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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 04-19-07, 09:05 AM   #1
rykoala
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Your *BEST* Commuting experience

Lately there have been a rash of "I got hit!" posts, which is terrible. But there have been other posts too that are all negative. This is also the time of year when there are many newbies lurking- lets share with them our BEST commuting stories. Lets share the ones that made all the effort, all the troubles, and all the headwinds worth it.

When I have more time, I'll post mine.

Edited to say "I got Hit!" not just "I got it!" which makes no sense.

My most memorable commutes were those late at night/early morning during the Fall/Winter of 2005. One night while rididng near the river here in Reno, I was passed overhead by a very large grey owl. I had not seen one before, and so that was a special treat. I also *love* birds. I also have enjoyed some of the odd looks I've got. My favorite stare downs are the little kids between about 4 and 9 years old. They will stare at me at stoplights and wonder what an *adult* is doing on a bicycle in full gear. I always look them straight in the eye and wink or smile at them. I remember my amazement at such things as a child, and a bit of acknoledgement to the kids makes them feel noticed.

Last edited by rykoala; 04-19-07 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 04-19-07, 09:14 AM   #2
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My best commute story goes like this: I was passed by a vehicle a block from my apartment and the driver yelled "get off the road!" Needless to say I was annoyed, but was used to it so ignored it. I got to within 3-4 blocks of my work I passed the same vehicle, which was stuck in traffic and said "what a nice day to be stuck in traffic getting fatter! It is a good thing you drove to get here quicker." All I got was a very angry look. Made my day!
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Old 04-19-07, 09:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefhoser
My best commute story goes like this: I was passed by a vehicle a block from my apartment and the driver yelled "get off the road!" Needless to say I was annoyed, but was used to it so ignored it. I got to within 3-4 blocks of my work I passed the same vehicle, which was stuck in traffic and said "what a nice day to be stuck in traffic getting fatter! It is a good thing you drove to get here quicker." All I got was a very angry look. Made my day!
that good sir, is comedy gold.
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Old 04-19-07, 09:31 AM   #4
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My best commuting story is arriving to work, and home, unscathed for almost 3 years.
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Old 04-19-07, 09:32 AM   #5
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I've got three best commutes.

1. About a week ago I crushed my best time by 3 minutes, from 29 and change down to 26 and change.

2. Right when the winter was finally setting in around here (mid january) In one day, I had a few pedestrians comment on how 'hardcore' I was, and a van full of college kids, instead of insulting/throwing stuff at me, offered me a pull off a bottle of Jack to take the bite off the cold.

3. Middle of the winter, I pull up behind a car at a light, with my skull face mask and ski googles due to the snow/wind/temp etc, and a kid (12ish if I had to guess) in the car in-front of me, turns around, see's me, panics and locks all the doors as quickly as he can, apparently I'm a threat.....

Those days always bring a smile to my face.
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Old 04-19-07, 09:33 AM   #6
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My best commuting experiences are the times my co-workers remark that they pass me on the road, and that I'm still able to get to work before they do. I also enjoy when my co-workers are complaining about a gas price increase, and I have to ask what the latest price is since I haven't bought any in quite somtime.
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Old 04-19-07, 09:33 AM   #7
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I don't think I can pick any *one* thing as the best, because there have been so many good experiences while commuting over the last 16 years.

I gained a riding partner while walking home with my 2nd flat of the day, once. Dude with 3 bikes already on his rack stopped and gave me a ride home.

I have the respect of all my co-workers for riding to work through the cold winter rain.

I found $20 laying in the street.

I saw an owl. (They're really big, silent, and scary when it's 5am and dark out.)

