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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 04-18-07, 07:08 AM   #1
sevrdhed
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So, I tried to commute to work today...

I was planning on driving 5 miles, parking at a friends, then riding 6 in to work. So last night, I packed up my camelbak with some pants and a towel, so I could shower and change at work. Filled up my water, loaded my bike in the car, made sure my alarm was set so I could get up in time, and got to bed nice and early. I just forgot one thing......

Oops! Woke up to 19mph winds, gusting up to 25mph, from the south. Inconveniently, that's the direction I was heading. Not to mention the 60% chance of snow in the afternoon. I made it about a mile before I realized that I was working twice as hard and not really getting anywhere, turned back around, and drove to work instead. Damn!

Oh well. Next week, we'll try again.
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Old 04-18-07, 07:15 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevrdhed
I was planning on driving 5 miles, parking at a friends, then riding 6 in to work. So last night, I packed up my camelbak with some pants and a towel, so I could shower and change at work. Filled up my water, loaded my bike in the car, made sure my alarm was set so I could get up in time, and got to bed nice and early. I just forgot one thing......

Oops! Woke up to 19mph winds, gusting up to 25mph, from the south. Inconveniently, that's the direction I was heading. Not to mention the 60% chance of snow in the afternoon. I made it about a mile before I realized that I was working twice as hard and not really getting anywhere, turned back around, and drove to work instead. Damn!

Oh well. Next week, we'll try again.

You just have to look at the headwind now as the tailwind later.
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Old 04-18-07, 07:19 AM   #3
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The computer is your best friend. Just pull up the weather radar before you go out and you can see exactly where the rain or snow is.
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Old 04-18-07, 07:45 AM   #4
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Hopefully spring will arrive soon. In my area, things will be warming up nicely in a day or two. I'm certainly looking forward to some double-digit (celcius) temperatures for once!
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Old 04-18-07, 07:47 AM   #5
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19mph headwinds? that's why man invented the triple (you didn't seriously think it was for climbing did you?)
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Old 04-18-07, 07:52 AM   #6
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It's a training aid! Well....better to not get burned out on the first commute.


My worst one was high winds combined with low temps. 30 mph winds and 25F was obnoxious. Geared down, sat in the drops, and took my time. I've also ridden in 30 mph winds with 50 mph gusts. Just a wee bit difficult to stay in control.
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Old 04-18-07, 07:56 AM   #7
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Man, 30 mph in 25 degree weather? i would've called in sick, and gone aid climbing instead.

As for... "The computer is your best friend. Just pull up the weather radar before you go out and you can see exactly where the rain or snow is."

I know. Good thing I'm getting the internet finally installed in my new place on the 25th. Until then, I have to wait until I'm at work to use the computer. D'oh!
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Old 04-18-07, 08:02 AM   #8
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You know you can get weather on the TV, radio, newspaper, and probably your cellphone, right?

If this was a try at a first commute, I totally understand not going. No sense in starting out miserable. After a few years of this and with the right gear, I look out the window, check the radar to make sure I'm not riding into a monsoon, put on the right stuff, and go. 2 days ago it was rain with 40MPH winds from the northeast, my direction of travel to work. The ride home was sweeeeet.
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Old 04-18-07, 08:22 AM   #9
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Camelback for 6 miles? I think you can get away with one bottle unless it is really hot. I don't know your terrain but in relatively unhilly terrain at a relaxed pace if you don't overdress you could do this commute in around 30 minutes or so without having to shower at work all the time but maybe only changing your undershirt, etc. Try showering before you hit the road. Alot of the stink of sweat comes from bacteria and a morning shower clears alot of bacteria off your skin. Try the ride a couple of times on the weekend to get a sense of how long it takes and to learn the roads/paths a bit. I wish you well.
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Old 04-18-07, 08:56 AM   #10
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Well, at least you made an attempt and actually got on the bike. Most people wuss out before even doing that. You said you made it one mile so you definitely were making some progess. Hell, that's almost 20% of the way there! Headwinds are worse than hills and they will slow you down, no way around that. But they are still conquerable. Today, the wind won. Don't let it win again!

