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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 05-15-05, 11:07 PM   #1
Mars
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Very long commute club:week nine

A whole week without Hammer Bob. Seems weird. I have a busy week at work ahead of me. The ride will help keep my thoughts straight.

One thing that I have noticed with the longer miles is that my riding position has been evolving. I am raising the seat a little bit nearly every week and dropping the bars lower and lower. I also have been moving the seat forward and tilting the nose down. Has your riding position evolved with the long miles? If yes, how?

Have a great week riding everybody!!
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Old 05-16-05, 08:52 AM   #2
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Well, todays ride was colder than usual. It was in the 40's. Sort of chilly. This weekend I converted my mountain bike to a full fledged commuter. I wanted to see the difference between it and my road bike.

1) The ride is definetely smoother.
2) Need to get used to the gear set.
3) Doesn't coast as easy as the road bike.

Changes made to mountain bike. 2003 Giant Ranier

1) Took off Panaracers (2.1), and put on slicks (1.5).
2) Added lights.


Conclusion.

I like the smoother ride. And gears available. But, I sure like the sports car feel of the road bike. I need to adjust the seat height and forward position at lunch for the ride home. We'll see how the ride home is.

See you on the road!

OKBiker
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Old 05-16-05, 09:33 AM   #3
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I have probably raised my seat a bit from when I started, but otherwise have not felt the need to make many adjustments.

I got my new "bombproof" wheel over the weekend so hopefully it will be many miles before I see another borken spoke. The LBS did a brake tune-up when they did the wheel changeover so things are running nicely. I surprised myself on Friday by making the 12 mile trip home in 55 minutes. My best previous time had been just over an hour. Had to get home to pick up my son in time, so I had to push myself. Not in the league with Mars and the legendary Hammer Bob, but it was nice personal best (if a little bit tiring).

Temps in the 50s with bright sunshine made a nice ride in this morning. It keeps getting easier to maintain a good pace, one more sign of progress. Enjoy bike to work week wherever you are.
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Old 05-16-05, 09:40 AM   #4
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I bought an extra wheelset for my '03 Rainier to accomodate 1.5" Michelin Transworld tires. I'm glad I have the wheelset, but was not at all comfortable with the reduction in stability. I like the option of riding trails home, and while the skinnier tires were faster, I'll take the 2.0" MTB tires with the center bead any day, even though they're slower and heavier. I added bar ends with foam handgrips wrapped in marbled foam tape - saves the fatigue in the hands. Still getting used to aero bars for the 30 mile commute, and the cut-out gel seat sure helps where it counts. We're looking at 70+ all week long, which is a pleaseant change from the long Colorado winter.
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Old 05-16-05, 10:48 AM   #5
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I finally got back on the wagon (er, bike) today. 17 miles in, the last 6 all climbing. Maybe someday I'll do that climb on my fixie, but today was not the day. Too bad I was late for my first meeting of the day, though. Either I'm slightly slower on this route after some time off, or all those stoplights really were red. Can't wait for the ride home! All downhill, baby!
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Old 05-16-05, 02:20 PM   #6
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No commute for me today but since it's Monday I did go to the gym. I actually ran a bit too on the treadmill.

Last week was a great one for me. Had a group ride on Saturday - my first ever - and man my commuting shape means I was unwittingly dropping people on the ride. (All friends) Although I shouldn't have been dropping people, so I had to slow down to ride the 40 miles. What a cool feeling, riding with all these dudes with $3k bikes and I'm roaring out front, pulling for over 20 miles.

Anyway I have not raised the seat although I have fine tuned the position a bit. My seat has been tipped slightly back from it's LBS Original position because I found I was sliding down the nose. Now the seat is perfectly flat. I also pushed the seat back just a tad and replaced the stock seat with a lil' racing seat. Looks wickid uncomfortable but I really enjoy it.

One of my concerns about my bike is the upright setup of the cyclocross. I'm 32 so I definitely wouldn't mind a more aero position. on longer rides I almost exclusively stay in the drops. So I'm probably going to remove the single riser from the stem to lower the bars a bit. Of course this looks like a farily major operation so it might not happen for a long time!

