Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: First commute

  1. #1
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    My Bikes
    Trek 7.6 FX
    Posts
    265
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    First commute

    Well, it all started with my idea to buy a Vespa, I live pretty close to work (4.5 miles) and I was thinking it would be more "green" to buy a small motor scooter and drive that in. Plus it would leave my car for my driving children to use during the coming summer. This is happening at the same time I am going through the requisite 46 year old mid life crisis - oh-my-god I weigh 205 lbs - start going to the gym 3 times a week period of my life.

    It dawned on me that it might be possible to cycle to work, its only 4 or 5 miles.... Of course apart from the odd time on a stationary bike (not my favorite form of cardio BTW) I haven't ridden a bike more than 100 yards since my early twenties. After a bucket load of research and visits to LBS's I was stuck in the road bike -vs- hybrid debate (with a touch of cyclocross thrown in for good measure) I must of went back and forth three times before settling on a hybrid (or Trek's term, "fitness") bike. My end analysis was partially $$, concerns about traffic awareness and some concerns about lower back issues. Some $1,200 poorer I was the proud owner of a Trek 7.6 FX and assorted Helmet, bike locks, repair kit, sunglasses etc...

    Today was my first commute in, I left ~9:00 am after nearly all of the quite busy car commuter traffic was over. I "cheated" by carrying/walked my (yet unamed) bike down an old abandoned, but still tracked, rail line to avoid the uphill double blind ess curve right by my house. The bed is all large rocks - not ride-able IMHO. I then joined the county road on the straight spot with good sight lines and set of. Flat for the first half a mile, a slightly tricky light with a left turn lane then down a slight incline for a mile up a small grade hill and then flat for another 1/2 mile or so. All of this a four lane county road with office parks on either side. Then a goodly sized slope - picked up some decent speed - began thinking what would happen if I took a tumble - decided to stop thinking about it! One or two semi's and a couple of dump trucks added to the experience, but the shoulder at this point was wide and ample (but quite gravelly)

    I had to cross over the two lanes for my left hand turn lane, but between my pretty constant mirror checking and a look back or two allowed me to gage the correct time. Last 1/2 mile was another slight uphill rise before my office complex. I was the only bike in a very old and decrepit bike rack although I have seen one other bike at times - company has >4,000 people at this site.

    The return commute was not as bad as I was worried about. The long hill, that was so nice going down, was a challenge. My bike has a compact crank and is a nine speed so "only" 18 gears - I was worried that the low gear would not be "low" enough but my legs and it, proved equal to the task. Although I'd worry about any steeper grade hills (of which there are plenty of around here - SE Pennsylvania). The double blind ess curve was OK since I had a good rate of speed and I checked my mirror to see if I had "enough" clearance between me any any car/truck behind me. Most of the return trip was uphill, but on the spots that were not or flat, I felt I was more confident and ergo faster that the morning trip.

    Weather is iffy tomorrow, but I'll give it a go anyway.

    As for clothes, I wore regular jeans, t-shirt and light oxford going in and changed to yoga shorts and another t-shirt for the return trip. Regular New Balance sneakers on dual sided clipless pedals - I will seriously consider "real" bike shoes and some form of clipless (new pedals if required) as well as some other bike friendly clothes. We have a full blown locker room at work, showers etc... so I have good options

    Final word? I think I can do this, unlike some on this forum with long commutes, mine is an easily managed 4+ miles

  2. #2
    M_S
    M_S is offline
    All Mod Cons M_S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Face down in a snowbank
    My Bikes
    K2 Enemey Cyclocross franken build; Redline D660 29er, Volpe SS Cross
    Posts
    3,694
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Cool! Welcome to being viewed as a weirdo by most around you.

  3. #3
    500 Watts kill.cactus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    My Bikes
    Trek 7200 FX ('05), Trek 6000 ('07)
    Posts
    833
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I like your style of buying everything and then starting. Unfortunately for me I just started with a bike and helmet. Then I added lights. Then a rack. Finally some accessories.

    Haha took me a while to learn.

    I have a 7200 FX though, which is a cheaper model FX from about two years before Trek started branding them 7.2s or 7.6s.

    Not a bad bike, albeit heavy

  4. #4
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    My Bikes
    Trek 7.6 FX
    Posts
    265
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by kill.cactus
    I like your style of buying everything and then starting. Unfortunately for me I just started with a bike and helmet. Then I added lights. Then a rack. Finally some accessories.

    Haha took me a while to learn.

    I have a 7200 FX though, which is a cheaper model FX from about two years before Trek started branding them 7.2s or 7.6s.

    Not a bad bike, albeit heavy
    no rack yet, no headlight yet either just a rear blinkie for twilight. I was looking at the 7.7 originally, before fiscal prudence kicked in ($1.6K!)

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne Australia
    My Bikes
    GT Avalanche 1.0 non disc
    Posts
    126
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Congratulations.

    A mountain bike with wide tyres would handle the old railway line, although you wouldn't be as quick on the road.

  6. #6
    n00b M. Rhoten's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Kirkland WA
    My Bikes
    Jamis Aurora
    Posts
    123
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm just getting started too. I also started with the "buy everything beforehand" approach, but sometimes I think I have more money than sense.

    I did start out with a bunch of rides around my neighborhood to get used to the bike and get my legs stronger. It's pretty hilly around here, so the rides were of the form "1.5 miles down the hill to downtown, go to library or whatever, then 1.5 miles in 1st or 2nd gear up the hill to home." I still feel like my 4.5 mile commute is more strength training than cardio.

    Congrats on the commute freemti!

