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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 11-26-07, 12:48 PM   #1
destro713
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Thoughts on my first NON-bike commute in 2 weeks, and why this will become rare.

For the past couple weeks I've been commuting to my 3-days-a-week, 8-miles-away work by bike. It's a bit colder this week. I didn't want to bike the morning rush without a helmet, and I have no way to keep my ears warm under a helmet at the moment, so I decided to take the train. Impressions:

•I got to read a bit more of Neuromancer, the first William Gibson novel. Wonderful and ridiculous in all the ways that 80's pulp futurism tends to be.

•I feel like crap. Like I just rolled out of bed, even though that was 5 hours ago. Dragging my metabolism behind me on ropes tied to my ankles. I got some coffee. It did nothing.

I was suspecting/fearing that my bike habits would be reduced to short-range weekend riding as the temperatures dropped... and then I found out the train stop closest to me is closing down for a year, starting today. I didn't know about this of course, because the CTA is run by ******** babies who are too busy trying to figure out how to not drown in an inch of bathwater to bother figuring out a way to communicate to their ridership the true extent of their blistering failure. I guess I need to get myself some solid winter gear. I will remove myself from the monthly unlimited transit plan later today. My bike for the win. Hope I don't get flattened.

Last edited by destro713; 11-26-07 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 11-26-07, 12:52 PM   #2
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I spent the last week having to drive in due to some eye problems. After the first day of not being able to wake up no matter how much coffee I had, I started riding my stationary bike before driving in.
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Old 11-26-07, 01:02 PM   #3
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Cheap-o balaclava from Nashbar is working great for me. I've been using it at 30F and it's way too warm at those temps.
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Old 11-26-07, 01:05 PM   #4
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I use a simple bandanna wrapped around my head and ears down to freezing and combine that with a super thin balaklava below that. Works like a charm. Two bandannas would work if I did not have the balaklava and was not worried about my face.
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Old 11-26-07, 01:06 PM   #5
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180s earmuffs do the trick for me. I used the sport version this morning, but I also have the standard version for if it gets really cold
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Old 11-26-07, 01:14 PM   #6
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I'm thinking a headband-style fleece ear warmer plus a decent scarf will do the trick until the temperatures really get down low. Then I'll add a cheap balaclava. At this point I'm more concerned with my hands and legs.
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Old 11-26-07, 01:21 PM   #7
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Bandana + scarf or balaclava + scarf/turtle neck seems to work for me. Good luck with it, hope you can find a way to keep on trucking
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Old 11-26-07, 01:36 PM   #8
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Here's a good DIY solution: knitted helmet ear warmers
http://cachefly.oreilly.com/make/cra..._pattern27.pdf
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Old 11-27-07, 12:08 AM   #9
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After all my fussing over gloves on here and on the winter forum I settled on a pair of closeout '06 Pearl Izumi lobsters from REI. I was trying to avoid them initially because so many people seem to hate them, but I tried on a pair of this year's model at a local shop today and they really felt nice. The only other options for lobster gloves under $100 were Louis Garneau and Craft, and I couldn't find either of them to try on in real life. (This is a big issue for me since I have tried on XL size gloves that I can barely fit my hands inside. Strangely, the large size PI's fit me fine.) Anyway, gloves are covered for the time being. Steps two and three are an earwarmer and a set of long johns, both of which I will look for at Target tomorrow. And then the fourth step, also tomorrow perhaps, is to cancel my monthly CTA pass. This is war.
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Old 11-27-07, 08:04 AM   #10
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I wore a hat today under my helmet. Skull cap type. Love it. Fits just like a bacaclava.

I've got a hood on my windbreaker that I'll put on under my helmet if it's too cold for my neck and all.

Fun thing about the big lobster gloves or ski mittens is that you need them before you need that winter coat. End result is a Fred look, with windbreaker and mittens.
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Old 11-27-07, 09:21 AM   #11
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For ears only, I use one of these:


Otherwise, I use a beanie that covers most of my ears.
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Old 11-27-07, 10:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thdave View Post
Fun thing about the big lobster gloves or ski mittens is that you need them before you need that winter coat. End result is a Fred look, with windbreaker and mittens.
Hm. I've not worn a winter coat while commuting yet. That temp must be < -25*F; that's as cold as it got last year and I was still in 3 layers and a windbreaker. 'course, I was still wearing cheap windproof gloves then too, though the fingers were getting a bit nippy at that temp. Lobster gloves would be nice down there, but that kind of temp (less than -10*F or so) only happens 3 or 4 days every couple of years around here so it's not worth it. I could just bail and drive the car those days for 20 years before I'd make up the cost of the gloves.
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Old 11-27-07, 11:47 AM   #13
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"I didn't know about this of course, because the CTA is run by ******** babies who are too busy trying to figure out how to not drown in an inch of bathwater to bother figuring out a way to communicate to their ridership the true extent of their blistering failure"

I chuckled, loudly. The people in the coffee shop think I'm strange now.

I use a balaclava (just a tube of polar fleece, basically) and a warmish "cycling cap." It's actually not technically a cycling cap, but a "hipster hat" that I purchased at one of the trendy retail outfitters in Portland for 7 bucks. It's basically a tightfitting winter cap with a shortish bill. Even so I need to open up my helmet straps close to al the way to accomodate it. My holiday wish list this year is basically filled with cold weather biking clothes. In order of importance (for me, tking into consideration what I already have):

-Neoprene/goretex/whatever booties. Once I get these I will acheive bicycle-dork nirvana.
-Really nice wrm ski gloves. My current ones serve me well down to about 30 degrees.
-Bright cycling rain jacket. I have a running jacket that's bright yellow but it's not at all waterproof.
-Long-sleeve wool jerseys. Not so much for commuting/errand running though. I hear great things about wool though. Maybe a tight used wool sweater would do the same job just as well.

I already have lots of assorted polar fleece-type things.
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