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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 03-03-08, 01:08 AM   #1
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How great it would be if bicycle commuting were not a "lifestyle".

Can you imagine how great this would be? It's like what the commuters here all want, yet kinda the antithesis of the commuting forum. To get to a point where no one thinks about "bicycle commuting" because that's just the standard mode of transporation - that's the dream. Gotta love Copenhagen...

http://copenhagengirlsonbikes.blogsp...ogy-folly.html
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Old 03-03-08, 01:13 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Copenhagen Cycle Chic
When she bought her bike at her local bike shop she didn't have a "fitting" at the "full service workshop and showroom". She probably walked into the shop and said, "I need a bike". The chap working there probably shrugged, glanced her up and down and said, "you'll be needing a 52cm".
Good call.
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Old 03-03-08, 01:32 AM   #3
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That "cyclist" got the same fitting that I did a few days ago when I picked out my 58cm Specialized Globe. The LBS guy asked how tall I am. "Six foot two, six foot three." He says, "a 58 should be good...that's what I ride". I told him I liked the look of the Globe. He adjusted the seat, then let me ride it around the block. I bought it 10 minutes later. I'm happy with it.
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Old 03-03-08, 04:06 AM   #4
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This what is going to take to get Joe Q Public on a bike. Not Critical Mass, Not crowds of lycra clad roadies strung along the road ways, not a couple of muddy mountain bikes being transported to and fro. I ride my bike(s) in normal street clothes all the time. Only concession I make is a bright colored safety vest and a helmet. FWIW when it comes to bike fit...my "optimum" frame size is in the 25.5"/64cm range. Being a thrifty soul, bolstered by the fact that bikes that size are hard to find on the used market...I ride anything from a 19" step thru up to a 24". All and I do mean ALL of my bikes are equipped with fenders, many with lights and with one exception they all have kickstands.

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Old 03-03-08, 07:49 AM   #5
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Old 03-03-08, 08:04 AM   #6
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Yup, my current bike fits me very well. The bike store owner didn't measure anything he just looked at me and said "I don't have that bike in your size right now, but I'm getting some in tomorrow." He was exactly right.
If I ever buy a bike strictly to do long distance touring on, 60-100 miles a day for weeks on end, I might get a precise fitting, but I suspect it doesn't matter unless you get a custom frame anyway; you're going to take the geometry that they make. There's such a range of seat tubes, stems, cranks and whatnot these days that you can do a heck of a lot of adjustment on any frame.
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Old 03-03-08, 08:07 AM   #7
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I don't watch videos about Copenhagen much anymore after the first one. It just makes me want to move there. It is indeed a beautiful city, and a large part of it is that they have not allowed cars to take over.
I watched a show on the History channel last night, Modern Marvels: The Superhighway. A guy on there said something (which I guess I can't disagree with too much): The superhighway is what MADE America great. From an economics point of view, he's certainly correct. From a society point of view however, it's like it made the body strong but at the same time drives a cancer that's killing us.
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Old 03-03-08, 08:16 AM   #8
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I don't watch videos about Copenhagen much anymore after the first one. It just makes me want to move there. It is indeed a beautiful city, and a large part of it is that they have not allowed cars to take over.
I watched a show on the History channel last night, Modern Marvels: The Superhighway. A guy on there said something (which I guess I can't disagree with too much): The superhighway is what MADE America great. From an economics point of view, he's certainly correct. From a society point of view however, it's like it made the body strong but at the same time drives a cancer that's killing us.
I saw the same show... it was rather interesting... I took note about the beautiful hiways in Colorado and HI.

The thing that kept coming back to me however was "hey if they can do that 'stack 5' in Dallas, those same engineers can make a damn nice bicycle network too."
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Old 03-03-08, 08:24 AM   #9
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So we're going to point to the soapboxing rant of the guy who doesn't fix his own flats and say what...


nothing positive comes to MY mind.
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Old 03-03-08, 08:40 AM   #10
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I understand what the girl had to say..but I for one enjoy wearing my lyra pants, padded shorts and sweat wicking fabric. I find enjoy the ride a bit more and its more comfortable. If someone just wants to wear their jeans i'm cool with that. I think people should be free to wear whatever they want without public criticism.
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Old 03-03-08, 09:19 AM   #11
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The ADs on the website do not match the message of the blog. Consumerism is alive and well everywhere.
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Old 03-03-08, 10:35 AM   #12
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The ADs on the website do not match the message of the blog. Consumerism is alive and well everywhere.
True to a degree, but AdWords is an easy way to defray some of the hosting costs of a popular website, and the site owner has no say on what appears within that space.

A couple more points:

-This post hits the bullseye on my approach to cycling. I think if more cyclists made an effort to make it appear effortless we'd start winning the war somewhat. As someone who was put-off by tight clothes and expensive cycles it took me a long time to come around to the idea that I simply didn't have to participate on that level. I hope to inspire others to do the same.

