Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

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.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-27-06, 10:56 PM   #1
minglee
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
minglee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Bronx, NY
Bikes:
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
New Biker and New Commuter

I finally took the plunge and bought a bike to commute with. I've been waiting forever to do so. Until September, I've had to use my car to take my child to Pre-K. Now that he has started Kindergarten, and it's right down the block from my house, I can take him to school on foot and then hop on the bike to work. Only in intensely cold weather will I drive (no fair to make a 4 year old walk through the freezing cold) or when I have to take my laundry out (I can't figure out how to get 30 lbs of laundry on my bike).

Anyway, I've commuted about 5 days out of the last 2 weeks. I only go 4 miles round trip. I see you all posting your 30+ mile commutes and I don't know how you do it! I'm so out of shape that those 4 miles hurt! In time it will get easier, I know, as I get into better shape.

I purchased an inexpensive bike. A 26" Schwinn Ranger from Target. I just couldn't wait until I could afford a better bike (I'd be waiting forever) and I figured, let me just see how this goes and if I really get into riding, I'll invest in a better bike. I only purchased a helmt and a lock.

Now I'm ready to buy some more supplies. A safety vest, some lights for night riding, a rear rack, some fenders.

I haven't been able to figure out a left turn yet. As of now, I do it as a pedestrian, going across the intersection via 1 crosswalk, then making the left via the next cross walk, waiting for the pedestrian's walk signal. Many of my left turns would be from 1 two-lane road into another two-lane road. So, the cars in the right lane, I'm never sure if they're going to go left or right. And if I get inbetween the 2 lanes, how do I get back over to the right if the car on the right goes left? I'm too scared! It's only my 3rd week though.
minglee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-27-06, 11:25 PM   #2
jyossarian
SERENITY NOW!!!
 
jyossarian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: In the 212
Bikes: Haro Vector, IRO Rob Roy, Bianchi Veloce
Posts: 8,756
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Congrats and welcome to the club! Take it easy and keep on doing the 2 point left turns until you get comfortable enough to take and change lanes. Get some mirrors, front and rear blinkies, a headlight, reflective vest and leg straps, etc.

As for the bike, check the review thread of the GMC Denali. You have a different bike, but the adjustments and checks that are mentioned in that thread will apply to your bike too. Check and adjust the brakes if necessary, shifter cables, etc.
__________________
HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!
jyossarian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-06, 03:42 AM   #3
tsl
Plays in traffic
 
tsl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Bikes: 1996 Litespeed Classic, 2006 Trek Portland, 2013 Ribble Winter/Audax
Posts: 6,944
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
I did the same thing with left turns for a while until I became confident in traffic.

As for getting 30 lbs of laundry to the laundromat and back, a bike trailer or an X-Tra cycle are probably the best bet. They come in handy too for shopping and taking the kids around. See the Living Car-Free forum for ideas and suggestions.
tsl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-06, 06:56 AM   #4
swwhite
Senior Member
 
swwhite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Minneapolis MN USA
Bikes: Trek 4300
Posts: 846
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Your comfort with various traffic maneuvers will evolve with time. Do what feels comfortable and wait. I used to ride on the sidewalk because if felt safer. Now I ride on the street because it feels safer. I'm sure either way is as safe, or not safe, now as it was then, independent of my feelings about it.

On busy streets, I used to make left turns just like cars, but now at one particular street I have started doing sort of what you do. I stay on the right edge of the street and go across the cross street. Then I stop and turn the bike to the left, and cross the street perpendicularly, thus making an effective left turn. The reason I do this is that sevaral times, when I was out in the middle of the street with my left arm out waiting for an opening in the oncoming traffic so I could turn left, people would just stop. I suppose they were trying to be polite, or they thought I had the right of way, or something, but it meant that the well-defined traffic rules are suddenly up for negotiation and we have to sit there saying, no after you, no reallly, you go first, please. One time a police officer actually stopped and asked me what I was doing out there in the middle of the intersection, stopped, with my left arm extended. Now I just try to avoid left turns.
swwhite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-06, 07:27 AM   #5
mwrobe1
Code Warrior
 
mwrobe1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: South suburbs of Chicago, Illinois
Bikes: Schwinn MTB/Raleigh Marathon
Posts: 620
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Total coolness!

