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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 02-05-06, 09:21 PM   #1
Mars
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Extreme commuter club: week 15

Tomorrow, they are forecasting snow with high winds. Gusts up to 40 mph. I would be interested in hearing about how folks cope with the high winds while riding.

For me, I try and position myself in the lane so a veer from a wind gust wont' throw me into the gutter or in front of cars. For some reason, when it's windy, the bow wave from semis seem much worse. I have found that I can sense a gust coming if I tune my senses just so and make micro steering corrections accordingly. Obviously getting as aero as possible helps as well. What are your tricks and hints?

Thank you, Marylandnewbie, for keeping the threads going while I was gone!
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Old 02-06-06, 05:53 AM   #2
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Mars:

Welcome back. You have hard foot steps to follow as Newbie did an tremendous job of witty prose to start the week off right.

Well I will not be battling the winds today, however I did battle the winds for 90 miles yesterday. The best way for me to battle the wind is to be as aero as possible. I think that traditional bikes might have a comparative advantage over a bent (less surface area).

Yesterdays ride was interesting as my riding partner and I had a headwind for 25 miles, a cross wind for 40 miles and we thought that we would have a tail wind for 25 miles, but of course this did not happen. We ended up with 6 miles of tail wind, ah such is life.

May averyone have a great week.
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Old 02-06-06, 08:26 AM   #3
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Mars -- nice to see you back at the head of the thread.

On riding in wind -- since I ride a hybrid I have only a theoretical or mythological understanding of this "aero" of which you speak. Also riding a MUP I find the wind unpredictable as stands of trees, bulding and hills change the intensity quite a bit. As for advice, now that I have the option I use a rain jacket instead of the rain cape. Even if it means more condensation, the lower surface area is greatly appreciated. Like Mars I try to anticipate the wind and if I'm paying attention I can get some hint that a gust is coming. Otherwise its just a matter of keeping a firm grip on the bars, but an overall relaxed riding posture so you can flex with the gusts and keep balanced and on course.

A cold ride this morning (at least for DC) but nice and clear and sunny. Oddly enough mine was the only bike in the bike rack when I got to work, even though I saw a lot of other riders out this morning.

Have a good ride home everybody.
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Old 02-06-06, 08:40 AM   #4
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Windy (41K headwind), a little snowy and -8C makes for a pretty average day for February. Eventhough I ride a mtb in the winter I still try to be as aerodynamic as possible. It is all about reducing the amount of surface area the wind can push against.

I was thinking this morning that it will sure be nice when I can ditch half my gear as spring rolls around. That'll help with the wind as well.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:07 AM   #5
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Mornin' folks: Welcome back Mars...I didn't really know you were gone as I started posting here in your absence. MDnewbie did a fine job tho'. My commute was like MDnewbies, sunny but cold. Winter has returned. I'm kinda glad. Just not right riding in shorts in January.
Riding in the wind is tough. I spin 'em easy and drop as low as I can. I don't try to crank too hard becuase it tires you out quickly and causes sporadic biking when the wind lets up. Lucky for me I ride through single twisty roads lined with trees for much of my commute. Wind doesn't bother me there. There is one hill however that often I have to pedal "DOWN" due to wind. Charlie
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Old 02-06-06, 10:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylandnewbie
On riding in wind -- since I ride a hybrid I have only a theoretical or mythological understanding of this "aero" of which you speak. Also riding a MUP I find the wind unpredictable as stands of trees, bulding and hills change the intensity quite a bit...

...like Mars I try to anticipate the wind and if I'm paying attention I can get some hint that a gust is coming. Otherwise its just a matter of keeping a firm grip on the bars, but an overall relaxed riding posture so you can flex with the gusts and keep balanced and on course.

+1
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Old 02-06-06, 10:28 AM   #7
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OMG !
Check for flying pigs, see if people are ice skating in hell.