Commuting begins tomorrow. Rain all day today. Off to FLA on Saturday morning (for work) for a week which is going to severely impact my cycling. Also this week I have a ton of errands to do in order to prepare for this trip so I may have to use my car an extra day
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Old 05-16-05, 02:47 PM   #7
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My day started less than idealy.
It rained all night so the roads where very wet and there was some wind
so it goes without saying it was blowing westernly because I needed to go
easternly ! I leave at about 4:50 AM to start and it was just so dark and
wet I didnt even bother to try to make time. Also, some cardboard was ripped
into long strips in an effort to make some impromtu fenders because the
first splatter ritual is always a hard one for me to partake of but it had to
be gotten out of the way so I feel better now, anyway If anyone else
would like to try this eco-friendly method....I can assure you it works as good
as it looks Ill be cleaning this weekend !
I see everyone had seat issues and I did too. My post went up about
10mm's and I pillaged a slightly used Avocet mountain bike Gel seat off of my
old Raliegh to replace the stock mideveil torture implement. A world of difference !
I also got a CatEyE Enduro 8 Computer but am having a little problem getting it
programmed correctly to do all of its stuff. I got the mileage part to work and
average speed so I will work with it a little tonight to try to figure the other stuff out.
There is an annoying little knock in my bottom bracket I am going to look into tonight
but other than that I cant wait to start racking up some good miles.
After only two days I feel guilty because I have to motorcycle tomorrow to vote
and hang out at the polls for a candidate I work for and time is of the essence, but
they say a good thing leaves you wanting more so I will be looking forward to 4:45
Wednsday morning !!

Be safe.....

£em in Pa
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Old 05-16-05, 03:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monument Man
So I'm probably going to remove the single riser from the stem to lower the bars a bit. Of course this looks like a farily major operation so it might not happen for a long time!

Monument Man........If this is what I think it is it is a fairly
simple operation. Just unbolt the allen bolt and cap from the top of the stem
and then the two allen bolts on the side of the stem, remove the
whole bar assembly with big black washers, replace the bar assembly
but put the big black washers on top ot the stem and under the
allenbolt and topcap and tightene it all back up.....should only be about
10 minutes tops !
As a 46 year old slow-poke I appreciate you rubbing in the 32year old / dropping
guys on rides stuff !! Boy.....that doesnt hurt ! ha ha
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Old 05-16-05, 07:01 PM   #9
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Maryland and Monument: I am PSYCHED that you guys are going faster than before! The last few rides I have really noticed an improved performance on the hills. I am no climber, that's for sure, but I am climbing faster and am not as tired. It's cool, isn't it?
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Old 05-17-05, 06:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars
Maryland and Monument: I am PSYCHED that you guys are going faster than before! The last few rides I have really noticed an improved performance on the hills. I am no climber, that's for sure, but I am climbing faster and am not as tired. It's cool, isn't it?

Hills !!
The biggest obsticle for me to overcome, literally.
Im going to Vermont on Thursday for a few days and taking a
bike with me. Hopefully this will be 'Hammer the Hill 101' class.
Mars, hopefully you'll find another HammerBob until he gets back ?
A freind on my commute would sure be cool but Im not holding my breath
considering where I live and what time I leave.........
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Old 05-17-05, 08:20 AM   #11
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Had a very nice ride in this morning. I bought a windbreaker jacket and it's really nice. I had no wind protection before so I would simply load up on fleecy layers which really overheated me. Zip off sleeves allow me to ride home in a comfortable vest. I had waited for two long months to make the purchase (it's going to get warmer soon, i told myself - WRONG) but it's so worth it. It's hopefully one of the last purchases I need until fall, when I will need to buy a pair of nice leggings. How much do you guys spend on your bike? Since I had NO equipment I had to buy everything from floor pump, mini frame pump, packs, clothes, shoes, etc.

With nothing else to buy I guess my next move will be to add another bike!

Planning on doing the full 37 today. Can't wait actually. Unfortunately I may only get 2 days in the saddle this week T, W. Thursday I need to bring my laptop home in preparation for my work trip to FLA (so I'll be driving) and Friday I won't be in the office. I'll try to go for a long solo ride on Friday. Hmm maybe I will hook up with a group!

I think it's so cool that my daily commuting has put me into great shape. I'm certanily not the best "cyclist" around but my fitness level is very high due to the commuting. Regardless of your speed or level, it's nice to know that we're all here trying to better ourselves against our own goals.

BTW I am so used to solo rides I did enjoy the group ride I participated in last week. I'm going to try to hook up with more groups and maybe find a race or two to participate in. Unlike running, which I used to do, I actually really enjoy cycling.

Thanks for the tip on how to remove the spacers! Maybe I'll try that tonight.