I put 1000 miles on my Schwinn Ranger over the spring and summer of this year (mine was a gift from my wife purchased from Target a year ago), mostly commuting and getting out when I could. I haven't had any major problems with it. I did break a spoke 3 weeks ago on the rear wheel and have been meaning to get it fixed. Since then the bike has been sitting in the garage. It been too dark in the mornings anyway. Since we do the time changeover tomorrow, I'm going to see if I could get in some more miles before the real winter sets in. I don't have the clothing...and admittantly, the motivation to make my 34 mile roundtrip commute in below freezing weather and/or snow just yet...the heat in my car works too damn good!

Be aware that the brakes and the rear derailier may need adjusting after 100 or so miles...I know mine did...thats just normal break-in/cable stretch.

I bought a rear rack and a handlebar bag for mine, along with a helmet, a couple bungies, a backpack, a cyclocomputer, 2 pairs of UnderArmour shorts and jerseys and a kevlar belted tire for the rear. Since I took this pic...I got a "less chunky" more comfortable seat for it as well.

I intend to upgrade to a entry level road bike...or perhaps an older Schwinn Varsity/Le Tour/Traveler...when the time is right and funds are available.

__________________
Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, 1/2 a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.

Jake: Hit it.



Last edited by mwrobe1; 10-28-06 at 07:36 AM.
mwrobe1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-06, 07:48 PM   #6
CrosseyedCrickt
Banned.
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: I've had enough.
Bikes:
Posts: 898
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Cool, a new convert... maybe we bicycle commuters can start our on religeon and get tax breaks!
As far as hauling around 30lbs of clothing, you could invest in a child trailer and use it for double duty. I have one I picked up at Wal-Mart and it works great. I haul my son around in it, use it for groceries, sundrys, taking tools and things to work, etc. etc.
And another thing, the pain goes away, or maybe you get used to it, I'm really not 100% sure. But I'm out of shape, have been since I got out of college. Hit ~350lbs at my worst and am now down below 290 and I do 20 mile commutes daily.
Keep it up, the benefits outweigh the risks.
CrosseyedCrickt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-06, 11:37 PM   #7
oilfreeandhappy
Senior Member
 
oilfreeandhappy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Bikes: Shasta Kiliminjaro, Optima Dragon Recumbent
Posts: 1,064
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
WTG minglee! It's great to hear that you're doing this, and managing life with small children at the same time.
__________________
Jim
Make a BOLD Statement While Cycling!
oilfreeandhappy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-06, 09:09 AM   #8
minglee
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
minglee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Bronx, NY
Bikes:
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Laundry/Child Trailer

Yeah, I know I could get one of those child trailers. But I just have absolutely no place to put one in my apartment. Seriously. I live with my son in a NYC apartment. I couldn't imagine where I would put that trailer in here.

I'm not comfortable riding with my kid in that thing. I know people do it all the time, but I just can't risk it with him. I just wouldn't be able to live with myself if I put him in one of those and some idiot runs into him. I know cars are risky too, but if someone taps into us in our car at 10 MPH, it's very different from running into that trailer.

And I need to do those chores before/after work. I couldn't imagine carrying both that bike and that trailer upstairs. And where would I park that trailer at work?

It's just not practical sometimes.
minglee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-06, 09:28 AM   #9
RonH
Life is good
 
RonH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Not far from the Withlacoochee Trail. 🚴🏻
Bikes: My beloved 2001 Litespeed Tuscany and my 2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod
Posts: 16,118
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by minglee
Now I'm ready to buy some more supplies. A safety vest, some lights for night riding, a rear rack, some fenders.
Decent lights may set you back more than the bike.


Quote:
Originally Posted by minglee
I haven't been able to figure out a left turn yet.
Contact one of these League cycling instructors and ask when they'll be teaching their next Bike Ed course. Great for any new or experienced cyclist.
__________________


The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. - Psalm 103:8
RonH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-06, 09:54 AM   #10
ahpook
dirtbag roadie
 
ahpook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: PDX
Bikes: Della Santa Corsa Speciale -- Kish custom -- Santa Cruz Stigmata -- Niner Air 9 Carbon
Posts: 894
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Check out John Allen's Street Smarts book, it's really great help in figuring out tricky situations while you're cycling: http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/index.htm
__________________
follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/ahpook/
ahpook is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:46 AM.