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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 06-26-07, 07:11 PM   #1
exas
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commuting with thin tires

how do you guys do it? thin tires + road bike (no suspension). all the bumps and cracks and the occasional pothole in the ground. surely you guys can't maneuver around everyone of them. so how do you put up with it? even if you get off the seat slightly for every bump, you ass will be free but the frame will still take the vibrations and you will feel part of it. would a mountain bike with some sort of suspension and slick tires be a better commuting bike instead of a road bike (which was designed to ride on smooth ground). or do you guys all commute on bike trails with road bikes so it is not a problem? or does your butt you enjoy the bumps?
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Old 06-26-07, 07:16 PM   #2
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I've been commuting on the same route for 7 years. I know every bump, root, and pothole. I avoid them, on 700X23's. Not a big deal.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:22 PM   #3
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my commute is 23 miles one way so I want to make it as fast as possible. That is why I ride my road bike. So far I did several try runs and found no problem with bumps. But I have to note that most of my trip is on trails and only relatively small stretch is on one busy road
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Old 06-26-07, 07:28 PM   #4
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I'm currently on 700x23 specialized mondo s-works tires, which are probably the thinnest racing tires they make and I've been fine going through NYC streets with all its potholes and stuff. The important thing is to unweigh yourself going over stuff, try to hop it if you can, not ride all the way on the edge of the road where all the glass is, and avoid slick freaking metal plates.

*Knock on wood* No flats yet but they're oh so freaking fast compared to the 700x25 armadillos I had, I feel like I can almost go down 1 tooth on my cog and not feel it.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exas
how do you guys do it? thin tires + road bike (no suspension). all the bumps and cracks and the occasional pothole in the ground. surely you guys can't maneuver around everyone of them. so how do you put up with it? even if you get off the seat slightly for every bump, you ass will be free but the frame will still take the vibrations and you will feel part of it. would a mountain bike with some sort of suspension and slick tires be a better commuting bike instead of a road bike (which was designed to ride on smooth ground). or do you guys all commute on bike trails with road bikes so it is not a problem? or does your butt you enjoy the bumps?
Depends on surface, personal preference, etc. I commute 6.2 miles one way, on MUP/roads. The road is a bit rough and the MUP has horizontal seams almost constantly, and I'm not skilled enough to bunny hop them all. My ride of choice, however, is my road bike with 25mm tires and an aluminum frame. To prevent snakebites on those damned road seams, I keep the tires at 105 psi. You can imagine the resulting rough ride.

The coping mechanism is basically to go limp. Some really big bumps, sure, you get out of the saddle. But sometimes it's enough to shift your weight to get some weight off the saddle and more in your legs. Keeping the arms loose helps a lot too.

So if I'm going over a series of bumps I'll keep my elbows bent, won't deathgrip the bars, take some weight off my ass and put it in my legs, and just roll with the bump. Note this is probably the exact opposite most people instinctively do, which is to tense up. You do that, and you're right - every little bump goes straight through the road, up through the frame, through your arms/butt, and into your spine. My way, the bump goes into my muscles and gets damped. With my method I also roll around more than some people might feel comfortable with, but it's OK with me. I learned my style the hard way because I used to do some riding on really rough trails (tree roots and crap) with a rigid hybrid. If you value your spine, you learn coping mechanisms!

I don't want a non-road bike because I hate flat bars. I could get a mountain bike and put on drop bars and have people look at me like I'm completely insane. That would be cool.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:30 PM   #6
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Unfortunately since my mtb/commuter was stolen last week, I'm back to my road bike with .23's on it. Not exactly pleased since I keep this bike for the long excursions/leading bike rides etc. I live the center of a potholed city and the ride is not pleasing. Have to change my route (which I used to like as I was able to cut corners and get through building parking lots via a small stone wall that divided the buildings with my mtb and jump a few curbs to avoid the heavy interloop/on-ramp traffic) - and leave a little earlier so I can take the better, yet more traveled streets - and try and avoid less traffic as I nearly had a couple of major collisions last year, not to mention the fact that I had to have my back wheel rebuilt due to hitting potholes, etc and started experiencing many spoke breaks.

Next mtb on the way ... can't wait.

If I were living and working in the country, it would be a different story - I'd enjoy the roadbike with the skinnies as my main ride - but not where I live now. Oh yeah, and the constuction, ugh!
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Old 06-26-07, 07:38 PM   #7
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Riding over bumps in the road using thin tires while sitting on a road bike saddle and having drop bars makes you impotent.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:39 PM   #8
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Riding over bumps in the road using thin tires while sitting on a road bike saddle and having drop bars makes you impotent.
and angry!
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Old 06-26-07, 07:45 PM   #9
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Granted, my roads aren't that bad, but I know the route and know the things I need to avoid. I currently have bikes with 23, 25 and 28 tires on them. I'm definitely a little more cautious on the 23's, mainly of the rocks that are littering parts of my route recently.

Shortly after switching from a mtb to road bikes, I pinch-flatted two days in a row on the same obstacle that I'd always rolled over before. I learned my lesson the hard way and I avoid it automatically now. It's odd that this small section of spilt concrete was nothing on the mtb, but the second hit on the road bike was strong enough to cause my bars to slip, my superflash to come apart and smash on the street and pinch-flat BOTH tires.

