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  1. #1
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    I'm torn darnit. Do I buy a new bike or ride one I have?

    Starting Tuesday I'm commuting by bike to my new job (the past couple weeks I had a place really close and was walking to work). It's 10 miles roughly, a nice commute... double what I was doing at my old job (that was 4-5 miles).

    However... I don't know whether it's practical to ride my full-size bikes.

    Supposedly the office building has some sort of bike parking in the basement. However, according to one of my coworkers the bike area is always full because of the people who live in the building (upper floors are apartments). So my boss and one other coworker who ride just bring their bikes into the office and put 'em in the storage closet.

    The thing is, my boss has a folder. I'm not sure what the other guy has, it's not a folder, but I haven't seen it. I HAVE seen the elevator though. It's small... I'd have a hard time fitting my commuter in it. I'm 6'4" so my bike is huge... and the big ol' rack on the back doesn't make it any smaller.

    I'd been planning on buying a folder ANYWAY, with the idea of getting a job downtown... I got the job, but I haven't bought the folder yet. I don't have the cash, because moving basically wiped out my reserves. However having a bike stolen (because I locked it outside) or having to pay for parking, is NOT going to help my financial situation... so I'm thinking of putting the folder on a credit card for a month or two until a) I get some paychecks or b) my old house sells.

    I hate the idea of going back to carrying a balance on a credit card, especially with a murky financial outlook (new job, new city, not sure yet exactly how my cash flow's going to look). But I also hate the idea of not being able to commute, or worrying about my bike being ripped off (or vandalized or misc small parts stolen) while it's locked up outside... And I'm planning on buying the new bike ANYWAY so it's kinda like why not now when I can use it...

    Argh. Decisions decisions.

    I guess I'll go back to packing and think about it some more. Just felt like babbling.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    1) big bikes fit better in elevators if you lift 'em vertical onto their rear wheel and roll 'em like that

    2) take a recon of the bike-storage room and see if there's space?

    3) ask if there's a furnace room where you could put your bike. Among other things, the airflow would dry stuff off fast if it gets wet.

  3. #3
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I'll be the first one (since there's only 1 other person who replied) to tell you to conserve your finances a bit first, just in case.
    On the other hand, if you're single and don't have much obligations, it's only 2-3 weeks before you can save up enough money for a new bike.

    I would just pick up the bike, hold the rear brake and roll it on the back wheel, it looks cooler too.
    I currently keep my bike in the engineering lab. If they need the space, I can keep it in the boiler room, where I hang my clothes anyway. They end up smelling like gasoline at the end of the day but they're always warm and dry.

    You have a hybrid now right? I'd snag myself a cheap road bike, they're light and small and easy to manuveur around.

  4. #4
    FG 48x17 eaglevii's Avatar
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    If you work where you have your own desk, you might consider locking the bike somewhere using the Sheldon Brown method, and brining the front wheel to your desk with you. If it's a really bad area and you have a quick release seatpost, you could bring that too. I don't know if any of this is practical though - if you work in a non-office environment, you might not have any personal space. If I were you, I'd:

    1) Scope out the place without riding your bike in. See if there is a viable place to store it.

    2) If (1), try commuting with the current bike, and see how it works out, before spending money on a folder. I've never ridden a folder, but if you're that big of a guy, I'd imagine that your regular bike would be more comfortable than a folder. (The again, I don't know - perhaps folder ergonomics aren't so bad).

    If you do need a folder right away, and your credit situation will allow it, you could try the time honored tradition of getting a credit card with 0% APR for 6 months, paying the minimum while you save the cash, and paying off and cancelling the card before the interest kicks in. Just make sure you don't miss that deadline and get stuck with all the back interest (which is just the card company hopes you'll do).

  5. #5
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    You just want a new bike, don't you? Get a Swift. But for the time being, roll it into the elevator on the rear wheel w/ the front wheel up in the air.
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  6. #6
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Yeah, I probably should wait a bit. The thing is it's just gonna be such a pain getting my bike in. To get in the front door I'll have to go up 4 (steep) steps onto a landing that's not very big, then hold the bike with one hand and punch a code, then pull the door open (somehow keeping the bike out of the way of the door), THEN I'll be in the lobby and can take the elevator...