  7. #7
    Just a commuter stockholm's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden
    My Bikes
    Scott Metrix 20 for commuting, Specialized Dolce Elite for fun
    Posts
    262
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by M. Rhoten
    I still feel like my 4.5 mile commute is more strength training than cardio.
    Switch gears and spin faster. Your knees will thank you for it

    Good going freemti!

  8. #8
    Senior Member oilfreeandhappy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    My Bikes
    Shasta Kiliminjaro, Optima Dragon Recumbent
    Posts
    1,065
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Allright. Good job! I hope you continue to enjoy the commute. I started out much the same way, and I usually commuted 3-4 days a week. Now, it's a rare day that I don't ride. I've actually learned to enjoy the challenge of acclimating my riding and wardrobe to the weather.
    Jim
    Make a BOLD Statement While Cycling!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    343
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hey, welcome fellow mid-life crisis bike commuter. I re-visited biking nine months ago as part of my mid-life crisis (I'm 41). I hadn't ridden with any regularity since college. Be prepared to have this habit become an addiction. Also, be prepared after several months of having people comment on the excellent tone in your legs and butt. The 40s are the new 20s.

  10. #10
    `````````````` CaptainCool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    san jose
    Posts
    765
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by kill.cactus
    I like your style of buying everything and then starting. Unfortunately for me I just started with a bike and helmet. Then I added lights. Then a rack. Finally some accessories.

    Haha took me a while to learn.

    I have a 7200 FX though, which is a cheaper model FX from about two years before Trek started branding them 7.2s or 7.6s.
    Same here. $400 bike (7.2FX as it happens) nine months ago, probably $400 in accessories and $200 in tools and supplies since. Love what I've turned it into though.

    The 7000 series is still made. They're "hybrid" bikes, while the FXs are "fitness" bikes. 7000s have front suspension, FXs are rigid. Looks like the 7200 has almost the same parts list as the 7.2FX.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Dover, NH USA
    My Bikes
    1986 Bridgestone 500, 1981 Motobecane Super Mirage
    Posts
    245
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by freemti
    it all started with my idea to buy a Vespa
    I started my bike commute the same way last summer when gas was $3/gal. A scooter would be better on gas than a car.. I didn't have $2500 for a proper 150cc rig. But I did have an old bike in the garage that I hadn't been using. The rest is history.

    Best of luck on your commute. Before long you'll likely be taking the "long" way in/home.

  12. #12
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Newton, MA
    Posts
    4,550
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Bravo! Great post and description of a first commute. Nice to start each day with a little adventure. Sounds like your LBS steered you right to the right bike for the job- what a relief!

    Let us know how it goes from here.


  13. #13
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    My Bikes
    Trek 7.6 FX
    Posts
    265
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Twas raining pretty hard yesterday and being without a lick of rain gear I drove in. But I biked in today and discovered that gloves are usefull things on cold days! - I'll have to buy a pair! Will try to pike up a rack this weekend too, backpack is do-able but I'd like to tote more clothes and stuff and it might get a bit unweildy.

    I left earlier today, ~8:15, much more traffic and a little more difficult figuring out how to handle various situations like left turns. left turns w/separate lanes, crossing back over two lanes to take left hand exit, do I line up at the left hand light or go to the front, do I go to the front on the right when there is no room on the left (divided highway) and expose myself to traffic (I didn't)?

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    My Bikes
    Specialized Allez Elite
    Posts
    116
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Good job! I'm new to this too. I started on my road bike that was set up for triathalons so I had to buy a lot of gear to convert it to a commuter. Well, I didn't convert it so much as morph it. I still have the aero bars on and still use my race cleats and Lake tri shoes but whatever. I only have one bike so it's gotta do it all.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Tempe, AZ
    Posts
    2,967
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    cool! I started a year ago. on a Mtn bike way too small for me, then a road bike from Salvation army and then another used road bike from lbs. it's fun!
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  16. #16
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    My Bikes
    Trek 7.6 FX
    Posts
    265
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    [UPDATE] Me and my Trek 7.6 FX are still at it. Did my first full week of commuting all 5 days, looked like it might of rained on my parade this morning, but the clouds held off long enough for me to make it to work. Wednesday I rode back in the rain however, not too bad, but a little cold.

    I've been putting off a)getting fenders and b)getting decent rain gear. I will probably take care of both issues this weekend with a)freddy fenders and b)to be determined - probably just a basic lightweight rain jacket, maybe those leg things that just cover the thighs, both of which I'll stash in my trunk. Bike sure does get dirty in the rain, I hear fenders help there a lot. Cold wet sneakers suck BTW.

    I've also not pulled the trigger on "real" bike clothes, for my commute there is no real need - at 3.5 miles nothing is going to chaff that bad, nor do I need rear pockets since my trunk has ample storage space. I change into regular shorts w/liner or yoga shorts on hot days for the return trip.

    Still not using clipless at this point after my initial not so happy experiment with speedplays. There really are a lot of lights (6) in my 3.5 m commute and one tricky county road merge with bad sight lines. I'm going to try power grips for a while - see how I like them. I do feel I will go clipless at some point.

    Brought a pair of RM-1 Ergon bar ends/grips - quite happy with them. They give me a comfortable landing spot for my hands without cocking the wrist. The little "horns" help with pulling up hills and give me some different hand positions.

    I've come to like the stock seat, a Bontrager Race Lux and feel no great need to run out and try another one. It could possibly be a bit wider in the back though - after I've done some more long rides I'll see what my b*tt says about it.

    As I had been warned, the cycling bug has hit and I've started doing Saturday and/or Sunday rides too. Have a 20 miler tomorrow and maybe a 30 on Sunday. Hills are still my nemesis, but invcrementally getting easier
    Trek 7.6 FX
    IF Club Racer
    ---
    We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them - Albert Einstein.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •