Old 12-15-15, 08:38 PM   #57
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No rattle, it's just a strip wrapped around the chain and mounted with plastic and rubber.
Sweet! That will be worth a thread with more pictures by itself once you have it all sorted out.
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Old 12-15-15, 09:37 PM   #58
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Good work! I look forward to more pictures.
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Old 12-16-15, 07:53 AM   #59
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Sweet! That will be worth a thread with more pictures by itself once you have it all sorted out.
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Good work! I look forward to more pictures.
Thanks. The chain cover is unusual but I'm leaning towards keeping it. I'll do a thread when I have permanent mounting clamps.
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Old 12-16-15, 10:15 AM   #60
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Not that I could see! There had to be some to hold the balls in but it could have been a light spray of oil for all I could tell. I didn't even take the bearings out to check that closely, which I guess is half-assed but I didn't see the need for a brand new hub.
what were you looking at? Did you use cone wrenches to take the endcaps off? How else could you see there is no grease?
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Old 12-16-15, 10:26 AM   #61
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what were you looking at? Did you use cone wrenches to take the endcaps off? How else could you see there is no grease?
Sure, I just took the cones off and the balls looked dry.
I smeared grease on them without taking the bearings out of the race, but later when there was some freewheel noise I went back and did it right.

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Old 12-16-15, 10:31 AM   #62
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Ah got it thanks.
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Old 12-16-15, 01:34 PM   #63
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Thanks. The chain cover is unusual but I'm leaning towards keeping it. I'll do a thread when I have permanent mounting clamps.
Don't forget your chain length will change slightly over time.
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Old 12-16-15, 03:47 PM   #64
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Don't forget your chain length will change slightly over time.
It's a half inch too close in back already for easily taking the wheel off, which you probably spotted. Version 2, I guess, will be longer.
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Old 12-29-15, 12:13 PM   #65
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About 300 miles so far, mostly commuting with a couple of 30 mile joy rides, there have been no more mechanical issues so I'll say a little about my ride impressions.

I'm a believer now in chromoly framesets reducing the jarring on rough roads. I don't know if it's low-grade 4130 or better grade, but it does feel different from aluminum. The bike doesn't magically float over rough spots, but it takes the edge off of sections which have literally shaken the keys out of my pockets on my aluminum road bike. After I wear these tires out and get some 28's or 32's I probably won't even be picking smooth lines any more.

I deliberately sized up the frame to 56cm for the longer head tube, envisioning the so-called "French Fit". More stretched out, bars almost up to the saddle, less nimble and more stable. And it does track straight by my standards; no-hands riding feels so natural that I stopped paying attention and almost bit the dust on a pot-hole.

With that setup and the weight (~30 pounds with all my accessories on it, plus 5-10 extra of me that doesn't need to be there) I didn't expect to be fast on it, and I was right about that. My commute now takes 30-35 minutes regardless of the regular route chosen and distance, whereas in the summer on my road bike it's 23-28 minutes (not including hammering or lolly-gagging). Don't even try to figure mph average speed from that because it doesn't mean anything, but commutes per hour speed is meaningful and is consistently around 20% slower. Counterbalanced by the fact that winter, rain and dark is always slower, but it's still a factor. For me, ten minutes plus or minus on basically a half hour commute isn't an issue, although I will still chase "rabbits" given the opportunity.

On my training ride this weekend I did drop a roadie on a long hill (that's an obligatory story for both commuting and fixed gear riders, right?). But the rest of the story is, it was only because I physically couldn't go any slower with that gearing and he was resting or something. 100 to 150 feet rise in a mile is pretty much my limit with this bike at the slowest possible speed, and it better not be more than a mile or two at that. I have ambitious aspirations to improve on that.

