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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 06-25-07, 07:57 PM   #1
gregor
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Longtime Lurker, new poster, 1st commute!

Hi folks, I have lurked here many times and got some great info, leading to the purchase of a Specialized Sirrus Comp and a Chariot trailer for my kid. So, now I have a question:
I tried bike commuting for the first time last week. I'm in San Jose, CA. Live in Cambrian, work on North 1st and Montague. In the AM, rode my bike (MTB) to the Ohlone light rail station and took that to work. (to avoid getting sweaty, call me lame...). But the interesting part:
Going home, I took this route:
The path along the Guadelupe from River Oaks down to Trimble. Then detour (path construction) along Trimble, down First, over on Brokaw/Airport Pkwy, then down the path to downtown. Another small detour south of 280, then path, Curtner, Leigh. Home.
Overall it's fun. But the path is still under construction so it's got lots of annoying little detours and dead ends. I'm riding along, suddenly the path stops and I have to backtrack a bit. I took the MTB because the route north of the airport is gravel.

Took me 1:40 for 16 miles, partially due to the detours, partially due to the inefficiency of MTB, partially due to my lack of conditioning.

I'll do it again on Fridays, but probably not M-th due to the extra time. Driving is 30 minutes, bike/Light rail was 1:10, bike will get better with condition but probably won't fall less than 1hr. Leave work at 7-7:30, get home at 8-9, not so fun.

So now my question. I would like to try an all-road route. I was thinking of Zanker down to 10th st, then Taylor west to the path (paved at that point), then down to Curtner and Leigh. This seems like the best combination of directness and avoiding too-busy roads. Plus I prefer the bike lane; I am aware of the danger of right-hooks and watch for that, but I'm not quite with the plan of putting myself in the path of 45 mph 4x4s driven by cell phone users.

Any other options? San Tomas/Montague is pretty direct but the 101 overpass is ugly, and the entrance/exit ramps at intersections get pretty busy during the commute. Taking Lafeyette down through the Santa Clara University area might work too.

thanks! this is a great forum, lots of useful info.
Gregor
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Old 06-25-07, 09:37 PM   #2
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Maybe try the regional forum, or a local bike club.
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Old 06-25-07, 10:23 PM   #3
chephy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregor
Hi folks, I have lurked here many times and got some great info, leading to the purchase of a Specialized Sirrus Comp and a Chariot trailer for my kid.
Congrats! Great stuff. Hope you enjoy your new addiction for years to come.

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Took me 1:40 for 16 miles, partially due to the detours, partially due to the inefficiency of MTB, partially due to my lack of conditioning.
It's actually quite amazing how much time can get lost due to detours and figuring out direction. Sometimes it can take up half the travel time without your even realizing it!

Quote:
So now my question. I would like to try an all-road route. I was thinking of Zanker down to 10th st, then Taylor west to the path (paved at that point), then down to Curtner and Leigh. This seems like the best combination of directness and avoiding too-busy roads. Plus I prefer the bike lane; I am aware of the danger of right-hooks and watch for that, but I'm not quite with the plan of putting myself in the path of 45 mph 4x4s driven by cell phone users.

Any other options? San Tomas/Montague is pretty direct but the 101 overpass is ugly, and the entrance/exit ramps at intersections get pretty busy during the commute.
I've never been to San Jose and could not figure out your route from Google maps (I did follow the streets ok, but it doesn't show bike paths, so that one lost me). But avoiding ugly overpasses sounds like a good idea: these high-speed ramps are some of the worst things you can encounter on a bike! Out of curiosity, how long would the on-street route be btw? You can measure it at, say, here.
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Old 06-26-07, 06:53 AM   #4
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Welcome to the HHCMF! We don't get lost, we explore places unreachable by car!
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Old 06-26-07, 08:15 AM   #5
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"Out of curiosity, how long would the on-street route be btw? You can measure it at, say, here."

Hi, probably about 17-18 miles. I think it would be faster overall than the 16 mile route due to higher efficiency of hybrid vs mtb. otoh, no traffic lights on the bike path... more study is required.
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Old 06-26-07, 08:37 AM   #6
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I can't help with directions in SJ, but can provide years of wisdom gleaned from the forums in one little blurb....

Rules for new commuters:

~Just do it... then just keep doing it
~Ride It Like You Stole It
~Keep The Rubber Side Down [This one is of critical importance!]
~When you start talkikng youself out of riding....just Shut Up and Ride
~Buy new goodies/bikes with the money you save
~Constantly show off sexy biker legs to wife/gf/bf/whatever
~It never gets easier, you just go faster[well at first it gets easier]
~Work..it's the ugly time between rides
~Objects in your mirror are stupider than they appear
~The unintelligible comments from passing cars are always compliments
~Sweat and snot[in winter] are sexier than you might think
~If 2 bikes are headed in the same direction they are racing
~Your new name is Fred [or Wilma]
~The response to "Get on the sidewalk!" is "Ride your freakin' bike!"
~Once you are completely soaked, you can't get any wetter.
~Don't worry Be Happy
~Perfect your shower time down to 4.25 minutes. You'll be doing it a lot.
~Yes, helmets are dorky, but you should still wear one.
~Laughing at JAMs makes them madder than giving them the finger.
~Don't ride through Garbage Juice..especially when cornering.
~Quickie Marts are the cycling oasis [Gatorade fits the bottle holder].
~When you are bonking, chug down a coke...aka "Rocket Fuel"
~When someone bails you out, you are obligated to pay it forward 2x
~Biker Tan... Set a new higher standard for Farmer Tan
~Bicycles, the other fun thing between your legs.

Congratulations on your first ride !
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Old 06-26-07, 10:32 AM   #7
Brian Sorrell
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Welcome to the wonderful world of bike commuting! Definitely check out the regional forums, particularly the NorCal forum -- there should be some folks there familiar with your area. There are a couple of SJ people who post in the SoCal forum too, so you could even glean some insights all the way down here
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Old 06-26-07, 10:44 AM   #8
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Greetings from Finland. You guys all seem to be from the States? l don't know the status of bicycler in the States but here it's the thing that you should avoid. Pedestrians can walk whereever they please and crazy cars are trying to kill you on every corner. Well, not really, but true enough though.

Commuting in summer time is great fun. You see beautiful nature, and those commuting tempo - races, they are really enjoyable, if you know what i mean?

But yes, I do something like 4000 km commuting per year and wouldn't change that activity to car in a hurry.

Cheers,

/Jouni
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Old 06-26-07, 06:06 PM   #9
chephy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jouni74
Greetings from Finland. You guys all seem to be from the States? l don't know the status of bicycler in the States but here it's the thing that you should avoid. Pedestrians can walk whereever they please and crazy cars are trying to kill you on every corner.
I'm not quite from the States but close enough (Canada). And the picture you paint for cycling in Finland transfers beautifully to North America.
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Old 06-26-07, 09:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jouni74
Greetings from Finland. You guys all seem to be from the States?
/Jouni
Nope.

Quote:
l don't know the status of bicycler in the States but here it's the thing that you should avoid.
Here too. Very bad karma not to avoid a cyclist.

Melbourne is pretty bike friendly, but still more of a car city. Most people here cycle for recreation rather than transport.
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