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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 09-07-05, 09:33 AM   #1
camy
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Look like a "cyclist" or a "commuter"?

I ask this question based on a comment I received when I said I was going to commute to work. The comment was:
You will be fine if you look like a cyclist. If you look like a commuter, you'll get killed.

I thought this was an odd statement and I think just the opposite. I'm usually a little peeved when I see the cyclist "getting in their miles" during the peak traffic hours on the main streets. Before I get flamed for this, I will still make sure I safely pass the "cyclist", and never in their lane, but I do so while uttering under my breath that they should find a better time/place to train. I give nothing but positive karma to the commuters I encounter, although I still think they should find a route off the main/busy streets during rush hour.

Here is how I distinguish the cyclist/commuter look:

Cyclist:
Full-out cycling attire. The jersey, pants, shoes.
Riding high-end road bike.
Carrying next to nothing. No more than a small wedge for stuff.

Commuter:
Sometimes in full cycling attire or in work clothes, sometimes with bright vest.
Riding comfort/mtn, low end road or beater bike
Has more "stuff" and many times a backpack or a rack


Anybody have any comments as to which is better to "look" like?
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Old 09-07-05, 09:37 AM   #2
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*mutters under my breath about how you should find a better time/place to ride to work*

I don't really care what you wear. And in my experience, neither do drivers. You think drivers are annoyed by your clothing choices? They're annoyed because you're slower than them.

And with your attitude towards cyclists, I don't really feel like I want to share the road with you anyway, regardless of whether you're driving or riding your bike.
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Old 09-07-05, 09:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camy
<snip> I'm usually a little peeved when I see the cyclist "getting in their miles" during the peak traffic hours on the main streets. Before I get flamed for this, I will still make sure I safely pass the "cyclist", and never in their lane, but I do so while uttering under my breath that they should find a better time/place to train. I give nothing but positive karma to the commuters I encounter, although I still think they should find a route off the main/busy streets during rush hour. <snip>
That's crazy talk.



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Anybody have any comments as to which is better to "look" like?
I try to look like I'm having fun.
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Old 09-07-05, 09:54 AM   #4
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No one should care what you look like or what kind of bike you ride. But some things are important:

1. Following traffic laws/conventions and/or working with flow of traffic. (i.e. if you bend traffic laws at least do so in a flowing manner)
2. Wearing visible clothing if riding in traffic areas.

The rest doesn't matter. Some folks commute 35mi each way to work and have everything stored at work so they don't need a bag and wear full cycling attire as the are comfortable in it. They may look like they are out for a Tuesday rush hour recreational/training ride, but are in fact going to work. Other folks only ride 2mi to work and wear work clothes and ride a comfort bike and carry half their office with them each way. Then there is every possibility in between, no one way is right, nor should be expected.

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Old 09-07-05, 09:55 AM   #5
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It seems to me that any cyclist "getting in his miles" during rush hour is likely a commuter. People dress in whatever is most practical for the mission at hand. If the trip is long and he is on a road bike, this may mean cycling gear.

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Old 09-07-05, 10:02 AM   #6
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I guess I don't see how someones decision on when to get their training miles in gets your panties in a wad. What is it to you?

Two days a week I ditch my pack in the bushes and log a 20 mile training loop in full cycling kit before my 10 mile commute to work. I have never even considered that I might be offending another biker by riding at that hour. And if the thought did ever cross my mind, I would simply dismiss it with the conclusion that the offended "real commuter" must have some real issues. When that person can pass me on their comfort bike, they can say anything they want, but I have yet to find one who can, so screw them and what they think.

In answer to your question, I really do find that motorists give me more room when I am in my cycling clothing. But maybe that is because I ride assertively like I know what I am doing.
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Old 09-07-05, 10:13 AM   #7
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Should we also stop all non-commuting use of roads during commuting hours. No one can leave for vacaction at those hours, no one should drive to a 5pm movie, no one should drive to breakfast?

Firstly its absurd to try and judge the reason for cyclist to be on a road during rush hour based on looks alone, second its none of your business. Finally there is no reason why someone should not ride recreationally during commute hours and many reasons why they may do so at those times on those roads.

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Old 09-07-05, 10:37 AM   #8
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I don't know what to say about the animosity toward your fellow bikers. It does remind me of when we were kids. My buddies and I were on skateboards and we hated the BMX "jocks". They hated us too, but we all seemed to congregate in the same areas. Eventually, we outgrew our disdain for each other.

As to what you wear. I don't know that the motorists I see would react any differently if I was in a full kit. Since I don't own one, I guess I won't find out either. I can tell you that when I had my huge "granny baskets" on the back of my bike, they tended to give me more room.
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Old 09-07-05, 10:48 AM   #9
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How could you have possibly imagined you wouldn't get a throrough and proper flaming for a statement like that? You've got some gaul taking that attitude with another cyclist simply because they don't dress like you... as if your use of the roadways during rush hour is somehow nobler than someone in full road gear. Well guess what? You're really no different than they are, and there's plenty of drivers muttering at you when you're out there. Can anyone say 'self-loathing'?