The unexpected gotcha of fixed gear by the way, should anyone want to jump in and try it commuting like I did, is when you've built up some speed going downhill and you've reached your rpm limit of keeping your feet on the pedals in any coordinated fashion. For me without retention that was around 140-150 cadence. So, obviously, you grab the brakes. The gotcha is that braking at that cadence feels totally different than smoothly spinning up to it, if you're not ready for it. So there are a couple of things to learn before barreling down a big hill. We're probably better off training up gradually than taking things to the limit right off the bat.
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Old 12-29-15, 01:03 PM   #66
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You're riding fixed without foot retention? That doesn't sound wise!
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Old 12-29-15, 01:16 PM   #67
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You're riding fixed without foot retention? That doesn't sound wise!
What do I know about it, until now I've never ridden fixed period I thought it was unwise if you don't have brakes but acceptable otherwise. I've never had the problem with feet slipping off of platform pedals that people talk about (on geared bikes); I don't know why, maybe I tend to back off sooner before it could happen. I do feel like some half-clips would be useful.

But I never coast anyway, except for down hill, posting up over bumps or fast turns, so it doesn't feel much different when just riding. Those situations require some fore-thought though.
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Old 12-29-15, 01:26 PM   #68
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My own rules for riding fixed say you need a front brake but not necessarily a rear one (as your legs suffice as a rear brake) and use foot retention. Going downhill fast is a chance to build skill, and the idea is to spin without your butt bouncing on the saddle. It's dangerous, though, so don't let it run away from you. And if it does run away from you, which it will eventually, have a plan. It's also a chance to build skill at climbing, since you can't shift down.
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Old 01-11-16, 09:07 AM   #69
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It's been a slow couple of weeks and I've only ridden it to work, fixed gear, 428 miles total. It's needed nothing more mechanically other than airing the tires up, and all of the accessories have stabilized into permanency. So, as this thread fades into the archives, if anyone has a question about the bike speak now.
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Old 01-11-16, 10:15 AM   #70
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Shall we bump it every few weeks?

I'm interested in how it fares because I like how you're getting a lot of value out of a little money and because you've done clever work with it.

Please try foot retention, though. If you don't, you will eventually gash the back of your calf. Or worse. Toe clips are fine, but it's tricky to get into the second one. It's fine to keep the straps loose or at least the strap for the foot you usually take out first. SPDs are better in most ways, though. They're easier to get into and out of. But you need special shoes, and that's a downside. There are also those strap-only systems that seem pretty popular in the fixie crowd. I've tried PowerGrips but only briefly. There are others.
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Old 01-11-16, 02:03 PM   #71
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Shall we bump it every few weeks?

I'm interested in how it fares because I like how you're getting a lot of value out of a little money and because you've done clever work with it.

Please try foot retention, though. If you don't, you will eventually gash the back of your calf. Or worse. Toe clips are fine, but it's tricky to get into the second one. It's fine to keep the straps loose or at least the strap for the foot you usually take out first. SPDs are better in most ways, though. They're easier to get into and out of. But you need special shoes, and that's a downside. There are also those strap-only systems that seem pretty popular in the fixie crowd. I've tried PowerGrips but only briefly. There are others.
I think it would just be more of the same indefinitely so I won't be keeping the thread up. I've been completely satisfied for the purposes of the commute and some errands, which how I imagined it. For sure a lot of value for the $260 or so I've got into it.

There will likely be half-clips installed by Spring-time, but seriously my commute is too flat for there to be much danger of it getting away.
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Old 01-11-16, 03:37 PM   #72
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How is your chain guard working out?
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Old 01-11-16, 07:12 PM   #73
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How is your chain guard working out?
It's been zero maintenance so I guess pretty well. I cleaned and lubed the chain last week, then took the wheel off and flipped it, just to make sure that was all still doable and it was. I haven't heard a peep out of the chain rattling against anything. So it's a keeper as far as I'm concerned.

It's enclosed now btw, black Coroplast sides. I had to use straps over the outside of the guard to hold the sides on.

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Old 01-13-16, 03:18 PM   #74
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@wphamilton any pictures of the bike in the current form?
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Old 01-13-16, 04:56 PM   #75
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@wphamilton any pictures of the bike in the current form?


Looking at the pics, I want to remove the white squares of reflector tape. Those just kind of clash don't they?
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