This weeks forecast had not one, not 2, but THREE days of sun in it.
After last months tally of 29 outta 31 days of rain.....i never thought id see sun again
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Old 02-06-06, 10:41 AM   #8
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A bit chilly this morning, maybe 30F (I forgot to look at the thermometer on my porch). My first few blocks are uphill, and for some reason, this hill loses alot of water, and when it's cold, the water becomes ice...black ice. So I have to walk for a block or two to get around it. I overdressed a bit, and 20 minutes into my ride, had to take off a layer.

As for wind, I just don't worry about speed. Just pedal, in a low gear, and make it to the next landmark. Getting stressed about going slow just defeats the purpose of the ride. I ride to get rid of stress, not create it.

I saw a goodly number of commuters today, even one up near my 'hood! I couldn't catch him though, as he motored down 4th Street in NE DC. I saw one woman who was dressed identically to me, even down to the helmet color! We gave each other a laugh as we passed.

It was light when I left at 7:15. No need for the headlight. Granted, I was running late today, but still, the days are definitely getting longer. I bet I'll be doing the round-trip commute before the month is out!
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Old 02-06-06, 11:38 AM   #9
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I saw one woman who was dressed identically to me, even down to the helmet color! We gave each other a laugh as we passed.
Maybe you were looking in a mirror
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Old 02-06-06, 11:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mars
Tomorrow, they are forecasting snow with high winds. Gusts up to 40 mph. I would be interested in hearing about how folks cope with the high winds while riding.
I do a few things. The first thing I do is route planning/alteration: I find out which direction the wind is blowing. I then think of all the routes I travel, and pick the one with the most protection in the direction the wind is blowing to try to knock it down.

The next thing I do is gear down. I go slower, but I find that by maintaining a faster cadence I'm less affected by headwind gusts.

Crosswinds are a bear. To cope with these I position myself so that I have room if the wind blows me over.

The final thing I do is pay attention to any puddles/treetops/tall grass in the direction of the wind to help me anticipate when a gust is coming. This is very hard to do in the dark, so I always give myself more clearence in low-light conditions.

These things don't always work. Just last month I was blown into the curb at night by 35 mph crosswind gusts. I didn't fall, but it was an unwelcome surprise.
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Old 02-06-06, 12:03 PM   #11
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Uh oh. I messed up today. Over the weekend I took off my studded front tire and put a lightly treaded on in its place. The forecast called for an inch of snow, but this morning it hadn't shown up and the roads were clear. The ride in was bliss with no studs, fast and fun. But now.....

It has snowed at least 2 inches of wet sticky snow and it's still coming down hard. Real hard. The roads are getting covered in that packed down, polished snow that happens when lots of cars roll over it. And there is me looking out the window of my building, thinking about my 8 mile commute with no studs or aggressive treads....
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Old 02-06-06, 12:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarery
OMG !
Check for flying pigs, see if people are ice skating in hell.

This weeks forecast had not one, not 2, but THREE days of sun in it.
After last months tally of 29 outta 31 days of rain.....i never thought id see sun again

I feel your anticipation. My hopes are with you for the sunshine; nothing beats a bright sunny day without haze or smog!
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Old 02-06-06, 03:26 PM   #13
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New workplace, new nemesis

First of all - welcome back Mars, good to see you leading the charge once again, and thanks Marylandnewbie for keeping 'the club' alive and well

As you all may know, my company has just relocated and I now have a new 60 mile a day commute (I finally feel like I belong in our club again ), anyhow this morning I spotted a full-on roadie with a small backpack. He was 1 minute ahead of me on the big climb, 3 minutes later I caught him and said good morning but he looked me up and down and wasn't too interested in conversing - must have been the lack of lycra and racing bike on my part . He took off, I took off with him, 10 miles down the road he was somewhere far behind me never to be seen again ...... for a second there I thought I had found a new nemesis but the hunt continues.

I'm currently doing my new commute in around 1hr 35 minutes.
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Old 02-06-06, 03:42 PM   #14
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Mars -- be careful out there, it was under those same conditions that I had my altercation with that fence! Remember there are probably friends and family who can come pick you up if worse comes to worst.