Some days I definitely miss the large tires. For the record, I'm only riding 23's because I haven't gotten around to changing them, and the 25's because that's all the frame will accomodate. The 23's are all-condition armadillos though, and have held up surprisingly well.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:47 PM   #10
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My commute is about 20 miles each way. I used my mtn bike the first time I did it, and decided that my road bicycle would be the better choice.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarery
Riding over bumps in the road using thin tires while sitting on a road bike saddle and having drop bars makes you impotent.
Good, I don't need to buy any more condoms then.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:53 PM   #12
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heck, where I live, in Toronto, there are pot holes, poorly patched roads, street car tracks, rubbish on the side of the road, pot holes, and street car tracks. Did I mention there are a ton of street car tracks? I don't have any other bike that uses anything larger or smaller than 700x23 right now, but it's only a 8km (5 miles) ride and about 95% of my ride is right along the street car tracks.

As for avoiding the uneven surface, I just avoid the really big pot holes. Tracks and minor bumps be damned, I just ride right over them, 90% of the time I'm in my saddle. It's not that I intentionally like to ride over the bad surface, and it's not because I'm a masochist, it's just that I need corrective lenses, which my sunglasses are not.
If I can't see the hole or bad surface at my speed it must be ok to just hit it.
No punctures yet even with some cheaper vittoria rubino techs.

Feels great passing slower cars, street cars and bicycles to and from work. Rain or shine.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:54 PM   #13
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Good, I don't need to buy any more condoms then.
Good, then you can remove the "glove" off your hand.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:56 PM   #14
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Being fresh to road riding from mt.biking I've found that you have to learn what your bike can/can't take. I bought a Biacnhi Volpe (steel cyclocross) to maximize comfort and efficiency while carrying a load (hehe). It was easy to feel the difference between steel and AL. It cam with some knobby but I slapped skinnies on it the day she came home. Unweighting is your hands and but while going over rough terrain is another huge asset to learn when dealing with small cracks and uneven pavement. Potholes are to be avoided or they = bent or untrue rims real quick.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:59 PM   #15
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My commute is 25 miles each way....700x25s on the road bike, 28/32 on the tourer or xcross. Who says you can't dodge all the potholes? The skinnier the tire, the skinnier the gaps you can ride through.
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Old 06-26-07, 08:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fegos
I've been commuting on the same route for 7 years. I know every bump, root, and pothole. I avoid them, on 700X23's. Not a big deal.
Man I feel the same way and I've been commuting the same route for only 3 months. I already notice if someone cleans up a pile of rubble here or fill a pothole there or somebody fixed a leaky sprinkler system. I have no problem dodging almost everything.

For reference I'm running 700x28 slicks on a cyclo-cross bike. Also keep in mind my commute is 13 miles one way, through sparsely traveled, suburbish, new hampshire. I have some serious hills on my commute and it is a good distance so that influenced my choice in bicycle and tires.
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Old 06-26-07, 08:25 PM   #17
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Good, I don't need to buy any more condoms then.
I'd rather be infertile than impotent.
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Old 06-26-07, 08:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
My commute is about 20 miles each way. I used my mtn bike the first time I did it, and decided that my road bicycle would be the better choice.
Yep, a MTB, especially with suspension is slow and miserable for paved commutes over 5 miles.
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Old 06-26-07, 08:27 PM   #19
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I'd rather be infertile than impotent.
Oh wait, I thought impotent meant you were just shooting blanks.
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Old 06-26-07, 08:47 PM   #20
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infertile = all you can eat.
impotent = out of service.
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Old 06-26-07, 09:00 PM   #21
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Holy crap, I take that back then!
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Old 06-26-07, 09:02 PM   #22
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for real pothole eating, riding 32's can't be beat.

but 23s are marginally faster.

I do foot high curb drops at speed without fear when I run my bike with 32's but think twice about that type of stuff on my bike with the 23s'

one other advantage of fat- more traction patch in slick conditions. also better on the drawbridge grates, but to be honest, this summer, I've been riding the 23s no handed across the drawbridges just because I can!

I'm more inclined to ride the skinny tires on nice days and the fatter tires on wet days or long nights.

you can ride big tires far just fine- Yesterday, I put 135 miles on my 'cross' bike riding seattle to snoqualmie pass and back on 700x32 slicks, becuase I was doing about 40 miles of it on gravel, and wanted more cushion.

bottom line, 23s- faster, more delicate, more worries about the rims.
32's slightly slower, pothole eaters, curb jumpers, great in wet or dark, better traction.

oh, how to cope with bumps on any bike, regardless of tire width? soak them up. don't be rigid in the arms.
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Old 06-26-07, 09:03 PM   #23
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I'm running 23's on my salsa. They hold up very well {edit** I weigh slightly less than 150 pounds so pinch flats may be less common for me.

Slvoid, you can get tubular tires that are in the upper teens, and I've seen 20mm clinchers that are used for time trials.

Last edited by Allen; 06-26-07 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 06-26-07, 09:16 PM   #24
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I've always used my '85 touring bike for commuting. Currently running 27"x 1 1/8". I got used to unweighting over bumps a long time ago, if I see it in time. I rarely hit potholes. A MTB is heavy & slow just thinking about it. I don't see the tradeoff benefit.
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Old 06-26-07, 09:28 PM   #25
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Learn to bunny hop and you will be much happier.
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