Around here strong winds/rain/snow/ice is unavoidable this time of year. I'd only end up commuting a few days a year if I waited for "perfect" conditions. My "rule" is I decide the night before if I'm going to commute the next day, then I stick to that decision. I check the weather again in the morning of course but the decision to ride has already been made. My worst commute (weather-wise) so far has been 20mph head winds gusting to 30 and upper 20s for temps. 22.5 miles. That was a long commute. The tailwind on the ride home was much better. Too bad I was too tired from the ride in to take advantage of it!

And yea, I'm still a nOOb too.
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Old 04-18-07, 09:04 AM   #11
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Thanks for the tips on commuting! I'm hoping to start commuting the whole way into work from my place, but since I've only been riding for a couple weeks, I thought it was probably best to start small. As for the camelbak, I actually don't have a waterbottle that fits in my cage yet (Just nalgenes so far), so I figured I'd go with what I had. It was also handy to have pants in there so I could wear shorts to ride with, and to have a place to store my keys, cell phone, badge for the office, etc. I figured as I purchased things for the bike (Such as a water bottle, and a frame bag), and left a towel at work, I'd be able to reduce the amount of crap I carry.

Also, I really have no way of checking the weather at home before I leave. I don't receive the newspaper, don't have TV, have the cheapest cell phone possible, and like I said before, don't have internet. The only way I suppose I could would be the radio, but I figure what the heck... might as well try it and see if it kills me. Hopefully, I'll be able to sack up in the future and just do it, but since this was my first time commuting on a bike, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to work in time. I'll have to ride it a few times before I can be sure how long it's going to take.
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Old 04-18-07, 02:40 PM   #12
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Learning process. I don't have the luxury of other transport. I always ride, but if I wake up and the wind is the wrong way or it is snowing, I leave earlier because I know they'll slow me down.

Just one thing - try not to over dress. I still do occasionally. Dress for the weather but remember if you are fighting snow or a headwind that you are going to be getting warm.
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Old 04-18-07, 03:09 PM   #13
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A wind breaker, also called a wind jacket, is priceless for rides like this. The good ones are thin enough to be really packable, too.
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Old 04-18-07, 03:18 PM   #14
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Camelback for 6 miles?
Rofl!!! Still laughing at this!!!
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Old 04-18-07, 03:35 PM   #15
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People still live without TV? Yikes!

Just got to commit to it, and go even if there is headwind. Good luck!
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Old 04-18-07, 03:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by squegeeboo
You just have to look at the headwind now as the tailwind later.
It doesn't seem to work that way here. Headwind both ways is typical.
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Old 04-18-07, 07:16 PM   #17
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considering the stuff that you did:

The night before prep

getting up a little earlier

loading the bike onto the car

taking the bike off the car

riding one mile into a strong headwind

ride one mile back

put the bike on the car

deal with the bike when you got to work?

take the bike off the car when you got home

makes the thing you didn't do:

ride the five more miles

seem like a piece of cake.



Hang in there and try it again. It only gets easier from here.
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Old 04-18-07, 07:44 PM   #18
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Rofl!!! Still laughing at this!!!
No kidding. My commute is 10 miles one way and I barely go through 1/2 a bottle of water...round trip.
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Old 04-18-07, 08:01 PM   #19
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Rofl!!! Still laughing at this!!!
I treat my camelback like my helmet, don't bike without it. [ok - maybe 5 miles] It also holds my spare tube, pump, tools, and backup blinky.
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Old 04-18-07, 08:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevrdhed
I was planning on driving 5 miles, parking at a friends, then riding 6 in to work. So last night, I packed up my camelbak with some pants and a towel, so I could shower and change at work. Filled up my water, loaded my bike in the car, made sure my alarm was set so I could get up in time, and got to bed nice and early. I just forgot one thing......

Oops! Woke up to 19mph winds, gusting up to 25mph, from the south. Inconveniently, that's the direction I was heading. Not to mention the 60% chance of snow in the afternoon. I made it about a mile before I realized that I was working twice as hard and not really getting anywhere, turned back around, and drove to work instead. Damn!

Oh well. Next week, we'll try again.
Don't beat yourself up since you are just starting. In a few months you'll look at the same conditions and think - oh boy, another challenge.
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