I got mooned by a busload of highschoolers as I was straining my way up a hill. It was the funniest thing ever, at the time, and made me forget about how crappy this hill was.
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Old 04-19-07, 09:49 AM   #8
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Any day riding w/ shorts and short sleeve jersey is my best day.
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Old 04-19-07, 09:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1





I saw an owl. (They're really big, silent, and scary when it's 5am and dark out.)
Some tweny plus years ago, I was doing maintenance work at a mill around 3 am, and the mill was down and extremely quite. A barn owl happen to fly silently over me, inside the mill, and let out a loud screech before I was able to see it. As scared as I was, I swear I could have jumped up the twenty feet and smacked that owl.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:04 AM   #10
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The day the Production Manager at the winery came into the break room complaining how miserable and cold it was driving to work with the top down on his convertible. His assistant caught me grinning and told the boss to quit whining, that guy rode his bike here.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:05 AM   #11
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A few weeks ago I sighted my first bluebird of the year. It flew alongside me, about 8 feet away over the ditch, for about 20 yards, pulled ahead, and lighted in a tree, facing me and chirping.

I see lots of animals and birds, but that one was a nice start to spring (even though we've seen 20* temps since then).

Yeah, I had an owl screech over my head in the dark before. Startled me a bit.

There are a lot of animals I see and they're probably the best part. There are some free-range chickens along the route that are very nervous of me though they're used to cars; I find that pretty funny. The horses that are corralled near hills watch me huffing up the hills, and they usually come over to check out the noise the first day of the fall when I put on the studded tires.

I've puffed up a few cats in the last few weeks too, that's kind of funny. Even did one of our cats a few days ago; she didn't expect me and I came rolling around the corner. WHUF! Instant huge tail!

In the spirit of calming down newbies, the traffic horror stories largely come from just a few areas of the country. I haven't had anyone so much as honk at me or pass closer than about 2 feet (a full lane is the norm) for almost 2 years now. Probably no more than 5 honks in the 3 years I've been commuting, all of them in the first year. Even the rude people just get used to you after a while.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:21 AM   #12
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I've said it before. My worst day ever on the bike is still better than my best day ever in the car, BUT.

My best commutes have been THIS week. Now that spring has arrived, My kids (ages 12 and 7) decided on their own that they want to start biking to school (2.25m each way). They see me riding everyday so they figured it's not unusual.

So I ride with them both ways and do my commute to work from/to their school. It's been great, and they think it's really fun. They are the only kids at their school doing it (which is a sad commentary) but they get all kinds of attention and cred for doing it (which is an added bonus).
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Old 04-19-07, 10:33 AM   #13
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Riding over the bayou bridge that hosts a colony of bats. If I get there right at dusk, the bats are coming out to feed, and I can pull over and watch thousands of bats spiral out from under my feet and head downtown.

Another favorite is cruising over the Route 59 bridge at rush hour. Everyone is stuck in a miles-long traffic jam on the freeway below, while I wheel serenely above them.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squegeeboo
3. Middle of the winter, I pull up behind a car at a light, with my skull face mask and ski googles due to the snow/wind/temp etc, and a kid (12ish if I had to guess) in the car in-front of me, turns around, see's me, panics and locks all the doors as quickly as he can, apparently I'm a threat.....
This would make my week.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:35 AM   #15
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Tuesday morning I saw 2 deer.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:39 AM   #16
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Posted this recently... get cut-off or something in heavy traffic, two-way cursing out ensues, get past the guy, see him go past me turning right as I wait to turn left, blow him a kiss, he laughs and does the same back.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:41 AM   #17
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Occasionally I'm able to take the kids to daycare in the trailer and those are the best days. The daycare is near the Amtrak station so we'd swing by to look at the trains, then loop around to Old Sac (one time we passed a horse-drawn carriage and the kids got a big kick out of waving to the tourists), then we'd stop for a paleta (Mexican popcicle) at the park near our house. Never had a problem with drivers--they seem to give extra space to the trailer. Great times.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:47 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynodonn
My best commuting experiences are the times my co-workers remark that they pass me on the road, and that I'm still able to get to work before they do. I also enjoy when my co-workers are complaining about a gas price increase, and I have to ask what the latest price is since I haven't bought any in quite somtime.
That's the best! I fill up my car about every other week so if I even notice gas prices it's only in passing as a mild interest. It makes me laugh when I hear people at work complaining about high gas prices and how they have to fill up their fullsize SUVs every 3 days with 26 gallons. 26 gallons of gas would hold me over for a month...and my car barely gets 20mpg in city driving!
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Old 04-19-07, 10:48 AM   #19
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Listening to everyone complain about the cost and hassle of parking at work

Knowing I am saving 80 bucks a month and my bike is right by my desk.