-I think we could have a fairly robust bicycle network if we actually focused on doing so. Sadly, I don't think I'll ever see one around here and we need large, quick methods of public transportation (bullet trains) to fill in some gaps before that can occur.
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Old 03-03-08, 11:01 AM   #13
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Great idea about bike commuting... but then there would be no need for a forum. It would be like cars having a forum for commuting.
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Old 03-03-08, 12:49 PM   #14
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It would be nice, but we have to understand that for the most part in the U.S. we are coming from a different place in terms of culture and infrastructure.

I was on a winter camping trip this past weekend along with a few other first timers. One thing that was interesting to me was that a number of people clearly enjoyed going buying some new equipment and clothing for the occasion, -a very American response.

Two of the people in our office that started commuting last year did the very same thing. They went out and bought expensive bikes and equipment. It was part of the fun for them. Consumerism at it's best or worst, depending on how you look at it.

Most U.S. cities are not like Copenhagen or Amsterdam. People are more spread out. Commuting distances are going to be longer. Weather in many places is not as temperate. The idea of commuting on any old bike in whatever one would normally wear to work doesn't always translate into a commute comfortable enough to keep someone out of a car.

In my case for 3 months out of the year, commuting in the same clothes I would drive in means frostbitten toes. In other parts of the year, there would always be the potential of spending part of my work day in rain soaked clothes. For me commuting by bike would be miserable if I didn't put much more thought into how I dress when cycling vs driving.

So in my mind it should be perfectly OK to ride into work in dress pants and tie, lycra shorts and a jersey, or jeans and a T-shirt. Likewise it's not anymore virtuous to ride to work on cruiser than it is on a MTB or a road bike or a Walmart special.

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Old 03-03-08, 01:36 PM   #15
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-This post hits the bullseye on my approach to cycling. I think if more cyclists made an effort to make it appear effortless we'd start winning the war somewhat. As someone who was put-off by tight clothes and expensive cycles it took me a long time to come around to the idea that I simply didn't have to participate on that level. I hope to inspire others to do the same.
I agree that no one should feel as if they have to wear logo splattered, neon colored spandex in order to commute. On the other hand, wearing the same clothes you'd normally wear to work can make cycling unnecessarily uncomfortable. To me there is no crime in viewing cycling as different from driving and preparing or dressing appropriately. Of course it all depends on the commute and the climate.
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Old 03-03-08, 01:49 PM   #16
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It's only a lifestyle if you make it such
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Old 03-03-08, 01:54 PM   #17
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It's funny, though...I think that a lot of people don't realize I get around by bike, unless they see me ride or see me with my helmet. I dress in regular clothes, I make a point of getting cleaned up, etc. I wonder if my "normalizing" my bike riding renders it less visible.
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Old 03-03-08, 02:23 PM   #18
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I agree that no one should feel as if they have to wear logo splattered, neon colored spandex in order to commute. On the other hand, wearing the same clothes you'd normally wear to work can make cycling unnecessarily uncomfortable. To me there is no crime in viewing cycling as different from driving and preparing or dressing appropriately. Of course it all depends on the commute and the climate.
I'm unnecessarily uncomfortable in anything skin-tight. In all honesty though, I've found that some golf-specific clothing works well to close the gap in breath-ability and appearance issues.
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Old 03-03-08, 02:31 PM   #19
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It would be nice, but we have to understand that for the most part in the U.S. we are coming from a different place in terms of culture and infrastructure.

I was on a winter camping trip this past weekend along with a few other first timers. One thing that was interesting to me was that a number of people clearly enjoyed going buying some new equipment and clothing for the occasion, -a very American response.

Two of the people in our office that started commuting last year did the very same thing. They went out and bought expensive bikes and equipment. It was part of the fun for them. Consumerism at it's best or worst, depending on how you look at it.

Most U.S. cities are not like Copenhagen or Amsterdam. People are more spread out. Commuting distances are going to be longer. Weather in many places is not as temperate. The idea of commuting on any old bike in whatever one would normally wear to work doesn't always translate into a commute comfortable enough to keep someone out of a car.

In my case for 3 months out of the year, commuting in the same clothes I would drive in means frostbitten toes. In other parts of the year, there would always be the potential of spending part of my work day in rain soaked clothes. For me commuting by bike would be miserable if I didn't put much more thought into how I dress when cycling vs driving.

So in my mind it should be perfectly OK to ride into work in dress pants and tie, lycra shorts and a jersey, or jeans and a T-shirt. Likewise it's not anymore virtuous to ride to work on cruiser than it is on a MTB or a road bike or a Walmart special.
I agree with you on most points. In fact, a cruiser/commuter bike and street clothes would not work well for me, as I have some serious climbing in both directions (viva Colorado!) on my commute, so the road bike and padded lycra are the best thing for me. However, this isn't true in most (flat) city circumstances.

I think the bigger point, however, is not that one shouldn't wear a full race kit or ride a fancy specialized bike, but rather that we need to get away from the idea that it's required. We make cycling into such a production here, that it turns a great many people off. Driving is simple - get in your car (any type of car - Corolla, Jeep, Ferrari - doesn't matter!), turn key, go. I think the point of the article which I originally posted is that bicycling can also be that simple, and that if we could get people to see that, we could become a bicycle culture, too. It's definitely an uphill journey to get there though...
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Old 03-03-08, 02:43 PM   #20
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No matter what you are going to have to dress for the weather. Bicycles are not (usually) enclosed. Same issue for motorcycle commuters.