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Old 09-07-05, 10:53 AM   #10
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My commute is precisely 'getting my hours in.' I rarely ride in addition to my commute, but I sure do like to be comfortable. I wear the bibs, the jersey, the clipless shoes, helmet and clear glasses (I leave at 5:00 am). My bikes are beasts - road-worthy mountain bikes, but look nothing like a road bike. On the trip home I rarely come across other commuters, and have never been honked at or abused by cagers. I obey traffic laws and look like I belong on the road.

It's funny this comes up - just this morning I was on a desolate road en route to work, cranking away at 25 mph and ended up behind some dude on a cruiser in what looked like last night's partyin' clothes. I pulled up next to him, tipped my helmet, said 'mornin,' and pressed on.

It doesn't matter where you're coming from or where you're going, you're on a bike. That's what matters
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Old 09-07-05, 11:27 AM   #11
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yeah...mostly it doesn't matter what you wear because most drivers aren't gonna see you either way.

i had a friend -- who's been hit twice this year -- jokingly suggest that the only way that drivers were going to see him is if he didn't wear anything at all. maybe.

seriously...what you wear is what works for you. me...i don't like to wear bright colors generally. all of my commuting clothing (only the shoes and gloves being actual cycling gear) is black, grey, blue, or dark green.

but my helmet is bright yellow and I've got rather a lot of 3M relfective tape on various parts of my bike.

and i ride as if no one can or will see me. that's the key.
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Old 09-07-05, 11:38 AM   #12
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i for one see your point about going roadie during rush hour...

i mean i don't hold it against the guys but think it is rather dumb to be out exercising on the same roads as all those yahoos rushing home from work.

half the reason i ride a mtb for fun is because i hate riding with cars and smelling their exhaust when i don't have to. i only do it because it is a necessary evil that i need to do to get to work by bicycle.

as for dressing the part; wear what you feel like. it ain't a contest or a fashion show so just have fun with it and try not to get killed
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Old 09-07-05, 11:41 AM   #13
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Honestly, I can't believe the amount of threads about people worrying about their looks on a bicycle. Just pedal and shuddup.
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Old 09-07-05, 11:46 AM   #14
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I suppose next you'll say I shouldn't ride at dusk/night because I have those upper class HID lights and stuff. Sound to me that you are a little classism in your statements. Just because some one has money spend on cycling doesn't make them better or worse the you. I commute in a full kit on me high priced road bike but this is the only time I know I will have to ride. I would also like to know why you think Bicycle are the ones impeding traffic there are a number of 25mph road that I take, I can keep of with traffic drafting off cars doing 25-35mph it seems to me your problem is one of perspective I hope you will come to realize the flaws in your arguments when you start to commute.

Commuting is not about the bike, It is not about the gear, it is about enjoying yourself, it is about reducing pollution.

Now go enjoy yourself out on the bike, learn to have respect for all and contempt for none.
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Old 09-07-05, 11:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camy
... I'm usually a little peeved when I see the cyclist "getting in their miles" during the peak traffic hours on the main streets. Before I get flamed for this, I will still make sure I safely pass the "cyclist", and never in their lane, but I do so while uttering under my breath that they should find a better time/place to train...


When I commuted to work I usually dressed like:

Full-out cycling attire. The jersey, pants, shoes.
Riding high-end road bike.
Carrying next to nothing. No more than a small wedge for stuff.

I was a commuter during those periods, and I was training at the same time.

Just so you know... To me, I "DID" pick the "VERY BEST" time/place to train ... and that was during my daily 28 mile commute every day.
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Old 09-07-05, 12:09 PM   #16
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I commute in my team kit- have a shower and office at work for my gear... although I do ride a beater on my commute. I may look like I'm getting in my miles during rush hour... because I am. Screw you if it annoys you- I stop and wait for lights, follow the rules of the road... so there

When I ride a path bike in street clothes- on the street- drivers treat me like I have a DWI.

Like it or not, drivers do judge us by how we dress. Heck, other roadies judge us... we judge each other.
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Old 09-07-05, 12:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus Riley
When I commuted to work I usually dressed like:

Full-out cycling attire. The jersey, pants, shoes.
Riding high-end road bike.
Thank god you were wearing that cycling jersey and not just a T-shirt or
a sweat shirt
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Old 09-07-05, 12:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max-a-mill
i for one see your point about going roadie during rush hour...

i mean i don't hold it against the guys but think it is rather dumb to be out exercising on the same roads as all those yahoos rushing home from work.

half the reason i ride a mtb for fun is because i hate riding with cars and smelling their exhaust when i don't have to. i only do it because it is a necessary evil that i need to do to get to work by bicycle.

as for dressing the part; wear what you feel like. it ain't a contest or a fashion show so just have fun with it and try not to get killed
just like the people i work with think it's dumb for me to bike every day even in the rain.

i came to a stop light with five other cyclists, commuters, roadies and a couple high school kids. rather have them around me than cars any day
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Old 09-07-05, 12:24 PM   #19
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I thought we were getting beyond all this junior high stuff. I guess I was wrong.

