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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 04-12-07, 03:30 PM   #1
jbucky1
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"the Rookie" to commuting questions -

I'm somewhat a newbie to commuting. I made my bike a pretty stripped down bike with no quick releases.
I lock my bike outside my office and was wondering :-

- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
- Do you have quick release wheels?
- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid


Thanks - bucky
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Old 04-12-07, 03:42 PM   #2
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- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
No. My bike comes inside.

- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
No. See above.

- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
No QR saddles on my bikes.

- Do you have quick release wheels?
On some of them.

- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
I have one of each, but usually my bike stays unlocked in my cubicle.

- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
15mm wrench. not an issue with QRs

- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid
not having fenders. if you ever ride in the rain, have fenders. it took me a ridiculous amount of time to realize that.
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Old 04-12-07, 03:42 PM   #3
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If you have a cheap blinkie for a light, I wouldn't bother taking them off except when you're in the occasional high theft area.

I always carry my tools (one of those compact multi tool kit, an adjustable wrench, CO2 cartridge and pump, patch kit). Altogether, they're kinda heavy, but very necessary for me.

Since my commute's 12 miles, I'm always thinking "please don't let me get another flat". So watch out for broken glass and pieces of metal!
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Old 04-12-07, 03:49 PM   #4
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Lights come w/ me so they don't get stolen.
Saddle's locked to the rear triangle w/ some bike chain wrapped in innertube.
On some bikes I have QR wheels.
I use a U-lock to lock the rear wheel to the frame and the chain to lock the frame and front wheel to whatever I'm locking to.
The most inconvenient thing I carry on my commute is a laptop.
Traffic. Be safe.
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Old 04-12-07, 03:51 PM   #5
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A lot of your questions seem to be theft-related. The risk of theft is highly dependant on location. Therefore, the answers you get here will be of little value for your situation.

I lock my bike outside, with a cable lock, with quick-release wheels. QR seatpost is an oddity not usually found on good bikes.

The biggest bike-related issue? Dunno, but these are some key issues:

1. Nighttime visibility - you need to at least have a rear blinky.
2. A way to carry stuff - I prefer a rack and panniers, but use what works for you.
3. Fixing problems - It's a good idea to have a spare tube, pump or CO2, multitool, and the ability to use them. Eventually, you will get a flat.

EDIT - I would say flats are the biggest "bike-related" issue in commuting. I don't suffer an inordinate amount of flats, but a flat tire is more likely to stop me than a mechanical problem.
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Old 04-12-07, 04:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbucky1
- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
no.

Quote:
- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
I do it sometimes, not all the time, but it isnt really a big deal.

Quote:
- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
Mine can be taken off quickly with an allen wrench, but i just consider it a loss if it ever happens (it hasnt).

Quote:
- Do you have quick release wheels?
yes.

Quote:
- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
u-lock goes around front wheel and frame, attaches to a chain which hooks around back wheel.

Quote:
- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
u-locks are ****ing way too heavy and bulky!

Quote:
- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid
proper winter clothing! and fenders.
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Old 04-12-07, 04:11 PM   #7
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This is general, but don't commute on a $4000 bike. Like said before, the below questions are LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.

- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
Nope, I normally remove the headlight and take it with me, along with my Cateye.

- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
Literally takes 2 seconds to remove the headlight and fits into a pocket.

- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
I don't think I've even heard of a quick release saddle.

- Do you have quick release wheels?
Yes, but even if they weren't "quick release", they would be for someone who wanted them.

- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
Cable and cable only. Long enough to go through front wheel, double loop around rack, double loop around frame, and through the rear wheel.

- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
Shoes. Keep a pair of work shoes at work, that way you have seperate commute shoes and work shoes, and don't have to carry any extra pair.

- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting?
With me, its the occasional chain issue that gets me greasy. The grease usually finds its way all over me.


Overall, there is a list of minimums that every commuter must have, like patches, multitool, pump, etc. With that, the most important thing I can think about for commuting, is to know how to use your multitool to fix general problems and how to fix a flat. To get better at this, try to do ALL your maintenence on your bike yourself, and better yet, use the multitool to do it. Just the other day I was working on the bike in our front yard with my teeny multitool and my roommate came up to me and offered me full size screw drivers and such, I declined and he looked at me like I was crazy.
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Old 04-12-07, 04:26 PM   #8
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I lock my bike outside my office and was wondering :-
Mine is inside my office

- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
No, but one was had the red plastic part messed with outside of a WalMart.

- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
No

- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
No. I had a funky stock saddle. Just got an avocet, but haven't done anything.

- Do you have quick release wheels?
Yes

- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
Curly Cable

- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
Tire Pump

- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid
Traffic, hills, weather
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Old 04-12-07, 04:28 PM   #9
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- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
My bike comes inside.

- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
If I am downtown I strip my bike of accessories.

- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
If downtown I take it with me

- Do you have quick release wheels?
yes

- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
Unlocked inside at work, downtown I use 2 cables and a U lock

- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
Tupperware with lunch

- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid
Winter ice and snow, cold hands
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Old 04-12-07, 04:29 PM   #10
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- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
No
- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
I remove the $$ LED headlight, I leave the cheapo rear blinkie. Its not a hassle.
- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
No quick release on the seat post.
- Do you have quick release wheels?
Yes
- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
U-Lock on the frame/rear wheel, separate cable lock for the frame/front wheel. I read somewhere (so it must be true!) that it takes different tools to defeat U Locks and cable locks, so a thief carrying only one tool may be discouraged by the presence of both locks. That and I commute on a truly crappy appearing bike with a heart of gold.
- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
The usual gear is not really all that inconvenient. I run into difficulties when I want to remove some cold weather gear that was useful in the morning but overkill on the ride home. My rack trunk bag is pretty small.
- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid
Getting out of the garage. Once I get a few blocks into the ride, I know I made the right decision.
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Old 04-12-07, 04:36 PM   #11
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- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
No, My bike sits next to my desk in my office.

- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
I don't think lights would be stolen except in a really bad area.

- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
I have Quick Release on my MTB saddle but I use a road bike to commute.

- Do you have quick release wheels?
Yep.

- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
I doon't need to at work but if I had to use a lock I have a heavy cable lock which I'd put through both wheels and the frame.

- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
The extra 15 kilograms around my waist.

- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting?
Motorists.
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Old 04-12-07, 04:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
sometimes stolen, more frequently shattered or they just flake out. In general, lights below the $50 range (which is all you really need when commuting in an urban area) are disposable, and I don't get too heavily invested in them. I expect to replace a blinkie on an annual basis.

Quote:
Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
no. see above regarding lights being disposable.

Quote:
What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
Quick release saddle clamp was the first thing that I swapped out.

Quote:
Do you have quick release wheels?
yes. the convenience of being able to remove wheels quickly to fix a flat outweighs paranoia over them getting stolen.

Quote:
Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
both. u-lock for front QR wheel, frame and anchor object; cable lock around frame and both wheels and anchor object. Like many others, I also bring mine inside. Specifically, I park mine in a server room closet that has a security camera and keycard access which logs everyone who comes through the door.

Quote:
What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
locks. in the few times when I don't expect to run an errand or need to stop somewhere between work and home, I might leave the lock at home, but the days when I leave the lock at home are also the days when I unfailingly discover a need to stop at a post office or stop at a grocery.

Quote:
What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid
time. For me, commuting by bike easily takes twice as long as driving my car. The days when I drive are usually the days when I oversleep. Also, getting my bike ready to go to work exponentially increases my prep time at home. I have to pack panniers with office clothes, dress for the weather (which also becomes more complicated in the winter, when the number of clothing articles involved triples), check the bike over, and go.

Contrast with a car, where the drill is basically, get dressed with office clothes, get keys and go; and a bike feels like so much more hassle ... until you get into the first five minutes of the commute and remember how much more pleasant it is to ride than sit in traffic.

It helps to have a drill and be conscientious about prepping your stuff the night before. It also helps to keep fastidious care of your bike, so that your commute isn't ruined by, say, a broken chain or flat tire.
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Old 04-12-07, 05:07 PM   #13
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I also have to leave my bike outside of work, but I live in a rural area.

- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
Not yet, knock on wood

- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
No, to do so I would have to use an allen wrench

- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
No quick release on my saddle. I have a sprung Brooks, I would guess most would think it's old.

- Do you have quick release wheels?
No, I have nice hubs/wheels and use PitLocks

- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
Both, depending on which one I pick up. I usually prefer my compact u-lock/cable combo to the chain & lock

- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
My tool roll is fairly heavy, the lock defiantly heavy, but the worst is the junk I have to carry to work laptop, camera, etc., all told my bag can weigh 20 pounds or more. Leave the heavy stuff at work if you can. If you lock your bike in the same place every day, leave the big lock attached to the parking rack

- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid
Weather, equip your bike with fenders
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Old 04-12-07, 05:44 PM   #14
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- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
I put them in my pocket.
- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
Replaced with a 6mm bolt & nut. Do you have quick release wheels?
Not anymore My rear was stolen (in front of the library!!!). I replaced the front with a nutted axle.
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Old 04-12-07, 05:53 PM   #15
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- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
- Do you have quick release wheels?
- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?

I park inside and live in a pretty safe place so the security stuff isn't such a big deal here. I use a cheap bell cable lock for running to the store, etc.

**
edit: My bike is also worth about $50 so that helps

- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.

Better planning and preparing would keep me from having to carry as much foul weather gear, but then again so would accurate weather reports.

- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid

Hmmmm, the biggest? Probably the weather. Being prepared helps a lot, but also can mean you carry more crap than you need.
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Old 04-13-07, 07:32 AM   #16
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- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
No.
- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
Takes 1 second to remove the headlight. The taillight is attatched to my trunk bag which comes with me.
- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
Nope.
- Do you have quick release wheels?
Yep.
- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
U-lock and cable. String the cable up to the front wheel and the u-lock goes through the rear wheel and frame.
- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
Well, trunk bag I guess. There's no way to avoid it though since I need my clothes. It's really the only thing on my bike aside from lights and water bottle I need to worry about. I don't take my computer home and I leave my U-lock locked up to the rack at work so that saves me some weight and space.
- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid Cars. No wait, WIND. I guess neither of those are bike specific but I HATE wind. I think my biggest issue right now (since I'm also new to this) is getting into a routine. I'm pretty slow on the bike but I'm also pretty slow packing, making sure I've got everything, and then changing once I get to work. I need to develop a good routine so that I don't have to think so much about every little step I'm doing.
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Old 04-13-07, 07:39 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbucky1
I'm somewhat a newbie to commuting. I made my bike a pretty stripped down bike with no quick releases.
I lock my bike outside my office and was wondering :-

- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
- Do you have quick release wheels?
- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid


Thanks - bucky
How do you change a tire if you get a flat? Do you carry wrenches with you?

I bring my bike inside and it sits right by my desk until it's time to go home so I have quick release wheels (it's a lightweight road bike).

I'd say the most inconvenient thing I carry is shoes. I leave a pair of dress shoes at work but Friday is casual day and I don't leave casual shoes there so today I'll be carrying shoes and a pair of jeans with me in my backpack.

I'd say my biggest bike related issue with commuting is me. My legs can't take commuting more than 2 days in a row yet.
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Old 04-13-07, 08:08 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRedSnackFoam
- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid Cars. No wait, WIND. I guess neither of those are bike specific but I HATE wind.
Murphy's Third Atmospheric Law of Bike Commuting is that the headwind you encounter on the way to work will shift 180 degrees in direction about 10 minutes before you decide to home.
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Old 04-13-07, 08:33 AM   #19
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- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
I park in my cube, no one messes with my bike

- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
If I'm locking up on errands with high ped traffic around the racks, I'll pull my lights... or just not bring them if it's not dark.

- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
Nope. Nobody wants my saddle.

- Do you have quick release wheels?
Yep. Redmond is a really low-risk area. If I go downtown, I run a cable through my front.

- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
On-Guard Rottweiller (armoured cable) around Redmond. Mini-U and extra cable downtown.

- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute?
My beer gut.

- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting?
Flats. Thankfully I've managed to avoid them with my tire selection. (Marathon Plus)
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Old 04-13-07, 08:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spokenword
Murphy's Third Atmospheric Law of Bike Commuting is that the headwind you encounter on the way to work will shift 180 degrees in direction about 10 minutes before you decide to home.
Ain't that the truth. My commute to and from is directly east/west within easy biking distance of Lake Michigan. There is always wind, both ways
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Old 04-13-07, 12:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbucky1
- Do you ever get your lights stolen?
No, 'cause I never leave 'em on a parked bike, unless it's parked inside right next to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbucky1
- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?
Yes, I remove my lights each time I leave the bike outside unattended. They are all quick release thingies and the whole procedure takes about three seconds, so I would not call it an inconvenienve. Locking the bike is much more of an inconvenience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbucky1
- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?
I have a QR seatpost, and I do remove it if the bike will be parked outside for longer than a few minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbucky1
- Do you have quick release wheels?
Only the front.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbucky1
- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?
New York Kryptonite U-lock. It is long and wide enough to allow me to lock both the front wheel (with QR) and the frame to the typical Toronto bike post/rack. If both of my wheels were QR, I'd use a U-lock to lock the rear wheel and the frame and a cable to lock the front wheel. Although sometimes, depending on the neighbourhood and the time the bike's gonna be outside, I might just remove the front wheel and bring it with me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbucky1
- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.
I don't particularly dislike carrying things (good training ), but I wish I could find a better way to carry the U-lock. Right now I bungee it to the rack, and having to deal with those bungee cords every time I lock/unlock the bike is annoying. This doesn't apply to commuting so much as to errand-running though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbucky1
- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid
Diving into it unprepared and hating it. Get a bike that fits you, think out the logistics, the route and learn the basics of traffic riding and bike maintenance.
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Old 04-13-07, 10:42 PM   #22
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- Do you ever get your lights stolen?


No.

- Do you remove your lights each time? if so is this an inconvenience or do you just deal with it?

Yes. Real easy with a Dinotte light.

- What about your saddle assuming you have Q Release?


No quick release. Set it and leave it.

- Do you have quick release wheels?


Yes.

- Do you use a U Lock , Chain or Other?


Chain but only because I never it locked up very long. And I live in a rich town.

- What is the most inconvenient thing that you always carry on your commute? ie something you wish you did not have to carry.

Rain gear, tools and warm clothing that I don't end up using but if I didn't carry it I will need it.

- What is the biggest bike related issue with commuting? (so I can hopefully avoid

Mechanicals and flats when I need to make an appointment, meeting, or just need to get home.
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