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  1. #1
    Member CrashGordon's Avatar
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    Need some commuting advice.

    I am about to start commuting to work. I live in the Washington DC area and can commute the 11 miles or so without more than a mile of being on the road. I did buy a specialized raiboux elite (think that is how it is spelled). I am planning on using my camelback to carry transition clothes from the local health club to my office, where I can put my suit on.

    If the weather is really crappy, I can take my mountain bike, so I don't intend on putting on fenders or racks.

    I do see a lot of bikes locked to various immovable objects (fences, guiderails, bikerack, etc) in the parking garage, so it will be parked indoors and well lit during the day.

    What I need help on is the best way to secure the bike and what I should buy in the way of a lighting set up.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Senior Member Twebs46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashGordon View Post
    I am about to start commuting to work. I live in the Washington DC area and can commute the 11 miles or so without more than a mile of being on the road. I did buy a specialized raiboux elite (think that is how it is spelled). I am planning on using my camelback to carry transition clothes from the local health club to my office, where I can put my suit on.

    If the weather is really crappy, I can take my mountain bike, so I don't intend on putting on fenders or racks.

    I do see a lot of bikes locked to various immovable objects (fences, guiderails, bikerack, etc) in the parking garage, so it will be parked indoors and well lit during the day.

    What I need help on is the best way to secure the bike and what I should buy in the way of a lighting set up.

    Thanks,
    Hey Crash,

    Congrats on your plan to start commuting. You'll find a ton of opinions here on locking strategy. A great place to start though, is to read Sheldon Brown's advice:

    www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html

    I use the OnGuard system with Ulock and Cable.

    Lighting is a similarly broad topic. I leave that to the others.

    Tom
    08 Scott CR-1, Ultegra
    Surly Crosscheck, custom build

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Buy a good U-lock, and leave it in the parking garage if you can get away with it. Tell a security guard or lot attendant what you plan to do, and why- they shouldn;t have a problem with it. It'll save you carrying the extra weight 22 miles a day. Lock your bike somewhere that gets a fair amount of foot traffic, so that hopefully someone would see a would-be thief messing with it. Bottom line though is that if someone wants your bike, they'll probably take it. Is your parking garage mostly just for an office building? If it's the kind of place where most of the people through it are there day in day out, you might feel a little safer than if there's retail mixed in and you might see more passing-thru opportunity type thieves. Lock it through the front wheel and frame to something solid. A cable lock through the back wheel might be helpful as well.

    Lightwise- spend what you think is worth spending. Anything below $20 is probably gonna disappoint. Last winter I used a $40 Cateye in conjunction with a $15 Trek up front, and I'm looking to replace those with something more substantial this year. Lots of rear blinkies help too. One or more on your bike, one on your bag, and maybe your helmet. This year I think I'm gonna go with one on my bag, one on my chainstays, and get a set of those Knog lights that replace your bar end caps.

    I'm in the DC area as well, and my commute is rsing from 6.5mi each way to about 11 or 12, starting next week, also mostly on an MUP. Good luck- I'll probably see you out there someday.

  4. #4
    Laid back bent rider unixpro's Avatar
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    Is your MUP lit? If not, then you probably want something more than just an LED light. If you can see OK, then the LED is fine, since it lets others see you. If not, then go for either Xenon or Halogen. Xenon is cheaper and can be powered with regular batteries. If you go Halogen, be prepared for some significant bucks and a rechargeable system.

    Last weekend I bought a new blinkie light from Mountain Equipment Co-Op (this one: http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1190755773287). Man, it is one bright light!

  5. #5
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    Leave the U lock but carry a light cable lock for any stops along the way. Cable locks need different tools to crack so using both is more secure.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Crash -- by any chance are you riding the Capital Crescent Trail? If so, you'll want a decent light since much of the trail is very dark and there will be other riders, pedestrians and deer just to make life interesting. One or two rear lights are also a good idea since it is easy to have people close on you quickly in the dark. I would add some reflectors at least to the front wheel or rim for any road crossings you have to make. You want to make sure you are obvious to drivers.

    As for locking I think others have already pointed you to the right info. A good U-lock is essential. Combine it with a stout cable to secure wheels and saddle. Or use a second different type of lock to make your bike too much of a hassle to steal. Chances are if you are locking it up in a parking garage, you will have slightly fewer security concerns since it will not be out on the street in plain sight.

    Hope that helps. If you want any info on DC area commuting (especially Silver Spring) let me know and I'll try to help.
    God grant me the serenity to accept the hills and winds I cannot change;
    courage to challenge the cagers I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
    (with apologies to AA)
    24 mi. roundtrip -- Maryland suburbs to DC and back.

  7. #7
    South Denver Commuter Leiniesred's Avatar
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    I ride about the same distance and most of it is unlit MUP. I gotta tell ya, my $70 Planet Bike Alias headlight set is really pretty darn good. I don't feel like I'm overdriving the 15 watt halogen most of the time (but I commute on a mt. bike so I'm only traveling about 16-17 MPH most of the time)

    With a 4xAAA, 5 LED, cateye headlight it is sketch for sure.
    I see 2x as many cats with the Alias.
    I run into 4X as many moths with the Alias.
    The difference in "photons emitted" is huge.

    Taillight: PlanetBike Superflash.

    Lock: Bring bike into your office.
    200? Bianchi Milano (main commuter)
    2003 Specialized Epic

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