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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 02-27-07, 03:41 PM   #1
tjjohnson
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Commuting in Fargo?

Hi,

I know it gets a little cool in the wintertime, but what are the odds that someone could bike commute all year long in this area?

Thank you in advance,
Tom
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Old 02-27-07, 03:43 PM   #2
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No reason it can't be done. Some folks here do it in far worse places. Now why on God's Earth you'd live there is the mystery to me.
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Old 02-28-07, 09:40 AM   #3
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For sure it's possible. I ride year round in Minneapolis. In Fargo winter obviously will be the biggest challenge. But as has been stated, people are doing it in far worse places.

The actual odds are going to depend on a bunch of factors:
A. The shear will and determination of the person commuting. (that applies all year long)
B. The right clothing. You'll need a pretty good collection of stuff. (plenty of threads here about that)
C. The right bike for the winter (also plenty of threads here about that).
D. Your route. The length, the types of roads and surfaces, traffic flow, overall safety, and how well they are plowed. Careful planning and re-con is worth the effort. You can buy clothing and equipment, but your route is what it is. Without moving or changing jobs, that can be the hardest factor to overcome. If it's 30 miles each way down semi rural roads that don't get plowed for 2 days after each snow storm. That could make the odds very long.

good luck!
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Old 03-01-07, 10:31 PM   #4
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When I was in college, I commuted 4 miles, round trip, in St Paul. That was so much easier than the 12 miles that I have now. Depending on how far you have to go, you may or may not need polar gear. If you dress properly, it can be quite enjoyable to ride in the cold. Just remember that it's a learning experience, so it's easiest to start in the Fall, and experiment and tweak your clothing as it gets progressively colder. But hey, it's already March, so it's not too bad now, is it?
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Old 03-02-07, 11:58 AM   #5
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Well the good news is that there will be no hill climbing on your commute -- maybe an overpass or underpass, but nothing else. I was born there and spent a few years there and it is the flatest place outside of machined surface I have ever seen.

The bad news is those long cold winters. I agree with modernjess that your route will be the big thing. You'll need to scout out possible options and maybe hook up with either a local cycling club or some cycling club at NDSU that might have info on routes. You could try to use snow emergency routes since they will get plowed first even if traffic is heavier. I would be prepared to use other transportation at certain points in the winter when there is simply too much snow or blizzard conditions.

I would start riding your route as soon as you can, both to get used to it yourself and to familiarize drivers with their newest companion on the road. The more often they see you, the better luck you will have when the weather turns ugly. Fargo is a very small city, so most people on the route will come to recognize you and work you into their driving patterns.

In Fargo winter clothing goes without saying and there are plenty of threads on clothing here. Again a local cycling club could be of help. You could also check out the Fargo Forum newspaper online to see if they have done any stories on bike commuters. If you can find a fellow nut, you can probably contact them for specific pointers. Good luck on one very serious commute!!
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Old 03-02-07, 12:23 PM   #6
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No real advice other than to say yes it can be done. I'm slightly nostalgic about Fargo, since I used to live in Detroit Lakes and went to Fargo often. I'd keep a fixed gear in your stable for when it gets below about -5 F. I've had trouble with my cassette body not catching in temps colder than that. It isn't really a problem for me until about -15 ish, but a fixed gear doesn't have any prawls to get stuck.

BTW, I disagree that the biggest challenge will be cold. It will be wind. Riding in wind sucks. You will have to learn to love it.
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