    Removing/reinstalling the front wheel is such a PITA... My disc brakes ALWAYS need to be adjusted after fiddling with the wheel, for some reason if I remove and reinstall the wheel, the brakes will wind up rubbing slightly. Not a big deal when I'm at home working on it, but a PITA to do every day in front of the office.

    I'm thinking of getting one of those cables that has loops at the end... then I can lock it sheldon-brown-style and run the cable through the front wheel and onto the u-lock.

    eaglevii, I've just heard so many things from people who got any little thing stolen... I don't have a quick-release seatpost, but that won't slow down a guy with an allen key very long.

    I test-rode a bunch of folders and the fit is better than you'd think. They seem kinda funny to ride, just because the wheels are small, but the seat-pedals-handlebars distances (which are all the matter because those are the only place your body touches the bike) are very similar to a regular bike. Some people whine about "frame flex" or whatever because folders don't have the same frame geometry... bah. They must be a lot more picky than I am, the folders felt fine to me. Some were cushy, some were zippy, some were in between... just like trying out regular bikes. The one I want to get is REALLY nice... not the fastest one out there, but man it folds so slick and has quick-disconnect luggage and stuff. And I was talking to the guys in the store the other day, you can change out the handlebars (well, as long as you stick with generally "flat bar" style, but width, some angle, all ok) and it looked like I could even put bar ends on it without interfering with the folding action.
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  7. #7
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyossarian
    You just want a new bike, don't you? Get a Swift. But for the time being, roll it into the elevator on the rear wheel w/ the front wheel up in the air.
    Hehe... nah I test-rode the Swift... It's swift, but it feels too much like a road bike (well, that's pretty much what's intended). Very fast, but the ride's kinda harsh. And the fold is great in terms of very quick and would be fine for walking into an elevator, but not as compact in all three dimensions as most of the others, so not as great general-purpose. If I lived in an apartment and wanted a road bike for the weekends I'd buy a Swift in a heartbeat... but for a commuter, it's not my style .
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  8. #8
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eggplant Jeff
    Yeah, I probably should wait a bit. The thing is it's just gonna be such a pain getting my bike in. To get in the front door I'll have to go up 4 (steep) steps onto a landing that's not very big, then hold the bike with one hand and punch a code, then pull the door open (somehow keeping the bike out of the way of the door), THEN I'll be in the lobby and can take the elevator...

    Removing/reinstalling the front wheel is such a PITA... My disc brakes ALWAYS need to be adjusted after fiddling with the wheel, for some reason if I remove and reinstall the wheel, the brakes will wind up rubbing slightly. Not a big deal when I'm at home working on it, but a PITA to do every day in front of the office.
    Am I confusing you with someone else, or didn't you just get a sweet Schwinn Passage? That would make a good commuter bike, and it's not glitzy, unlike anything sporting disc brakes. Even so, I'd do the U-lock-plus-cable thing if it does end up getting parked in the same place every day outside.

  9. #9
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    If you have a security department where you work, see if they can help you. If not, ask if you can install a fake security camera. Post a sign by it: "This area monitored 24/7 by security force."


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  10. #10
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Use the fixie. No messing w/ a disc brake everytime you remove the front wheel. Loop some old bike chain wrapped in old inner tube wrapped around the saddle rails and the rear triangle to lock the saddle down. Fill in the stem, seatpost and pedal bolts w/ crazy glue and use a U-Lock and a Fuhgettaboutit to lock it all down. No thief's gonna spend all day trying to get through all that stuff.
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  11. #11
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Bwah hah hah... I'm sorry, the concept of doing this commute on the fixie is a little crazy at the moment.

    I did the ride home last night on my geared bike and almost died. Right at the end is a KILLER hill... And I was wiped out by that point from doing the preceding 11 miles of semi-hilly (average somewhat uphill, no idea what kinda altitude change) trails/paths through Fairmount Park.

