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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 01-14-08, 08:24 AM   #1
Marylandnewbie
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Extreme Commute Club: Week 7, 2008

Well we head into the second week of January with far from extreme weather. It isn't supposed to feel like spring this week, but it will still be very easy going compared to folks in the Midwest and Northeast.

Well I have my new Brooks Flyer and the kit to convert from downtube shifters to barends. Now all I have to do is find time to install them!! Once I saw the Brooks in its box I somehow felt there should be some sort of special opening ceremony. I can hardly wait to try it.

This week lets talk about toughest rides this winter. Time to spin some tall tales and embroider our exploits. I have nothing so far this year. My one ride in 17 degress temps with bright sunshine is as close to tough as I have come this winter.
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Old 01-14-08, 09:07 AM   #2
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It's been an easy winter. A couple rides in 40mph wind gusts and a couple with temps in the teens is about it.

I was out riding yesterday, on my way back from what was to be about 35 miles, and I get a puncture flat (rear). Went to fix it and see that my rim is also coming apart. Didn't quite trust it for the rest of the ride home (abour 5 miles downhill) so called a cab and spent the afternoon getting a new wheelset.
Dumped the Conti Sport Contacts after only 600 miles and went back to Panaracer Urban Max's which I've had good luck with in the past.
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Old 01-14-08, 11:50 AM   #3
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For me it would be Fog and lots of it. At one point I could only see 10 foot in front of me. Other then that very nice riding weather.
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Old 01-14-08, 01:09 PM   #4
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My toughest ride was today unfortunately it wasn't a fun ride or due to weather. I haven't ridden my xtracycle on my commute since mid december. I had two weeks off and then my wife bought me an old Merlin which I have used exclusively this year. The BB shifted somehow and it is in the shop. (hopefully it wasn't traded in by the perivous owner because of an unfixable issue that he covered up temporarily)

So I took out the xtracycle today which weighs more then 3 times as much. WOW. I can definately feel that on the hills and the starts. Not to mention the constant stopping to adjust this, fix that, put another ziptie on the dinotte 4AA battery pack and then change some other batteries because it was cold and I was taking so long. Took me over 2 hours to get in today due mostly to poor prep work.
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Old 01-14-08, 01:18 PM   #5
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My toughest ride so far this winter was when it was almost to the freezing level (it rarely gets that cold around here), lots of wind (a headwind, of course), and driving rain. It took me about 1.75 times my normal time to get home, and I was both soaked and very tired once I got there. I peeled my stuff off and threw it in the dryer, ate some dinner, and poured myself into bed. Rain is OK. Cold is OK. Wind sucks no matter what. The combination of the three is really bad.

Last Friday I lost my BB on the way in, at about the 1/3 mark. I limped the bike to about the 90% mark, then walked it in the rest of the way. My wife came and picked it up at lunch and took it down to the LBS for repair. The guy there said he really had to work hard to get the old BB out. Apparently it had been going for a long time, but I really hadn't noticed. Maybe if I rode over some decent roads I would have noticed something.

I took the bus home on Friday night. Man, there are some strange people on the bus at 6:30 at night. Riding, even in bad weather, seems like a much better choice.
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Old 01-15-08, 12:02 AM   #6
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We've had snowy days and cold days. I've had some epic snowstorm commutes where I actually ride faster than the cagers.

But, the most epic commute for me has been one of two equally bad ones where it's cold, but not too cold and the snow is all on the sides of the road...it's no-moon-dark and I'm hungry as hell and just plain tired and there's a headwind to blow the fire out in Hades.

Those rides only take me about 10 minutes longer, but my average speed is 4 mph lower and I seriously contemplate giving up commuting I am so miserable.

I did two days on a really bad seat, too, and one of them happened to be a day like the above...so, with the seat added in I think that day wins.

If you have a wide arse seriously avoid the fizik Pave CP3. BTW, anyone interested in buying one for a great price?
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Old 01-16-08, 07:52 AM   #7
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I am with Newbie, as the DC area winter has been quite easy. A few cold days, but nothing too nasty.
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Old 01-16-08, 08:37 AM   #8
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Wait! . . . Wait! . . . there is rumor of the dreaded "WINTRY MIX!!!" for tomorrow. This is the ultimate weather forecaster cop-out term that means something might fall from the sky and it may or may not accumulate. In other words it is a forecast that offers no guidance for bike commuters. The description for tomorrow includes, snow, sleet, rain and everything from no accumulation to an inch of accumulation.