Star Wars comes out on Thursday. I'll have to make time to fit that into the schedule as well....
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Old 05-17-05, 08:27 AM   #12
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I have no big hills on my commute. It is a rail trail so the grades are still set by rail standards. In fact, the coalition of volunteers who look out for the trail joke about the two overpasses that actually have a steeper grade as our only hills. Due to a happy accident of topography almost my entire inbound commute is downhill or flat, so I can arrive not terribly sweaty. The ride home is like one long resistance workout. About 8 miles are a slow uphill with about 2 miles that has a slightly steeper grade. Not any major challenge, just a long resistance workout for the legs. So I can make no claims to great achievement, but it is nice to be getting faster and doing it all more easily.
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Old 05-17-05, 08:40 AM   #13
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The hills are getting easier. Today I was just pedaling along, not feeling like I was working at all. Time was the same as usual, but easier.
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Old 05-17-05, 06:37 PM   #14
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Woo hoo! Either the legs are getting stronger or the wind was with me, but I did my best time on my 32-mile commute home today, 2:03. Usually it takes 2:08 or so.

Some of the universities have had their graduation, so I think the river path was a bit less crowded today. I still had the occasional 4-person-wide running group to pass though.

In the morning, someone was on the same train from Center City Philadelphia, then had almost the same 3 mile run from the Paoli train station to work, and had the same grey "Epic Trans-It" rack bag that I had.

Still 38.5 MPH on the 1/2 miile downhill, tons of fun.

-=$>Dave<$=-
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Old 05-17-05, 06:48 PM   #15
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No riding for me today, stupid retreat to go to Same thing tomorrow.

Lem, what part of Vermont are you going to be in?

Velogirl and Juggler, my sincere congrats on your improvements. Let's keep reporting them everybody, I get so psyched when I read how we are getting more fit and faster!
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Old 05-17-05, 06:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars
No riding for me today, stupid retreat to go to Same thing tomorrow.

Lem, what part of Vermont are you going to be in?
Mars, I am going to be in Rutland.
Thursday through saturday night.
I want to try to ride out to the Killington area on Friday for
a Cliff Notes version of hill busting technique
Obviously I wont be communting on Friday but I dont feel
guilty because my commute is much easier than what awaits
in me in the syrupy state !!
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Old 05-17-05, 08:00 PM   #17
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Have fun in VT, I spend lots of time around Mansfield in the winter, participating in my "other" adventures of skiing and snowboarding.

37 miles today, felt good too. FELT like I was flying, and in fact I really was able to open it up and maintain high speeds through the really fast part of the ride (miles 10-20). But my overall times are not any faster....hmmmm I think that with all the stopping and starting, and the off roading, that my time is basically as fast as I'm gonna go.

I'm just about to tinker with the spacers like lem's suggestion. Wish me luck.

By the way my right wrist is so weak I can nto even clip my nails. It's from all the flicking of the gears on my Sora components. On SAturday night we went with friends to a Chinese place and I couldn't hold the chopsticks. Its funny what muscles you never realized you had are all of a sudden being overextended.
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Old 05-17-05, 08:35 PM   #18
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Sorry for the double post but my PC was still on...

...bike just got out of the OR. It's in stable condition, bars lowered 1", seat raised 1cm.

The position is definitely more aero. We'll see how it rides tomorrow on the VLC

(thanks Lem for the tip, you were right it only took 10 minutes. )
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Old 05-18-05, 07:28 AM   #19
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Well I fianlly rode my Ti Bike into work. Man o Man what a difference shedding 15 pounds off a bike will do. I did my 18 mile commute in 1:05 (time includes red lights and crossing streets). One of the big differnces that I noticed that I was able to power over some of the rolling hills on the W&OD in my big chain ring. Well back to my Propad tomorrow.

I hope everyone is having a great week.
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Old 05-18-05, 09:04 AM   #20
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Yikes--I'm discombobulated and accidentally posted on week 8. Oh well. Glad to see so many new people in the VLC club!

Yesterday was the last day of my old VLC, and not a moment too soon. I forgot how hard it is to maintain strong work ethics when you know you're about to leave a job. I tried to savor the commute yesterday, though, and even felt a little sad about not seeing the "regulars" on the bike path anymore.

My position on my bike has evolved a lot over time, and changes every now and again according to what sort of injury I'm nursing. Generally though, I like the nose of my saddle to be tipped slightly down, and I like to be fairly stretched out on my road bike. Mtn biking is a whole different thing--depends on what kind of riding I'm doing.

Monument Man--you're freaking me out!!! I'm 31 (and haven't quite come to terms w/ it yet), does that mean I need to be more aero??? I thought it just meant I needed to be more vigilant about using eye cream...

Happy commuting everybody--I'm headed off now for some ridin' in the mountains!
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Old 05-18-05, 12:07 PM   #21
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I can't seem to hit a rhythm during the week. I want to be able to ride 5 days/week but can't seem to make it over 3. My legs just get tired, or I can't get going in the morning due to lack of sleep.