So taking that 80 dollars and cycling somewhere to spend it.

Last edited by wheel; 04-19-07 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recursive
This would make my week.
Later that week, got stopped at the same light, and a car full of little kids (under 9ish) all waved to me....
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Old 04-19-07, 10:53 AM   #21
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That reminds me that one time I was drafting behind a van full of young guys (I think they were Scouts) and they were cheering me on and holding up fingers for my speed like the driver of the Cinzano truck in Breaking Away. That was fun.
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Old 04-19-07, 11:02 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rykoala
Lately there have been a rash of "I got it!" posts, which is terrible. But there have been other posts too that are all negative. This is also the time of year when there are many newbies lurking- lets share with them our BEST commuting stories. Lets share the ones that made all the effort, all the troubles, and all the headwinds worth it.

When I have more time, I'll post mine.
My favorite memories:
  • riding home from work in November, in the dark of an early autumn evening, riding through the pitch blackness of an unlit MUP, I saw and caught up to a commuter ahead of me; and we spent the next eight miles swapping pulls and trading off using our headlights to illuminate the path. Just the two of us, with no conversation and a quiet exchange of 'on your left' or 'car right' as we'd approach an intersection -- totally peaceful, simple company.
  • riding past a suburb to work and seeing a mom and her child walking along the sidewalk. Child was pedaling a bike on training wheels and insisted on trying to race me, and I slowed down to humor him, letting him pedal furiously to be first to the stop sign, where he threw up his hands in victory and looked back to his mom with pride beaming on his face.
  • riding through a bitter winter rainstorm, and then gliding by a barbecue place redolent with the smell of smoke and meat. Stopped, went inside and asked for a pulled pork sandwich. The cashier looked at me, blinked and said, "you're not riding home in that crap are you?" "indeed, I am," I said, "but you guys are like the light at the end of the tunnel." He laughed and told me that the sandwich was on him.
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Old 04-19-07, 11:04 AM   #23
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oh yeah, almost forgot ... riding through the Valentine's Day Blizzard, I stopped at a florist, bought a bouquet of roses for my sweetie, and wedged it into the space between my seatstays and rear fender because the stems were too long to fit in my panniers.

Stopped at a red light where a coterie of high school girls were waiting in the sleet for the bus. They looked at me, my bike, and the roses and one of them said, "Mister, you're the sweetest crazy man that I've ever seen."
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Old 04-19-07, 11:06 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rykoala
This is also the time of year when there are many newbies lurking- lets share with them our BEST commuting stories. Lets share the ones that made all the effort, all the troubles, and all the headwinds worth it.
Without a doubt the best commute I had was a 7.5 mile commute that featured a 5 mile section going down the center of the Los Penasquitos Nature Reserve. How can you get better than a sunrise commute that has you racing coyotes, surprising bobcats as they are about to pounce on bunnies, sharing a river-side break with a hummingbird that has come 3" from your face to check you out. And after work, you get to go through all that again to unwind from work. Yes!

Last edited by Artkansas; 04-19-07 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 04-19-07, 11:19 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spokenword
oh yeah, almost forgot ... riding through the Valentine's Day Blizzard, I stopped at a florist, bought a bouquet of roses for my sweetie, and wedged it into the space between my seatstays and rear fender because the stems were too long to fit in my panniers.

Stopped at a red light where a coterie of high school girls were waiting in the sleet for the bus. They looked at me, my bike, and the roses and one of them said, "Mister, you're the sweetest crazy man that I've ever seen."
That's great! I stopped by the card store on my way home on Valentine's Day this year to get a card for my wife and the girl at the checkout asked me if I would like any balloons with that, now mind you, I'm standing there in cycling shorts, jersey, a helmet on my head, my bike is leaning up against the front door, and I'm clomping around in my roadie cycling shoes when she asks me this so I paused for just a second and then said, "sure, but where would I put them?" A woman in line busted out laughing and the girl behind the counter started laughing too. I got a kick out of that.
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