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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 09-19-06, 08:19 AM   #1
aubinmg
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What should I ride?

I'm in Ottawa ON. I'm not a competitive rider but I've always loved being on two wheels. For three years in the early 90's I commuted 20K per day to work and on weekends rode with my kids. Life took me too far from work to ride. I'm close enough now, I think, 25k each way.
Of course I want a new bike. My old ride is a 15 year old cheap hybrid.
The choices available are bewildering! Internal hubs look good, so do shaft drives not to forget the derailleurs. And what kind of frame? Road? Hybrid? Touring?
I like what I've seen from Cannondale but I'm not stuck on labels.
Its too late this year, late autumn in Ottawa is unstable at best so I got a while to dream and scheme.
So, I'd be happy to hear some advice and personal experiences.
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Old 09-19-06, 08:29 AM   #2
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There are many threads here and websites for you to check out. Almost too many to list ...

Start on your hybrid if it is sound. I have commuted on touring bikes, internal hub bikes and converted mountain bikes. Each one had plusses and minuses. Your first purchase should be fenders and some type of rack/bag combination. How much money did you plan on spending?
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Old 09-19-06, 08:38 AM   #3
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www.kenkifer.com
www.runmuki.com (Paul Dorn)
www.faughnan.com
www.bikecommute.com
www.bicyclecommuter.com
www.icebike.com (check out Pete Hickey in Canada)
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Old 09-19-06, 10:25 AM   #4
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Thanks

Good idea. My bike is the second of two bikes I used to commute on and I've still got all the gear, fenders, racks, bags, rainsuit. I'm quite a sight.
I'm thinking the finance committee will let me spend about $1000.

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Old 09-19-06, 10:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by aubinmg
Good idea. My bike is the second of two bikes I used to commute on and I've still got all the gear, fenders, racks, bags, rainsuit. I'm quite a sight.
I recommend riding what you've got for at least a month or so, that way you'll have a better idea of what you actually want to change on a new bike. Since you haven't been riding for a while, absolutely everything out there will look new and shiny and awesome... but you might spend a lot of money on a bike you don't really want until you have a good idea what you DO want.

That being said, I recommend a steel touring or cyclocross road bike
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Old 09-19-06, 10:42 AM   #6
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The weather is still nice for biking in Ottawa right now (if a bit wet some days, but that's fun too). I find it a lot more pleasant to ride right now than it was in the summer because I'm not overheating all the time. Anyway, don't wait until spring to start!
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Old 09-19-06, 10:52 AM   #7
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$1,000.....hmmm..... I commute about 18 mile per day year round through all seasons. At that price range I would recommend a bike such as the bianchi volpe or Surley crosscheck. The versatility of these machines is amazing and they will both allow you to reach some serious speed if you care about that. The more I commute, the more I value versatility in a machine (as long as it does not impede my efficiency or speed). I currently commute on a 1982 Peugeot road bike that I converted to a single speed and think it is just about perfect at 70 gear inches for the job. I spent a few dollars for new bars and stem/stem adapter and brake levers. I like my cockpit to feel and look modern. If I could change anything, I would put fast 700c wheels (has 27" on it right now) on it and allow a little more clearance for fenders. It has fender eyelets and the freddy's fit fine with 1 inch tires but if I want to run knobbies (which I will this winter) I will have to arange a fender split or something creative like that. For me, the speed of the commute is where the fun is, so although a mtb is rugged and can get the job done, I only ride it on serious snow days. Drop bars make me faster and that makes me happy
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Old 09-19-06, 11:15 AM   #8
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I second the touring or cyclocross bike. Just make sure they come w/ rack and eyelet fenders and can take wider tires (like studded tires for ice). Test ride all of them, then pick the one that's most comfortable.
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Old 09-19-06, 02:57 PM   #9
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Cha Ching! That's a nice amount. If I had $1000 to spend I'd get two used bikes!

A used Volpe runs ~ $5 or 600. Great for 80% of your commuting time.
An old used 12 speed runs $50 -100. Use this one as a backup or on heavily salted roads.

OOOPS. These are US dollars not CDN. You're still under 1000 CDN with this approach.
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Old 09-19-06, 05:46 PM   #10
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Thanks, I've never heard of VOLPE. I'll dig around for it. I don't ride in the winter, in Ottawa it's tantamount to suicide.
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Old 09-19-06, 05:57 PM   #11
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Thanks, I've never heard of VOLPE. I'll dig around for it. I don't ride in the winter, in Ottawa it's tantamount to suicide.
+1 on the Volpe. A coworker of mine has it, and loves it. A very well designed and durable light touring bike at a good price.
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Old 09-19-06, 06:05 PM   #12
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http://www.bianchiusa.com/06_volpe.html
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Old 09-20-06, 06:28 AM   #13
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Thanks for the link. That's a great looking bike, pretty and tough, just what I was thinking of.
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Old 09-20-06, 07:41 AM   #14
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Other options of the same general type (and roughly the same price) as the Volpe would be the Jamis Aurora and the Surly Cross-check (although I don't think anybody sells the Cross-check in Ottawa). Both are steel-framed, classic geometry touring/cross style bikes.

If you prefer aluminum, the DeVinci Destination will be about that price range as well; it's a touring bike with a more "compact" (sloping top-tube).

Although there's no such thing as a perfect bike that's ideal for all conditions, I think these come the closest -- they can be used comfortably for fitness or recreational riding, they can give you some (limited) gravel/dirt trail ability, and they have enough braze-ons and connection points for fenders and racks.

The downsides -- they aren't as fast as racing road bikes because they're heavier and less agile in corners, and they aren't suitable for serious off-roading. If you're only ever going to use a bike as a commuter and don't care about speed, you might find that a dedicated commuter/utility bike with an internal hub (less maintenance, less likely to leave you having to wrestle a chain back on the cogs in the middle of your commute) might suit you better. Finally, some people find that they really, really don't like drop handlebars.

I would suggest you spend as much time as you can trying out different styles of bikes to see which one you like, while at the same time thinking about how you're likely to use it.

Good luck, and let us know what you choose.
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Old 09-20-06, 08:02 AM   #15
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I'd have to agree with the other posters as my top three choices for a commuter would be Surly CrossCheck, Jamis Aurora, and Bianchi Volpe. However I'm not sure the new bike prices for these will come in under $1000 CDN, though they will be under $1000 US.
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Old 09-20-06, 08:03 AM   #16
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I'd have to agree with the other posters as my top three choices for a commuter would be Surly CrossCheck, Jamis Aurora, and Bianchi Volpe. However I'm not sure the new bike prices for these will come in under $1000 CDN, though they will be under $1000 US.
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Another good choice for a commuter would be the Fuji Touring! Very similar to the Bianchi Volpe, with Tiagra drivetrain. Bikesdirect.com sometimes has a model from 2 years previous for only $600 or so including shipping. Looks like a very good price to me.
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Old 10-02-06, 06:55 PM   #17
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I may have found it. The other day I stumbled across The Cyclery in Ottawa while I was looking for Sheldon Brown's Cyclery on the web. They have a custom built commuter they call the Krike. Shimano 4, 7 or 8 speed Nexus hub with roller brake and a Shimano generator hub, wide slicks, fenders and a rack. I took one for a ride on saturday and I'm very impressed. Superb shifting and stopping, stable and comfortable. My only caveat is that I found the one-size frame a tad short, but there's a tall seat post.
Check it out here http://www.thecyclery.ca/pages/krike.htm.
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