It will never be as easy as it is for an enclosed motor vehicle with A/C as get up off the couch and jump on the the bike to go somewhere, except when the weather is nice.

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Old 03-03-08, 02:55 PM   #21
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True, but that's just adding a hat, gloves and warm footwear -not exactly overly burdensome. I still wear my coat when I drive, so that wouldn't change.

Of course, it doesn't matter. Americans at large are inherently lazy, as evidenced by our ever-expanding collective waistline, so it's unlikely we'll ever become a society that travels in town mostly by bicycle. Even as Americans do begin to see the need for change in our transporations habits, they look for new motorized methods, be they public options such as light-rail, or private options such as more efficient personal vehicles. The options seriously considered never involve actual manpower.
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Old 03-03-08, 03:04 PM   #22
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I agree with you on most points. In fact, a cruiser/commuter bike and street clothes would not work well for me, as I have some serious climbing in both directions (viva Colorado!) on my commute, so the road bike and padded lycra are the best thing for me. However, this isn't true in most (flat) city circumstances.

I think the bigger point, however, is not that one shouldn't wear a full race kit or ride a fancy specialized bike, but rather that we need to get away from the idea that it's required. We make cycling into such a production here, that it turns a great many people off. Driving is simple - get in your car (any type of car - Corolla, Jeep, Ferrari - doesn't matter!), turn key, go. I think the point of the article which I originally posted is that bicycling can also be that simple, and that if we could get people to see that, we could become a bicycle culture, too. It's definitely an uphill journey to get there though...
We all have our own perspectives. I've seen several posts to the effect of "racing bikes and related attire turn people off to commuting" and I'm sort of puzzled by it. The Copenhagen blog entry talks about the simplicity of buying a bike in Copenhagen vs. the professional fitting and accessory pushing that supposedly goes along with the typical bike purchase in the U.S. . Don't most people in the U.S get their bikes from Walmart and Target or the like? Even at an LBS, I don't think I've had anybody bother with sizing other than making sure my crotch wasn't too close to the top tube and that I felt comfortable on the bike.

Anyway where I live,people riding around in full kit are in the definite minority so I'd be really surprised to run into anyone here who thinks they need lycra clothing and a road bike in order to commute. To me the biggest barriers are the perceptions (true or false) that:

1. It's too much work
2. It takes too long
3. I don't have a safe route
4. I've got to carry stuff
5. I have got to pick up/drop off kids
6. I've got other errands to run
7. I don't want to be a sweaty mess at work
8. I don't want to get soaking wet
9. I don't want freeze my butt off
10. What idiot is going to ride a two wheeled vehicle in ice and snow?

Clothing and bicycle choice only come into play after people have dealt with other important barriers.

What I do agree with is that it would be nice if commuting by bike wasn't seen as something outside the norm, but we have to deal with the fact that it is.

We also have to recognize that people are different. We aren't all motivated by or turned off by the same things. One person might see somebody in ordinary clothes riding on a simple bike and think: "Gee, I can do that". Another guy might see a 50 something CEO roll up on his $5,000 race bike and 7-11 jersey and think: "Now here's a fit, middle aged, successful man. I want to be like that guy".
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Old 03-03-08, 03:05 PM   #23
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I took note about the beautiful hiways in Colorado and HI.
Do you mean Hawaii? Hawaii does NOT have beautiful highways. They're always backed up with major traffic...and they're only 3 lanes wide.
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Old 03-03-08, 03:11 PM   #24
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I think the bigger point, however, is not that one shouldn't wear a full race kit or ride a fancy specialized bike, but rather that we need to get away from the idea that it's required. We make cycling into such a production here, that it turns a great many people off.
Exactly.

If there is an active movement to steer it away from the current direction we could find that maybe a few more people would take it up. It's not necessarily a logistics problem.. more of a marketing one.

What if everyone on here made an effort to take a half-hour jaunt around town every week in their normal clothes? Nothing hard to do.. but I think that it would add-up to a larger change in perception.
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Old 03-03-08, 03:13 PM   #25
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True, but that's just adding a hat, gloves and warm footwear -not exactly overly burdensome. I still wear my coat when I drive, so that wouldn't change.

Of course, it doesn't matter. Americans at large are inherently lazy, as evidenced by our ever-expanding collective waistline, so it's unlikely we'll ever become a society that travels in town mostly by bicycle. Even as Americans do begin to see the need for change in our transporations habits, they look for new motorized methods, be they public options such as light-rail, or private options such as more efficient personal vehicles. The options seriously considered never involve actual manpower.
FWIW, What I wear in the winter to drive is completely different from what I wear to commute by bike for any distance over a couple of miles. If I just ride to the train station, there's little difference in what I wear.

The second part I agree with. I hope that cycling becomes a larger part of the transportation mix but any mass exodus from the automobile will more likely be to things like buses and trains.
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