In response to this WINTRY MIX I will half put on my studded tires and half dress for the cold
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Old 01-16-08, 08:51 AM   #9
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My ride home monday was without a rear brake becaue I had to release it because the wheel suddenly decided to go way out of true.
Switched to the wheel I had been truing on my new stand last night. Then this morning my chain got sucked in between my cassette and my spokes just when I turned onto the 121 service road where there is construction. I'm just glad my bike has a nice kickstand so I was able to lay in the debris and yank the chain out which now has at least one kink
I think my worst commute though was on my new to me merlin I had lucked out finding, unfortunately it is the old style unservicable bottom bracket. First commute of the year and I just went right into an expansion joint. This pic is later in the day when I went back and le the weight of the bike press it in to get a cell phone pic. In the original disaster the front wheel was almost in to the fork and I thought the whole thing was toast.

2008 just has not been a good year for me and bicycles.
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Old 01-18-08, 07:19 AM   #10
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OK- extreme commutes have arrived this week in DC. Rode yesterday, and it was fine coming in, then we got 4 inches of wet snow followed by rain. Rode 1 (sketchy) mile to the bus station and bus'ed home.

Drove today b/c I knew the MUP's would be a mess, and the road shoulders are no better. I hate not biking, but some days it's just the prudent thing to do...
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Old 01-18-08, 07:40 AM   #11
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Yipee got my merlin back! Wow what a difference dropping over 40lbs of bike weight does for whether I'm tired out or not.
I finally got to wear my wind/cold blocker tights and they were still to hot at the end. I had to take it easy or I would have melted as it was only 30f with 3mph wind. Cut down target bag still did the trick for keeping my feet warm with road cycling shoes and smartwool socks probably because of the warm tights I wore instead of just knee warmers.

I might get some sleet on the way home so that should be really fun if it actually happens.
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Old 01-18-08, 09:49 AM   #12
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I commuted on the bike yesterday. Made it home after taking numerous detours. It was fun in a masochistic sort-of way. I definitely won't do it again anytime soon.

Scoring
--------
Falls = 0
Slipped rear tire = numerious
Sprayed by salt trucks = 3
Vehicular near misses = none that I detected
Motor vehicle admonishments = lost track of count

By the time I got home, my TCR was not happy--better, though, after a douching with WD40.

I believe the snow accumulation in the Towson-White Marsh area was about 4 inches.

Last edited by NoRacer; 01-18-08 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 01-18-08, 10:44 AM   #13
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We have arctic temps! I actually didn't commute yesterday because it was 4degF and w/windchill it was -10degF...I have a stomach bug that has me pissing out the backside three times a day and now a sore throat, too! I'm glad, in a way, that I took the day off. Today I came in and it was 10degF with no wind when I left the abode. Cold, and now that I'm riding with the panniers my back gets colder, but manageable. I'm still sick, so I'm tired now, but it feels good to spin regardless.

Tomorrow we have a 14 hour meeting (yes, I'm being serious) starting at 7:30 a.m. so I have to be on my bike my 6 a.m. and it doesn't look to be a warmer day at all. It's been an extreme week, for sure.
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Old 01-18-08, 10:53 AM   #14
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Things are finally getting extreme in KC again, or as extreme as they get, to a certain extent. A few more bouts of near-single-digit-Fahrenheit temps. A little more snow. Lots of good times.

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Old 01-18-08, 11:44 AM   #15
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It's been a strange week here in Seattle. It started out cold and icy, with some snow thrown in depending on where you were. It's settled down to pretty clear these last few days, which means cold, or at least as we perceive it around here. That means hovering around freezing. Tomorrow is supposed to be mixed snow and rain, then next week back with the clear and cold again.

I'm putting in 12 hour days at work right now, so I'm out the door at 6 and not back in until 9. I haven't ridden in the sun for months. Oh, well. There are, obviously, harsher places to be. At least I don't need studded tires
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