Cyclaholic -- that is some very impressive speed if I do the math correctly. No wonder you left the roadie boy in full kit behind. While I can't beat the roadies for speed I feel morally superior when I'm out there in the snow or rain and the roadies are in their cars or maybe mass trans. I may be slower but I'm hardier and more rugged or perhaps just crazier -- either way I'll feel morally superior.
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Old 02-06-06, 04:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Marylandnewbie
Cyclaholic -- that is some very impressive speed if I do the math correctly. No wonder you left the roadie boy in full kit behind. While I can't beat the roadies for speed I feel morally superior when I'm out there in the snow or rain and the roadies are in their cars or maybe mass trans. I may be slower but I'm hardier and more rugged or perhaps just crazier -- either way I'll feel morally superior.
Today, as I was slowly going up "my hill", a car pulled out of it's parking space, did a 3-point turn to go the other way, drove ONE BLOCK, parked, the guy got out. This car had a nice Thule roofrack with with bike mounts. Maybe he was picking someone up or something, but it just looked bad. I bet he was one of those roadies!
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Old 02-06-06, 04:36 PM   #16
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Speaking of wind. yesterday on the way home I had a howling tailwind! Only problem was, I had a flat, so had to stop for repairs. I don't carry a spare so I had to find the leak. With the wind I couldn't hear anything (besides I'm half deaf), I couldn't feel the leak either because of the wind so I had to search for it with my aging eyesight (use specs for reading these days). I pumped the tube up till it swelled like a balloon to magnify the leak.

Cyclaholic, that is some distance! I also have a nemesis, he always pedals slow until I overtake then he sucks my wheel. It is not that easy dropping him with my single speed, so I do it surreptitiously by speeding up a tiny bit on every uphill until I've worn him out.
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Old 02-06-06, 05:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylandnewbie
Cyclaholic -- that is some very impressive speed if I do the math correctly. No wonder you left the roadie boy in full kit behind. While I can't beat the roadies for speed I feel morally superior when I'm out there in the snow or rain and the roadies are in their cars or maybe mass trans. I may be slower but I'm hardier and more rugged or perhaps just crazier -- either way I'll feel morally superior.
Newbie, now be nice to the roadies, as some roadies commute year round
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Old 02-06-06, 06:16 PM   #18
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thought I would pipe in here... I spoke with tibikefor2 and he said my commute 'qualifies' within the realm of the extreme commute... however, today was different. My normal commute is Reston VA to DC (46 miles round trip). I am attending a training class 3 miles from home. What a difference! I can ride in 'street clothes', bundled up on my beater (single speed mountian bike with platform pedals) and the cold and wind aren't really a problem, because I can't really go fast enough to have them make much of a difference. I will be doing this 6 mile round trip commute for the rest of the week. COme next Monday, I am back into the grind going into DC...

train safe-
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Old 02-06-06, 06:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars
Tomorrow, they are forecasting snow with high winds. Gusts up to 40 mph. I would be interested in hearing about how folks cope with the high winds while riding.

Hey Mars....Glad to hear your back in the saddle !
I check in to see how my forum friends are doing but I dont feel worthy to contribute because
I suffer commuter envy at only 8 miles each way, and this has been a most mild winter.
Not very extreme with none of the stuff that I envisioned from a Vermont winter happening yet....yet !!
Today was different though....the wind was incredble !! I couldnt move !! directly head on I
had to stand even on the flats !! Going home was wind and snow squals so I suppose that
qualifies as extreme
Also...My good MTB is incredibly slow and getting torn up by the salt on the roads. I found a
$5.00, late 70's or early 80's era Motobecane at a collage bazarre. It is H~U~G~E !! More
than a few of the limbs of my family tree must be of the inbred, carney/circus freak variety
because at 5'10" I have a 34" inseam and stumpy everything else....This Moto-B has a Head
tube thats about 12" long and a top tube thats only about an inch longer It fits
me perfectly and is soooooooo smooth and fast !! It was so great to get back on 27's !!
Even the wind couldnt wreck the commute on my new 5 dollar favorite
Occasionally weird, unexpected stuff like this happen and totally reinvigorates my love of
utilitarian bike usage ! Its not the length of your commute, its how ya do it !!
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Old 02-06-06, 06:46 PM   #20
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Well, made it safe and sound. the snow let up enough later in the day to melt off the roads. Then, as I left for home picked up again. I enjoyes a fabulous high speed ride through huge snowflakes. I little slush here and there, but that was about all. More snow in the forecast for tonight, so I may be switching the studs back on after all.