I think it has to do with my non-cycling activities. Hockey once a week, usually sunday or monday and usually late at night. This makes my legs tired for the next day and also contributes to my sleeping problems. I also play softball once a week. That's not particularly strenous but the short sprints seem to tire my legs. Today I woke up and didn't want to ride today because I want to make sure I can do the whole ride tomorrow for Bike to Work Day. I did take my bike on the bus/train though so maybe i'll ride home.

I can't wait until my body is strong enough to allow me to ride 5 days and play the other sports. Maybe then I'll get a trailer and ride to my hockey games!
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Old 05-18-05, 01:44 PM   #22
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DanO - Southern California - 30 mi. one way - moderate hills - pedal in, drive home

Wed: Had a great ride today, if somewhat different. My wife and I rode the 12 miles to the train station, then another 3 or so to work at the end of the line. Iíd say it was more of a VLT, in that it took us a Very, Long, Time, to get to the station. Wendy was cute and so apologetic about not being faster that I could hardly be impatient. And besides, she ran up the platform and hollered at a station attendant to help her extract tickets out of the vending machine in record time - for the train that had already pulled into the station, I might add - while I hauled the bikes up the stairs to the platform. I know for a fact that if I had volunteered to sprint ahead I would have been unable to get tickets in time, since we barely made it as it was. Waiting for the next train would have made us an hour late.

Itís just as well that I had a leisurely ride in the morning, because Iíve already received orders to sprint ahead tonight in order to fetch the truck, then go back and save my baby from as much of the return trip as possible - primarily, the climb up the canyon road. So tonight I have a 12 mile time trial with an uphill finish. Iím counting on the chivalrous nature of the pursuit to spurn me on to a record time. And I guess that the combined morning and eveningís mileage will count as a VLC. And despite her complaining about being a bit tired here at work, for having gotten up early enough to ride instead of drive, I think a good time was had by all.

I gotta go. Take it easy everybody. DanO
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Old 05-18-05, 03:37 PM   #23
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My ride in today was uneventful but very pleasant.
I didnt keep an actual time because I still havent figured
out my new CATEYE computer but the women who is there before
me every morning waiting for me to unlock the building says I arrived
a few minutes early. The ride home I searched out a less trafficked route I
remembered from years ago but much to my chagrin the plague of over-
development that is cursing our area rendered it impassable so after retracing
I did end up with 31 mile round trip, about 3 more than the normal ride.
I am really going to work on my technique moreso than speed because I feel
I am sort of sloppy in places. I want to arrive at work relaxed and not hurting
anywhere. I think the speed will come naturally with good breathing, cadence
and gear control. Its funny that the new bike that was waaaayyy too big for
me a few days ago magicly fits me almost perfectly after using it for its
intended purpose ! Imagine that ! When I built it I stood back and looked at it
and wondered how I was going to manuever the 58c behemoth , the stem and bars
being my main items of contention. Now, the seat post gets raised up more
every ride and after realizing that grabbing the hoods and peddeling standing up
on the killer hills is making a difference my knees are thanking me for giving
them some room and not getting the shorter stem like I had threatened to.
C'mon Thursday !
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Old 05-18-05, 06:42 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JugglerDave
Woo hoo! Either the legs are getting stronger or the wind was with me, but I did my best time on my 32-mile commute home today, 2:03. Usually it takes 2:08 or so.

-=$>Dave<$=-
Wow Dave !!
Your the Man !! I dont know your commute but I do know the area and if you can string
together 32 miles around the Philly-Paoli area you are as tuff as a Dennys Steak !!
I live sort of far from there but one of my stops about twice a month is the Starbucks
at the train staion then go into Beans Bikes and drool and slobber over the expensive
shiney stuff with my Son.
Be safe !!
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Old 05-18-05, 09:47 PM   #25
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Rained on the way in to work today, but only 5 miles in the AM.

I wanted to ride home. But it started pouring. BAH. Anyway I rode to the train. Averaged 20.3mph on my sprint to the train - 5 miles. My personal best although 1) I rarely take that route in the afternoon 2) it's only 5 miles and 3) i rarely check my average speed if/when i do take that route.

christy after you turn 30 you are supposed to do everything in your power to appear only 25, so yes, definitely more aero! Maybe one of Lance's "alien" helmets to help your time trialing. Yes you need it all, full aero kit, body armor, $500 Titanium sunglasses. You don't want people to think you're 32 like me do you? FYI my aero position seemed fine, but my wheel is not perfectly aligned.

No commuting until at least next Friday, UG. Friday I'm going to try to get a long ride under my belt, 60 plus miles I hope.
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