    Of course, it didn't help that it was dark (in the woods, after the sun goes down, DARK), all I had was my dinky c-cell headlight (2.5 watts?) so I could barely see where I was going, although it didn't matter THAT much because I didn't have any idea where I was supposed to be going (luckily about halfway back the park had a trial map posted). It was slightly harrowing. So perhaps I was wiped out as much by the mental aspect as the physical.

    Aaaaaaaanyway, I talked to my boss (who also bike commutes) and got the following scoop. There's a back door to the building, which is still above ground level but there's a handicap ramp so it'll be easier to bring my bike up and open the door without having to balance it on the steps. Near the back door is a larger elevator! However there's one caveat, and that's that it's a retrofit (into a freight elevator shaft) so every couple weeks the brakes lock up and it gets stuck. Not my idea of a fun time. There's also a bike storage room on the first floor, but he confirmed it is almost always full. He gave me a key to it anyway, so I'll go check it out, but my hopes aren't high.

    So anyway my commuting options aren't as bad as I made it seem earlier, because I forgot one important option... The train! $3.75 each way (peak, or $3 non-peak) which is cheaper than parking and it means I don't have to drive. The station's about a 10 minute walk from my apartment. So deciding on a biking option isn't nearly as urgent as I was thinking. I can try it a couple times with my existing bikes and take my time deciding.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Make sure you've used the restroom before getting onto elevators that have a habit of getting stuck.

    Now begin the self-rationalization process for a Light & Motion ARC HID headlight, then let yourself be talked down to a 15W halogen if you have to Think of the money you're going to be saving on gas & parking.

  13. #13
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Oh I know I know... I have a cheapo 10W halogen, uses a lead-acid battery (5 lbs? pretty heavy anyway). But of course I didn't have it WITH me because it's in a box somewhere (I just moved remember) and the box is somewhere near the bottom of the pile because "I'm not going to need it until winter when it is dark out when I'm commuting." Unless I work late and ride home at 9:00.......

    I'm just glad I keep a backup light on my bike... some light is better than none.

    Yeah, the L&M HIDs are pretty appealing. The price tag is a little steep, but I would have had NO problems seeing where I was going.
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  14. #14
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon
    Now begin the self-rationalization process for a Light & Motion ARC HID headlight...
    I was doing that last night as I rode up the Hudson Greenway after dark. In a couple spots I switched my headlight from blinkie to solid and could barely make out the road under the Henry Hudson Pkwy. I thought to myself, "This is a great place for an ambush!". Then I thought a L&M ARC HID wasn't that expensive considering the options. Kind of a good thing that I don't usually ride that MUP after dark. This winter may be another story...
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  15. #15
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    If the elevator thing is such a problem, why don't you take the stairs? If you work on the 2nd or 3rd floor, there's not too many reasons I can think of to not shoulder the bike and hotfoot it up to your office.
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  16. #16
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    I say get a folder...craigslist should have something, as will the paper.

    One of my co-workers said he got a folder from wal-mart of all places a few years back for under $200....I never seen it or him commuting on it, but he claims it's pretty reliable. 20" wheels and all.
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  17. #17
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    Option #3: buy me a cannondale r700.
    That won't help your original issue but I'd appreciate it.

  18. #18
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    If the elevator thing is such a problem, why don't you take the stairs? If you work on the 2nd or 3rd floor, there's not too many reasons I can think of to not shoulder the bike and hotfoot it up to your office.
    4th floor, and the bike's 45 lbs UNloaded...
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  19. #19
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie
    Option #3: buy me a cannondale r700.
    That won't help your original issue but I'd appreciate it.
    No problem. You just have to give me a ride on the handlebars to and from work every day.
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  20. #20
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    get a chain and a u-lock find something secrue outside your building and lock em up there.

    i keep TWO bikes locked up all day unattended in centercity that way and nothing ever gets messed with (knock on wood).... i did have one bike lifted when i was stupid and locked up there with only a single U lock but since getting the NYC chain no one has messed with a thing on our bikes.

    philly isn't as bad as people make it out. if you got two decent locks i really wouldn't worry too much about leaving it outside, during the day, in almost any part of the city...

    oh and leave the locks at work, carrying and nyc chain + u-lock to and from work everyday is a b!tch...
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