Cyclaholic, that's a 19 mph average over 30 miles, right? That's damned fast, no wonder you gave that roadie a spanking.

Jur, that sucks! It's a funny image though, you standing by the side of the road trying to hear a tiny hiss over the bellowing wind.

buelito, welcome! I'm looking forward to hearing about your rides.

tibikefor2, my bent has more surface area from the side and less from the front than a road bike (I gues you knew that) In the gusts yesterday and today, I found the lower center of gravity compesated a bit for the larger area. Turned out to be some really fun rides, all in all.
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Old 02-06-06, 08:28 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=-
Hey Mars....Glad to hear your back in the saddle !
I check in to see how my forum friends are doing but I dont feel worthy to contribute because
I suffer commuter envy at only 8 miles each way, and this has been a most mild winter.
Not very extreme with none of the stuff that I envisioned from a Vermont winter happening yet....yet !!
Today was different though....the wind was incredble !! I couldnt move !! directly head on I
had to stand even on the flats !! Going home was wind and snow squals so I suppose that
qualifies as extreme
Also...My good MTB is incredibly slow and getting torn up by the salt on the roads. I found a
$5.00, late 70's or early 80's era Motobecane at a collage bazarre. It is H~U~G~E !! More
than a few of the limbs of my family tree must be of the inbred, carney/circus freak variety
because at 5'10" I have a 34" inseam and stumpy everything else....This Moto-B has a Head
tube thats about 12" long and a top tube thats only about an inch longer It fits
me perfectly and is soooooooo smooth and fast !! It was so great to get back on 27's !!
Even the wind couldnt wreck the commute on my new 5 dollar favorite
Occasionally weird, unexpected stuff like this happen and totally reinvigorates my love of
utilitarian bike usage ! Its not the length of your commute, its how ya do it !!
Awesome post Lem, good to see you here again.... haven't seen you around for a while. Call me a masochist (why not, everyone else does ) but I quite enjoy the occasional howling headwind - the type that you have to stand on the pedals downhill.... only the occasional one though
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Old 02-06-06, 08:58 PM   #22
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Lem, good to see you back. Glad you're acclimating to the new digs.

Buelito -- welcome aboard! I'm sure you'll have tales to tell from the land where people have been known to drive out to the mailbox.

Jur, almost makes the weight of an extra tube worthwhile. Flats are bad enough but trying to patch a tube in the howling wind must really suck.

Mars, glad to hear the weather cooperated on your trip home.

I narrowly avoided what would probably have been the wierdest accident ever reported on the bike forums. I was almost run over by a woman on a Vespa type scooter! I pulled into a side street to make a U-turn and cross a major street on my way home. As I started to U-turn this woman on a Vespa tried to pass me. Thankfully I veered and she stopped and we missed each other. I'm not sure where she came from since she was not beside me or behind me when I turned into the street. I'm sure the crash wouldn't have been fatal, but I might very well have died of embarassment.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:32 PM   #23
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My only alternative is to check the American flag on the local hospital, just one block north of my home. Depending on its form and factor, I might leave 15 minutes early and be ready to be hammered. 40 mph gusts headon would stop me in my tracks. I would cry and then jump down a chainring and keep pedalling. I have no choice.
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Old 02-07-06, 12:00 AM   #24
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Welcome back Mars.

Well we're getting a break this week here in Portland. After 40+ consecutive days of rain, and occasional wind gusts in the 60+ mph, the forecast this week says dry all the way through the weekend. Praise [enter favorite diety here]!!!
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Old 02-07-06, 06:25 AM   #25
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The only extreme part of my commute this morning is that the traffic gods smiled down upon me once again, as I did not have to put a foot down until I made it to work.

Buelito welcome.

Just an FYI to everyone that Buelito is one of my weekend training partners, so be nice
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