Camy, if you came to Sacramento and drove up behind me at 7:40am, you and your buddies might have a hard time deciding whether to mutter under your breath or send out positive karma. Somedays I ride my beater, somedays I ride my race bike. Somedays I'm in lycra, somedays I'm in Hugo Boss. Yesterday, I rode to work wearing a tie that cost more than the bike I was on.

I'm glad you pass safely when you come upon our DFW roadie/commuter/training/just riding around brethren. That's all we can really ask, I guess. But let me also suggest that you ride your bike to work. The extra miles will do you good. And ride whatever bike you like and wear whatever makes you comfortable.
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Old 09-07-05, 12:44 PM   #20
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How do I fit in?
Full cycling attire (although solid color without logos) on a fenderless fixed gear road bike with a messenger bag and helmet mirror.
Why would you have any animosity toward fellow cyclist as long as they are riding responsibility? I'm glad to see every full kit athlete, granny with a basket, mom with kid and every other responsible cyclist on the road. I get upset at those that blow through intersections, ride the wrong way or generally ignore traffic laws.
When a fellow cyclist has this attitude it scares me to think what most non-cyclist are thinking.
Craig
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Old 09-07-05, 12:48 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camy
I'm usually a little peeved when I see the cyclist "getting in their miles" during the peak traffic hours on the main streets. Before I get flamed for this, I will still make sure I safely pass the "cyclist", and never in their lane, but I do so while uttering under my breath that they should find a better time/place to train. I give nothing but positive karma to the commuters I encounter, although I still think they should find a route off the main/busy streets during rush hour.
camy,

May I respectfully submit the following from the Nebraska Driver's Manual:

6B Bicyclists
♦ A person riding a bicycle has all the same rights and responsibilities as a driver
of a motor vehicle; bicyclists must obey traffic laws.
♦ Bicyclists may ride on paved shoulders, as far right in a lane as is practical and
when the lane can be safely shared by a bicycle and car, side by side.
♦ Bicyclists are not restricted to the right lane of traffic. A bicyclist may need to
change lanes to make left turns or to continue through an intersection. They follow
the same path any other vehicle would take traveling in the same direction.
♦ Motorists should merge with bicycle traffic when preparing for a right hand turn.
Avoid turning directly across a path of bicycle traveling in the same direction.
When turning left at an intersection, yield to oncoming bicyclists just as you would
to oncoming motorists.
♦ Do not blast a vehicle’s horn when approaching a bicyclist.
♦ Look for bicycles before opening car doors.
♦ Always allow three feet to the left of the bicycle when passing. Reduce speed and
move into the next or oncoming lane to pass. If there is oncoming traffic, reduce
speed and follow the bicycle until oncoming traffic clears.
♦ At intersections, right of way rules apply equally to bicyclists and motor vehicles.
end quote
Also speed limits are just that, limits. Speed limits are not minimums. You have no right to drive but rather the privilege. The roads are obviously built with motor vehicles foremost in mind but cyclists have as much right to them as drivers. Frankly, as long as you are going to drive, you may as well thank every cyclist you see for doing their part in keeping your service stations stocked with gas and keeping gas prices from going up even more because their bicycle does not contribute to fossil fuel demand.

Best Regards,
e.
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Old 09-07-05, 12:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
You think drivers are annoyed by your clothing choices? They're annoyed because you're slower than them.
I disagree
I think they get annoyed when, over the course of a couple miles of stop-n-go traffic, you pass THEM several times
And they paid 50 bucks to fill the tank
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Old 09-07-05, 12:50 PM   #23
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i did have some anomosity towards the guy on one side of a 30 foot wide trail, with his dog on the other side attached to an extendo leash on the other.

biggest trail i know of (wash park denver) and this guys basically got a garroting trap strewn across it

whats the point of a leash if your dog is two blocks ahead of you anyway.
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Old 09-07-05, 12:54 PM   #24
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For perspective, I'm also from DFW and I'm just glad when I see another bike on the road with me. The more of us there are, the more drivers will think about us. "Team Kit Roadies" give me someone to catch up to, if I can, and street clothes commuters are someone else to swap road stories on the TRE.
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Old 09-07-05, 12:55 PM   #25
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complain to hikeee, he rode a scooter in his campaign ads
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